When it comes to prepaid debit cards for teens and kids, there are few brands as well known as Greenlight card. From its low monthly fee, to its feature-filled product offering or its ease of use, Greenlight is a great option for parents looking to teach their children about responsible financial habits and how money works in the real world.
However, just because Greenlight stands atop the debit card for kids market doesn’t mean it is always your best choice. Other prepaid cards offer similar features at different price points better adjusted to your needs and situation. So, if you don’t want your child using a Greenlight card right out of the gate, there are several Greenlight alternatives that might be better suited to your needs!
In this article we’ll take a look at some of these alternatives to Greenlight and help you decide which is best for your family.
Best Greenlight Alternatives—Top Picks
Open a Fidelity Youth™ Account for your teen, and Fidelity will drop $50 into their account. Get $100 for yourself when you open a new Fidelity account and fund with $50¹.
Free (no monthly fees).
30 days free. Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
What Are the Best Greenlight Alternatives to Consider?
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to Greenlight that should work for your needs. Not all are prepaid or paid card options, so look at each and compare which one makes the most sense for your needs.
|Fidelity Youth™ Account||☆ 4.8 / 5|
Investing in stocks
|Free, no trading commissions||Teens get $50 on Fidelity® when they open an account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account|
|Step Banking||☆ 4.7 / 5|
Building credit history
|Copper Banking||☆ 4.9 / 5|
Kid financial independence
Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
|Free month trial|
|GoHenry||☆ 4.6 / 5|
Accessible customer service support
Family: $9.98/mo. for up to four children
|Free month trial|
|BusyKid||☆ 3.6 / 5|
Teaching balanced financial approach via chores & allowance
|$4/mo. (5 cards); $48/yr||30-day money back guarantee|
|FamZoo||☆ 4.5 / 5|
Financial literacy resources
|$5.99/mo. per child||Free month trial|
|Axos First Checking||☆ 4.7 / 5|
Teens ready to learn about money management
|Acorns||☆ 4.8 / 5|
Automated investing in the background into diversified investments
|$3/mo. - $9/mo.||$20 sign up bonus when making first deposit and setting up recurring contribution at account opening|
|Current||☆ 4.8 / 5|
Innovation and product features
|Chase First Banking||☆ 4.8 / 5|
High customer satisfaction from a major bank without fees
|Free (no monthly fees)||None|
|*Apple App Store Rating as of November 8, 2023|
1. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Best Free Debit Card With Teen Investing)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
- Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
- Promotion: Teens get $501 on Fidelity® when they download the Fidelity Youth™ app and activate their Youth Account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account
Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?
Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth™ Account—an account owned by teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. They can start investing by buying most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!⁴
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees³, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees⁵. And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.
And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access your account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.
Controls parents want and need
A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth™ Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.
Parents and guardians have plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.
To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth™ Account’s suite of products.
If your teen has an interest in learning about investing and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth™ app and opening a Fidelity Youth™ Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.
Read more in our Fidelity Youth™ Account review.
2. Step Banking (Best for Building Credit)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (No monthly fees)
The free Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” spending card that functions like a debit card, but also boasts some of the features of a Visa credit card—including the ability to build your child’s credit history. In our overall review of the best cards for kids, this option truly stuck out as a one-of-a-kind product worth mentioning in this article despite it not technically being a debit card. When we personally tested the product, we found it to be a powerful option to set up teens for a strong financial future.
Parents add money to this FDIC-insured account and can determine how their child can spend. A regular Step account allows a child to have both a physical spending card as well as a virtual card in the Step app, while a Parent Managed Account only allows the child to spend via a physical card. Either way, they can use their card anywhere Visa is accepted. Children can also use their cards to withdraw money from more than 30,000 ATMs for free.
And parents needn’t fear that their child will overdraft—they can’t spend any money they don’t have.
Further, the Step Card comes protected by Visa’s Fraud Protection and Zero Liability guarantee. That means if your teen’s card gets lost or stolen, or misplaced and fraudulent charges crop up, you can dispute the charges within a certain time frame to avoid liability for paying.
The Step Card also comes with fantastic savings benefits. Users earn 5% annually—compounded and paid monthly—on up to $250,000 saved in their Savings Goals. Like with your average savings account, Step’s savings yield can change depending on movements in the Federal Funds Rate, but if that happens, Step will give you 30 days’ notice before it happens.
