The Cashola prepaid debit card calls itself “the debit card that makes you smart before you swipe.” And by “you,” it means your kids.
Cashola was launched in 2020 by Goalsetter. Tanya Van Court is this company’s CEO and founder. Goalsetter is a black-owned and family run business that you may have seen on Shark Tank a few years back. And in fact, Tanya didn’t need the help of Shark Tank investors to get the company’s first product – a savings account for kids – off the ground (she walked away when she didn’t like Mr. Wonderful’s offer in 2019). After their Shark Tank appearance, the company went on to launch the Cashola prepaid debit card for kids in September of 2020 aimed at helping black and latino children manage their money and learn about personal finance.
This prepaid Mastercard, issued by MetaBank, and its accompanying money app strives to be a complete financial literacy resource. It puts learning front and center but makes it fun, and we like the ways it incentivizes saving. In this review, we’ll get into the specifics about Cashola to help you decide whether this prepaid kids’ debit card will meet your family’s needs.
[Related: See how the Cashola prepaid debit card stacks up against the competition in our rundown of the best debit cards for kids and teens in 2021!]
Who is it For
Target age: Kids between the ages of 6 and 16.
Good candidate: Families who want to prioritize education and saving.
This debit card is all about the educational features, so it’s best for kids who are motivated to really make the most out of the experience. With that said, it’s also great for kids who need a little push to take money management seriously because parents can require them to take financial literacy quizzes in order to use their card.
So really, this card is great for all kinds of kids and ideal for parents who want to teach their kids good habits in as many ways as possible.
Features and Benefits
This product is loaded with great features, so let’s get into it. Fair warning, Cashola uses a lot of interesting proprietary language to describe its offerings.
Kids can earn more money for their account by taking quizzes and referring friends; use their Cashola debit card to spend money almost anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including in-person and online; and save their money in an (potentially interest-bearing) account.
💰 Earn: Goalsetter awards $5 to users for every person they successfully refer with their unique referral code. A successful referral requires new users to stay active for at least 15 days after signing up. And when kids complete a referral, Goalsetter also donates a dollar to charity on their behalf.
Another way kids can earn more money for themselves is by earning an allowance. Their parents may decide to pay this as a set amount on a recurring basis or they may require them to complete chores to earn their payments.
Finally, kids can make even more cash through the “Learn and Earn” feature. If their parents enable this, they can get paid to learn. Users can earn either one cent or one dollar for every quiz question they answer correctly and they can complete up to 10 questions a week. Kids must get at least eight out of the ten quizzes right to unlock a new set of quizzes the following Monday.
These quizzes are called “It’s Lit” quizzes and they cover the basics of financial literacy through an age-appropriate combination of engaging (think GIFs) and informational content. Goalsetter adjusts the difficulty of its questions based on a child’s age, but parents can adjust it. There are even quizzes geared toward the parents.
Users are given a “Cred-Lit” score that is determined by their success with quizzes. This is meant to serve as a barometer of their progress.
Parents can enable a “Learn Before You Burn” feature to require kids to complete their quiz questions, whether they’re getting paid for them or not. If their kids don’t finish all of their assigned quizzes, their debit card is automatically frozen and can only be unlocked once the quiz is completed (or their parent gives in).
Cashola does not at this time support direct deposit, but plans to allow this for users over the age of 13 soon.
💸 Spend: Cashola debit cards can be spent in-person almost anywhere Mastercard is accepted, online, and digitally. Cashola is compatible with digital wallets Apple Wallet and Google Pay, but please note that users under the age of 13 are not eligible to sign up for Apple Wallet. It can also be linked with CashApp or Venmo, if the user is eligible to have an account of their own or is able to use a parent’s account.
Cashola cards cannot be used to make purchases internationally or to make ATM withdrawals.
Kids can transfer money to friends and family members through the Goalsetter app, even if they don’t have Goalsetter accounts. They just have to download the app to receive the money.
Kids can move money back and forth between their spend card and their savings account without being penalized or having their account locked.
💰 Save: Cashola pays up to 0.25% APY cash back when a user’s savings balance equals at least $500. Kids may also receive money in their savings from other family members through Family Circle. People in their Family Circle can see a child’s savings goals and help with them.
A child can cash out their money saved at any time, even if they haven’t reached their goals. They can do this as many times as they want. However, the only way to actually cash out is through a parent’s account.
Cashola accounts can be funded via ACH transfer from a linked external bank or debit card transaction. Parents can choose to transfer money right into their children’s Cashola cards or may put some into savings. They can decide what percent to allocate to each. Transfers can be made as one-time transfers or for allowance.
Cashola has an interesting approach to allowance and they call their different structures “rules.”
The first Allowance Rule is called “Set-It-and-Forget-It.” This allows parents to give their kids a set amount every week regardless of what chores they complete. The second rule is “You’re on Payroll.” This allows parents to create a list of chores that must be completed before a child can get their allowance. Kids mark their chores as complete and parents approve them. The third and final rule is “Entrepreneur in the Making.” This allows parents to set prices for every chore and kids to complete as many as they choose to and earn an allowance this way.
