GoHenry vs. Greenlight: Which One Is the Better Option for Your Family?

BANKING - BANK REVIEWS
Let’s look at two tools designed to help your kids learn about managing their money.
Updated Feb. 26, 2024
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Family using debit card

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One of the best things you can do for your children is to teach them financial literacy and how to manage money effectively. Two companies that can help you teach your kids these concepts are GoHenry and Greenlight. Both offer prepaid debit cards for kids, plus some additional features that can help children and teens build financial literacy.

We like Greenlight the best as its basic plan is cost-effective for families, and its higher-priced plan, Greenlight Max, includes an investing component.

But which is likely to work best for your family? Here’s what you need to know about GoHenry vs. Greenlight.

Our favorite debit card for kids

Parent-friendly features and better pricing

  • Teach your kids financial responsibility
  • Automate weekly transfers to your child's card
  • No minimum age; FDIC insured
  • One month free trial
In this article

Key takeaways

  • Both GoHenry and Greenlight offer prepaid debit cards designed for children to help them learn about managing money.
  • We prefer Greenlight because the basic plan is more cost-effective for families with multiple children.
  • We also like that higher-priced Greenlight plans offer an investing component for families.

GoHenry vs. Greenlight

GoHenry Greenlight
Card type Debit card Debit card
Payment network Mastercard Mastercard
Monthly fee
  • $4.99 per child or $9.98 for up to four child accounts
Family plans for parents and up to five children:
  • $4.99 Greenlight
  • $9.98 Greenlight Max
  • $14.98 Greenlight Infinity
Minimum age requirement 6 years old None
Features
  • Up to four kids
  • Savings goals
  • Automatic payments
  • Set spending limits
  • Ability to turn cards on and off
  • Custom card option
  • Mobile app for iPhone and Android
  • FDIC-insured
  • Up to five kids
  • Savings goals
  • Automatic payments
  • Set spending controls
  • Ability to turn cards on and off
  • Round up feature that saves spare change
  • Mobile app for iPhone and Android
  • Works with Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Investing component 
  • Identity theft, cell phone, and purchase protection with Greenlight Max and Infinity
  • FDIC-insured
  • SIPC-insured investments
Best for... Parents who want simple features that can help improve financial literacy Parents who want to teach their kids about investing and smart spending
Visit GoHenry Visit Greenlight

Our verdict

We prefer Greenlight due to its cost-effectiveness and robust features, including the ability to work with common payment platforms Apple Pay and Google Pay and the investing component.

How does GoHenry work?

Pros
  • Customized debit cards
  • Charity component
  • FDIC insured
Cons
  • No investing features

GoHenry is designed as a family money management app to teach kids about saving and how to manage money. After you sign up for GoHenry, you can get customized debit cards for your kids. They can choose from different card designs, which isn't an option Greenlight offers.

To fund your children's accounts, start by adding money to your parent account using a debit card, which was the only option to fund an account at the time of writing. Then, it’s possible to send money to up to four children through your account. You have the option to set up recurring allowance payments, transfer money one time, and even arrange to pay for extra tasks. There’s also a charity component where kids can opt to give a small amount of money to the Boys & Girls Club of America each week.

It’s also possible to set limits with GoHenry, including how much your kids can spend and where they can use their card. You get real-time spending notifications and can block and unblock cards easily. GoHenry accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) up to $250,000, and you can use your account as a tool to help your child learn about spending, saving, and giving.

Read our GoHenry review to learn more.

How does Greenlight work?

Pros
  • Charity component
  • Investing component
  • FDIC insured
Cons
  • No cash deposits

A Greenlight account offers a chance for kids to learn about multiple aspects of money management, including investing. As with GoHenry, it’s possible to automate weekly allowance payments, make instant transfers, and arrange to pay for extra tasks. You can also set parental spending controls in the Greenlight app and get real-time spending notifications. Plus, there's a charity component that offers the ability to learn about giving on top of learning about spending and saving.

