Go Henry Card Review: Do we love the Debit Card for kids?

Go Henry review UKLooking for a GoHenry review, considering whether to splash out on a kids’ debit card, and want to know more about the Go Henry card?

Read on for our review and an exclusive GoHenry discount code to get a FREE custom card and up to 2 months’ free service on a new GoHenry debit card.

Why a GoHenry Card is a Good Idea

There’s a funny thing about having an only child. It’s ridiculously easy to spoil them. When you’ve only got one child asking for this book, or that app, or this sweater – well mostly, you end up saying yes.

I’m conscious this approach isn’t teaching my daughter anything about the value of money. And it’s something she really does need to learn. Who’s going to teach her if not me?

First, we tried giving Flea an allowance. The problem with this is that I often forget, and only remember when she’s nagging because she hasn’t had anything for three months. I’ve tried paying her in exchange chores but a BIG part of me expects her to chip in, regardless. We’re a family, and we work together to run the household.

On a whim, I decided to get Flea a GoHenry card. GoHenry is a pre-paid contactless visa debit card designed specifically for children. I’ve read about them here and there over the years and decided to give it a go. By the way, this isn’t an official, sponsored review or anything. I paid for GoHenry myself, and I thought our experience might be useful to other parents.

Basically, GoHenry is a visa debit card that kids can use to buy things online or in stores. Adults can load money onto the card as a gift, a regular allowance or as “payment” for tasks that children complete at home.

How much Does GoHenry Cost?

My first query was how the GoHenry card differs from a kids’ bank account, which would also give Flea her own debit card.

The first difference is that you’ll need to pay a GoHenry membership fee and pay to get the card.

The main GoHenry fees to be aware of are:

  • £4.99 if you want to get a customised card with your child’s favourite picture and name
  • £2.50 per month membership fee for as long as the card is active
  • 50p a time to add money onto the card (unless you set up a regular monthly transfer from your bank)

There is a one month free trial, but after that the costs can rack up, especially if you load money onto your child’s card at irregular times, or differing amounts.

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How a GoHenry Card Card Works

A Go Henry card is essentially a pre-paid visa debit card that you load with cash and manage via a mobile app. There is an app for parents, and another for children.

The parent’s version tracks your account balance, and lets you transfer cash onto your child’s card. You can set a regular transfer for an allowance, and/or ad hoc payments which are made when specified tasks are completed.

The other key feature of the app is the ability to set rules. For example, you can specify where/how a GoHenry card should be used, set limits on individual and weekly spending, and whether the card can be used online, or via ATMs.

Flea has her own version of the app, where she can log-in and see her balance, spending history, and what tasks are available for her to complete. She can divert funds to ‘savings’ (hollow laugh) or keep them in her regular balance.

I gave Flea £20 ‘seed money’ and then set up a £5 weekly allowance. Each week, I also add a couple of tasks that Flea could complete to earn a couple of extra pounds. Flea has her own version of the apps which shows her current incentives – walk the dog and get an extra £1 on next week’s allowance, for example.

gohenry review uk debit c

GoHenry Review: what we thought

After a solid six months, we decided that the idea of GoHenry is admirable. The card lets kids get a feel for using a ‘real’ debit card – GoHenry cards can be used online, in stores and ATMs. And I do really like the idea of encouraging kids to work for extra money.

But there are a few downsides to Go Henry that I think it’s worth bearing in mind:

  • First, the costs of a GoHenry card do add up. We worked out that over a year, the GoHenry card cost £30 in membership fees plus £5 for the card and we spent another £5 loading cash onto it. A GoHenry card could get quite expensive if you have more than one child, I think.
  • Second, when kids have physical cash, they need to be in a shop to spend it. With my child, when she got money on her GoHenry card it would be spent in minutes, thanks to Amazon. Rather than saving, we found she was wasting money on cheap items that didn’t last.
  • Third, we did set up savings policies and Flea managed to save a chunk of money for her holiday. But unfortunately we found that her card didn’t work at all, abroad. It was such a shame the first time she tried to buy me a coffee in California and her card wouldn’t work. I ended up having to pay for her holiday items, which was disappointing for her.

Go Henry FAQ:

How does the parent account and child account work?

As a parent, you load funds onto your account from a direct debit or bank transfer. You can then add a child (or children to your account) and transfer funds to them. Child’s accounts can’t exist without an adult account.

Does Go Henry help young people learn money management?

If you’re using chores, Go Henry can help children to understand the “value” of money and it also encourages children to set savings goals. But in my experience, if your child is a spender, Go Henry doesn’t change that!

How soon after a Go Henry card is issued should I receive my card?

You should receive your child’s GoHenry card 7-9 days after adding them to your account and requesting a new card. The same applies to replacing lost cards.

How do I use the GoHenry app?

You can use the app to choose Where your child can spend money, set limits and create savings goals.

Final Verdict:

Flea turned 12 about a year after we got her GoHenry card and we made the decision to apply for a regular bank account with Santander that came with online banking and a free debit card.

