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Please note: The STACK reloadable Mastercard is no longer available in Canada.

Are you looking for an easy way to manage your money, not overspend, but still get the benefits of a credit card without getting your credit score checked? A prepaid credit card from KOHO or Stack might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Two of the industry leaders in the prepaid card arena are KOHO and STACK. When it comes time to choose the best option to keep in your wallet, the key is doing your research and gaining a thorough understanding of both cards.

What Are Prepaid Credit Cards?

While a prepaid credit card has the term “credit card” in it, it is not a credit card. It is a reloadable card that you add money to, and then use to make purchases online or in-store. Prepaid credit cards are similar to debit cards wherein the balance you add to the account is your spending limit. Once you’ve exhausted your funds, you’ll need to reload the card to continue using it.

Pros

  • Easier to track spending and set budget limits
  • There are no credit requirements to get a prepaid credit card
  • Many prepaid credit cards have no annual fee
  • Some prepaid credit cards let you earn rewards such as cash back or store discounts
  • You don’t have to worry about accumulating debt. Prepaid credit cards force you to only use the money you actually have, which can help you reduce debt, budget better and save money.

Cons

  • Prepaid credit cards don’t help with credit building. Since you’re simply using your own money, no payments are reported to the credit bureaus.
  • Prepaid credit cards often lack the extra perks of a credit card like travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranties, and more.

KOHO vs. STACK At A Glance

Both companies have substantial merit for customers looking to get a prepaid card. To determine which is best for you, it helps to look at the features side by side.

KOHOSTACK
Card TypeMastercardMastercard
Monthly Fees– KOHO Essential: $4/monthly or $48/annually
– KOHO Extra: $9/monthly or $84/annually
– KOHO Everything $19/monthly
None
Interest Earned– KOHO Essential: 5%
– KOHO Extra: 5%
– KOHO Everything: 5%
None
ATM FeesNoneNone
NSF FeesNoneNone
FX Fees1.5% (none for KOHO Extra & Everything)None
Interac E-Transfer FeesNoneNone
SecurityZero Liability InsuranceZero Liability Insurance
Rewards– Up to 2% cash back depending on account and purchase.
– Up to 50% extra cashback from select merchants
Available discounts
Special Features– Automated savings
– Financial advice
– Direct deposit
– Optional joint accounts
– Third-party e-Transfers
– Financial advice
– Round-up
– Automated savings
– Tab-splitting
– Direct deposit
– Early payroll

KOHO Features vs. STACK Features

Two of the most popular prepaid card companies are KOHO and STACK. Though most prepaid cards share a lot in common, in the spirit of competition, each company has unique features designed to make it more desirable to consumers.

KOHO account easy

KOHO Features

KOHO is a Fintech company that offers three full-service accounts that come with a prepaid credit card. User can use their KOHO accounts like a chequing/ savings account and earn interest on their total balance. Then they can use their prepaid credit card to make purchases and earn cash back rewards at the same time. A KOHO account really is the best of all worlds when it comes to personal finance.

KOHO Essential Account

  • Monthly fee of $4 or an annual fee of $48
    • No monthly fee if you set up a direct deposit or contribute $1000 per month
  • Earn 5% savings interest on the entire balance in your KOHO account
  • Free e-transfers
  • No NSF fees
  • Credit Building for $10/month
  • Get your credit score for free in-app

KOHO Extra Account

  • Monthly fee of $9 or an annual fee of $84
  • Earn 5% savings interest on the entire balance in your KOHO account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1 Free International ATM withdrawal each month
  • Credit Building for $7/month
  • Get your credit score for free in-app

KOHO Everything Account

  • Monthly fee of $19 (30-day free trial)
  • 5% savings interest on the entire balance of your KOHO account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1 Free International ATM withdrawal each month
  • Credit Building for $5/month
  • Get your credit score for free in-app
Stack Card

STACK Features

Backed by the Mastercard network, this business connects to an online app (available on both Google Play and the App Store). In partnership with major companies like Amazon, Lyft, and Spotify, it uses a reward-based structure to incentivize customers to use its services. Keeping this focus, STACK provides a wide range of offerings such as:

  • Earn instant cash back from over 140 STACK partners 
  • Earn cash back on foreign exchange fees when you make purchases or ATM withdrawals outside of Canada.
  • No daily or monthly banking fees
  • No fees on ATM withdrawal (depending on the ATM network)
  • Financial IQ feature lets you track and manage your spending
  • The ability to split your tab using the card
  • Automate your savings and round up purchases to save more
  • Set up direct despite and access your paycheque up to 2 days early
  • Free STACK to STACK transfers
  • Security in the form of zero liability insured services

KOHO vs. STACK: Rewards And Bonuses

KOHO and STACK both offer rewards, though in different styles. Depending on how you plan to use the card, you will likely prefer one of these companies. 

KOHO Rewards

Depending on which KOHO account you choose, you’ll earn different levels of cash back rewards when you use your KOHO prepaid credit card to make purchases.

KOHO Essential

  • 1% cash back on groceries, transportation (gas, parking, rideshare apps, etc.), and eating and drinking
  • Up to 50% extra cashback from select merchants

KOHO Extra

  • 1.5% cash back on groceries, transportation (gas, parking, rideshare apps, etc.), and eating and drinking
  • 0.25% cash back on all other categories
  • Up to 50% extra cashback from select merchants

KOHO Everything

  • 2% cash back on groceries, transportation (gas, parking, rideshare apps, etc.), eating & drinking
  • 0.5% cash back on all categories
  • Up to 50% extra cashback from select merchants

STACK Rewards And Bonuses

The focus of the STACK reward system is based on discounts offered through major companies. Clients can get access to special offers on services like Netflix and Spotify. The discounted items range from groceries to food delivery services. 

