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Alternatives to Koho

Let's take a look at the seven best alternatives to KOHO in Canada.

If you’re looking to open an account online in Canada, you may have noticed there’s a lot to choose from. KOHO is one of Canada’s most popular online financial institutions but if you’re looking to expand your search to other fintechs and banks, there are plenty of alternatives worth your consideration.

Is KOHO a real bank?

KOHO is a financial technology company, rather than a traditional bank. It offers online financial services that work like a bank account, by allowing you to use a prepaid Mastercard attached to a no-fee spending account.

KOHO is backed by its investors, which include Drive Capital and Portag3, and partnered with Mastercard.

Top 7 banking alternatives to KOHO

1. Tangerine

A subsidiary of Scotiabank, Tangerine is an online bank offering chequing and savings accounts, as well as credit cards and investment products. They also have lending options including mortgage, HELOC and line of credit borrowing.Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account is a popular choice among Canadians looking for a hassle-free, low-cost online bank account. And if you’re into cash back rewards, the World Mastercard can provide unlimited money back at up to 2% rewards, with no annual fee.

Tangerine Savings Account
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 4 / 5
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Tangerine Savings Account

6%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
The Tangerine Savings Account pays 0.6% interest on every dollar you deposit in your account. There's no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement, while it's easy to manage your account online or via the Tangerine mobile app. You can also automate your savings by setting up a regular deposit to your savings account.
  • Easy to open and manage your account
  • No fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • CDIC coverage
  • Other accounts have higher interest rates
  • No physical branches
Min. Age 16
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee N/A

2. Wise

Originally established in 2011 as TransferWise, Wise specializes in international currency exchange. Whether you’re sending and receiving international payments, spending your money abroad or otherwise exchanging foreign currency, Wise is a secure, quick and genuinely low-cost choice.In addition to low-fee currency exchange and international payments, Wise also offers a debit card that can be used to spend online or withdraw cash in over 40 different currencies, making it a useful option for those who travel frequently.

Wise Personal Account

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
The Wise Multi-Currency Account is designed to make it easy and affordable to send and receive international payments and exchange currencies. The account lets you hold 50+ currencies currencies and convert between them at the mid-market exchange rate, while local bank account details in up to 9 currencies mean you can receive payments from around the world. It's also backed by 24/7 multilingual support in case you ever have any problems with your account.
  • User-friendly app
  • Send money in 50+ currencies currencies
  • Get the mid-market exchange rate on currency conversions
  • Receive international payments in 9 currencies
  • No physical branches
  • Transfer fees apply
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0

3. Neo Financial

Neo is another Canadian financial technology company offering competitive, low-fee and high-interest banking. As well as a hybrid chequing/savings account, Neo offers a range of products including credit cards, mortgages and investment management services.The Neo Money card is a prepaid Mastercard with no monthly fees, free everyday transactions as well as some of the highest cash back rates at thousands of local businesses. Plus, the Neo app makes it easy to automate and track payments, budget and manage your money.

Neo High Interest Savings Account
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 4.1 / 5
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Neo High Interest Savings Account

4.00%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
Neo Money gives you access to a high-interest savings account that pays 4% interest on every dollar you deposit. You can create separate accounts to track your balance and split money across different savings goals, and you can pair your account with a Neo prepaid Mastercard. And if you want to boost your cash back earning power, you can sign up for a Premium account for $4.99 a month.
  • High interest rate
  • Cash back across a wide range of spending categories
  • Highly-rated mobile app
  • Easy access to your money
  • No physical branches
  • Relatively new provider
  • You'll need a paid plan to access the highest cash back rates and other discounts
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0

4. EQ Bank

EQ Bank is an online bank that is insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) and offers customers a wide range of personal and business banking products. Its primary offering is the EQ Bank Personal Account, which is a chequing account that comes with up to 4% in high-interest savings, and zero fees on everyday banking.

EQ Bank also offers dedicated savings accounts for TFSA and FHSA, as well as investment accounts and an EQ Bank Card. It also has a robust mobile app that makes it easy and convenient to manage your account.

EQ Bank Personal Account
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 4.3 / 5
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EQ Bank Personal Account

4%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
Earn 2.50% - 4.00% interest with an EQ Bank Personal Account. Enjoy zero everyday banking fees, free transactions and no minimum balance. Plus, you can also apply for a Joint account if you're looking to save with your partner or family.
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • $0 Interac eTransfers
  • Earn 2.50% - 4.00% interest on your balance
  • EQ Bank will refund withdrawal fees for using any ATM across Canada
  • No physical branches for in-person service
  • Some standard banking features not available such as overdraft protection and the option to have paper statements
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $0

5. Simplii Financial

An offshoot of CIBC, Simplii Financial offers a range of different account and product types. From no fee chequing, to high interest savings (starting at 0.40%) and even a student banking account, there is plenty to choose from. Simplii also offers personal loans and lines of credit, as well as mortgages and investing products.

Simplii Financial’s credit card is also worth a look, with cash back rewards from 0.5% to 4% and no annual fee.

