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The market for kids’ debit cards has become extremely competitive, which is great news for parents. It’s easy to get your child a debit card and accompanying account that lets them spend, save, and more—all with parental controls.

Two of the most competitive debit cards today are Greenlight and Copper. But which packs the bigger punch? Or is there an underdog debit card you shouldn’t discount just yet?

Today, I’m going to give you a play-by-play of how Greenlight and Copper stack up against each other. For each card, I’ll provide an overview, a breakdown of costs, describe the notable features, and more. For those curious about the other big names when it comes to kids’ debit cards, I’ll highlight additional cards worthy of consideration.

Greenlight vs. Copper Comparison


greenlight logo transparent text thin leftAffiliate CTA Apply Nowcopper logo transparent text thin leftAffiliate CTA Apply Now
WealthUp Rating☆ 4.8 / 5☆ 4.4 / 5
App Store Rating☆ 4.8 / 5☆ 4.9 / 5
Price*Core: $4.99/mo.
Max: $9.98/mo.
Infinity: $14.98/mo.
Copper: $4.95/mo.
Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
BillingMonthlyMonthly
Special OfferFree 1-month trialFree 30-day trial
Allowed Cards Per Subscription55
Minimum Age**No6
Features That Make This Card Stand ApartExceptional parent controls; Max, Infinity: Identity theft, purchase, and phone protectionEarn money by filling out surveys

Basics

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcopper logo transparent text thin left
SpendingYesYes
SavingYesYes
InvestingCore: No
Max, Infinity: Yes (Stocks and ETFs)
Copper: No
Copper + Invest: Yes (ETF-only smart portfolios)
Giving/DonatingYesNo

Funding

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcopper logo transparent text thin left
Funding Source(s)Bank account, debit cardBank account, debit card
Direct DepositYesYes
AllowanceYesYes
ChoresYesYes
GiftingYes (Free)No
Cash Reload FeeN/A (No cash reload)N/A (No cash reload)

Saving/Spending

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcopper logo transparent text thin left
Savings APYCore: 1.0%
Max: 2.0%
Infinity: 5.0%
Copper: 2.0%
Copper + Invest: 5.0%
Round-UpsYesYes
Other Savings FeaturesParent-Paid InterestDivvy
ATM NetworkNoneAllpoint (55,000+ ATMs)
ATM Transaction Fee$0 (Greenlight does not charge an ATM fee, but it is not part of an ATM network, so an ATM operator fee will apply)$0 (Operator fee may apply at out-of-network ATMs)
Card NetworkMastercardMastercard
Compatible Mobile WalletsApple Pay, Google PayApple Pay, Google Pay

Parents

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcopper logo transparent text thin left
Parental ControlsHigh (Store-level controls and limit setting)Low (Card lock, auto-blocks "inappropriate content")
Parental MonitoringYesYes
Parental NotificationsYesYes

Other Features

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcopper logo transparent text thin left
Cash BackCore: No
Max, Infinity: 1%
No
Builds CreditNoNo
Customization optionsAny image you wantNo
Refund PolicyNo refunds given, month-to-month pricingNo refunds given, month-to-month pricing
Affiliate CTA Apply NowAffiliate CTA Apply Now
* Prices do not include processing fees when applicable.
** Many cards have different suggested minimum ages. We are only listing any hard-and-fast minimum age requirements.

Greenlight Overview


greenlight sign up

The Greenlight debit card allows kids to begin spending, but provides parents with peace of mind by giving them control over where their kids can spend money. Parents also can choose to receive alerts that tell them when, and how much, money is spent on the Greenlight debit card.

Greenlight works like a prepaid debit card, allowing you to transfer money onto the card for your child to pay for expenses at approved locations. You can choose how much money to load onto the card, and your child will be cleared to make approved purchases so long as a money balance backs up the card.

If your child asks for extra money to get added to the card, you can have them take a photo of the purchase they want to make and receive your approval. This gives you control and allows you to have discussions with your child about why a purchase might be a good or bad idea.

And if your child has a job, they can add their own funds to the card as well.

Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too. For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and ETFs for the first time.

