KOHO Review

Annual Fee
$0
Max Earnings Rate
2%
Base Rewards Earning Rate
0.5%
Min Personal Income Required
$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.

New(er) kid on the block, KOHO, has come in to shake Canadian’s finances for the better. Their mission: help Canadians take control of their finances by monitoring spending, educating the masses, and providing the tools to save and budget.

What Is KOHO?

KOHO is both a physical pre-paid card, integrated with an app that shows you real-time insights about your spending. The app shows you where your money is going and how to save it, allowing you to track your spending and better understand your financial health. The KOHO card is a free, preloaded, rechargeable Mastercard® that you can use to make purchases, earning cashback when you do. So spend wisely and save all in the same place. KOHO is also a good resource for budgeting, with real-time insights about your monthly spending.

KOHO’s Kool-Aid

  • No Annual Fee
  • 1.2% interest on funds if you set up direct deposit
  • 0.5% cashback on all your purchases
  • Learn about your spending habits in Real-Time
  • Round-Up your purchase and save the rest!

Apply for KOHO Here

KOHO Accounts

KOHO offers two types of accounts: personal and joint.

Personal KOHO Accounts

A personal account lets you load up your prepaid Mastercard®, accepted everywhere Mastercard® is accepted, with however much funding you want access to, and use it to make everyday purchases. So if you load up $500, you’ll be able to access, budget, spend and earn cashback with those funds. Personal accounts come with access to the mobile app that’s loaded with features like spend notifications, insights, and savings plans.

Joint KOHO Accounts

Joint accounts are a convenient way to efficiently share an expense account or split funds with someone else. You’ll get real-time notifications on spending, good for keeping tabs on how much and on what your teenager is spending, for example. You’ll also be able to set goals together. And the joint account has no minimum balance requirement.

KOHO Premium

KOHO also has a premium plan. You’ll get perks like:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free financial coaching
  • Price matching
  • Higher load and withdrawal limits
  • More Cash back earning potential
  • Higher earn rate (2% versus 0.5%)

Want to learn more? Read our KOHO Premium review.

How Can I Apply?

What perks can I get when using Koho?

Signing up with KOHO was very fast. Start with the application process:

  1. Fill out the quick application form. It’s the usual questions like email address, birth date, and home address
  2. Pick your card color scheme (fun!)
  3. Agree to the terms, and sign up is done.
  4. Next, you’ll get a Mastercard® in the mail that you can activate and reload whenever you want. This can be done via an e-Transfer or direct deposit of a portion or all of your paycheque.

Once loaded, you can use your KOHO card for all of your spending needs, including groceries, purchases, and utility bills. You can spend whatever money is on the card. But KOHO does encourage you to save by giving you a smart spending account.

On May 16, 2022, the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® updated their product offering from Visa to Mastercard®. New users will receive a Mastercard® from this date forward while existing users have the option to make the switch until October 2022. A new KOHO Physical Mastercard® will be sent to the user within 10 business days once a request is received and during this time period users will be still be able to utilize all of the features available in the KOHO mobile app.

Apply for KOHO Here

Why Go With KOHO?

In a nutshell, KOHO is dishing out a great offer. Get a card from a Fintech company without the pricey, complicated fees structure that you’re used to from your bank, earn rewards, and get some additional perks thrown into the mix.

Rewards

KOHO comes with an unusual perk: cashback rewards. This is pretty much unheard of with chequing or prepaid accounts, so it’s a big deal. KOHO offers 0.5% cashback on all of your spending, and there are no limitations on your cashback earnings. Get 2% on three specific categories when you sign up for Premium.

Cardholders will earn an additional Cash back when you use your KOHO card with many of their participating retailers, helping you earn more on top of what you’re already earning. For example, you’ll get 3% extra cash back when you use your KOHO card at Chef’s Plate. If you have a premium account, you’ll get even higher cash back earning rates.

Redeeming the Rewards

Your rewards are automatically sent to your savings tab within one to two business days and can be spent however you want.

Spend Tracking

Another big benefit of using the KOHO app is that it gives you a bird’s eye view of your spending habits and amounts. See in real-time and actual numbers how much you’re spending on your weekly Timmies run! KOHO breaks up your spending into categories, so you can clearly chart where your money is going. You can even see how your spending compares to other KOHO members. That’s a good way to shame you into more responsible spending habits(because you can’t run from the truth!).

Savings Goals

While most Canucks won’t put money aside at random, nearly everyone will put away a little bit at a time if they have a concrete goal in front of them. The KOHO app sets up your savings goal and gives you a concrete goal to work towards along with a breakdown of the exact amount you should squirrel away each week/month/paycheque/etc.

KOHO makes this even more attainable by setting up auto savings plans. Tell KOHO how much you want to save, how much time you want to save it in, and the app will do the rest using a sneaky feature called RoundUp. It’s a simple concept in theory that we find absolutely brilliant in practice.

Here’s how it works:

  • You make a purchase using your KOHO card.
  • When the bill gets totaled, it is usually an odd amount ($3, $12.35, $7.50)
  • KOHO’s RoundUp feature will round up your bill to the nearest $1, $5 or $10 and put the difference into your savings account.
  • So, if you spent $7.50 on Timbits and you set your RoundUp to $10, KOHO will automatically round up the purchase to $10, charge you $10, and deposit $2.50 into your savings fund.
  • Bam, you’ve just saved $2.50 without even thinking about it.

This doesn’t sound like a lot, but those loonies definitely added up and fast.

Other KOHO Perks

What else does KOHO offer? A lot, actually. These perks aren’t as prominent as things like cash back, no fees, and automatic saving tools, but they still add real value to the KOHO card and app. We particularly like:

Financial Coaching

It’s no secret that Canadians are in one of the worst financial situations on the planet. Bad spending habits, poor budget planning, and a serious lack of financial education have all contributed to the abysmal state that the current Canadian economy is in.