Simplii High Interest Savings Account
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 3.9 / 5
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Simplii High Interest Savings Account

5.9%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
The Simplii High Interest Savings Account is another top pick for the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada. It earns a high promo rate of 5.9% interest for 5 months (and 0.4% thereafter). With a $0 account fee and $0 transactions, you can look forward to saving more of your hard earned money. Your savings will be accessible to you at all times – all you need to do is withdraw your funds with a Simplii Financial debit card or transfer money out of your account electronically.
  • $0 account fee
  • $0 transactions
  • Earn 5.9% interest for 5 months
  • No physical branches for in-person service
  • Low ongoing interest rate after the promo ends
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $45

6. Motusbank

Owned by the Meridian Credit Union, Motusbank is based in Toronto and was founded in 2018. It offers dedicated chequing and savings accounts, as well as investment accounts, mortgage lending and HELOCs.

At 0.15% the Motusbank chequing account provides decent returns on interest, especially compared to traditional banks. But you can also top that with a 2.05% high interest savings account, with no monthly fees or minimum account balances in play.

Motusbank High Interest Savings Account
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 3.6 / 5
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Motusbank High Interest Savings Account

2.05%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
unlimited
Transaction Fee
Motusbank's High-Interest Savings Account offers a competitive interest rate of 2.05%, allowing your money to grow faster while enjoying the benefits of digital banking. With no monthly fees, free Interac e-Transfers, and the security of a subsidiary of Meridian Credit Union, Motusbank combines convenience and profitability for your savings needs.
  • No monthly fees
  • High interest rate of 2.05%
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • Easy access through a user-friendly mobile app
  • Member ownership benefits.
  • No physical branches
  • Limited product range compared to larger banks
  • ATM fees for using non-EXCHANGE Network ATMs.
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee unlimited
Interac e-Transfer Fee N/A

7. Wealthsimple

Founded in 2014, Wealthsimple is primarily an online investments platform. In addition to its investment products and services, Wealthsimple also offers a competitive hybrid high interest chequing account.

Offering 4% interest on your holdings, Wealthsimple’s save and spend account offers up to 5x times CDIC protection, and as well as zero monthly fees and free Interac e-transfers. With a host of other leading investment services, Wealthsimple offers an attractive option for those looking to combine their banking and investments.

Wealthsimple Cash
Finder Rating: ★★★★★ 4.5 / 5
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Wealthsimple Cash

4.00% - 5.00%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
Although it functions as both a chequing and savings account, Wealthsimple Cash is a no-fee account with all the benefits of a high interest savings account. Perks include earning 4.00% to 5.00% interest (depending on how much money you hold in your account), being able to access your pay a day early, CDIC deposit insurance of up to $500,000, and the ability to earn 1% back in stock, crypto or cash when you make a purchase with your card.
  • No monthly fees
  • Earn 4% interest on your account balance
  • Unlimited free transfers
  • No minimum balance
  • Limited types of investments
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee N/A
NSF Fee $0

What should I look for when choosing an online bank?

With so much on offer when it comes to online banking, it can be an exciting time shopping around for the best deal. But the wealth of options also makes it a bit of a challenge to find the right bank for you. Here are some key points to keep in mind when making your choice:

Low fees

The majority of online banks come with zero monthly fees, as well as no minimum account balance fees and unlimited transactions. However, watch out for other fees such as foreign transaction or non-sufficient funds fees, which can often come in at around $45.

Take a detailed look at the fees for any bank you’re considering seriously, and keep in mind which of those fees you’re more likely to trigger depending on your banking habits.

Interest rates

One of the biggest benefits of online banking are the significantly higher interest rates when compared with traditional brick and mortar banks. These rates are possible for online banks because of their overhead savings, coupled with an extremely competitive and growing fintech industry.

Consider what kind of account(s) you’ll use with an online bank, and whether you’d prefer chequing, savings or a hybrid account. Interest rates can vary a lot, especially when taking promotional rates into account. Even though online banks offer great interest rates, it’s always worth checking the fine print.

Customer service

This aspect can make or break an online bank. With no possibility of face to face interactions, online banks have a huge gap to fill when it comes to customer service, and some do it better than others.

Online banks typically offer a range of phone, email or chat services. Whether your bank is online or not, good service is still a vital aspect of business and will be crucial if you ever face any issues with your account. You can browse online review sites and social media in order to learn about how well your potential online bank is doing in this regard.

Money transfers

When working with an online-only bank, it can help to have access to Interac e-Transfer or some alternative, easy money transfer solution.

You won’t have access to services such as wire transfers, as you would with a traditional bank, so if sending or receiving money is something you do often you’ll want to keep your eyes open for an online bank that can facilitate that. You can also look out for banks offering free Interac transfers.

Bottom line

KOHO is among the top online financial institutions in Canada, but the landscape is competitive and there are a host of other strong options to choose from. Whether it’s no-fee chequing, high-interest saving, investment tools or competitive mortgage lending, you’ll find it all online – perhaps even in one place.

FAQ

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Contributor

Steven Brennan is a freelance finance writer working from Vancouver, B.C. He has a BA and an MA in English Literature at the University of Ireland, Maynooth, and also spent time working in Italy and Vietnam as an English teacher. Today, he writes regularly on a range of personal finance topics including banking, loans, mortgages, insurance and tax. His work has appeared on sites such as LowestRates.ca and WealthRocket, as well as in print with Canadian MoneySaver. See full bio

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