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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 KOHO Mastercard. 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 offers a prepaid reloadable KOHO Mastercard that has a wide range of plans for customers. Once you open a free account, you will get a virtual card that you can use right away. You can also upgrade your plan to unlock more perks or subscribe to additional services. If you want to earn interest on your money while you spend, you can also choose to sign up for KOHO Earn Interest. This allows you to earn a competitive interest rate on funds stored in your KOHO account.

What financial products does KOHO offer?

KOHO KOHO offers a prepaid reloadable KOHO Mastercard that has a wide range of plans for customers. All of these accounts qualify for a KOHO prepaid credit card.

  • KOHO Extra. Extra plan offer a 1.5% cash back return on special categories such as transportation, groceries and restaurants, and 0.25% cash back on all other purchases. You also earn up to an extra 5% cash back with select merchants. You’ll also earn 5% interest on your entire balance
    . They also come with bonuses such as no foreign transaction fees and one free international ATM withdrawal per month. The downside is that they also come with a fee of $9/month or $84 annually 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 integrated feature that lets you turn any of the above accounts into savings accounts. Once you opt-in 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. You can earn up to 5% interest by simply opt-in this feature in app.
  • Credit Building. Build your credit three different ways with KOHO: Use a line of credit, a secured line of credit – or both. You will get free financial coaching services if you subscribe to Credit Building.
  • 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. You will also get free financial coaching services if you subscribe to Cover.

KOHO Mastercards

KOHO Prepaid Mastercards 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.

How does KOHO compare to other banks?

KOHO is not a bank and 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 from your KOHO account. However, for many, this won’t be an issue. You can send and receive e-Transfers, set up bill payments in-app, and receive payrolls through direct deposit.

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. Your digital card will be available once your account is activated.
  • Cash back return. Earn cash back on groceries and transportation, and earn up to 6% extra cash back when you shop online or in-store with KOHO partners.
  • Integrated high interest savings account. You can earn up to 5% savings interest on your entire account balance. There’s no minimum deposit requirement. Savings interest is paid on a monthly basis. You can also access your funds at any time you want.
  • 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).
  • Credit Building. KOHO’s Credit Building feature lets you build your credit history by taking out a line of credit and repaying it on time.
  • Many supported transactions. Use your prepaid Mastercard 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 with the Extra or Everything plan such as no foreign exchange fees, higher cash back, and 1 free international ATM withdrawal.
  • 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.

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.
  • Extra accounts cost more. You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $9 if you decide to go with an Extra 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, loading using your existing Visa debit card or Mastercard debit, or by signing up for a direct deposit.
  • Maximum limits. You’ll only be able to load up to $20,000 onto your KOHO prepaid card account 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. As of May 01, 2024, KOHO’s App Store reviews on iOS 4.8 stars from 78,220 reviews, and on Android, gets 4.6 stars from 66,203 reviews. 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:

  • 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 on KOHO

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 Mastercard 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 about KOHO

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Associate editor

Claire Horwood was a writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, loans and other financial products. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, and an Associate’s Degree in Science from Camosun College. Much of Claire’s coursework has focused on writing and statistics, with a healthy dose of social and cultural analysis mixed in for good measure. In her spare time, Claire enjoys rock climbing, travelling and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee. See full bio

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  • KOHO Extra Prepaid Card review

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  • KOHO Earn Interest review

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

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