KOHO Credit Building Review

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Last updated on June 23, 2022 Comments: 20

KOHO, the budgeting app, savings account, and prepaid card trio, has added a new tool to its roster: credit building. You might think that this isn’t really cause for excitement, but when you consider that KOHO offers a prepaid card that’s not exactly like a credit card, it’s clear to see why this is kind of a big deal for some people.

Usually, you need credit to build your credit score, so how is it possible that KOHO is offering to build your credit without actually providing you with any credit? Magic is one answer. Another answer is its new credit-building tool that helps you securely and gradually build your credit score.

Our Rating:

Get a KOHO account to access the KOHO Credit Builder

What is Credit Building by KOHO?

Build Your Credit for $7 a Month with KOHO

Credit Building by KOHO is an optional tool that can be added to your standard or premium KOHO account. For $7 a month on a 6-month subscription, KOHO will help you build up your credit score by reporting payments to a major credit bureau.

This is especially helpful for people who are already struggling with a low credit score, or none at all. Your credit score can significantly impact your life since it can be frustrating to apply for loans, mortgages, or even certain credit cards if you can’t get your credit score to increase. Not only that, but it sometimes seems like an unattainable goal. You need to get credit to increase your credit, but you can’t get credit with bad credit. It seems unfair, but KOHO’s credit-building tool can help get you out of that cycle.

It’s important to note that KOHO’s Credit Builder tool isn’t currently available to residents of Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick

How Does It Work?

To begin, you’ll need to have an existing KOHO or KOHO Premium account. Then, you can register for Credit Building in the KOHO app.

You might be wondering how KOHO manages to convince credit bureaus you’re an established lender without taking out any credit. What KOHO does is each month it takes out a portion of pre-deposited dedicated funds and reports this as a “repayment” on a no-fee line of credit. These funds are separate from your available balance since you shouldn’t be using it, its sole purpose is to help you build your credit. That’s why you won’t see anything different in your account aside from a $7 monthly deduction for the tool’s fee. To the credit bureau, it looks like you’re paying back a line of credit, and to you, there’s no actual difference or deduction in your account.

Get a KOHO account to access the KOHO Credit Builder

How to Apply

Let’s break down the process of using the Credit Builder tool step-by-step to see how it looks from start to finish:

  1. Sign up for the Credit Building tool in your account on the app.
  2. Once you’ve signed up, KOHO will retrieve your current credit score.
  3. After this, KOHO deposits dedicated funds and deducts the 7$ fee.
  4. Month after month, KOHO withdraws a portion of these specific dedicated funds and reports it to a credit bureau as a repayment.

That’s all there is to it! The only thing you really need to do is make sure you have at least $7 a month in your account to cover the cost of the tool, but besides that, everything else is done behind-the-scenes. However, you’ll be able to track your credit score changes directly on the KOHO app.

Easily track your credit score with the KOHO app

At the end of the 6-month subscription, you won’t be automatically recharged for the tool, but you can choose to sign up again to continue using the service if you still want to build your credit score.

Is The Credit Builder Tool Worth It?

In certain scenarios, the Credit Builder tool can be worth the relatively small investment. However, it’s not right for everyone. Here’s why.

If you’re doing everything you can to increase your credit score, then the Credit Builder add-on can be a helpful tool to give you a little extra edge. At 7$ a month for 6 months, it will set you back $42, which isn’t a huge sum. I would recommend this tool if you’re responsible with your finances, you’re looking for new ways to increase your credit score, and you already have other measures in place to maintain or improve your score. It might also be helpful to those who are new to Canada and don’t have any credit history yet, but there are also other ways to establish a credit score from scratch.

That being said, KOHO’s Credit Building tool isn’t a be-all-end-all fix to your credit score woes. If you’re reckless with money or simply don’t know how to manage your finances, this tool won’t fix your credit score the way you want it to. You can still be missing credit card payments or have piles of unpaid loans outside of KOHO, which means you probably won’t see your credit score go up after signing up for this tool.