Parents do not have to choose one type of allowance for their entire family—they can pick one based on which feels right for each kid. Kids do not need to have Cashola cards to be eligible to receive allowance payments through Goalsetter.
To buffer their kids’ savings, parents can enable Round-Ups to have every purchase rounded up to the nearest dollar (or $2, $3, $4, or $5) and the extra money automatically withdrawn from their linked bank account and placed in their Goalsetter account. According to Goalsetter, Round-Ups help people save an average of $10 a week. A bank must be compatible with Plaid to use Round-Ups.
Auto-save is another optional feature that allows parents to have a set amount deducted from their bank on a weekly or monthly basis and put into their Goalsetter account. They can then distribute this money into their kids’ savings
Parents can invite friends and family members to join their Family Circle. Anybody that joins a Family Circle can link an external bank account and enroll in Auto-Save or Round-Ups (or both) to help a child save for their goals.
Parents have complete control over where and how their kids use their Cashola cards. If kids need help pacing themselves when spending, parents can set budgets for them that place weekly or monthly caps on their card. They can also restrict certain merchants or merchant categories. Parents can see their kids’ activity from the app’s dashboard and will receive real-time notifications when their child uses their card telling them where it is being used and how much was spent.
Every Goalsetter can support up to seven kids with cards of their own.
How Much Does the Cashola Prepaid Debit Card Cost
💸 Fees: *no monthly fee, 2.9% plus $0.30 per Stripe transaction, no fee for low balance, $8 card replacement fee
*Cashola uses a “pay what you think is fair” model, which is incredibly unique for this kind of product. Parents can pay nothing at all every month, if they want.
The Cashola card cannot make international transactions or ATM withdrawals, so associated fees do not apply.
The 2.9% fee is assessed when you pay for a GoalCard with a credit or debit card. A GoalCard is a digital gift card issued through Goalsetter to support a child’s savings goals or help fund their account. To avoid this processing fee, you can pay for a GoalCard by linking an external bank account. GoalCards can be gifted to children with Goalsetter accounts and children without accounts (if they don’t have one, you can use their email address and phone number).
Benefits of Cashola Over Competitors
Cashola’s main draw is that it gives the family more choices than the average app of this kind. It gives kids a lot of agency, letting them earn more money for themselves in a number of ways including referrals, chores, and more and allowing them to spend and save what they earn as they please. It also gives parents a few options for motivating their kids to learn more. The educational features of this app, and the fact that quizzes can be required, are definitely strong points.
Many parents will like the allowance options as well. With three plans to choose from, this product is adaptable for kids of different age groups and levels of experience with money management.
Allowing kids to make peer-to-peer transfers within the app or link their cards with an external digital payment platform is another thing Cashola does right.
Another strong point is saving. Cashola pays interest on savings balances of over $500 and allows parents to enable Round-Ups and Auto-Save for themselves to help their kids reach their goals. Using Family Circle and GoalCards, family and friends can also be a part of a child’s savings journey.
Unfortunately, Cashola doesn’t provide cash access to users. This may be an issue for you if your child is used to carrying money or you live in an area lacking digital payment accessibility.
Cashola also provides limited funding options, allowing for only ACH transfers and credit or debit card transactions at this time. Hopefully, direct deposit is added to this list shortly.
Goalsetter seems to have fairly high customer satisfaction. People praise the product for being engaging and helping kids learn about money. This account is especially great for pushing kids to save instead of spending their money. On the flip side, according to less satisfied users, funding and transfers have been known to take a while and setting up an account can be tricky.
The only way to get in touch with customer support is to send an email to email@example.com. You should get a response within 24 hours.
The Goalsetter app has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.3 out of 5 stars in the App Store. The app and platform can be a bit buggy for some users, but reviews are positive overall. Users love that friends and family can join in and give gifts and the interface is functional and easy to navigate.
Is it Safe
All Goalsetter accounts are federally insured up to the federally allowed limit of $250,000 through Evolve Bank & Trust.
Parents can keep their kids safe by restricting different merchants and setting spending limits.
How to Sign Up
To sign up for a Goalsetter account (and get Cashola cards for their kids), parents just need to provide their phone number on the site and will be prompted to set up a Goalsetter account. From there, they can fund their account and invite their kids to set up their own Goalsetter accounts. Debit cards will be sent in the mail shortly after signing up.
If you can keep track of the lingo Cashola by Goalsetter uses, this may be a great product for you. The Cashola debit card for kids lets the whole family get involved with helping kids be successful with their money, and this is a great card overall that offers a highly customizable experience.
This is an excellent product for parents looking for a platform chock full of educational resources. It’s flexible and fun for kids to use and gives parents choices about how they want their kids to spend their money, how they want their kids to earn money, and how their kids learn financial literacy skills.