Why kids should understand the difference between debit and credit cards

Today, it’s not surprising that Americans have shifted from the traditional use of cash to more modern methods of payment like debit and credit cards. According to Fundera, 70% of consumers prefer using cards as a form of payment and 54% prefer using debit cards. 

Debit and credit cards provide convenience, more security than cash and are accepted nearly everywhere. It’s safe to say that while cash may not be going away, teaching children the basics of what credit and debit cards are now will prepare them to use cards responsibly in the future. 

Prepare them for the reality of credit cards

A credit card is a form of payment issued by a bank or business that allows the holder to purchase things on credit. When making purchases with a credit card, you promise to pay back the money you owe (plus any interest!) at a later date. 

When you carry a balance over month-to-month, the lender charges you interest on top of the amount you owe. Carried balances and interest can add up quickly and many families find themselves in a position where it’s tough to pay credit cards off.

In fact, 41% of America’s households have credit card debt. It’s important to introduce your kids to the concept of credit cards while they’re still in the nest – that way, they are prepared to carry one later in life. 

When it comes to teaching your kids, we recommend starting their money management adventures with a debit card. This protects them from overspending because they can spend only the money they have, and allows them to build healthy habits early before they enter the world of credit.

Teach them to manage money with a debit card

Debit cards provide more security than cash and fewer worries about debt than a credit card. A debit card is a form of payment that deducts money directly from a bank account to pay for a purchase. With debit cards, owners can have easy access to their available funds and can often also put money aside for something special using a savings account. 

Kids need to learn how to manage a debit card just like they need to learn how to drive. Whether your child runs their own lemonade stand during the summer, starts their first job or gets an allowance, a debit card can help kids learn to manage balances, save money, and more!

How Greenlight helps

Greenlight helps kids learn how to manage money and form strong healthy habits that will serve them as adults. According to Greenlight CEO Tim Sheehan, the reason Greenlight is a debit card is to “help kids learn to effectively manage the money they’ve earned, as opposed to spending money they may not have.”

Parents are the primary account holders and have the controls to choose where their children can use the card, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates on savings, and more. Kids are able to monitor their balances, create saving goals, and learn how to make financially-smart decisions in a safe environment with their parents’ guidance. 

How parents send money using the Greenlight debit card.

Mistakes are just mistakes

With Greenlight, there is no chance for a child to overdraft or overspend since we decline any purchases greater than the child’s available balance. Mistakes are just mistakes! Parents get alerts when kids try to spend more than they have to spark conversations about budgeting and wise spending. 

Parents are able to allocate funds to their child’s “Spend Anywhere” account or choose specific stores where kids can spend and how much they can spend. They can even help their child create a savings goal and contribute money to meet that special goal. 

Ready to teach your child how to manage money responsibly?

Join Greenlight today to start adventures in personal finance with your kids!

Spotlight Story: William B.

Every kid has a dream car, but how many end up owning it? We know one Greenlight driver who worked hard, saved up and bought his dream car at the age of 16. 

Today’s Spotlight Story takes us on William B’s financial journey, from “Dad, can I have…?” to a part-time job that will eventually pay off his Mustang. If you’ve got a story about your kids doing big things with their cha-ching, reach out with a direct message on Instagram or Facebook, or email us at social@greenlightcard.com.

Meet William 

William, September Spotlight Story, driving the mustang he bought with his own money

William is a junior in high school who plays soccer, hangs out with friends and does normal high school things. But what most people don’t know about him is he’s a money managing machine. 

That’s because William made a big goal for himself: He wanted to buy a car. Before coming up with this goal, he didn’t have a ton of experience handling money on his own. When he needed to buy something, he’d ask his parents for some cash or he’d mow the lawn on a Saturday to earn a quick allowance. But that quickly changed when he set a savings goal for a sporty white 2016 Mustang in his Greenlight app

How William got started  

We’re going way back to William’s first concept of money: “Dad, can I buy that?” To help William learn more about money, his parents looked for something that could make budgeting fun and easy — and something that could do the work for them. They found Greenlight, got William a custom card and the rest is history. 