Not only that, but the “set it and forget it” method here is a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s incredibly convenient just to sign up for this tool and then forget about it for six months as your credit builds the background, but improving your credit score should be a more interactive process. If you’re someone who has bad credit because of poor budgeting and spending habits, then it’s important to be engaged in the process of rebuilding your score so that you can learn how it’s done. I’d like to see this tool expanded into a full suite of credit-building tools, such as articles with advice on how to improve your credit score or a personalized plan of action to help get your finances in order.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An affordable way to build your credit
  • Accessible to anyone with no credit history or a low credit score
  • No need to apply for or take out any new form of credit
  • Minimum effort way to increase your credit score
  • No hard credit check is done that will impact your current score

Cons

  • Won’t be helpful to those with poor financial habits
  • Not necessarily a holistic way to improve your credit score long-term
  • Lacks more robust credit-building information and planning

Final Word

In short, KOHO’s Credit Builder tool is exciting for those who want to gradually increase their credit score without using a traditional credit card. Still, it’s not going to be the magical tool that pulls you out of the depths of bad credit, so no one should sign up for this add-on with that expectation. If you’re already responsible with your spending and are working on your credit score in other ways, then KOHO’s Credit Builder can really compliment your efforts.

Get a KOHO account to access the KOHO Credit Builder

FAQ

KOHO will only run a soft credit check to retrieve your credit score, but the company won’t perform a hard credit check. This way, you don’t have to worry about your credit score being impacted just by signing up for KOHO’s Credit Builder Tool.
Unfortunately not. Some things are out of KOHO’s control when it comes to your credit score. If you’re still missing payments on your current loans or if you’ve recently taken out a lot of credit, you might see your credit score go down despite using the Credit Builder tool.
After registering for the service, you should be able to see your current credit score in your app. Check back once a month after the 7$ fee has been deducted, and you should see your score slightly improve.

Author Bio

Alicia Schneider
Montreal-born Alicia Schneider is a digital nomad that specializes in freelance content and travel writing. She has experience writing about financial topics such as invoicing and accounting as well as business technology and software. When she's not writing, she's exploring a new destination that most likely includes sun and a beach. You can see more of her work at aliciaschneider.com.

Article comments

20 comments
Emy says:

Hi,
First I want to say that as of today, November 2021, Koho credit builder is now available in Quebec
Is it possible that Koho might be sharing some information to credit companies? I have been bombarded by quick credit loan companies such as Credit Express without having given them my email since I have been subscribed to Koho(2 weeks).
I will Definitely be checking with both Equifax and TransUnion to follow up in the next months and make sure they report my score (based on the previous comments).

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Emy,
That’s pretty annoying. Are they trying to reach you by phone or email? Koho’s privacy policy describes what aspects of your personal information are shared third parties to provide their service. Definitely worth checking the credit reports to keep an eye on the activity.

Paul says:

I decided to try this out as its not really that expensive. So far my credit has gone up by 68, so I unlike others, I wouldn’t say its a scam.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Paul,
Thanks for sharing- it’s not often when you get comments about a good experience. Glad to hear that you’re getting value out of the experience. Continued good fortune to you on your credit building journey.

Tracy Hunter says:

Can you please share if it went up 68 points in the 6 months total?

Or better yet….
How long did it take to go up 68 points

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Tracy,
Would be a very interesting piece of information indeed.

Dade says:

Are they any other credit building plans like the KOHO one? Cause two is better than one lol

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi Dade,
There certainly are plenty of credit building options to choose from. The Refresh Financial Secured Card is a good alternative if you’re rebuilding credit- they won’t perform a credit check. If you’re ready to graduate to an unsecured credit card without ridiculous credit score requirements, you might consider the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option. Regardless of what you choose, pick one and stick to it- that way there’s less of a chance something will fall through the cracks and hurt your credit building efforts.