Greenlight also offers monthly savings rewards based on your tier: 1% per annum for Core members, 2% per annum for Max, and 5% per annum for Infinity. You may set up “Parent-Paid Interest” between you and your child. This allows you to foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.

The Greenlight debit card is a good choice for parents looking to teach their kids the importance of saving money and making prudent financial decisions. This financial product can be an effective learning tool for helping kids to understand why saving should be a priority and how to simplify paying an allowance or tracking chores.

Greenlight has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.

Each monthly Greenlight subscription includes debit cards for up to five kids. Replacement cards cost $3.50 each but are free the first time. If you need to replace your card quickly, you can get express delivery for $24.99. The company also offers a personalized card, with your own photo or design, for $9.98 per year.

Read more in our Greenlight Card review.

Related: 40+ Ways to Make Money as a Teenager

Greenlight Plans + Costs


Greenlight has three subscription tiers that unlock and/or upgrade various sets of features:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Greenlight Core$4.99

    - Greenlight debit cards for up to five kids
    - Educational app
    - Core financial tools
    - Granular parental controls (store-level and category-level)
    - Savings Reward: Earn 1% on savings
    - Ability to earn, save, spend, invest and give
Greenlight Max$9.98Everything under the Greenlight Core plan, plus:

    - Savings Reward: Earn 2% on savings
    - Investing platform (parents must approve all individual stock and ETF investments)
    - 1% cash back on purchases
    - Priority customer support
    - Identity theft protection (identity theft monitoring, alerting and restoration for the whole family)
    - Cell phone protection (coverage for damaged, lost or stolen phones for up to five kids)
    - Purchase protection (repair or replace Greenlight purchases that are stolen or damaged)
    - Greenlight Black Card (modern, bold and black card)
Greenlight Infinity$14.98Everything under the Greenlight Max plan, plus:

    - Savings Reward: Earn 5% on savings
    - Family location sharing (can toggle on/off)
    - SOS alerts (swipe to send an alert to emergency contacts, 911, or both)
    - Crash detection (alerts 911 when a crash is detected)

Greenlight offers a free one-month trial for all plans.

One thing to note about Greenlight: It does not have a fee-free ATM network. So while Greenlight doesn’t charge ATM fees, your child likely will incur third-party charges whenever they withdraw money from an ATM.

Related: Best Investing Apps for Teens [Stock Apps for Teens]

Greenlight Features


family mom dad kids children smartphone

Greenlight is an app and debit card that’s rich in bells and whistles. Read on as I go through some of its most noteworthy features. (Note: Features available on all plans unless otherwise noted.)

Greenlight Card

Every Greenlight account comes with Greenlight cards—a Mastercard-branded prepaid debit card—for up to five kids.

In general, prepaid debit cards are an ideal solution for parents who want to start giving their kids some financial independence without completely opening the floodgates. With Greenlight, parents load the parent wallet via either a debit card or an ACH transfer from a checking account. (Neither loading method charges a fee.) Parents then load each child’s Greenlight card from the parent app, and their kids can only spend what’s on the card. This prevents common spending missteps such as getting hit with non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft charges.

The Greenlight card can be used virtually anywhere Mastercard is accepted, in-store and online, in the U.S. and more than 150 other countries worldwide. (And no foreign transaction fees, either!)

Greenlight debit card accounts are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured for up to $250,000 per individual through the card’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). And because the Greenlight card is a Mastercard, you enjoy Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection, which doesn’t hold cardholders responsible for any unauthorized transactions as long as they used reasonable care from protecting the card from loss or theft and promptly reported any fraud to Greenlight.

Want to shake things up? Your kid can upgrade to a custom Greenlight card for a one-time fee of $9.99. And Greenlight offers one of the most customizable cards, allowing people to decorate their card with a picture of themselves, a pet, a graphic, and other types of fun images.

Related: Best Money Apps for Teens

Parental Controls

I think parental controls are one of the most important features of a kids’ debit card, and Greenlight has them in spades. In fact, I think Greenlight is the industry leader in parental controls.

