The Greenlight Family Cash Card offers up to 3 percent cash back on every purchase, but with a catch: To get that market-leading payout, you need to spend at least $4,000 per monthly billing cycle. If you spend at least $1,000 but less than $4,000, you get 2 percent cash back on every purchase. If you spend less than $1,000 in that billing cycle, you earn only 1 percent cash back.

This is an interesting expansion for Greenlight, because this is a credit card targeted at parents. To date, Greenlight’s primary focus has been on debit cards for kids. For the most part, we’re probably talking about $5 or $10 allowance payments — nothing anywhere near the $4,000 monthly threshold.

But that’s a different audience. Now Greenlight is looking for parents to manage their own finances with the company. There are optional investing features as well.

This could be the most lucrative cash back credit card on the market if you spend $4,000 or more each month.

The competition

With the USAlliance Visa Signature Credit Card, you earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible grocery purchases and 3 points per dollar on everything else through the end of 2023. With each point worth 1 cent toward a statement credit, these rates equate to 6 percent on groceries and 3 percent cash back on all other spending. This bank has extended rewards expiration dates in the past, but if most or all purchases revert to just 1 point per dollar, the card won’t be as appealing.

The Discover it® Miles card offers 1.5 miles per dollar on everything that cardholders buy. At the end of a new cardholder’s first year, Discover doubles all of those rewards for an effective 3 miles per dollar in year one. Each mile is worth 1 cent apiece when used to offset eligible travel purchases, as well as for such redemptions as cash back and Amazon and PayPal purchases. That’s about 3 percent cash back for the first year, with the rate cut in half in year two and beyond.

Aside from Greenlight, the best cash back offer without a specified end date just might be the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card. It gives 2.5 percent cash back on up to $10,000 in purchases each monthly billing cycle (then 1.5 percent beyond the limit).

Greenlight’s core business

I like Greenlight’s offering for kids. The company offers a slick app that includes features ranging from allowance tracking to setting savings goals and even investing. Parents can also set spending limits and monitor their kids’ financial activities.

It’s great to start teaching young children about money using tangible objects such as bills and coins, yet I think it’s critical to teach teens and tweens about how to manage money electronically. Transacting with plastic and apps is different than handling physical money. Digital payments can be so seamless that some people overspend without realizing it. It’s important to learn these lessons when you’re young and the stakes are lower, and Greenlight is a good learning tool.

The one thing I don’t like about Greenlight’s debit card for kids is the price tag. Plans start at $4.99 per month and run all the way up to $14.98 monthly. It’s only by paying a monthly fee that you’re eligible for the Family Cash Card, this membership subscription essentially serving as an annual fee by a different name.

I understand that Greenlight is a business that’s looking to make money. And they are offering some interesting features. For example, higher tiers include such features as enhanced rewards, priority customer service, purchase protection, identity theft protection and family location sharing. I just don’t think I’d spend $60 to $180 a year to manage my kids’ finances, especially with Chase offering a similar card that’s free.

If you spend exactly $4,000 with the card every month, you’d earn $1,440 in rewards. Subtracting the lowest $4.99 monthly membership fee would offset about $60 worth of rewards. You would be left with an effective 2.875 percent return on your spending. That’s more than you would earn on the Alliant card, and the gap would grow the more you spend.

The bottom line

Greenlight’s credit card is a compelling offering for cash back enthusiasts. In addition to its generous payout that can return as much as 3 percent on everything you buy, an optional auto-investing feature stands to turn your rewards into even more money through stocks and exchange-traded funds, which could jumpstart a college savings fund or help you work toward other financial goals.

I’m impressed that Greenlight continues to expand its suite of products and services. With more than 5 million users and a valuation north of $2 billion, it’s a rapidly growing financial technology company that wants to help you and your kids build a better financial future.

Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at and I’d be happy to help.

Information about the USAlliance Visa Signature Credit Card and Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.