KOHO graciously offers financial advice for its direct deposit customers. If you have your payroll sent directly to your KOHO account, you can ask professionals questions about important finance topics like savings, debt, investing, budgeting, and more. This is a really valuable resource that any Canadian will benefit from, and it’s free for Premium members.

App Efficiency

KOHO is an all-in-one solution that can easily replace several of your other financial management and other financial apps by pooling all of these resources onto one convenient app. In our book, that’s a major plus. Combine things like direct deposit, money transfers, auto-payments for recurring bills, savings accounts, and more to more efficiently manage your finances.

Fast, Convenient, and Available Support

Another smaller but pretty great feature KOHO boasts is its great customer support. KOHO customers have access to live chat support available seven days a week. While this isn’t 24/7, it is still a beauty of a feature.

Referral Program

KOHO‘s referral bonus may be a relatively modest $20, but it’s noteworthy because $20 is awarded to both the person who initiates the referral *and* the recipient of the referral. This mutual benefit might go a long way in convincing your friends to sign up. Each cardholder is limited to a maximum of 50 referrals ($1,000 worth of referral bonuses) for the lifetime of their KOHO account.

Can I get a KOHO card?

Just about anyone of legal age can get a KOHO card. You may be required to complete additional verification steps if you do not verify automatically at first:

– Bank statement
– Credit card statement
– Utility bill
– CRA document
– Scan of Canadian provincial driver’s license

Should I Get a KOHO Card?

KOHO offers Canadians a lot of value for money. It’s convenient, free, and comes with oodles of features. It’s also got a great cashback program that you can’t beat.

But KOHO isn’t all peaches and cream. For example, there are limitations on how much you can put on or take off the card. The daily deposit limit is $3,000, and the withdrawal limit is $600 from an ATM each day. Your deposit cap is $20,000 total on the card, as well. There’s no spending limit on the card, though. So as long as you have the funds available, you can spend whatever’s there.

KOHO is a good choice for you if you are looking to save money but haven’t been able or are even sure how to do it. Just having more knowledge of your spending habits will usually encourage Canadians to spend less. Plus, with the convenient automatic savings feature, KOHO ensures that anyone can (and will) save constantly.

KOHO is also ideal for people who don’t want to pay high fees typically, travelers who want to save on foreign transaction fees, and tech-savvy Canucks.

Of course, if you’re very old school, are heavy into investing in major accounts, or need access to bundles of funds every day, then KOHO might not be your best choice.

The KOHO Cost

The real beauty of this card/app is in its pricing structure. KOHO charges absolutely no fees; no joke. The KOHO card isn’t like other credit or other cards Canadians are used to dealing with. There are zero monthly fees to deal with, making it a much more affordable option for anyone looking to save. There are no transfer fees, no card replacement fees, no account balance fees, no maintenance fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees (as long as you use a KOHO ATM).

The Premium plan costs $84 (or $9/month). This pays for itself after spending $467, thanks to the boosted earn rate and offers the added perks we mentioned above.

Comparing KOHO to the Competition

 KohoStack Mogo
Monthly FeesNoneNoneNone
Rewards ProgramCashback on purchasesOffers and dealsEvery time you use the card, you’ll plant a tree
Budgeting ToolsYes Yes Yes
Auto-Savings Yes Yes No
CarrierMastercard®Mastercard®Visa

KOHO and Stack are very similar. They offer almost the same perks, including no fees, auto-savings, and budgeting tools. But Stack doesn’t have a cashback program, which is a bummer. Also, Stack isn’t available in Quebec.

Mogo is another option. Mogo offers a few different financial products, like loans, mortgages, and credit checks with free monthly credit score monitoring, and free fraud ID protection. The Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card is the most similar to what KOHO offers. The concept here is similar: you get a Visa card connected to an app that helps you control your spending. And for each transaction on the Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card a carbon-sucking tree will be planted—for free.

Our Final Word

To sum it up, KOHO is a great resource for any Canadian looking to both save and earn money at the same time. The card is completely free to use, offers cashback on all purchases, and has no limits on spending. The KOHO app has loads of useful resources like savings insights and an auto-saving tool to help save even more.

If you need access to tens of thousands of dollars each day, KOHO isn’t for you. Otherwise, if you want to efficiently and conveniently manage your finances, a little at a time, save more, and earn some extra cash, KOHO is a great option.

Author Bio

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker has been writing for GreedyRates since 2017, and loves learning about the latest trends in Canadian personal finance. Topics of particular interest to Sarah include investing, debt consolidation, debt counselling, and rewards programs. When she's not researching credit cards or loan repayment strategies, Sarah is most likely hanging out with her husband and three kids.

Article comments

6 comments
Gilberte says:

Only use KOHO is you can afford to be a victim of fraud and unauthorized transactions and never see your money again. Altought they put on their website that they have the Visa Zero liability policy, they do not honor it. So, don’t leave on that card any more money then you are willing to loose.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Gilberte,
Wow, I’m really sorry that happened to you. It really is unfortunate that they didn’t offer their Visa Zero liability policy in your case. Did they give you a reason as to why that was? despite advertising such a policy on their website?

Chee says:

Can I use KOHO to pay income tax and property tax?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Chee,
No. Income and Property Tax can’t be paid with a credit card only with a debit card or through online banking.

ed says:

Can you load the card with us dollars ?

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Ed,
You can’t load the card with US dollars, but it is actually a feature that’s been requested on KOHO’s official roadmap. For now you’ll have to load CAD and pay the going exchange rate and 1.5% foreign exchange fee (if you’re using the free account).