Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Which Is the Better Debit Card for You?

Equipped with unique features like spending controls, parental notifications, and payments for chores, kids’ debit cards have become increasingly popular in recent years.

When it comes to finding the right debit card for your child, Greenlight and FamZoo consistently rank among the top of the list. 

Depending on the features you’re looking for, however, one might be more suitable than the other for your family.

In this Greenlight vs. FamZoo comparison, we’ll review the features, benefits, and costs of both programs so you can decide which is right for you. 

Table of Contents
  1. Greenlight vs. FamZoo Comparison
    1. Greenlight Overview
    2. FamZoo Overview
  2. Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Features
    1. Greenlight Features
    2. FamZoo Features
  3. Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Pricing
    1. Greenlight Pricing
    2. FamZoo Pricing
  4. Greenlight FAQs
  5. FamZoo FAQs 
  6. Should I Get a Debit Card for My Child?
    1. Risk vs. Reward
  7. Should I Choose Greenlight or FamZoo?
  8. Final Thoughts

Greenlight vs. FamZoo Comparison

The best kids debit cards provide a safe environment for kids to learn about money. Both Greenlight and FamZoo are packed with features that make giving your kid a debit card sound like a great idea. Here’s an overview of both companies, beginning with Greenlight.

Greenlight Overview

Greenlight was founded in 2016 to teach kids good money management skills. 

Both parents and kids get access to their Greenlight account with one app that provides different experiences for kids and parents. 

Parents can create chores lists for kids and reward kids once their chores are completed, or give them an occasional or regularly occurring allowance for spending. 

Kids can check account balances, create goals, and access a learning library full of articles about personal finance. 

Depending on the subscription plan you choose, they can decide whether to save their money, spend it, give it away, or invest it. 

Parents can monitor kids’ activities, lock and unlock cards, and set parameters around spending. 

Greenlight scored a 4.4 out of 5 rating (excellent) on Trustpilot, while the Better Business Bureau gives Greenlight a “B” rating. 

See our full Greenlight review here. 

Learn more about Greenlight

FamZoo Overview

FamZoo was founded in 2006 by a father of five looking to cut the time required to manage allowances, chores, and accountability for his kids. 

As with Greenlight, FamZoo helps kids be accountable for their money, learn how to manage it well, and gives parents the ability to monitor kids’ actions. 

You can use FamZoo two different ways; as a prepaid debit card or as a tracking device for IOUs for your child. 

With FamZoo, you can create chore lists to help kids earn money or transfer money to their cards. 

Kids choose whether and how to save, spend, or give away their money. 

FamZoo helps you create a virtual family bank on the site to manage your kids’ pay and spending. 

You can also create informal loans to your child (from you as the parent) with payments and interest charged based on parameters you set. 

FamZoo has a listing on Trustpilot but no reviews as of this writing. FamZoo is not listed on the Better Business Bureau as of this writing.  

See our full FamZoo review here. 

Learn more about FamZoo

Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Features

While both cards have many common features, there are some differences between the two. The following is a full list of what each product has to offer.

Greenlight Features

  • Parents can lock/unlock card at any time
  • Real-time parent notification for card activity
  • Kids can request money from parents through the app
  • No minimum age requirement for kids
  • Spend, Save, and Give accounts for kids
  • Create chore lists for your kids
  • Allocate allowance/payments in specific percentages to Spend, Save, and Give accounts
  • ATM withdrawals allowed, no fee from Greenlight but ATM owners often charge fees
  • Option for parent-paid interest earnings
  • Referral program 
  • Multiple funding options with no load fees
  • Android and Apple apps available
  • Automatic recurring transfer option
  • FDIC insured through partner bank
  • Educational resources for kids

Features Unique to Greenlight

  • Option to invest in fractional shares of stock with Greenlight + Invest
  • Identity theft protection with Greenlight Max
  • Spending controls for specific stores/categories
  • 1% cash back on debit card purchases with Greenlight Max

Greenlight connects directly to your main checking account so that you can add funds to your child’s Greenlight card.

Greenlight offers a one-month free trial. 

FamZoo Features

  • Parents can lock/unlock card at any time
  • Real-time parent notification for card activity
  • Kids can request money from parents through the app
  • No minimum age requirement for kids
  • Spend, Save, and Give accounts for kids
  • Create chore lists for your kids
  • Allocate allowance/payments in specific percentages to Spend, Save, and Give accounts
  • ATM withdrawals allowed, no fee from FamZoo but ATM owners often charge fees
  • Option for parent-paid interest earnings
  • Referral program
  • Multiple funding options with no load fee
  • Android and Apple apps available.
  • Automatic recurring transfer option
  • FDIC insured through partner bank
  • Educational resources for kids

Features Unique to FamZoo

  • Billing feature that allows you to charge your child for specified family expenses you want them to share in 
  • IOU account option for kids you want to have the option to earn money but don’t want to have a debit card
  • Budget worksheets available to help your child learn to live on a budget
  • Parents can set a penalty for kids who choose not to complete one or more chores

FamZoo lets you load money to your account and then “push” the funds onto the FamZoo card, meaning the app will never know your bank account information.

FamZoo offers a one-month free trial for debit cards and a two-month free trial for IOU accounts. 

Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Pricing

Greenlight Pricing

Greenlight has three subscription plans to choose from: Greenlight, Greenlight + Invest, and Greenlight Max.

Greenlight costs $4.99 per month and includes up to five debit cards. This plan includes basic chore lists, spend, save, and give accounts, educational resources, and parental controls. 

