KOHO Review

KOHO Review

Written by Priyanka Correia
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 15, 2021

KOHO is a fin-tech company that provides Canadians with a free reloadable prepaid card that allows you to control and track your spending while still being able to enjoy the perks of having a credit card. Similar to a traditional bank, KOHO provides its users with a product that allows them to make purchases like they would on a debit card and earn cash back like they would with a credit card. This mix of credit and debit card features makes KOHO an innovative and powerful tool for many Canadians. 

What Kind Of Prepaid Cards Does KOHO Offer? 

KOHO’s prepaid credit cards are a hybrid of debit and credit cards, while it allows users to make purchases using their card like a debit card, they also are able to earn cash back rewards like a credit card. Currently, KOHO has 3 types of prepaid cards you can choose from.

KOHO Prepaid Visa Card

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

With the KOHO prepaid Visa card, you can earn 0.5% cash on all purchases and up to 5% cash back when you make a purchase with select merchants. To gain additional points, you can boost your earn rate to 1% for 90 days if you refer a friend. If you’re looking to save extra cash, you can use KOHO’s RoundUps feature to automatically stash away money with every purchase. You can choose to round up your purchase to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10. Moreover, if you ever lose your card or suspect any fraudulent activity, you can use your KOHO app to freeze your account.

KOHO Prepaid Visa Card Key Features
  • No annual fee
  • 0.5% cash back
  • Extra cash back when you shop with certain KOHO partners.
  • RoundUps
  • 1.5% foregin transaction fees
  • Free e-transfers
  • No NSF fees
Learn More

KOHO Joint Prepaid Card

KOHO Joint prepaid card is meant for those who would like to have a joint account with their partners, spouses, family, or any other person they’d like to share their finances and financial goals with. You can set goals and contribute to it together. The joint account also helps keep both holders updated on spending with instant notifications and alerts when a purchase is made. Moreover, you’ll be able to earn 0.5% cash back on all purchases made. Similar to the regular KOHO prepaid credit card, you’ll also be able to earn up to 5% in cash back when you make a purchase with certain merchants. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the KOHO RoundUps feature to help reach your savings goals faster.

KOHO Joint Prepaid Card Key Features
  • No annual fee
  • 0.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back on qualifying purchases
  • Track expenses through the KOHO app.
  • Get real time notifications when a purchase is made.
  • Automate your savings with KOHO RoundUps
  • Free e-transfers
  • No NSF fees

KOHO Premium Prepaid Card 

With a fee of $9 a month or $84 a year, you can gain access to KOHO’s most prestigious card: the KOHO Premium prepaid card. While this card may have a significant fee, users can try out the premium version for free using the 30-day trial pass. Plus, it comes with a number of perks that may be worth the cost. This card provides a higher cash back rate of 2% on frequently bought categories like gas, transit, groceries, and restaurants. All other purchases will earn you 0.5%.  You can also earn an extra 2% cash back when you make purchases with merchants that are partnered with KOHO. This includes stores like Baskin Robbins, Pizza Pizza, Indigo, Chefs Plate, Frank and Oak and many others.

Moreover, unlike its other two cards, this one comes with no foreign transaction fees, which will help you save around 2.5% for each withdrawal. It also comes with a price-matching feature which can help save you money. This feature credits you the difference in price on items you’ve purchased that have dropped in price within a particular amount of time. You’ll also have access to a financial coach who can provide you advice on different financial topics such as debt, saving, investing and budgeting. If you travel outside of Canada, you can take advantage of KOHO’s free international ATM withdrawal. Users get 1 free withdrawal each month, which can save them from a $2-$3 charge each month.

KOHO Premium Prepaid Card Key Features
  • Has a monthly fee of $9 or an annual fee of $84
  • 30-day free trial
  • 2% cash back
  • Extra cash when you make a purchase with select KOHO partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to an accredited financial counsellor for financial advice
  • Save money with KOHO’s price matching feature
  • 1 Free International ATM withdrawal each month

How Does KOHO Work?

Using a KOHO card is simple. 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 virtual card 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 prepaid KOHO 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.

Any purchase you make will earn you 0.5% cash back or 2% on groceries, restaurants, and transportation if you get the premium card. KOHOs prepaid 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 spendings, check your balance, and set limits to your spendings. 

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

Depending on the type of prepaid card you choose it can cost you anywhere between 0 and 9$ a month. While KOHO’s prepaid visa card and joint prepaid card are free, KOHO’s premium prepaid card costs $9 a month. However, if you choose to pay for a year, you’ll get a discount of $24, which equates to a yearly fee of $84. 