To qualify, the user must have a direct deposit of at least $500 per month, and the benefit extends for as long as the direct deposits continue. So even if your teen just holds down a summer job for three months and meets the qualifying direct deposit, they can still enjoy three months of high interest. (Other perks of making a qualifying direct deposit? Bonus points on dining, food delivery, charitable donations, specific merchants—and you can get paid up to two days early.)
You can further boost your savings potential with Savings Roundup. With this feature, small purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar figure, and that extra money is put toward a Savings Goal. For instance: Let’s say your child buys a cup of coffee for $2.75; Step rounds up to $3.00 and puts 25 cents toward a goal.
Step even features an “invest” function that allows children age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin for a small transaction fee. They can also earn Bitcoin (or cash) rewards when they opt into offers from companies like Hulu, Chick-Fil-A, CVS, and The New York Times. The app is not a pure crypto wallet, however—your kids currently can’t spend Bitcoin directly at vendors.
One of the most unique and powerful features of the Step card is its ability to build your child’s credit history. With this optional feature, Step will report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when your child turns 18. That can greatly improve their chances of starting adult life with a better credit score, which can help lower the cost of things like student loans and auto insurance.
Lastly, Step is absolutely free: No monthly fees, no subscription fees, no account minimum fees, and no ATM fees within Step’s network of 30,000+ ATMs.
Read more in our Step review.
3. Copper Card
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 30 days free. Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
Copper Banking was founded on the belief that kids and teens should have equal access to financial education and should be empowered to learn by doing. Now, the company is on a mission to help children gain real-world experience by giving them access to their money in a way that traditional banks can’t.
The Copper app and debit card teaches your child how to make smart financial decisions by creating a platform where parents and their kids can connect. With the Copper app, you get easy snapshots of your accounts. And with the Copper Debit Card, it’s easy to shop in-store or online, including with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Plus, users get exclusive access to engaging advice curated by a team of financial literacy experts who provide tips on how to take control of their financial future.
Copper Banking Features:
- Send/Request: Kids and parents can easily send and receive money all at the touch of a button.
- Spend: Spend using Apple or Google Pay, or using the Copper Debit Card.
- Withdraw: Access your money from more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs.
- Monitor: Get a snapshot of all your child’s spending in an easy-to-read dashboard.
- Save: Gain quick snapshots of your kid’s savings and helpful tips on how to save even more. Set up savings buckets and save for the things that you want.
- Learn: With the help of Copper’s team of financial literacy experts, gain bite-sized tips on how you can maximize your money and prepare yourself for your financial future.
The basic Copper account includes the above banking features. With Copper + Invest, your child also gets access to automatically curated smart portfolios built with their preferences in mind. Your child is given a questionnaire that helps Copper determine a portfolio based on their age, income, net worth, investment objective(s) and investment horizon. Copper then recommends one of three ETF portfolios—Moderately Aggressive, Aggressive, and Extra Aggressive—made up of thousands of stocks. Parents can review the portfolio to ensure it matches with not just your child’s preferences, but your family’s. (Portfolios can be changed later on by accessing the Support chat.)
Your child can begin investing for as little as $1, then add more contributions down the road. Copper will automatically rebalance the portfolio as needed to make sure it always keeps up with your child’s investment preferences.
Copper is available to kids 6 years and older.
Read more in our Copper Banking review.
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 1 month free. Individual: $4.99/child/mo. Family: $9.98/mo. for up to 4 children
GoHenry is a banking app for minors that competes with Greenlight debit card and comes paired with prepaid debit cards for parents to oversee and manage their children’s account balance.
You have an online account which comes linked to individual accounts for each of your children allowing you to lock and unlock each prepaid card.
You can manage all of the money held in each account through the company’s app and online account portal.
Each child will receive their own GoHenry debit card which comes paired with parental controls you can set for your children.
What’s nice about GoHenry is the ability to spend only the money available on the prepaid card, meaning you don’t need to worry about costly fees for overdrafting or accruing debt.
You open a GoHenry account, receive your children’s debit cards in the mail 7-8 business days later, set up an automatic weekly allowance transfer into your children’s accounts and can set up one-off or weekly spending limits.
