Koho prepaid Visa card: a full review

Fernando Figueiredo

The Koho card is a prepaid Visa card that you can use in just the same way as you would a credit or debit card. Who or what is Koho, you ask? It’s a Canadian fintech company.

Koho and its card are one of a number of innovative new products available in Canada aiming to challenge the big banks, and the company offers a few interesting features that may tempt you over.

But how does Koho really stack up against the competition? In this review, we’ll take a look. And we’ll also have a look at the Wise card, an easy and low cost option especially when you want to spend in different currencies.

What is the Koho prepaid Visa: the basics and how it works

Is Koho a bank account?

KOHO is a Canadian fintech based in Toronto. It’s not considered a bank, but - together with Peoples Trust through - it has banking services, which you can use via their mobile app and card.

The Koho Visa Card Card

The Koho card is not a credit card – it’s a prepaid card. That means you have to load money onto the card in advance of spending it. Therefore, you’re never spending any money you don’t already have, so using it won’t push you into debt. In that sense, it’s unlike a credit card.

But when it comes to everyday spending, it’s very much like a credit card. It’s a Visa, so you can use it very widely both online and off. And you can even earn points and get rewards. Koho offers 0.5% cash back on every purchase made using the card.

So it’s one to check out if you want some of the benefits of a credit card, without racking up debt you then have to repay. And it’s also an option for those who can’t get a credit card because of their credit history.

For the basic Koho account and card, there’s no annual fee.¹ But that’s not the case with other options of the card, as you’ll find now.

Koho Joint prepaid Visa

As well as the standard Koho card and account, there’s a Koho Joint option. It’s very similar – but additionally lets you add your partner onto the card so you can share your financial decisions and spendings.¹

Koho Premium prepaid Visa

There’s a third type of Koho account on offer too: Koho Premium. For $84 a year or $9 a month you can get a few extra features: 2% cash back when you spend on transportation, groceries, and restaurants, no foreign exchange fees if you use your card internationally, and also a free international ATM withdrawal every month.¹

With Premium you also get price protection on your purchases, priority user support, and even financial coaching if you want it.²

Do KOHO cards build credit?

Yes. Koho account holders can do something you can’t generally do with prepaid cards: improve your credit score.

The credit building feature charges you $7 a month – and that’s the fee that, if you do indeed pay it each month, helps you improve your credit rating.¹² This feature reports your progress to a major credit bureau, helping you build the score. In the app, you can check what’s your credit score, and every month you can track the latest update after the payment has been taken.

Is Koho legit?

Yes, Koho is legitimate and safe, and partnered with the bank Peoples Trust Company.³ ⁴

Peoples Trust is the organization that will return your funds to you, should Koho fail, so there is security even though Koho itself isn’t CDIC insured.

That said, interest-earning accounts with Koho – more on them later – are CDIC insured.⁴

Koho and Koho Premium Visa fees and limits

Here are some of the numbers you’ll need to be aware of with the various Koho cards.

Feature Koho⁵ Koho Joint⁶ Koho Premium⁷
Fee $0 $0 $84 yearly or $9 monthly (30 day trial for free)
Foreign transaction fee⁸ 1.5% 1.5% 0%
ATM withdrawals⁸ $2-3 depending on network– not charged by Koho $2-3 depending on network– not charged by Koho $2-3 depending on network– not charged by Koho
Non-sufficient funds⁸ $0 $0 $0
Maximum card balance $40,000 $40,000 $40,000
Maximum daily load amount (account) $20,000 $20,000 $20,000
Maximum monthly load amount (account) $40,000 $40,000 $60,000
Maximum monthly load amount (card) $20,000 $20,000 not stated
Maximum daily number of loads 34 20 40
Maximum monthly number of loads 120 60 150
Maximum card transaction amount $4,000 $4,000 $4,000
Maximum daily ATM withdrawal $600 $600 $800
Maximum ATM limit per withdrawal $300 $300 $400
Maximum ATM count 5 5 5

Koho prepaid Visa rewards

The Koho card offers rewards in the same way as many credit cards: with cash back.