Greenlight uses a permission-based spending rules system that allows parents to set rules that limit not just spending amounts, but types of spending categories and even specific stores. (In my personal testing of this product, I was able to limit spending at a local creamery where my family celebrates weekly “Ice Cream Fridays,” effectively making any store, big or small, within reach of the robust parental controls offered through the Greenlight product.)

greenlight adding store specific spending controls meadowlark

Greenlight also offers spending notifications, real-time money requests and approvals if children don’t have enough money for a purchase, and the ability to freeze a kid’s debit card if the card is lost or stolen or the parents want to temporarily disable it for some other reason.

Chores + Allowance

Greenlight lets parents automate allowance, and even link it to chores.

The parent picks a frequency (monthly, biweekly, even weekly) and amount for allowance. Then, they can set up rules determining how much is paid out, and when:

  • The allowance is paid out with no connection to chores.
  • A percentage of the allowance will be paid out depending on what percentage of their chores they completed. (In other words, they can get part of their allowance if they do part of the chores.)
  • The allowance will only be paid out if all chores are completed.

Chores can be assigned on a one-time or recurring basis. And parents can help kids divvy up their allowance or earnings among Spending, Saving, Investing, and Giving.

Savings Reward

Earned interest on savings accounts is a great way to motivate children to save more. While Greenlight technically doesn’t offer interest, it offers something awfully close: the Savings Reward.

Your child receives a monthly savings boost—1% for Core plans, 2% for Max, and 5% for Infinity—based on the average daily savings balance in their Greenlight account, on up to $5,000 of savings. (So, kids can earn a maximum of $50, $100, or $250 annually depending on the plan.)

Parent-Paid Interest

Parents can also help their kids save faster by turning on Parent-Paid Interest.

With Parent-Paid Interest, a parent sets an annual interest rate between 1% to 100%, then every month, the applicable amount (based on the average daily balance of a kid’s Total Savings, which is whatever’s saved in both General Savings and Savings Goals) is paid from the parent’s wallet to the child’s General Savings area.

Round Ups

Greenlight offers yet another way to help their kids save even faster: Round Ups. Round-up apps all generally work the same: Whenever you spend, the purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar (or some other preset dollar level or percentage), and the “spare change” is set aside in savings. Some round-up apps are more flexible and customizable than others; Greenlight’s Round Ups feature is pretty straightforward, rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar.

Investing (Varies by Plan)

Greenlight offers commission-free investing across all its plans, though there’s a significant step up from the Core plan to the Max and Infinity plans.

With the Core plan, parents have access to Investing for Parents Lite, which allows parents to invest via a handful of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The Max and Infinity plans open up the full Investing for Parents, as well as Investing for Kids. Both provide access to more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs, and thanks to fractional shares, children and parents can invest with as little as $1. When kids invest, parents must approve every trade placed.

Not sure what you should invest in? Take Greenlight’s personalized quiz, and Greenlight will recommend a fund for you.

Level Up

Kids can learn more money management techniques through the financial literacy game Level Up. This interactive game teaches both young children and teens budgeting, investing, and other money skills with a curriculum and educational challenges that go beyond the K-12 national standards for personal finance education.

Family Cash Card

All Greenlight subscription tiers allow users to qualify for the cash-back Family Cash Mastercard. Parents can add their kids as authorized users to help them learn how credit cards function and establish a credit history. Building a credit history early on can make it easier for children to qualify for their own unsecured credit cards or other loans when they’re older.

You get a competitive 3% back when you spend at least $4,000 per billing cycle. Spending of more than $1,000 but below $4,000 earns 2% cash back, and spending of below $1,000 earns 1%. There is no limit to the cash-back rewards you can earn. Users can also auto-invest their cash-back rewards.

You can sign up for Greenlight here.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Kids

Copper Overview


copper banking

Copper Banking is a fintech app with a prepaid debit card that provides digital banking for minors. While Copper Bank is entirely online, customer deposits are FDIC-insured through their banking partner, Evolve Bank & Trust.

