KOHO Review

KOHO Review

Written by Priyanka Correia
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 18, 2022

KOHO is a Fintech company founded in Toronto Canada. They offer three types of spending and saving accounts, based on the idea that Canadians should have access to easy-to-manage and simple financial products.

What Type Of Accounts Does KOHO Offer? 

KOHO offers three types of accounts, each comes with a prepaid credit card which works like a hybrid debit/credit card. While this product allows users to make purchases with their own money, like a debit card, they also are able to earn cash back rewards like a credit card. Furthermore, account holders can earn interest on the balance they hold in their accounts and use their KOHO app to track their spending, set budgets, and receive balance updates.

KOHO Easy Account

The KOHO Easy Account is KOHO’s original account. It has no annual fee and no account fees including no transaction, NSF, or e-transfer fees. The only exception is the foreign transaction fees, which will cost you 1.5% per transaction. 

With the KOHO Easy Account, you can earn 1% cash back on groceries and bills and services. When you make a purchase from select merchants, you can earn up to 5% cash back. You’ll also earn 0.5% interest on the entire balance in your account, with no minimum balance required.

Additionally, for all account types, if you refer a friend to KOHO you and your friend will get $20. To qualify for this bonus, your friend must sign up and make a purchase within 30 days of registering. Moreover, if you ever lose your card or suspect any fraudulent activity, you can use your KOHO app to freeze your account.

KOHO Easy Account Key Features

  • No annual fee
  • 1% cash back on groceries, bills and services
  • Up to 5% extra cash back when you shop with certain KOHO partners
  • Earn 0.5% saving interest on the entire balance in your KOHO account
  • Free e-transfers
  • No NSF fees
  • Credit Building for $10/month
KOHO account essential

KOHO Essential Account

KOHO’s Essential Account is similar to its Easy Account, but with a few added benefits. The Essential Account comes with a fee of $4 a month or $48 a year, users can also get a 30-day free trial.

With the KOHO Essential Account, you can earn 1% cash back on groceries, bills and services, and eating and drinking. You’ll also earn 0.25% cash back on all other categories. When you make a purchase from select merchants, you can earn up to 5% cash back.

Essential Account holders earn 1.5% interest on the entire balance in their account.

KOHO Essential Account Key Features

  • Has a monthly fee of $4 or an annual fee of $48
  • 1% cash back on groceries, bills and services, and eating and drinking
  • 0.25% cash back on all other categories
  • Up to 5% extra cash back with select merchants
  • Earn 1.5% saving interest on the entire balance in your KOHO account
  • Free e-transfers
  • No NSF fees
  • Credit Building for $7/month
KOHO account premium

KOHO Premium Account

With a fee of $9 a month or $84 a year, you can gain access to KOHO’s most prestigious account, the KOHO Premium Account. While this card may have a significant fee, users can try out the premium version for free using the 30-day free trial. Plus, it comes with a number of perks that may be worth the cost. This card provides a higher cash back rate of 2% for groceries, transportation, and eating and drinking. Plus 0.50% for all other categories.

You can also earn up to 6% cash back when you make purchases with merchants that are partnered with KOHO.

Moreover, unlike its other two cards, this one comes with no foreign transaction fees, which will help you avoid around 2.5% in FX fees for each withdrawal. If you travel outside of Canada, you can take advantage of one free international ATM withdrawal a month.

Premium Account holders earn 1.2% interest on the entire balance in their account.

KOHO Premium Account Key Features

  • Has a monthly fee of $9 or an annual fee of $84
  • 2% cash back on groceries, transportation, and eating and drinking
  • 0.50% cash back on all other categories
  • Up to 6% extra cash back with select KOHO partners
  • 1.2% interest on the entire balance of your KOHO account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1 Free International ATM withdrawal each month
  • Credit Building for $7/month

How Does KOHO Work?

First, you’ll have to create an account by signing up online. Once you have your account set up you can add money to your account in the KOHO app via Interac e-Transfer or through automatic payroll deposits. Once you have money in your account you can use your virtual KOHO prepaid credit card through the KOHO app as you would a debit or credit card.

You can use your digital KOHO card to make purchases online and even in-store if they have the payment system to accept virtual prepaid cards. You could also link your virtual KOHO card to your digital wallet like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

KOHOs prepaid credit card offers a balance between the accessibilities of a debit card and the rewards of a credit card. Moreover, with KOHO you can use its app to track your spending, check your balance, and stay on track to meet your financial goals. 

How Much Does It Cost To Open An Account With KOHO?

Depending on the type of account you choose it can cost you anywhere between 0$ and 9$ a month. While KOHO’s Easy Account is free, its Essential Account costs $4 monthly or $48 yearly and its Premium account costs $9 monthly or $84 yearly.

KOHO Account Details Overview

KOHO Easy AccountKOHO Essential AccountKOHO Premium Account
Account Fee$0– $4/ month
– $48/ year
– $9/ month
– $84/ year
Foreign Transaction Fees1.5%1.5%0%
Cost Per Transaction$0$0$0
NSF Fee$0$0$0
E-transfer Fees$0$0$0
Cash Back Rewards– Earn 1% on groceries, bills and services.

– Earn up to 5% extra with select merchants.
– Earn 1% cash back on groceries, bills and services, and eating and drinking.

– Earn 0.25% on all other categories.