All accounts offer 0.5% cash back on all purchases, but the Premium one gives 2% on transportation, groceries, and restaurants.

And in fact you can claim even more cash back if you shop with certain brands – 5%, for instance, with Attitude, Baskin Robbins, Buffalo, Contiki, Frank And Oak, and some others.⁹ That’s additional to the standard cash back you get.

Other benefits of the Koho prepaid Visa

There are a few extra things that Koho can do for you.¹⁰

  • If you’re on the government payroll, you can get $100 in advance if you’re getting CRA payments directly into your Koho account.
  • Koho’s RoundUp feature rounds up your spending to the nearest dollar, making it easy to squirrel away small amounts.
  • Budgeting tools help you keep track of your spending.

And a couple more too, which merit a few more words each:

Earning interest with Koho

Unlike many spending or current accounts, you can earn interest with Koho at 1.2%.

To be eligible for it, you need to have direct deposit set up so you’re automatically topping up your Koho account each month.¹¹

Interest rates are low in general these days, so this could be an attractive offer.

Koho prepaid Visa pros and cons

So, is the Koho prepaid Visa worth it?

The benefits are numerous, although you might personally not want or need to take advantage of all of them. But the cash back on offer makes it potentially a better earner than some prepaid cards, and the additional saving and credit building features could be useful too.

That said, when it comes to credit building, a credit card may still prove the more effective option to rebuild your rating, so long as you can keep up with repayments. A secured credit card could be a good way to get started, if you can afford an initial deposit.

The fees are low or zero, and the limits shouldn’t prove much of an obstacle for most normal spending.

Koho Premium Visa pros and cons

What about the Koho Premium card? The first question here is whether you can, and whether you want to, afford the $84 yearly fee. Then, you’ll need to think about whether that fee is worth it. If your monthly spend in transportation, groceries, and restaurants is high, there’s a chance you can make the fee back in cash back alone.

For more moderate spenders, you’ll need to consider the additional premium features too, including whether you’ll get value out of not having foreign exchange fees, and if you’d like to take advantage of the financial coaching offer.

Koho alternatives

There are two similar prepaid cards from Canadian fintech companies: Mogo and Stack. Mogo goes hard on environmental credentials, planting a tree every time you use the card, and Stack is particularly good for frequent travellers, currently offering no foreign exchange fees.

The best prepaid cards in Canada additionally include products from CIBC and BMO.

Or, as mentioned before, a secured credit card could be a good option if you’re struggling to get approved for a standard credit card. With a secured card, you pay a deposit upfront which is also your credit limit. The Home Trust Secured and Refresh Financial Secured Visas are both popular options in Canada.

Or maybe you just want a credit card without having to pay over the odds. If so, the best no-fee credit cards in Canada include the American Express Green and SimplyCash cards, BMO CashBack, MBNA Rewards platinum Plus, and Tangerine Money-Back.

Want to spend in different currencies? Meet Wise and save your money.

If you’re planning to spend in different currencies, have a look on what Wise has to offer. The Wise card is 4x cheaper than banks for spending abroad..

You won’t have any hidden foreign transaction fees - your money gets converted with the real mid-market rate, no matter if you spend in-person or online in over 200 countries. The only cost you’ll have is a very low and transparent conversion fee, in case you need to convert your Canadian dollars. Unlike many other cards, there are no monthly or annual charges, nor any minimum balance requirements.

Get your Wise Card, start saving


Sources:

  1. Koho accounts 6 December 2021
  2. Koho Premium 6 December 2021
  3. Koho about 6 December 2021
  4. Koho Help: Is KOHO CDIC Insured? 6 December 2021
  5. Koho Help: Regular Account Velocity Limits 6 December 2021
  6. Koho Help: Joint Account Velocity Limits 6 December 2021
  7. Koho Help: Premium Account Velocity Limits 6 December 2021
  8. Koho Help: How Does KOHO Stack Up? 6 December 2021
  9. Koho Powerups 6 December 2021
  10. Koho Features 7 December 2021
  11. Koho Save 7 December 2021
  12. Koho Credit Building 7 December 2021

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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