Copper 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 is available to kids age 6 and older. A parent can add up to five kids (and thus five Copper Cards) with each subscription.

Related: 25 Best Jobs for 15-Year-Olds [In-Person + Online]

Copper Plans + Costs


child kid debit credit card swipe

Copper has two plans to choose between:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Copper$4.95

    - Copper Cards for up to five kids
    - Earn 2.00% on savings
    - Smart savings with Divvy and RoundUps
    - Automatic allowance
    - Instant P2P money transfers
    - Parental controls
    - Built-in financial education
    - Mastercard Zero Liability Protection
Copper + Invest$7.95Everything under the Copper plan, plus:

    - Investing for kids
    - Earn 5.00% on savings
    - Priority support

In addition to a monthly fee, other fees may apply. For instance, you will incur a $4.95 fee any time you load cash onto the card via the Green Dot network of retailers. You will also incur a fee for instant debit transfers; the fee is 2.5% of the total amount + 30¢ per transaction.

Related: 7 Best Investments for Kids [Investing for Children]

Copper Features


parents teen debit credit card payment

Copper Card

The Copper Card is a Mastercard-branded debit card that can be used for shopping at physical stores or online, as well as for withdrawing cash at more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs. This means your kid can spend virtually anywhere—Mastercard is accepted in more than 210 countries worldwide—with the exception of any vendors flagged for “inappropriate content.”

Parents can put money onto their kids’ Copper Cards for free from their Copper wallet. Parents have two ways of funding their Copper wallet:

  • Bank transfer: Transfers from a linked bank account are free and take three to five business days to clear.
  • Debit card transfer: These transfers cost 2.5% of the total amount +30¢ per transaction and the money instantly hits accounts.

You can manually initiate transfers or set up Auto-Reload to add money any time funds fall below a predetermined threshold.

Kids with Copper accounts can also send money to each other. So if a sibling borrows money, it’s easy to pay it back.

Cardholders benefit from Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. This means you and your child aren’t held responsible for any unauthorized transactions as long as you used reasonable care to protect the card from loss or theft and promptly reported any fraudulent charges to Copper.

Savings

Copper accounts also have a savings area. Kids can create savings goals and put money away toward those goals. Copper will help that money grow faster by paying interest in any money saved. The annual percentage yield (APY) varies by plan: Copper users get a 2% APY on savings, while Copper + Invest users get 5%.

Parental Controls + Card Limits

Copper has adequate parental controls. Parents get real-time alerts on children’s transactions, so they’re always up-to-date on kids’ spending habits. The adults also have the option to freeze the card at any time to stop spending.

Copper has its own card limits in place as well, including the following restrictions:

  • Daily deposit limit (debit card or ACH): $500
  • Monthly deposit limit (debit card or ACH) $2,000
  • Daily spending/transfer limit: $2,000

You can, of course, instruct your child that you have stricter limits, if you so choose. But no matter what, your kid won’t be able to exceed these limits, even if there’s an emergency.

Copper also has a “merchant shield” so your kids can’t make purchases with any vendors flagged for inappropriate content.

Investing (Copper + Invest Only)

With Copper + Invest ($7.95 per month), your child also gets access to an easy starter investment platform that uses automatically curated smart portfolios built with their preferences in mind. While I personally prefer self-directed investing (you pick whatever stocks and funds you’d like), smart portfolios allow people with little investing knowledge to start putting their money to work in an effective way. Thus, they’re perfect for children.

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 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.

Allowance

Parents also can pay their kids an allowance using Copper. You have the choice of an automatic allowance or one-time payments when your kids need or request them. (And if you set up an automatic allowance, but your kid hasn’t exactly been on their best behavior, you can skip payments as needed.)

Tasks + Earn

Copper also has a chores feature called Tasks. To teach your kids the concept of earning, you can set up Tasks, such as cleaning, homework, or babysitting. Once the Task is marked as complete, the child gets paid. Tasks can be set up on a one-time basis or made to repeat.

Kids can also get paid through the Earn feature. When they complete surveys, they collect “creds” that can be cashed in for real money. (Parents don’t have to foot this cost—Copper covers it!)