Greenlight also has a parent-paid interest feature, which allows parents to choose an interest rate to pay their kids each month. This feature is designed to show kids how their money can grow each month with an interest-bearing account. With the Greenlight Max and Infinity plans, there’s an investing component as well. Kids can learn the basics of investing and how compound interest works, and might even get the opportunity to invest in some of their favorite companies.

One downside to Greenlight, though, is that you can't make cash deposits. That means your kids won't be able to deposit any cash they receive into their accounts. You can deposit cash into your account and transfer it, though. 

Greenlight is also FDIC-insured for the banking products and Securities Investor Protection Corp.-insured for the investing account. With Greenlight, parents can fund their accounts from a bank account or debit card and send money to up to five kids.

Read our Greenlight review to learn more.

Get a one-month free trial of Greenlight 

What both companies excel at

When considering GoHenry vs. Greenlight, you’re likely to find robust parental controls with both services. You can deactivate cards as needed and set spending limits. It’s also possible to set other limits, such as limiting which stores kids can spend at. Both services also allow you to receive real-time notifications so you can see what’s happening with your kids’ spending and talk about it with them.

Both GoHenry and Greenlight can also help you teach your child how to allocate their spending, learn valuable lessons about spending and saving, as well as a chance to donate to charity. You can also set savings goals with these tools and provide additional ways for your kids to earn extra money.

5 important differences between Greenlight and GoHenry

However, there are some differences between GoHenry vs. Greenlight. These differences might determine which service is right for your family.

1. Pricing

One of the biggest considerations when choosing between GoHenry vs. Greenlight is the pricing. Both services have a monthly fee, but they charge it differently. Greenlight offers one monthly fee for the entire family, whereas GoHenry charges a monthly fee on a per-child basis. The basic plan for Greenlight is $4.99, and that’s for the entire family, up to five kids. GoHenry charges $4.99 per child or a family plan of $9.98 for up to four child accounts.

Another difference in pricing is that Greenlight offers three different plans, depending on the features and services you want to access. If you want your child to start learning about investing, you can pay $9.98 per month for a Greenlight Max account. That account also includes identity theft and purchase protection extras. Again, though, Greenlight’s monthly cost is for the entire family of up to five kids.

2. Investing

GoHenry focuses on money management with only banking products. Greenlight does too, but it also offers an investing account. You can use Greenlight to teach your child about investing as part of their money management education. As a parent, you approve every trade before they make it, and the account is SIPC-insured. SIPC insurance doesn’t cover investment losses, but it can protect you in the event that the company fails.

3. Identity theft

For those who want a full suite of tools, including identity theft and phone protection, Greenlight offers a plan for the family. You get identity monitoring to ensure your children’s identities are protected. If you use a Greenlight debit card to buy a cell phone, you can get protection against theft and damage.

4. Apple Pay and Google Pay

With Greenlight, kids 13 and older can add their debit card to Apple Pay and Google Pay, enabling it on their phones. GoHenry doesn’t offer this functionality. If you want your kids to be able to use their phones for purchases with ease, Greenlight could be a good choice.

5. Number of children you can add to the account

GoHenry allows you to add up to four children to the account. However, Greenlight allows you to add up to five children. If you have a larger family and need to add more kids, Greenlight might be a better choice. With Greenlight, you pay $4.99 for a basic account, and that works for the whole family.

Which banking product should you choose?

When considering whether to use GoHenry vs. Greenlight or another similar product, it’s important to think about your family’s needs and your preferences for how to manage your money. Some factors to consider include:

  • Number of children: How many children do you have, and how many can you add to the account? Think about whether the service is adequate for your family size, and how the service charges.
  • Parental controls: Make sure that whatever service you use has adequate parental controls, including the ability to turn your child’s card on and off, as well as monitor spending.
  • Security: Verify that the service uses banking best practices for access and data protection. Additionally, make sure that the service has FDIC insurance for banking products.
  • Features: Determine whether there are extra features and accounts you want access to. For example, figure out whether you want investing, budgeting features, or identity theft as a part of the available features.