To start saving for his future car, he set a savings goal to reach $1,000. After getting a part-time job at the local Walmart as a personal shopper, he reached his goal pretty quickly. Plus, his dad promised to match him dollar-for-dollar to reward his hard work. (Psst, this really works. Dollar matching or setting Parent-Paid Interest encourages your kids to keep up the good work!)

Bold fact about William: As a personal shopper, William can pick 178 items per hour.

Being a personal shopper means being quick on your feet! For William, it means picking 178 items an hour and then hand-delivering them to customers who are waiting outside. This was particularly helpful for shoppers who wanted to be safe and distanced in the pandemic. 

Advice from September Spotlight Story, William: Don't let your goals out of sight.

William’s advice goes for all ages (parents included). His two cents: Set a goal, work hard for it and don’t let it out of sight. $1,000 may seem like a lot — especially for a student — but when you chip away at your goal and keep your eyes on the prize, it’s a lot more doable. 

What’s next? 

Now that the ‘stang is in his hands (er, driveway?), William is tackling his monthly car payment using his Greenlight card and hard-earned money skills. Next on his list of savings goals? He wants to blackout the rims of his sporty ride. Kudos, William!

Greenlight announces Series C fundraising to help millions more parents raise financially-smart kids

With more than 2 million parents and kids by our side, today we announced our Series C fundraise and a shiny new valuation.

We’re grateful for the families and investors who have helped us reach this point, and we’re beyond excited to continue to grow. Full press release is below.

Greenlight Raises $215 Million at a $1.2 Billion Valuation To Help Millions More Parents Raise Financially-Smart Kids

ATLANTA, (September 24, 2020) – Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight”), the fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids, announced today a valuation above $1.2 billion after raising $215 million in Series C funding. The series was led by Canapi Ventures and TTV Capital with participation from new investors BOND, DST Global, Goodwater Capital and Fin VC along with Greenlight’s first institutional investor Relay Ventures. 

Since launching its debit card for kids in 2017, Greenlight has experienced explosive growth. The company now serves more than 2 million parents and kids, helping them manage their family finances and navigate the world of money together. To-date, Greenlight kids have collectively saved more than $50 million.

“Greenlight’s rapid growth is a testament to the value they bring to millions of parents and kids every day. My wife and I trust Greenlight to give us the modern tools to teach our children how to manage money,” said Gardiner Garrard, Founding Partner at TTV Capital. “TTV Capital is thrilled to provide continued investment to help the company empower more parents.”

Greenlight is the comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families. Its parent-managed debit card for kids with companion apps give parents the ability to pay allowance, manage chores and set flexible, store-level spend controls. Kids explore lessons in earning, saving, spending and giving with a debit card and app designed just for them. 

“Greenlight’s purpose-based mission of bringing financial literacy to families is massively impactful.” said Neil Underwood, partner and co-founder of Canapi Ventures, “We’re super excited to back this amazing leadership team who is introducing financial services to an entirely new demographic.”

“Greenlight’s smart debit card is transforming the way parents teach their kids about responsible money management and financial literacy,” said Noah Knauf, general partner at BOND. “Having achieved phenomenal growth year-over-year, this is a company on the fast-track to becoming a household name. We look forward to working alongside the Greenlight team to support their continued growth.”

The Series C funding will accelerate Greenlight’s mission, propelling the company to reach more families and provide them with new ways for kids to learn about the world of money. In the coming months, Greenlight families can look forward to a completely reimagined app and new investing tools made for kids.

“We’re honored to partner with both new and existing investors for our Series C round to continue inspiring future generations to be financially happy and healthy,” said Johnson Cook, President and Co-Founder of Greenlight. 

“Our vision is to help all families worldwide to be smart about personal finance, providing innovative ways for kids to learn, so that every child can reach their full potential. We look forward to continuing to grow with our families.” said Tim Sheehan, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight.

For more information on Greenlight, please visit greenlightcard.com, or follow Greenlight on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Greenlight:

Founded in 2014, Greenlight Financial Technology is an Atlanta-based fintech company that’s committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking family finance product, Greenlight®, is a debit card for kids that parents manage by app using flexible parental controls. Patent-pending technology enables parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids monitor spending, watch their savings grow and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. For more information, please visit: www.greenlightcard.com