KOHO Premium Review

Base Rewards Earning Rate
2%
Annual Fee
or 9$/month
$84
Foreign Transaction Fees
0%
Sign up and get a $20 instant cash bonus (once you load your account and make your no minimum first purchase within 30 days) right to your KOHO account with GREEDYRATES referral code.

As the upgrade to the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® we’ve come to know and love, KOHO Premium promises to bring Canadians even more cash back saving. The KOHO Premium account brings with it a trove of other fun perks and benefits that can help you save money and become smarter with your finances.

What is KOHO Premium?

If you’re not yet familiar with KOHO, our review will cover all you need to know about this exciting card and account combo. Essentially, KOHO functions as a reloadable card linked to an account that earns you cash back on your purchases. Sounds great, right? Well, with KOHO Premium, it gets even better.

KOHO Premium takes the cash back earnings a step further by offering up to 2% cash back instead of the standard 0.5% on the free account. The 2% cash back doesn’t apply to all your purchases, but rather those in three specific categories: transportation, groceries, and eating and drinking.

Aside from the increased earning potential, KOHO Premium also gives you added benefits, like financial coaching and waived foreign exchange fees.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 2% cash back on the transportation, groceries and eating & drinking; 0.5% on everything else
  • Waived foreign transaction fee
  • One free international ATM withdrawal per month
  • Free in-house financial coaching available on demand
  • Priority customer support

Cons

  • $84 (or $9/month)
  • Need an extra paid subscription to use KOHO to build your credit

How Does It Work?

KOHO Premium works like a credit card and like a chequing account that includes a built-in cash back rewards system. You earn your 2% cash back rewards from the categories you spend the most on. For example, your transportation charges will cover things like gas or Uber expenses. Food and dining covers everything from high-end restaurants to take-out and delivery. Unlike other rewards credit cards, you’re not limited to which grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations are eligible.

In order to start using KOHO Premium, you can either upgrade from your existing KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® or apply from scratch through the app. You’ll get a 30-day free trial of KOHO Premium, which includes access to all the features.

Key Features

Higher Cash Back Rates

We’ve already talked a bit about this, but since it’s the card’s main selling point, it’s worth dedicating a little more time. Compared to the regular KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® which gives you 0.5% cash back on all purchases, the KOHO Premium account can really help you earn more cash back.

If you know you spend somewhere in the realm of $10,000 a year on expenses like groceries, restaurants, and take out, then that’s already a cash back earning of $200 with KOHO Premium compared to just $50 on the standard plan. That’s comparable, or even better in some cases, to some of the best cash back credit cards in Canada from the big banks.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

With KOHO Premium, all foreign transaction fees for purchases abroad or from international merchants are completely waived.

Most of the bigger banks charge between 2-3% in foreign exchange fees, and the standard KOHO account charges a rate of 1.5%. With KOHO Premium, you won’t need to think about what your credit card will charge you when you’re at dinner on vacation. You’ll also get one free international ATM withdrawal a month.

Price Matching

Don’t you hate it when you’ve just bought something and a week later it goes on sale? With KOHO Premium, you don’t need to worry about returning to the retailer or contacting customer service. Simply send KOHO your receipt and you’ll receive a credit for the difference in price to your KOHO account.

Free On-Demand Financial Coaching

KOHO doesn’t only want to save you money with cash back earnings, but they also want to teach you how to live financially smarter. As a KOHO Premium customer, you’ll have access to expert financial advisors who can help answer your questions on any topic from investing and taxes to creating a budget.

Here are some other features worth mentioning, as well as ones that come standard with the free KOHO Prepaid Mastercard®:

  • Early Payroll – get up to $100 from of you paycheck a week early if you set up direct deposit
  • Earn more cash back from select brands or retailers
  • Increased interest-earning threshold with KOHO Save
  • RoundUp feature to save more money
  • Handy app to track your spending
Apply for KOHO Premium

Fees and Rates

KOHO Premium carries $84 (or $9/month) annual fee. The higher cash back earning potential can more than make up for the annual fee when compared to the standard KOHO Prepaid Mastercard®. For an additional $7 every month for 6 months, KOHO can also help increase your credit score with the Credit Building feature.

Who Is Eligible?

Pretty much anyone of legal age in Canada can use KOHO. In order to be eligible, you’ll need proof of ID for verification. KOHO doesn’t run a credit check when you apply; you can use KOHO even if you have a low credit score.

If you’re already using KOHO’s free plan, then there are no additional eligibility requirements to meet in order to upgrade to a Premium account. Simply sign up and start paying the monthly fees and you’re good to go.

Is KOHO Premium Worth the Price?

In short: yes.

Considering the extra savings you can earn with KOHO Premium, the cash back will easily cover the fee. Let’s break down the math.

With KOHO’s free plan, you’ll earn 0.5% cash back on all your purchases. If you spend an average of $2,000 a month on your KOHO card, you’ll earn $10 in cash back.

With KOHO Premium, if half of your $2,000 was spent on groceries, restaurants, take out, rideshares, and gas, then that would earn you $20 at the 2% cash back rate, plus an additional $5 for all the other purchases that earn you 0.5%.

That more than makes up for the KOHO Premium annual fee of $84 (or $9/month). It may seem small, but your spending and cash back earnings can add up. Not only that, but why not take advantage of the 2% cash back if you’re still going to end up earning more than the membership fee?

Here’s a better breakdown of KOHO’s standard plan compared to the Premium plan.

CategoryKOHOKOHO Premium
Annual Fee$0$84 (or $9/month)
Cash Back on $10,000 Spent (on Groceries, Transportation and Eating & Drinking)$50$200
Foreign Exchange Fees1.5%None
Daily Withdrawal Limit$400$800
Interest earnings limit with KOHO Save$240$480
International ATM Withdrawal Fees$2-$3 per transactionOne free per month

Should You Go With KOHO Premium?

That really depends on you and your spending habits. If you don’t spend a lot on groceries, restaurants, or transportation, then the cost of this card can outweigh the benefits. If you spend at least $350 a month in these categories on your KOHO card, you’ll cover the annual $84 (or $9/month) fee in cash back. And if you travel frequently, the KOHO Premium card can be a great addition to your wallet.

Final Word

If you’re new to KOHO, it could be worth starting with KOHO Premium right off the bat. You’ll get a 30-day free trial that will allow you to see if the fee is worth it. If you already have a free KOHO account, upgrading to Premium could be really worth your while if you travel internationally or simply want to earn more cash back on the items you buy frequently.

KOHO Premium may not be the best option for everyone but if you’re working to become fiscally responsible while easily earning cash back, KOHO Premium is a safe bet.

Apply for KOHO Premium

FAQ

KOHO is a financial service, not a bank. They’ve partnered with Peoples Trust, a CIDC-insured federally regulated bank to hold your money. If anything happens to KOHO, you can rest assured that your money is still safe and that you can always access it.
KOHO Visa acts like a Visa debit card; you can’t spend more than what you load into your account but you can use your card wherever Visa is accepted. Since you’re only spending what you have, you’ll never get hit with interest charges.
Nope! If you’re happy with your current KOHO card, there’s no need to change it. Once you upgrade, your account will be enabled with all the Premium features. If you do want the snazzy new KOHO Premium card, you can always request it through the app.

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.

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