Related: 40+ Ways to Earn Money as a Teenager

RoundUps

Copper’s round-up feature, RoundUps, helps children and teens save money every time they make a purchase. It’s simple: Every purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the change is put toward your kid’s savings goals. (Example: If your child spends $2.50 on candy,  50¢ will be put into their savings.)

Related: Best Round Up Apps + Savings Accounts

Financial Education + Literacy Development

Copper wants kids to build the financial literacy skills they’ll need to succeed. To help them, it has hired financial literacy experts to develop their literacy development content, including:

  • Liz Frazier, Copper’s Executive Director of Financial Education. Frazier is the author of the book Beyond Piggybanks and Lemonade Stands.
  • Lily Lapenna, Copper’s Financial Literacy Advisor. Lapenna has been recognized by Queen Elizabeth and the World Economic Forum for her work in personal finance.

Money Moves

Learning financial skills is helpful, but the process isn’t always fun. But Copper keeps things light via its = Money Moves—short videos that are organized into the following categories:

  • Debt
  • Budgeting
  • Investing
  • Saving

Each video answers a question children are likely to wonder about, such as “How do debit cards work?” and “What is the lottery?”

Direct Deposit + Divvy

Teens with their own jobs can take advantage of the direct deposit feature. Their paychecks will be instantly deposited into their Copper accounts—and by using direct deposit, they can get paid up to two days early.

Copper also offers a feature called Divvy that allows you to automatically put aside a percentage of each paycheck toward savings and/or investing.

You can sign up for Copper here.

Related: 10 Best Savings Accounts for Kids

Greenlight vs. Copper: Our Editors’ Choice Is …


Greenlight beats out almost every other kids’ debit card on the market, including Copper. While both Copper and Greenlight offer investing capabilities in their higher-tiered plans, Copper only lets users invest in ETF “Smart Portfolios.” Greenlight Max and Infinity plans allow kids to choose their favorite stocks and ETFs alongside their parents.

Overall, Greenlight has more features for both kids and adults to enjoy: Kids can customize their cards with any image they want, it’s easy for other family members to send money into the account for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions, and kids can venture out of the house with both them and their parents knowing there’s technology available that can assist them if there’s an emergency or unanticipated car problem.

When it comes to parental controls, Greenlight also shines. It has safety features that can put even the most anxious parent’s mind at ease—including the ability to block spending categories and specific stores.

Copper does have some features that make it stand out though. When teens use Divvy to automatically send a percentage of every paycheck into savings and/or investing, they’re learning about budgeting. Plus, they can make money just by completing surveys.

Still, while Copper is a solid choice, it doesn’t offer enough to beat out Greenlight. That’s why our pick of the two is Greenlight.

If you’d like to start a trial to see how the card fares for yourself, you can get started with your free Greenlight trial here.

Our Pick: Greenlight
Runner-Up: Copper
4.8
4.4
Our Pick: Greenlight
Runner-Up: Copper

Related: 26 Best Online Jobs for Teens [Earn Money at Home, Age 13+]

Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider


If you’re still not convinced on Greenlight or Copper, you might want to look at these other highly rated options:

AppApple App Store Rating
+ Best For
FeesPromotions
greenlight transparent logo thinGreenlight☆ 4.8 / 5
Customer rating and parental controls
1 month free. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (Each plan supports up to 5 children.)Free 1-month trial
copper logo thinCopper Banking☆ 4.9 / 5
Teen financial independence
Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.30-days free
gohenry logo thinGoHenry☆ 4.6 / 5
Accessible customer service support
1 month free. Individual: $4.99/mo. Family (supports up to 4 children): $9.98/mo.1 month free
revolut logo thinRevolut <18☆ 4.7 / 5
Parent-paid bonuses
No monthly feesNone
Axos Bank logoAxos First Checking☆ 4.7 / 5
Teens ready to learn about money management
Free (no monthly fees)None
*Apple App Store Rating as of April 1, 2024.

Related:


Revolut <18 Disclosure

The Revolut prepaid card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Visa.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.