Greenlight + Invest costs $7.98 per month and includes everything the basic Greenlight plan does, plus the option to buy fractional shares of common stocks with no extra fees. 

Greenlight Max costs $9.98 per month and includes everything Greenlight + Invest does, plus identity theft protection, 1% cashback on purchases, mobile phone protection, and purchase protection. 

FamZoo Pricing

FamZoo has just one type of plan, which makes it very easy to understand.

However, there are several payment plans (you save when you pay for longer periods). All payment plans include up to four debit cards. 

  • FamZoo monthly costs $5.99 per month.
  • FamZoo semi-annual payment costs $25.99 (averages out to $4.33 per month)
  • FamZoo annual pay costs $39.99 (averages out to $3.33 per month)
  • FamZoo two-year prepay costs $59.99 (averages out to $2.50 per month)

Terms and conditions stay the same no matter which way you choose to pay. The only difference is the cost savings. 

Next, let’s answer some common frequently asked questions about Greenlight and FamZoo. 

Greenlight FAQs

Is Greenlight safe? 

Yes, Greenlight uses military-grade encryption to keep your information secure.

How does investing with Greenlight + Invest work? 

Greenlight partners with DriveWealth to help your kids invest in fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. 
Not every stock or ETF is available through this program, but many are. There are no additional fees to invest with your Greenlight card outside of the monthly fee for Greenlight + Invest or Greenlight Max. 
Note that kids can’t invest their Greenlight money on their own. Each transaction must have parent approval before completion.

What are the customer service options with Greenlight? 

Greenlight has an extensive FAQ section on its website. And the Help page includes an option to email, text, or call a customer service phone number. 
Office hours for the help center aren’t specified. 

FamZoo FAQs 

Is FamZoo safe?

Yes, FamZoo uses bank-grade encryption, and they don’t store your bank information on the site. 

What is a virtual family bank?

A virtual family bank is a feature FamZoo uses so you can create a dashboard to oversee and manage your kids’ debit card or IOU accounts. 
When your kids sign in, they see different screens than you do on your virtual banking dashboard. 
You can design your virtual family bank any way you choose and set up varying rules for earning, withholding pay, penalties, and more. 

Can my child invest with their FamZoo account?

FamZoo doesn’t yet have an option for helping kids invest. However, there are instructions in the FAQs about how you can set up a pseudo investment account.
You can track your child’s investment gains or losses by adding and subtracting to the account as the market changes. 
However, if you want the money to be invested in actual stocks, you’ll need to set that up with an investment firm that offers fractional shares of stock, like Stockpile. 

What are the customer service options with FamZoo?

FamZoo has an extensive FAQ section on its website. There is also a website contact form you can fill out if you want to reach FamZoo about a question not answered on the site. 

Should I Get a Debit Card for My Child?

You might be wondering if getting a debit card for your child is even a good idea. The truth is, it can have several benefits.

First, it can help your child to learn to function in our increasingly cashless society. Cash can be lost or stolen. 

On top of that, some retailers aren’t even accepting cash anymore. But teaching your child early on how to manage their money via debit card transactions will help prepare them for managing their money as an adult. 

And the risks are minimal. With prepaid debit cards like the ones Greenlight and FamZoo offer, there’s no risk of overdrawing the account, and there are no overdraft fees.

In addition, with features such as spend, save, and give accounts, your child can learn early how to budget their money properly. 

In my experience, having my children earn their own money and choose how to spend it has been a very positive experience. 

I don’t buy the “extras” very often; instead, I give them opportunities to earn money and pay for those extras on their own. 

And I’ve found that this method makes them much more discerning about how they spend their money. And it’s often different from how they wanted to spend my money before the days of prepaid debit cards.

When they look at their account and see the balance in their spend account facing them, they no longer focus on acquiring more “stuff.” 

Instead, they ponder whether the purchase is worth seeing that debit card balance go down.  

And more often than not, they’ll say “no” to that random purchase. The lessons they’re learning from having a system to help them earn and learn to manage money on their own (with my guidance) have been invaluable.    

Risk vs. Reward

You will pay fees for services like Greenlight and FamZoo; however, in my experience, the rewards outweigh the risks. 

While I may be out some cash each month for providing the service, my kids have a plethora of financial lessons at their fingertips. 

And since you can cancel subscriptions to either service at any time, the risk of financial loss is minimal. 

Should I Choose Greenlight or FamZoo?

If you’re wondering which of these two debit cards you should choose for your child, you’ll want to pay attention to the bolded areas in the features section. 

The bolded areas outline the differences between the two cards. You can use those items to decide which card will work best for your family. 

Cost may be a factor too, and FamZoo is cheaper than Greenlight – especially if you pay semi-annually, annually, or buy a two-year subscription. 

At the end of the day, both Greenlight and FamZoo have much to offer in the way of helping you teach your kids about money. 

And both services allow you to cancel at any time. Similarly, both have free trials of at least 30 days. 

For that reason, you may want to try them both out and see which one better suits your needs.  

Final Thoughts

Both Greenlight and FamZoo have great products for helping parents teach their kids how to earn and manage money. 

Many of the benefits of both services are similar. However, some differences may cause you to prefer one service over the other.

Either way, Greenlight, and FamZoo provide safe environments for your child to learn how to earn and manage their money. 

Have you ever used FamZoo or Greenlight? If so, what was your experience? Feel free to share in the comments section. 

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About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She's a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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