Susan McDonald says:

I have contacted Transunion and waiting for a response…I would love to get a secured card but i dont have money to put down on a secured card most want from 300 to 500 dollars from what i have seen that’s why i went with KOHO because it was affordable as i am on a very tight budget so i was hoping that this would help with my credit score somewhat but so far nothing is happening with it and now i am almost at my 6 months so i geuss i will have to figure something else out i wish there was a different way but it seems to be a struggle no matter what i do all i am trying to do is rebuild my credit and get my life back on track Not winning!!! 🙁

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Susan,
Thanks for updating us on your situation after writing previously and listening to my recommendations. Other than applying for a secured card and perhaps getting someone to front the money for you or saving a small amount over the course of several months until you have enough for a secured deposit amount, maybe you can open a joint account with someone. This will allow you to build credit together (not to be confused with Authorized User which allows you to use someone else’s credit card but only their credit score is impacted by its use)

jeff says:

This is an absolute scam. As someone who is very involved in my credit rebuilding process, I know when a company is flat out lying. I signed up for this and I believe I am now on the 4th month. First of all they haven’t reported my payments to either credit bureau yet. Second, they originally said they would be reporting to equifax and a couple weeks ago I got an email from them saying that they’re now reporting to transunion instead and it’s no big deal. It is absolutely a big deal and they rely on people with bad credit not realizing that it is.

I’ve reached out to them Via Email and Online chat and still haven’t gotten any kind of response. I’ve asked for a refund and still no response. What did I pay for? They haven’t reported a single thing to any bureau, they keep taking money without providing a service and their customer service is absolutely non existent. DO NOT EVER SIGN UP FOR THIS. INVEST THE $42 IN A SECURED CREDIT CARD.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jeff,
I’m very sorry this did not pan out for you and apparently KOHO is not doing what they advertised. I would talk to someone though before you cancel entirely. The legal section of their website says the following “For any questions regarding your account, please contact KOHO customer service by messaging via the KOHO App chat or by calling 1-855-564-6999 (KOHO-999) seven (7) days a week, twenty-four (24) hours a day.” Yes, I would also invest in a secured card. You can check out several options on one of our articles here.

Abs says:

For good measure, I called this number and there is no option to speak to a live agent. It’s really seeming suspect here, I don’t know that your high review reflects well in this case.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Abs,
Sounds like you’ve tried the chat and the phone. Have you tried the emailing [email protected] to see if you get a human response? Would be interested to see what kind of experience you get across the board. Thanks.

Abs says:

I agree, I’ve been having the same exact issue and trying to get in touch with them is frustrating. Nothing has been reported and when I chat with the bot, it advises me that I will be refunded $7. However, that doesn’t make up for the months of missed reporting, plus they say the same thing whether I am logged in or not, so I view it with utter suspicion.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Abs,
Thanks for sharing your experience- that is indeed a cause for concern. Apart from refunding the fee, do you know if your information will be reported to the credit bureau going forward? Will be sure to get this feedback where it needs to go.

PS says:

I was discharged from Bankruptcy in March 2020. I have a Capital One credit card with the limit of $300 which I pay in full every month. Will this Koho Credit Builder help me in improving my credit score?

Aaron Broverman says:

KOHO’s credit builder will absolutely help you build your credit by reporting to credit bureaus but regular credit cards do that for free and secured cards can do that as well as long as you are willing to put up the money yourself to provide the credit limit. Actually, our article on the best credit cards for bad credit may provide other credit bureau options that will report directly to credit bureaus. Keep in mind that building credit takes time, so be patient. Click here for the article

Susan says:

I have messaged Koho twice now as I have been paying the $7 a month for the last 2 months now and nothing has been reported to the credit bureau
They got back to me and told me that it is a technical issue and they are working on fixing it we are now on 3 months and still nothing is showing up on my credit report how long does it actually take to fix something like this they also sold be they would make sure that would back date it to January so the full 3 months would be reported but still nothing getting very frusterated they tell me its being reported to the credit bureau well if that is the case then why isnt the credit bureau putting the information on my credit file I am tempted to contact trans union myself but not sure if I should If it has been reported like Koho is saying than I do not understand what the hold up is

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Susan,
I would contact TransUnion yourself absolutely and just confirm or not whether they’re getting anything from KOHO and from their perspective, why they might not be. If the answer is negative, I would call KOHO one more time and tell them you’re going to cancel (unless you carry a balance) but pay off that balance, cancel and switch to a secured card, which will for sure report to credit bureaus without any extra fee. I can’t believe you’ve been this patient to this point. You are a saint.