This will keep your children’s spending in check and you can block/unblock the card as needed as well as choose the stores where your kids can shop.
With time, the controls provided by the app and the guidance you offer can help your kids to earn, save, spend and give with good money habits.
GoHenry is one of the best debit cards for kids for customer service. They offer 24/7 phone availability, email access and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.
The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting at 6 or later.
Learn more by reading our GoHenry debit card review.
Related: GoHenry vs. Greenlight
- Available: Sign up here (Devices: Android, Apple iOS/iPhone/iPad)
- Price: $3.99/month, $38.99/year (up to 5 cards)
Are you looking for a way to teach your kids about money through chores, earning an allowance and managing their money on prepaid debit cards for kids?
BusyKid is an award-winning, parent-approved app that educates kids about money and personal finance while competing with Greenlight debit card. It’s a way to teach your children how to manage their allowance and learn important money lessons.
The BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card lets them spend their money in stores or online with just one swipe of the card. You can even set up automatic savings. The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting earlier than later.
Your child will be able to earn real money by completing chores and tasks around the house each week while learning valuable financial skills like budgeting, saving and giving back.
Plus they’ll have fun earning rewards from brands like Disney on BusyKid’s weekly challenges!
BusyKid is an easy-to-use, interactive kid chore app with a debit card that will help them learn and practice important real-life lessons from the palm of their hands.
They can earn, save, invest, donate or spend – all while having fun! And it couldn’t be more simple.
Parents set chores and allowance gets directly deposited each Friday!
- Earn – Kids can earn by completing tasks assigned by parents
- Save – They can save up to 10% of their weekly allowance automatically
- Donate – They can give back by donating 1% of what they make to charity
- Spend – When they’re ready for independence, BusyKid has a Visa Prepaid Spend Card so kids are never without cash in hand.
In order to get paid, parents need to approve the Payday text message sent through the app each Thursday if your kids are to be paid on Friday.
Some fees apply for various actions you can take through the app and with the card as well.
Finally, BusyKid also allows children to invest their earnings through the app. Doing so requires setting up a separate Stockpile custodial account.
Related: Best Investment Accounts for Kids
- Available: Sign up here
- Monthly Fee: Free trial, then $5.99/month per family
FamZoo is another competing Greenlight service for parents interested in opening prepaid debit cards to manage their children’s spending.
It works by having parents release money into their child’s account and then having the card work with a loaded balance. Money can be loaded onto the cards at any time.
FamZoo acts like a regular checking account with a linked debit card except FamZoo makes sure the account can’t be charged an overdraft fee, saving you money.
Adults are able to monitor the transactions being made. After a free trial, this app costs $5.99 per month, but the price goes down if prepaid in advance.
FamZoo is our top education choice because of its strong financial education library which improves its overall value.
The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting earlier than later.
Related: Greenlight vs. Famzoo
7. Axos Bank First Checking
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free
First Checking by Axos Bank is the ultimate starter checking account for teens which also comes with a debit card. The world of banking can be a little scary, but not with the simplicity and power of Axos’ First Checking Account.
The account competes with Greenlight by working as a joint account between a parent or guardian and their teen, allowing for easy-to-set, customizable parental controls with a debit card dashboard.
Parents and teens can manage almost every part of the banking experience through a convenient mobile app or through the online desktop portal. Perfect for modern families who always find themselves on the go.
The First Checking account from Axos Bank gives teens their first taste of financial independence by giving them their own checking account (which pays interest!) and free debit card for teens that has daily cash withdrawals limits of $100 and purchase limits of $500.
This provides safeguards against teens getting carried away with the money held in their account.
Further, you can have up to $12 of domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month, avoid any monthly maintenance, overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees—essentially making the account free!
The account carries the highest level of security through biometric authentication techniques like fingerprint readers, voiceprints and facial recognition (pending smartphone feature availability).
The product has a minimum age requirement of 13 and will convert to an Axos Checking Account after reaching the age of majority.
Read more in our Axos First Checking Account review.
Related: Best Investments for Kids
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Acorns Personal: $3/mo. Acorns Personal Plus: $5/mo. Acorns Premium: $9/mo.
Acorns has become one of the most popular financial apps for minors and young adults but also offers a robust money management platform extending beyond just investing.
