Moka app review
How the Moka app rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the change.
Investing is an important part of any financial plan, but it can be difficult and daunting. The Moka app invests your spare change in stocks and bonds as part of a personalized portfolio.
How does Moka work?
Moka, previously known as Mylo, invests your spare change – your electronic spare change that is. Once you download the Moka app on your phone, you can connect it to your debit or credit card, or both. When you make purchases using the connected card(s), Moka rounds your purchase up to the nearest dollar and invests the extra.
For example, when you buy a cup of coffee for $1.85 with your debit card, Moka will round up the amount to $2.00 in this case and invest the extra 15 cents. That may sound like a pittance, but over the course of a year, your spare change can really add up. For example, three transactions a day with an average round-up of 50 cents equals $547.50 – all of it invested without you doing anything beyond buying the things you normally do.
|Minimum deposit to open an account||$0|
|Available asset types||ETFs|
|Available accounts||RRSP, TFSA or non-registered accounts|
How much does Moka cost?
|Moka’s management fee||$4.99/month (flat fee)|
|Average robo-advisor’s management fee||0.4%-0.6% of portfolio value|
|Average traditional financial advisor’s management fee||1-2% per of portfolio value|
|Management expense ratio (MER)*|
*The underlying fund companies in your portfolio charge the MER fee, not the robo-advisor. The cost varies depending on the fund and the company. MER fees apply no matter what robo-advisor or traditional advisor you use to manage your money. You’d even have to pay them if you picked all the ETF funds yourself using an online broker.
With Moka, the more you save the more value you get. The flat monthly fee amounts to an annual charge of $48. Your round-ups would have to total $6,000 in a one-year period to equal an annual fee of 0.8%. If your round-ups totaled $1,000, the annual fee would be about 4.8%. Moka‘s value proposition gets better the longer you use the app and the more money you build up in your portfolio. If you build your portfolio up to $30,000, that $48 annual fee works out to about 1.6% of your total funds invested.
How to use the Moka app:
- Download the Moka app.
- Answer the questions about your risk preference and goals. You will be prompted to answer questions about your financial situation, the level of investing risk you are comfortable taking on and your financial goals. Moka says this information allows its fund managers to recommend a portfolio that reflects your unique situation.
- Buy stuff. Moka uses something a round-up feature. Every purchase you make is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the amount rounded up is invested in your portfolio. This doesn’t happen instantaneously. Moka automatically withdraws the total of your round-ups from the past seven days from your account each week.
- Watch your money grow. Now for the easy part. Moka balances your portfolio of ETFs according to how the market is moving. Your money is invested by a portfolio manager from Tactex Asset Management, a Moka company that manages over $140 million in assets.
Why should I invest with Moka?
Moka helps turn spending habits into saving habits. You don’t need to know anything about investing, you don’t have to change your lifestyle, and you don’t even need to make deposits. Some people have a difficult time saving money. One way to look at Moka is as a forced savings tool that is easier than figuring out how to set aside money each month.
The Moka app also lets you set financial goals, like saving for retirement, a down payment on a new home or for other big purchases. You can even opt to increase your savings by creating what Moka calls “multipliers” on your round-ups, which allocate an additional amount from each purchase to different goals.
For example, if you buy a coffee for $4.50, you could set up Moka to double your 50 cents in spare change, rounding it up to $1. As the company describes it, you’d be putting $1 aside on a $4.50 purchase.
What are the benefits of Moka?
- Forced savings. You don’t need to do anything more than make your regular purchases in order to deposit into your Moka account.
- More than one account type and portfolio. You can invest in an RRSP, a TFSA or a non-registered account. You will also have access to Socially Responsible Investing portfolios that are made up of companies engaging in ethical business practices in the following areas: climate change, gender diversity in the workplace, corporate responsibility and sustainable development.
- Personalized investments. Your portfolio is based on your personal risk preferences, current financial situation and goals.
- Security. Moka uses the same security measures as major Canadian banks – 256-bit encryption, SSL connections and strict internal security policies based on ISO standards.
- Flexibility. You can access your earnings with free, next-day withdrawals at no extra cost.
- Perks. Moka‘s cashback Perks Program is available to monthly subscribers. You can save money through exclusive deals and discounts every month when you shop with brands like UberEats, Apple Music, Footlocker, and more. Moka also offers an “advisor” service. This is a real-time chat function built into the app that lets you ask Moka advisors whatever you want about your finances whenever you want. (Note: Moka refers to its advisors as experts, although it doesn’t specifically state what credentials they have.)
What to watch out for?
- Online only. Moka operates entirely online, so you won’t be able to visit a branch or speak to customer service in person.
- Slightly higher fees depending on your account value. Since Moka charges a flat monthly rate, you will be paying a higher fee (as a percentage of your portfolio) the lower your account value is.
- NSF fees. Banks charge their clients a fee when they try to take out more money from the account than they have deposited. If there’s only $10 in your bank account and you withdraw $20, you may be charged. This charge is called a non-sufficient-funds fee (NSF). Moka says it prevents transfers from your funding source to your investment account when there isn’t enough money in your account. However, the company recommends that you pause round-ups when your balance is very low.
How do I get started with the Moka app?
- Be a Canadian citizen and resident
- Valid social insurance number
- Have a valid bank account or credit card
- Be over the age of 18
- Email address
- First and last name
- Online banking information
- Social insurance number
- Financial goals
I’ve signed up for the Moka app, now what?
- Make purchases and watch your investments grow.
- Monitor your savings progress via the app and change your financial goals as necessary.
- Set up a recurring deposit into your Moka portfolio, which would be a more traditional way of building savings.
- Moka also offers a financial advisor service via real-time chat. You can ask any questions you might have about your financial situation or finances in general.
The Moka app is suitable for those just starting to invest. It rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference in a personalized portfolio. You pick one of five portfolio options to find an investment strategy that meets your goals and risk tolerance.
Because you are paying a flat monthly fee instead of a percentage of your total funds, Moka provides more value the more you use it and the more money you accumulate in your portfolio. Also bear in mind your options are relatively limited in terms of what you can invest in. This app may be useful for those who struggle with setting aside money to save or for those who find investing a daunting proposition.
Frequently asked questions about Moka
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.