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KOHO review

Enjoy a range of basic and premium accounts that come with no monthly fees and a KOHO prepaid card to make purchases. 

KOHO is a well-known online bank that offers basic and premium spending accounts linked to a reloadable prepaid Visa card. These accounts aren’t designed for cashing cheques or sending international transfers, but they will allow you to carry out many of the everyday transactions that a traditional bank account might offer.

How does KOHO work?

KOHO is an online financial institution that offers basic, premium and joint chequing accounts to customers. Every account offers a number of different features, and each one comes with a reloadable prepaid Koho Visa that’s linked to your account balance and lets you earn cash back whenever you make purchases.

Once you load money into your account, you’ll be able to use this card wherever Visa is accepted. You won’t pay interest when you spend money on your card since you’re never borrowing actual “credit.” If you want to earn interest on your money while you spend, you can also choose to sign up for “KOHO Save” with any account you hold.

What financial products does KOHO offer?

KOHO spending accounts

KOHO offers basic, premium and joint spending accounts to customers. All of these accounts qualify for a KOHO prepaid credit card.

  • Basic accounts. These accounts come with no monthly or annual fees, and you’ll earn at least 0.5% in cash back with every purchase. You can also choose to take advantage of special savings features such as rounding up every dollar you spend to funnel the difference into savings.
  • Premium accounts. Premium accounts offer a 2% cash back return on special categories such as transportation, groceries and restaurants. They also come with bonuses such as no foreign transaction fees, one free international ATM withdrawal per month and specialized financial coaching to help you reach your savings goals. The downside is that they also come with a fee of $84 per year or $9 per month to maintain.
  • Joint accounts. Joint accounts function like basic accounts except that you’ll typically sign up for them with your partner. This will let you easily pool and share money to pay household bills or reach joint savings goals. You’ll also receive instant notifications whenever anyone spends money on your account.
  • KOHO Earn Interest. KOHO Earn Interest is an add-on feature that lets you turn any of the above accounts into savings accounts. Once you sign up for KOHO Earn Interest, all of the money in your KOHO account will convert to earning interest, and you can still spend from it to make your purchases.

KOHO Visa cards

KOHO Prepaid Visa cards are included with any spending account you open. These cards act like debit cards by using the money in your account to make purchases. This lets you avoid paying interest while still earning credit card rewards.

  • KOHO Prepaid Visa card. The KOHO Prepaid Visa card is included with any spending account you open. It lets you earn cash back between 0.5% and 2%, depending on which type of account you open. You can also choose from four stylish card designs and colours when you sign up.

Compare Koho prepaid cards

Name Product Monthly fee Cost per transaction Foreign transaction fee Rewards with this card Feature
KOHO Prepaid Visa card
0.5% cash back
Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
Earn 0.5% cash back on every eligible purchase. KOHO offer credit-building through their prepaid card for an extra monthly fee.
KOHO Premium Prepaid Card
$9/month or $84 annually
Up to 2% cash back
Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
Earn 2% cash back on transportation, grocery and restaurant purchases. Plus, get a 30 day free trial. KOHO offer credit-building through their prepaid card for an extra monthly fee.
KOHO Joint Prepaid Card
0.5% cash back
Use promo code FINDERCODE and receive a $20 cash bonus into your KOHO balance once you make your first purchase within 30 days of signing up.
Earn 0.5% cash back on every eligible purchase. KOHO offer credit-building through their prepaid card for an extra monthly fee.

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How does KOHO compare to other banks?

KOHO is fairly different from other in-person and online banks. This is because it doesn’t offer traditional chequing and savings accounts. Instead, it offers spending accounts that come with prepaid credit cards and extra perks that might not be available with other providers.

The main downside of KOHO is that you won’t be able to do your banking in person, which can be an issue for some customers. You also can’t carry out certain transactions with your account, such as paying with paper cheques or receiving Interac e-Transfers from your KOHO account. However, for many, this won’t be an issue.

Why should I open an account with KOHO?

There are a number of benefits that you can take advantage of when you sign up for one of KOHO‘s accounts or other financial products:

  • Easy application. You can easily sign up for an account in a matter of minutes by submitting an application online.
  • Cash back return. Earn 0.5% cash back for every dollar you spend on your account (or 2% on select categories with a premium account).
  • No interest charges. Save on interest payments since you can only use money that’s already in your account (which means you’ll never go into the red).
  • Many supported transactions. Use your prepaid Visa to make unlimited purchases or to pay bills and withdraw funds from domestic ATMs at no extra charge.
  • Premium benefits. Pay a little bit more each month to get premium benefits such as no foreign exchange fees, financial coaching and price matching.
  • Stylish design. Choose from a number of stylish card designs.
  • Mobile app. KOHO offers a state of the art mobile app that comes with tons of budgeting and tracking tools. There is both an English and fully translated French version of the app.
  • KOHO Early Payroll feature. KOHO offers access to a no fee, no interest $100 paycheque advance with no impact on credit scores as long as you set up direct deposit to your KOHO account from your employer.

What should I watch out for with a KOHO account?

Aside from KOHO‘s many benefits, there are a handful of drawbacks you should be aware of before signing up

  • No in-person service. You won’t be able to visit a branch in person to get help with your account.
  • Some transactions aren’t available. You can’t write paper cheques or send money overseas using your KOHO account.
  • Premium accounts cost more. You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $9 if you decide to go with a premium account.
  • No investment products. You won’t be able to use KOHO to open savings products such as TFSAs, RRSPs or guaranteed investment certificates.
  • Limited ways to load funds. You can only load funds into your account by sending yourself an Interac e-Transfer or by signing up for direct deposit.
  • Maximum limits. You’ll only be able to load up to $20,000 onto your KOHO Prepaid Visa card at one time, and you can only spend a maximum of $3,000 per day.

KOHO reviews and complaints

KOHO has mixed reviews online, depending on which platform you visit. It has a low rating on Trustpilot and on Facebook reviews. That said, there are many positive comments about the service on Reddit. Positive reviews praise the ease of use, the user-friendly mobile app and the savings tools that KOHO provides, such as KOHO cash back.

Negative reviews tend to focus on the general lack of customer service provided by the bank. Many customers indicate that they’ve experienced difficulty getting in touch with KOHO. Others indicate that they’ve had trouble accessing funds or getting locked out of their accounts unexpectedly. Some also complain that it’s harder to retrieve funds with KOHO if they lose money through fraudulent activity.

KOHO customer service

There are a number of options available for you to connect with KOHO customer service:

  • By phone. You can call KOHO‘s toll-free number at any time of day or night.
  • Using in-app chat. You can contact KOHO directly by using the in-app chat function to communicate with the bank.
  • By email. You can contact KOHO by sending an email to its general inbox.

Bottom line

KOHO is an alternative banking provider in Canada that offers a selection of chequing and savings accounts. These accounts come with a number of benefits such as prepaid Visa debits, credit card rewards, unlimited free transactions, budgeting and savings tools and a versatile mobile app. The major downfall of these accounts is that they don’t offer certain types of transactions and aren’t meant to replace a traditional bank account.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

  • KOHO Earn Interest review

    The KOHO account allows you to earn interest on saving balances and earn cashback on expenditures.

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