– Earn up to 5% extra with select merchants.
– Earn 2% on groceries, transportation, and eating and drinking.

– Earn 0.5% on all other purchases.

– Earn up to 6% extra with select merchants.
Budgeting and Tracking ToolYesYesYes
App AccessibilityYesYesYes

Pros And Cons Of Using KOHO

When you sign-up for a KOHO account, you’ll notice the pros far outweigh the cons. Below, we’ve listed the benefits and drawbacks of using KOHO. 

Pros

  • Fast and easy application process – Opening an account with KOHO is easy and only takes a few minutes. Simply start by creating an account by entering your email address and a few personal details. Once you’re registered, you’ll get a virtual prepaid credit card, which you can begin using through the KOHO app immediately.
  • No transaction fees – With KOHO, you can make as many transactions as you want without having to worry about different transaction fees such as Interac e-Transfer, ATM withdrawals, and electronic fund transfers. The only fee they charge is foreign transaction fees, but this can be waived if you opt for its premium card.
  • Earn cash back – Earn up to 2% cash back on certain categories and up to 6% cash back with KOHO partners, depending on the account you choose.
  • Earn Interest – Earn saving interest on your entire account balance, no minimum balance is required. 
  • Money management tools – Track and budget your spending with real-time data through the KOHO smartphone app. You can also compare your spending habits to other KOHO users to see how your financial habits stack up.
  • Third-party E-transfers – Third-party e-Transfers are now available. With it, you can accept e-transfer to your KOHO account from your friends and family. 
  • Instant Pay – KOHO also offers users the ability to cash out up to 50% of the pay they earn each workday, every day. 

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fees – KOHO charges 1.5% in foreign transaction fees. While this is a lot lower than most credit cards, it doesn’t make it ideal for travelling unless you get the premium card.
  • No effect on credit score – KOHO is a prepaid credit card, meaning payments are not reported to the credit bureaus, so there’s no impact on your credit. If you’re looking to build your credit, KOHO does offer a credit building product. You simply need to subscribe to their Credit Building Program for a low monthly fee of $7 or $10. 
  • Atm withdrawal limit – You can only withdraw $600 from ATMs
  • Spending limit – You have a daily spending limit of $ 4,000

KOHO Credit Builder

If you have trouble accessing affordable credit due to bad credit, KOHO can help you build your credit history through its Credit Building Program. Their credit building program is a credit-building line of credit with a monthly subscription fee. $10 a month for the Easy Account or $7 a month for the Essential and Premium accounts.

You can renew every 6 months depending on your credit goals or cancel at any time. When you subscribe, KOHO will automatically deduct the subscription fee from your account each month and report these “payments” to a credit bureau. There’s no hard credit check.

Get Your Credit Score For Free With KOHO’s Credit Building Tool

Moreover, when you subscribe to KOHO’s Credit Building services, you’ll get your credit score for free and have access to their Credit Building page on the KOHO app. This page allows you to track the changes to your credit score each month. If you’d like to take advantage of this low-cost credit building service, simply register through the KOHO app to get started.

Koho Credit Building banner

How To Open An Account With KOHO

To create an account with KOHO, you’ll have to fill out an online application with a few details. It’s a 5 step process that’ll take you as little as 5 minutes to complete.

  • Step 1 – Enter your email address and create a password for your account.
  • Step 2 – Provide some basic personal information including your name, job, phone number, and address. 
  • Step 3 –  Select one of the three available colour schemes for your card.  
  • Step 4 Re-confirm your address, so KOHO can mail you your card. 
  • Step 5 – Once you’ve completed your online application, KOHO will send you a link to their app which you must download and login in to in order to complete your accounts set-up. 

When you fill out your online application, make sure you have a copy of any 2 of the following documents to verify your identity. 

  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Work permit
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement

KOHO Account FAQs

Can I build credit with KOHO’s prepaid cards

While KOHO’s prepaid credit card acts like a credit card, it is not a real credit product. Purchases made on your card use the money you’ve loaded into it. As such, these payments are not reported to the credit bureaus and thus cannot help you build credit. But, KOHO does offer a Credit Building Program to help its clients improve their credit, learn more here

What’s the purpose of a prepaid card? 

Prepaid credit cards are a great alternative to traditional credit cards because they can be used in the same way but don’t come with any specific approval requirements. Users preload their cards with cash and therefore won’t be tempted to overspend.

Can I use my KOHO prepaid credit card online? 

Yes, you can use your KOHO prepaid credit card both online and in-store.
Is KOHO free?
KOHO offers a free account called the Easy Account. Its Essential Account costs $4 a month or $48 a year and its Premium Account costs $9 a month or $84 a year.

Can I withdraw cash from my KOHO account?

Yes, you can withdraw cash from your KOHO account. To withdraw cash, you’ll need to select credit as your type of card. While KOHO does not charge any ATM fees, you may be charged a $2-$3 dollar fee by the ATM. 

Is KOHO Safe?

Yes, KOHO is just as safe as any other big bank in Canada. They’ve partnered with People’s Bank; a federally regulated CDIC-insured financial institution, to store their user’s money. Moreover, they have additional security measures like their in-app card locking feature.

Bottom Line

While there are many prepaid credit cards available on the market, the KOHO card comes with a number of perks including the ability to earn cash back, budget, and track spending. If you’re in the market for a prepaid credit card, check out KOHO, it literally costs you nothing. 

Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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