The full suite of offerings compares favorably with Greenlight and includes the ability to establish custodial accounts for minors to invest, regular and retirement investment accounts for adults and a bank account with linked debit card.
If you sign up for the Acorns Spend product (available under the Acorns Personal, Personal Plus, and Premium plans), it creates a bank account that carries FDIC Insurance protection for up to $250,000.
Further, it uses the Acorns “Round Ups” feature which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar, investing the difference between the transaction amount and the whole dollar. The service claims to help users invest an average of $30 per month using this feature.
While not a free stock trading app, Acorns does give you the following subscription options:
- Acorns Personal ($3 per month): Includes an Acorns Invest investment account, as well as Acorns Later for tax-advantaged investment options such as Roth IRAs. Also includes Acorns Checking, a bank account that has no account fees, lets you withdraw fee-free from more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide, and Smart Deposit, which allows you to automatically invest a bit of each paycheck into your Acorns accounts.
- Acorns Personal Plus ($5 per month): Everything in Acorns Personal (Acorns Invest, Later, and Checking), plus Premium Education, which are live onboarding sessions covering account setup, Round-Ups, setting up recurring investments, and more; Emergency Fund; and a 25% bonus on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month).
- Acorns Premium ($9 per month): Everything in Personal Plus, plus Acorns Early, which allows you to open a custodial investment account for your child so you can begin investing for them while they’re a minor; custom portfolios that allow you to hold individual stocks; live Q&As with financial experts; a 50% match on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month); $10,000 in life insurance; even the ability to set up a will for free.
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free
Current is a banking app designed for all families. The Current app allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much they can spend, and even block specific merchants on Visa-enabled prepaid cards.
You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their money is safe because it’s not cash. Plus, the company doesn’t charge any fees or interest for student accounts so there are no surprises when bills arrive.
Current helps parents teach teens financial responsibility while giving them a way to learn without having cash around the house and all its temptations.
That means less worry for both parents and kids! With Current, your teenager will be able to do everything from paying friends back to buying groceries at the store–all safely with only her phone!
And teens will have the opportunity to learn financial responsibility and budgeting from an early age. This will allow them to grow their savings and move one step closer to financial independence.
The product has no specifically stated minimum age requirement, but the marketing points toward a Teen Account as the target audience. Therefore, you might be able to open an account below this age for your child.
Read more in our Current review.
10. Chase First Banking (Best Free Debit Card for Kids and Teens)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no monthly fees)
Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?
Chase First BankingSM offers simple banking for both of you in one location: the Chase Mobile® App—for free. Manage all accounts with this mobile app and encounter no fees as well as find yourself able to withdraw money on 16,000 Chase ATMs around the country. The account is designed with kids 6-12 in mind, and available for ages 6-17.
At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens that works anywhere Visa is accepted.
Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set spend alerts and limits as well as specific locations all in your Chase Mobile® app.
Teach your kids to spend, save and earn — all from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.
To get started, you’ll first need to be a Chase customer with a qualifying Chase checking account.
- Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches as well as a $200 sign up bonus when you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions*.
- Chase Secure BankingSM offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.
Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First BankingSM account for your child.
Read more in our Chase First Banking review.
Related: Best Debit Cards for Teens
What Are Prepaid Debit Cards for Kids?
A prepaid card is a type of payment card that can be loaded with funds in advance and then used to purchase goods or services without incurring debt from the issuer. The most common type of prepaid cards is a prepaid debit card (which acts like making bank account withdrawals when purchasing goods and services).
Prepaid cards for a child allow you to avoid non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft charges because they can only spend what they have on the card.
What is the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids?
The Greenlight app offers a feature-filled financial platform meant to help parents teach their kids important personal finance skills and build useful money habits including how to save, earn, invest, spend and give money responsibly. The Greenlight app and prepaid card function as a purpose-built solution for families to learn about money through use of a prepaid debit card with parental controls, notifications and safety features.
Further, the Greenlight prepaid card and app offers a parent account for establishing chore plans and administering weekly allowance payments for successful completion of assigned tasks.
From there, parents can show their kids how to use the included investing platform (on a higher plan through Greenlight Max) to invest in stocks for kids and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This can show real-life lessons of compound interest and encourage children to save and invest funds regularly.
Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account