KOHO vs. STACK: Budgeting And Financial Tools

Despite the many similarities, in each service category, there are differences between the features offered by STACK and KOHO.

Automated Savings

Both services offer automated savings services and the ability to make direct deposits. Both companies enable consumers to automatically save by rounding up each purchase. Users can round up their purchases by $1, $2, $5 and $10. Meaning if you spend $2.30, the rounding feature can put aside $0.70, $1.70, $2.70 or $7.70. 

Financial Advice 

Both KOHO and STACK offer financial advice to their users. KOHO users can access the Financial Coach through the KOHO in-app chat. All KOHO Financial Coaches are accredited financial counsellors and can provide advice on any number of topics including investing, debt management, and budgeting. 

STACK also provides financial advice through its customer support channel. Simply use the in-app chat or call STACK’s customer service line to find someone to speak to. 

Payroll Lending

STACK offers early payroll services. Users need to set up direct deposit for their paycheques and then they may be ankle to access their pay two days early.

Split The Tab

STACK lets you split the tab, which is a service not offered through KOHO. With STACK you can instantly request a money transfer from your friends and family to split the tab.

KOHO vs. STACK: Account Fees

An important consideration when assessing which prepaid card company you plan to use is the cost of holding your account with the services. Among the things to keep in mind are:

  • Annual fees: STACK doesn’t have either a monthly or an annual fee. All three of KOHO’s accounts, Essential, Extra, or Everything, have a monthly fee. For the KOHO Essential account, the monthly fee is waived if you set up a direct deposit or contribute $1000 per month.
  • Foreign transaction fees: KOHO has a 1.5% foreign transaction fee, though it drops to zero when the customer upgrades to KOHO Extra or KOHO Everything. STACK, on the other hand, has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. With STACK, users who spend at least $350 CAD will be reimbursed the fees on up to $1,000 CAD spent outside of Canada.
  • ATM fees: Neither STACK nor KOHO has withdrawal fees, though there will likely be a fee to withdraw funds from the ATM itself. 
  • NSF penalties: Because both KOHO and STACK are prepaid credit cards there are no non-sufficient funds fees.

STACK vs. KOHO Security Features

Since the companies are regulated, both have the same security features in place. This help to keep your money secure. The protections in place include the following: 

In-app card-locking: If you misplace your card, or in the event of theft, you can simply navigate to the smartphone app and lock your account. This prevents any further spending on the card. As with other financial companies, you can also speak to customer service to have another card issued. 

Zero Liability Protection: This security feature means that, if a charge was not authorized by the cardholder, then they are not liable for the charge. Basically, if someone spends money on your prepaid card without your knowledge or consent, you are entitled to reimbursement.

STACK Or KOHO: Which Is Better? 

Each of these cards is popular amongst consumers for good reason. Ultimately, it depends on your spending and earning habits, as well as your priorities. Whether you prefer incentives in the form of rewards or cold hard cash, they are only significant if you use the card. To reap the benefits of either card, you need to use it regularly. Because of this, it is better to choose just one and focus your financial energy on maximizing the benefits you can get from it by utilizing the card as much as possible. 

Choose KOHO If:

You like cash back rewards, shop at a large variety of locations and want to earn interest on your account balance.

While everyone’s personal finances are unique, certain situations will benefit more from one of the cards. KOHO focuses its incentives on cash back. When you make purchases, a small percentage of the amount you spend is credited back to your account. KOHO is a great option for consumers who want to earn cash back on their purchases and do not want to be limited on where they shop. The savings interest earned on account balances is also an added perk that should be considered. 

Choose STACK If:

You like special deals, discounts, and great budgeting features

STACK prioritizes discounts through popular vendors. It has agreements with known brands like HelloFresh, Addidas, Indigo, and DoorDash. If you tend to make a lot of purchases internationally, STACK has zero FX fees, which can lead to a lot of savings. It also offers all of the standard services including budgeting software; which, when used in conjunction with the round-up automated savings feature, can have a lot of financial benefits. The card has no fees and is accepted at most places that take prepaid cards. Useful for those who have subscriptions with its partners, STACK is well-suited to those who want to get great offers while spending.

A Word On Prepaid Cards

The best part of prepaid cards is that they are low risk and high reward. You can’t spend more than you have, there is no risk of harming your credit, and companies actually offer incentives to encourage you to spend. As long as you choose a card whose services are geared more toward your spending habits, you can save money without making any sacrifices. 

KOHO vs. STACK FAQs

Does KOHO or STACK allow you to automate your savings?

Both KOHO and STACK have an automated savings feature that allows users to round up their purchases to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10.

Should I get KOHO or STACK?

Both KOHO and STACK are very similar in nature. They are both prepaid credit cards that offer rewards, savings and tools to help you better manage your money. However, one of the main differences between them is that STACK offers rewards in the form of discounts and charges a higher foreign transaction fee. On the other hand, the KOHO card offers cash back on everyday purchases.

Can I earn rewards with KOHO or STACK?

Yes, you can earn rewards with both KOHO and STACK. KOHO allows users to earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases depending on the type of KOHO card they get and the purchases made. Similarly, STACK users can earn rewards through exclusive discounts and promotions through their list of partners.

Can I withdraw money through an ATM with KOHO?

Yes, you can withdraw money from any ATM with KOHO, however, depending on the ATM network you choose to withdraw money from, it can cost you $2-$3 dollars in out-of-network fees. No fees are charged by KOHO. 

Is STACK safe to use?

Yes, STACK is owned by Peoples Trust Company a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Moreover, it has Zero Liability Protection and an in-app locking feature that allows you to free your account in the event you lose your card or suspect fraud.
Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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