September 28, 2022

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Business&Finance Specialists

Greenlight Family Cash Mastercard: Parents Can Automatically Invest Rewards Into Stocks

6 min read

Greenlight, a family-focused fintech company, announced a credit card that will help parents invest in their children’s future: The Greenlight Family Cash Mastercard®. You can earn up to 3% cash back on all your transactions — and your rewards can automatically purchase stocks and exchange-traded funds on Greenlight’s platform.

Greenlight is best known for its debit card for kids, the Greenlight Debit Card. This is the first credit product from Greenlight, backed by the First National Bank of Omaha. It’s also the first Greenlight product designed exclusively for parents — kids can’t use it, but parents can opt to invest the rewards earned to save for their children’s futures or other family savings goals.

While a plethora of innovative card features have been hitting the market lately, there aren’t many investment-related rewards programs around — and certainly not many cards that offer a potential 3% back on all purchases.

In this article

Greenlight Family Cash Mastercard®

Intro OfferFirst 1,000 approved applicants off the waitlist are eligible to receive early access to the Family Cash Card, 3 months free of the standard Greenlight plan and $100 statement credit (when they spend at least $750 in the first 90 days)

APRN/A

Recommended Credit Credit Scores Can Vary

Reward Rates

  • Up to 3% cash back on all purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Foreign Transaction Fees None

  • Up to 3% cash back on all purchases

How to get this card

While this card doesn’t have an annual fee in the traditional sense, you must be a Greenlight customer — so you’ll have to sign up for a monthly subscription to the existing children’s debit card accounts. Greenlight’s debit card subscription plans for kids start at $4.99 per month for basic card access and go up to $9.98 per month, with higher tiers offering access to investing, educational resources or cash-back features. 

In addition to an existing Greenlight subscription, you’ll also need to be 18 years or older to apply, and a credit check is required. Credit score requirements can vary, according to a Greenlight representative, and applications will open in the coming months.  

Rewards

This card rewards you proportionally the more you spend, with a structure unlike any other cards we’ve seen at CNET. If you don’t spend more than $4,000 on your credit card in a month, other rewards programs may yield more for you. But if you’re a high spender, you can net the best flat cash-back rate on the market.

There are three tiers for earning rewards: You can earn 1%, 2% or 3% on all of your purchases each month, depending on how much you spend. The monthly spending tiers are:

Greenlight Family Cash Mastercard Rewards Rates

Cash-back rate Monthly spending
1% $0 – $999
2% $1,000 – $3,999
3% $4,000+

So, if you spend $4,500 in one month, you’ll retroactively receive 3% cash-back for that entire amount. Likewise if you spend $2,500, you’ll receive a flat cash back rate of 2% that month.

Welcome bonus

It might pay off to be an early applicant, because the welcome bonus only applies to the first 1,000 approved applicants.

If you are one of the early birds, you could earn three months free of the standard Greenlight plan and a $100 statement credit. You’ll have to spend at least $750 in the first 90 days of account ownership to receive this bonus.

Redeeming stock, cash back

One of the most appealing features of this card is the option to auto-invest your cash back into stocks or ETFs of your choice via the Greenlight investing platform. This investing account functions as a standard brokerage account but does not offer access to tax-sheltered 529s, an account often used by parents to invest money toward their child’s college education. 

You don’t have to invest your rewards. Common cash-back redemption options are available, as well. You can opt to redeem your rewards as a statement credit or deposit the earnings directly into your Greenlight account.

Comparable cards

Stash Stock-Back® Card

Though it’s a debit card, the Stash Stock-Back® Card* earns stock back on all of your transactions. 

You can either choose the stock you earn rewards in, or the card defaults to relevant stocks based on the transaction. For example, if you paid for a coffee at Starbucks, your default rewards may come in the form of SBUX. If you can’t get approved for the Family Cash Card, this may be a good substitute since you don’t need to qualify for it — you just need to sign up for Stash and deposit money into your account to start using the card.

For more information, see Stash’s website.

Citi Premier® Card

To compete with 3% back on as many purchases as possible without having to spend $4,000 per month, the Citi Premier Card offers a pretty good deal.

You’ll earn 3x ThankYou® points on top spending categories like restaurants, air travel, hotels, supermarkets and gas stations (and 1x point on all other purchases). For most Americans, these categories make up the majority of their everyday spending. The annual fee is modest at $95 per year, relative to the rewards most people can reap. But, if you want to use this card to help grow money for your kids’ futures, you’ll need to redeem your rewards for cash back and invest it yourself.

For more information on other features, see our full review of the Citi Premier Card.

X1 Card

The X1 Card* is a new rewards credit card that allows you to earn up to 3x points on all of your spending if you reach a certain spending threshold — and this boost is more accessible than that of the Greenlight Family Cash card.

On your regular spending, you’ll earn 2x points on all transactions. But if you hit $15,000 in spending for the year, that gets bumped up to 3x points on all of your purchases. And just like with the Family Cash Card, this is not a progressive rate. So if you spend $16,000 in a year, you’ll get 3x points for all of that spending, rather than just the last $1,000 — but you won’t be able to invest these rewards directly like with Greenlight.

Read more about the novel features this card offers in our full review of the X1.

FAQs

How should I choose a credit card?

Ultimately, the right credit card is individual to each person and their goals and preferences. Decide what features you’re looking for: maximized rewards, spaced-out payments on a large purchase, credit building, an emergency credit card or other benefits. From there, you can decide the type of card you’re looking for. You can then use online reviews like those at CNET to further narrow down what terms will work best for you.

How do I qualify for a credit card?

The better the benefits, the more hoops you’ll need to jump through to be eligible for certain credit cards. Credit cards with attractive rewards programs or cash-back rewards require better credit than more basic credit card varieties.

If you have poor or fair credit, you might only qualify for credit builder or secured credit cards. If you have good to excellent credit, you may easily qualify for any credit card you want. But if you don’t have the right score, you can always work to improve your credit for better odds of approval.

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat-rate, tiered, rotating or choose-your-own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

*All information about the Stash Stock-Back Card and the X1 Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/credit-cards/greenlight-family-cash-mastercard-parents-can-automatically-invest-rewards-into-stocks/