Earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation. KOHO offer credit-building through their prepaid card for an extra monthly fee.
KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard review
- Monthly Fee
- Cost per transaction
- Foreign transaction fee
- 1% cash back
KOHO offers a free prepaid reloadable Mastercard that can also work as a chequing and savings account at the same time. You can earn cashback rewards on most purchases and you can upgrade your plan to unlock additional perks. When you open a KOHO account, you will be on the free plan (Easy). You load money onto your KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard and use it to buy things like you would use a debit card or a regular credit card. It's a prepaid card, meaning you can only spend the funds you load onto it. The KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard works like a debit card because you can't spend money you don't have.
Best for: Those looking for a prepaid card that offers plenty of perks.
Earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation
Build your savings by earning interest with KOHO Save
Avoid common credit card and banking fees
Doesn't help to improve your credit score
KOHO is 100% online and there is no in-person assistance available
How do I get started with the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard?
- Sign up for the KOHO app. Use this secure link to be directed to KOHO’s site where you are required to provide some basic personal and financial information to sign up for your account. KOHO says for most users this takes “minutes”. You do not need to pass a credit check to get a KOHO card. There is both an English and a fully translated French version of the app.
- Load money. You can add money to your KOHO account via an e-Transfer from your bank, your employer can send all or a portion of your pay cheque directly to KOHO via direct deposit, or you can use your existing Visa debit card or Mastercard debit to load funds.
- Get the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard. The KOHO prepaid card comes in the mail after you sign up.
How much does using KOHO cost?
KOHO really wants you to know that it does not charge many of the fees associated with so-called “Big Banks” in Canada. Unlike what you have to pay for many other credit cards or bank accounts, KOHO‘s annual fee is $0. And you’re charged $0 transaction fees, as opposed to paying for every transaction over a predetermined minimum each month, like you do with many chequing accounts. KOHO has also partnered with Mastercard to access the Mastercard ATM network to let you withdraw cash with your card. However, you may be charged a small fine, like $3, as an ATM out-of-network fee if you use other machines.
What are the benefits of using the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard?
- Save on bank and credit card fees. This KOHO Mastercard can help you avoid fees common to banks and credit cards. KOHO allows you to pay bills, transfer money, shop online and take out money from an ATM. However, depending on your banking needs you may still have to maintain an account at a bank. In that case you would have to pay the fees associated with that institution.
- Save on interest. TransUnion reported at the end of 2019 that the average credit card balance in Canada was $4,2440 If you don’t pay your balance on time you can be hit with hefty interest charges. Because the KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard is not a credit card, you cannot spend money you don’t have. This means you don’t have to worry about running a balance and accumulating interest charges.
- Save on travel. You can use your KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard outside of Canada. KOHO charges a 1.5% fee on transactions in foreign currency. To compare, some Canadian banks and credit card companies charge a 2-3% fee for every purchase you make in foreign currency.
- Track and analyze spending. The KOHO app analyzes how you spend your money. The app divides your spending into categories and tracks how you measure up to your savings goals. While this feature may be handy, it may not appeal to those experienced and disciplined in the art of budgeting.
KOHO Prepaid Mastercard perks
- Cash back Rewards. This KOHO card offers 1% cash back on groceries and transportation.
- Build savings. KOHO offers a round-up feature that lets you tack on a pre-set amount of money on every purchase that goes straight to your savings. Let’s say you choose a round-up amount of $2 – when you buy a $1.30 cup of coffee, an additional $1.70 is automatically moved to your savings account.
- Automated savings. To help reach your financial goals sooner, you can also set up your accounts to make automatic transfers to your savings. For example, you could set up an automatic transfer of $50.00 to your savings on the same day every month after you get payed.
- 3rd Party e-transfers. KOHO users can now accept Interac e-Transfers from friends, family, and business accounts to their KOHO accounts. When you open a KOHO account, you will get a unique KOHO e-transfer email address. You can also set up auto-deposit to receive e-Transfers automatically.
- Add KOHO Cover. Add KOHO Cover for $5 a month and get up to $50 zero-interest overdraft protection, which can help you make a purchase when you don’t have enough cash in your account. This limit increases up to $250 if you continue to pay the monthly subscription fee. The cover subscription also comes with financial coaching services. There's no application process, no effect on credit score, and no late fees.
What to watch out for with this Koho Mastercard
- Not a bank. You can’t visit a branch in person and KOHO doesn’t provide all the services of a major bank.
- Doesn’t help your credit score. Using a prepaid card doesn’t help you build your credit and you have to keep re-loading funds in order to use the card. Check other credit cards that are designed to help you build credit here.
Compare other KOHO prepaid cards
KOHO‘s main selling point is that it doesn’t charge its customers like other financial institutions do, by charging a $0 annual fee and $0 transaction fees. They also offer lower fees on foreign transactions. KOHO gives cash back rewards for using its card. If you make a lot of transactions, KOHO‘s round-up and cash back features can help you save money.
That said, there are ways to avoid some of the fees KOHO says it helps you save – for example, maintaining a high balance in your chequing account or using a no-fee credit card. And KOHO provides many, but not all of, the services of major banks. For example, it does not offer RRSP, TFSA or RESP accounts. You also need to load the card regularly and manage your balance within the app.