For families that have one child and aren’t interested in investing or identity theft, GoHenry could be a good choice. It costs only $4.99 per month per child and can be a good learning tool. This is especially true of young children who might only need to learn how to manage a debit card and the basics of allocating their money.

On the other hand, Greenlight can be a good tool for larger families. The base account is $4.99 per month for the family. Additionally, Greenlight has other plans that can provide you with additional features and services. For families that want to make it easy to open custodial investment accounts for kids, as well as get protection for cell phones and purchases, Greenlight might be worth the cost.

In fact, Greenlight costs $9.98 per month for the family if you have an investing plan. Greenlight Infinity, Greenlight’s most expensive account, is $14.98 per month and includes cell phone and purchase protection as well as identity theft services, family location sharing, SOS alerts, and crash detection. For larger families that want more features, Greenlight is likely the more cost-effective option.

Another option might be to check with your bank to see whether it offers joint accounts for minors. You might be able to open a basic joint checking account with your teen. Many of the best banks offer these accounts at no charge and will issue your child a debit card. You can then use the bank’s app to monitor your child’s account, without paying a fee.

FAQs

Which is better, GoHenry or Greenlight?

The better option between GoHenry vs. Greenlight depends on your family’s situation and needs. GoHenry can work well for a family with one child and for learning basic money management with access to a debit card. Greenlight, on the other hand, might be less expensive for larger families and offers access to other products and services, including investing and cell phone protection.

Does GoHenry charge a monthly fee?

The Greenlight basic plan costs $4.99 for the entire family, covering up to five kids. GoHenry, on the other hand, charges $4.99 per child or offers a family plan priced at $9.98 for up to four child accounts.

Does GoHenry offer ATM access?

Yes, it’s possible to access an ATM with a GoHenry debit card. However, the ATM withdrawal fee is $1.50 for domestic and international transactions. You might also have to pay additional ATM fees with the ATM owner.

Is Greenlight a credit card?

No, Greenlight is not a credit card. Instead, it’s a prepaid debit card that parents can add money to with the goal of helping kids learn about money management.

What are some alternatives to Greenlight and GoHenry?

There are different alternatives to GoHenry and Greenlight. Here are some options:

  • FamZoo: FamZoo offers families the opportunity to manage finances together with parental controls, with monthly fees starting as low as $2.50 when you pay for 24 months in advance.
  • Current: If you have teens, you can get a prepaid debit card from Current that allows you to set notifications and spending limits and track your child’s purchases. Read our full Current review for more information.
  • BusyKid: You can also use BusyKid to pay kids for chores. The family subscription is $48 for a year for up to five kids.

Another alternative, depending on your state and your bank, is to open a joint checking account with your kid and have a debit card issued to them. This often doesn’t cost anything, and you can monitor your child’s spending by logging into the joint account or checking your banking app.

Bottom line

There are a number of personal finance tools available to help with teaching kids about money. Using a debit card can be a good way to help your children learn because, in the “real world” of money, plastic is often used. In fact, it’s increasingly possible to use your phone to pay at various points of sale — no card or cash needed. Teaching your child practical skills around using these tools responsibly is important.

Plus, tools that give them a way to track their spending, and learn how to allocate to saving and giving, can also help your child develop good spending habits from an early age.

Both GoHenry and Greenlight can help with these lessons. However, if you’re looking for a tool that has additional features and services, such as investment accounts, Greenlight might be a better choice, as it offers more products than GoHenry.

Greenlight Benefits

  • Kids can earn money through chores, set savings goals, spend wisely, and invest
  • Get real-time notifications every time their kids spend money
  • Kids get up to 1% cash back and 2% on their savings balances
  • One month free trial, then as low as $4.99/ month

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.

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