For me the advantages of this set-up were:

  • With a bank account there’s the advantage that funds in the account are protected by the UK financial regulator
  • The debit card is free and there’s no membership fee, making it free to run the account
  • I bank with Santander so I can add money into Flea’s account instantly, and for free.
  • Flea gets a debit card that works fine anywhere in the world, so perfect for using those holiday savings!

Overall, the best thing about using this card versus Go Henry was allowing Flea to see that blowing your allowance in 5 minutes on Amazon isn’t a great plan.

For younger children under 12 who can’t get a regular junior bank account, the ability to set rules and boundaries does give them some protection. I wouldn’t say my particular child learned that it’s better to save her money and invest in things she really wants, further down the line. But potentially she MIGHT have done.

I have to be honest and say I would only use the Go Henry debit card for a limited period until children are 11, and move to a regular bank card as soon as a they are old enough.

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried a GoHenry card – what did you think? 

17 thoughts on “Go Henry Card Review: Do we love the Debit Card for kids?”

  1. My 9 year old and my 7 year old both have a GoHenry card. The 9 year old wanted a customised one and I told him he would have to pay the £4.99 as I wasn’t prepared to blow £10 (as it would only have been fair to do it for both of them) on a dog picture! DS1 (9 year old) is a big spender and I think will always be. he paid the £4.99 and although he would love to save, he just blows it all the time! On the other hand, DS2 (7 year old) decided he was happy enough with the plain design and would rather keep his fiver 🙂 He spends too, but is a lot better at saving. Although I have to say they only get £1/week. I will give DD a card too when she reaches 6 years old as I think it’s a great way for them to learn. Also, at least they DO get their weekly pound now, whereas before they could be months without getting anything! I’m sure Flea will realise the benefits of saving when she comes across something she REALLY, REALLY wants! Then she can sell her impulse purchases on Ebay to finance it…! 🙂

  2. How pretty she looks! I think she’ll become a good girl in the future. And I agree with you that she really does need to learn about the value of money at a early stage of life.

  3. I have twins & it was the £2.50 a month that did it for me. That’s £60 a year that I reckon could be spent better elsewhere. We got them Nationwide Flex accounts now they are £12 & so far it’s working ok. There’s only a small amount t of utter tripe they’ve bought thus far!

    1. Yes, by the time I’d paid for the custom card and the monthly fee and the fee each time I topped up, I realised it was silly – and I only have one child!

  4. Great article and really useful advice. Our Rose turns 12 soon and has been ‘prompting’ us for a go henry account. I think we’ll also go down the main bank route. The only real thing she’ll miss out on is the personalised card, but a bank card will no doubt make her feel more adult anyway. Thanks for a thorough review.

  5. I’m sorry to say that my children and I have been nothing but disappointed by their Gohenry cards. We may have just been unlucky but have had far too many occasions where the cards just haven’t been accepted including in our local post office when trying to get them some holiday cash from their own accounts, also various ATMs haven’t accepted them and now I’ve just discovered that the cards have expired and we have not received replacements which I’m told should have happened or even a reminder. Would not recommend!!

    1. I never had issues having the card accepted in the UK but my daughter was so disappointed when it wasn’t accepted anywhere outside the UK that we tried. It’s so frustrating when they save up and want to have a little independence to have to ask to use Mum’s card yet again! Sorry you didn’t have a great experience.

      1. Hi – they do work outside of the UK – but you have to go to the option on the parent account / card and turn it on. Then it works like any other Adult card.. hope that helps for a future trip and sorry I am late to the party here!

        1. That’s really good to know – I think that might be a new feature as customers services couldn’t advise on the problem at the time, but GREAT for sharing with newer customers thanks!

  6. Thanks Sally, this was really helpful post, which together with the other comments below have helped me to decide to go with a regular bank account for my 12 year old.

  7. I do agreed the Go Henry can be expensive but the peace of mind that there are no hidden charges. My daughter, now a mum her self, had a bank account as a teanager, with a debit card and the problem was she used to go over drawn and then faced bank charges.

    1. That’s a great point.

      One thing to bear in mind is that most of today’s children’s bank and savings accounts won’t allow children to be overdrawn, and they can’t be charged fees or interest, so there’s no risk of what happened to you happening now. The other upside is they do pay a little interest, of course, so there’s the potential of increasing the total if your child is saving!

  8. @sally I am pretty impressed by your efforts. I liked your post. My princess turns 12 soon and has been prompting us for a Gohenry account. You did a great job by sharing this information.

  9. Thanks to all you parents you’ve convinced me its better to just set my 13yr old twin daughters a real bank acc up. I refuse to pay any extra fee for my daughters whom are already cash aware. I’ll just ask my bank to set thm each an account up

  10. Go Henry has to be one of the worst companies to actually get your money back from …. regularly saved with them, but their fees (for nothing !!) are now at £4 per month…. so its simply not worth it when trying to encourage saving yet somehow justify this monthly payment…use a building society or others as there is no monthly charge. Its now been over a month to try to close and withdraw money… all I seem to receive are emails saying they have delayed my account closing – in case I change my mind !! Now they want a fully copy of my bank statement, despite not having changed my account for years and despite Go Henry taking money from my account each month…. yet more delay tactics…. do not use them, they are a terrible company to deal with !!

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