Card Product Details Overview

KOHO Premium Prepaid CardKOHO Prepaid Visa cardKOHO Joint Prepaid Card
Monthly Account Fee$9$0$0
Foreign Transaction Fees0%1.5%1.5%
Cost Per Transaction$0$0$0
NSF Fee$0$0$0
E-transfer Fees$0$0$0
RewardsEarn 2% cash back on groceries, restaurants, and transportation.  
Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Earn extra cash back with select merchants
Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Earn extra cash back with select merchants
Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Earn extra cash back with select merchants
Budgeting and Tracking ToolYesYesYes
App AccessibilityYesYesYes

Pros And Cons Of Using KOHO

When you sign-up for KOHOs prepaid visa card, you’ll notice the pros far outweigh the cons. Below, we’ve listed the benefits and drawbacks of using KOHO’s prepaid visa cards. 

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 visa card, which you can begin using through the KOHO app immediately.
  • No monthly fees – KOHOs prepaid visa card has no monthly fees, except for their premium card. 
  • 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 – Unlike a typical debit card, you can earn 0.5% cash back with KOHOs prepaid visa card and 2% with its premium card. Moreover, you can earn 1.2% on your account balance if you set up a direct deposit in your account. 
  • KOHO extra cash back– You can also earn extra cash back when you make purchases with select KOHO partners.
  • Money management tools – Track and budget your spendings 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 compare.
  • Automated savings – Accelerate your savings with the automated roundup feature. Round up each purchase to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10.
  • Financial Advice – If you opt for KOHO’s premium card, you’ll gain access to a finacial coach who can provide you with sound advice on different financial topics. You can access your financial coach by simply going to the KOHO in-app chat and starting the convo with #coach. KOHO’s Financial Coachs are all accredited financial counsellors who can provide advice on debt, investing, saving and budgeting.
  • Early payroll – You can also sign-up for KOHO’s early paryroll service. Through it, you’ll be able to access up to $100 of your paycheque up to 3 days in advance.
  • Third-party E-transfers – Third-party E-transfer are now available.

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 – Unlike a credit card, purchases or payments don’t help you build credit.
  • Atm withdrawl limit – You can only withdraw $600 from ATMs
  • Spending limit – You have a daily spending limit of $ 3,000

KOHO Credit Builder

If you have trouble accessing affordable credit due to bad credit, KOHO can help you build your credit through their Credit Building Program. Their credit building program is a $7/month subscription service that you can renew every 6 months depending on your credit goals. When you subscribe, KOHO will provide you with dedicated funds which they will deduct the $7 fee from each month and report these “payments” to a credit bureau. KOHO takes care of the rest so you can focus on your credit building goals. 

Moreover, when you subscribe to KOHO’s credit building services, you’ll 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.

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

Who Are KOHO’s Prepaid Cards Best Suited For?

KOHO prepaid visa cards aren’t just an alternative to those having a hard time securing a regular credit card, but it’s also meant for those who want to better control their spending. The KOHO prepaid visa card comes with budgeting and tracking tools on their app that you can use to limit your spending and alert you on all your purchases. Moreover, students, new credit users and bad credit individuals can enjoy cash back rewards without the high fees that typically come with a regular credit card. 

KOHO Prepaid Credit Card FAQs

Can I build credit with KOHO’s prepaid visa 

While KOHO’s prepaid 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 it cannot help you build credit. 

What’s the purpose of a prepaid card? 

Prepaid credit cards are great alternatives to traditional credit cards as it’s very easy to get approved for. Moreover, it is a tool that you can use to limit your spending and keep money safe when travelling. 

Can I use my KOHO visa card online? 

Yes, you can use your KOHO prepaid visa with both online and brick and mortar stores so long as they accept visas as a form of payment. 

Is KOHO free?

Yes, KOHO is a free prepaid credit card that you can use to spend and save money. With it, you can earn interest on your balance and cash back on your purchases. Moreover, you can also speed up your savings with their automated roundup savings feature. You can also opt for their premium account for a fee for extra perks like higher cash bach and access to a financial coach. 

Can I withdraw cash from my KOHO card?

Yes, you can withdraw cash from your KOHO card from any Visa Plus ATM network. To withdraw cash, you’ll need to select credit as your type of card and 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 visa cards available on the market, the KOHO Prepaid Visa 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 is a personal finance expert at Loans Canada. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives. She has taken financial control of her life by using Mint to budget and track her expenses while growing her wealth by investing through Wealthsimple. She also believes in having an emergency fund, so she keeps a good sum of money in an easily accessible high-interest savings account. She also uses the American Express Cobalt Card to earn points on all her purchases, further fueling her savings goal. She also uses Loans Canada’s lender directory whenever she wants to compare rates from different lenders.

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