KOHO Review | Get $20 for free

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

Are you looking for a KOHO review? KOHO is often ranked as one of the best prepaid credit cards in Canada, but what makes it so good? Simply put, KOHO is easy to use, you get a respectable earn rate, and it can help you make smarter financial decisions.

To be clear, KOHO is a prepaid Mastercard. That means you’re not getting access to credit. Instead, you can only spend funds you’ve loaded onto the card. This may seem negative, but it helps consumers manage their money while giving them access to the Mastercard network. Read my full KOHO review now to get all the details, including how to get $20 for free with my referral link.


  • No annual fee
  • $20 for free when signing up with a referral link
  • Earn up to 5% cash-back
  • 1% cash back on groceries and transportation
  • 0.5% interest on your spending and savings accounts with direct deposit set up

Welcome bonus and earn rate

When you sign up with a referral link, you’ll get $20 free. That amount is deposited after you make your first purchase online or in-person. This applies to both your physical and virtual cards.

As for the earn rate, you’ll KOHO Easy users get 1% cash back on groceries and transportation purchases. In addition, KOHO has many retail partners where you can earn up to 5% cash back. Plus, you’ll earn 0.5% interest on any money in your spending or savings account, but you need to have direct deposit set up.

Benefits and perks

As a prepaid card, KOHO has limited benefits compared to traditional credit cards. That said, KOHO does offer some perks that can help you become better with your money.


RoundUps is a feature where you can have purchases rounded up to the nearest $1, $5, or $10. For example, let’s say you have a RoundUp set up to the nearest $1 and make a purchase that’s $3.50. Your account would take out $4, but $0.50 would be put into your savings. That allows you to save money.


KOHO is focused on financial education and allows you to set up goals via the savings tab. You would name your goal and set the amount you want to save. You would then pick the date you need the money by. This is an easy way to help you visualize your savings. In addition, you can set your RoundUps to be deposited to your goals.

Unlimited e-Transfers

All tiers of KOHO allow you to send unlimited e-Transfers. This is a convenient way to send your friends and yourself money quickly.

Credit building

Normally, prepaid cards don’t help you build your credit score. However, KOHO has an optional credit building service. For $10 a month, KOHO will open a line of credit under your account. When the line of credit is open, you will choose an amount to set aside. Each month, that amount is reported as an on-time payment to Equifax.

CDIC Protection

KOHO is partnered with People’s Trust. Since People’s Trust is a Canadian Deposit Insurance (CDIC) Corporation Member, your deposits are insured up to $100,000.

KOHO Plans

KOHO has multiple plans. The base plan is called KOHO Easy and has no monthly fee. All of the benefits are outlined above. However, if you’re willing to pay a small annual fee, you can get some additional benefits.

KOHO Essential

  • $4 per month / $48 per year
  • 1% Cash back on groceries, eating & drinking and transportation
  • 0.25% Cash back on all other purchases
  • 1.5% interest on money deposited in your spending and savings account
  • Credit building for $7 per month

KOHO Extra

  • $9 per month / $108 per year
  • 2% Cash back on groceries, eating & drinking and transportation
  • 0.5% Cash back on all other purchases
  • 2% interest on money deposited in your spending and savings account
  • No foreign transaction fees

KOHO Everything

  • $19 per month / $288 per year
  • 2% Cash back on groceries, eating & drinking and transportation
  • 0.5% Cash back on all other purchases
  • 4% interest on money deposited in your spending and savings account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Credit building for $5 per month

The value of these subscription plans is in the eye of the beholder. I personally think KOHO Easy is a great no-fee prepaid card. However, the value you get from the paid plans is a bit questionable. For example, KOHO essential is only $4 a month, but all it gives you is 1% cash back on a few categories and 0.25% cash back on everything else. If you want credit reporting, it’s another $7 a month. At that price, you might as well get a regular cash back credit card.

I will say that the additional KOHO Extra benefits are nice. I would argue the best feature is no foreign transaction fees. Many people don’t realize that most credit cards charge a fee of 2.5% (regular KOHO charges 1.5%) when making a purchase in any currency besides Canadian dollars. With KOHO Extra, that fee is waived, which makes it one of the best no foreign fee credit cards in Canada.

How to redeem your rewards

KOHO technically has two types of rewards: cash back and interest. Cash back is earned on any purchase you make. Those funds are typically added to your account within one to two business days. Once the money is in your account, you can spend it right away.

If you have direct deposit set up to your KOHO account, you’ll earn interest on anything you have saved. Your interest is calculated daily, but paid out monthly on the fifth. As soon as you the funds in your feed, you can spend it.

KOHO eligibility

Since KOHO is a prepaid card, the eligibility is pretty straightforward. To be approved, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a Canadian resident
  • You must be the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside
  • You must have a social insurance number (SIN)

There is no income requirement to be approved for KOHO. In addition, no hard check is performed against your credit profile when you apply.

How KOHO compares to others

The KOHO Mastercard has a few competitors, including the Wealthsimple Cash Card. With Wealthsimple, there are no foreign exchange fees or ATM fees, so it’s better for travel. KOHO charges a 1.5% foreign exchange fee, which is waived if you have a premium account. Wealthsimple is a better choice as an everyday card since you’ll earn a flat cash back rate on all your purchases. Both KOHO and Wealthsimple offer 0.5% cash back, but KOHO allows you to earn interest in your account.

Both cards can be used like a debit card to get cash, but ATM withdrawal limits would apply. Also, the Wealthsimple card doesn’t charge fees when using international ATMs, whereas KOHO does.

I also like to compare the KOHO Mastercard to the EQ Bank Card. EQ Bank is an online bank that has no fees. If you open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, you can request an EQ Bank Card for free. Any funds deposited to your EQ Bank Card earn the same interest rate as your savings. This interest rate is significantly higher than KOHO and Wealthsimple. Plus, EQ Bank has no foreign transaction fees and there are no fees on any ATM withdrawals.

What makes KOHO stand out in this space is that they have the optional credit builder. No other prepaid card in Canada allows you to build your credit score.

Final thoughts

To summarize my KOHO review, the card is ideal for people in the following situations:

  • You want to manage your spending – As a prepaid card, you can only spend what you’ve deposited with KOHO.
  • You’re looking to save money – Roundups with KOHO allow you to save towards your goals automatically.
  • You want to earn interest – Any money in your KOHO account earns interest if you have a direct deposit set up.

KOHO may not be a traditional credit card, but you can use it wherever Mastercard is accepted. The app makes money management easy, so it’s an ideal card for people that want to do a trial run before getting an actual credit card. Sign up with my referral code CASHMONEY now or click the link below to get $20 for free.

Frequently asked questions

Even after reading this KOHO review, you may still have many questions. That’s understandable as you should ask questions before signing up for any credit card. Below are some of the most common questions I get asked about KOHO.

Is KOHO insured?

Since KOHO is partnered with Peoples Trust, a federally regulated and Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)-insured bank, your money is safe if anything happens to KOHO. In a worst-case scenario (which is highly unlikely), you could get your money back via Peoples Trust.

To be clear, KOHO is not insured by the CDIC. But since your funds are held with Peoples Trust, your money is safe. For reference, CDIC covers deposits up to $100,000 in eligible accounts. Hopefully, you never exceed that amount when using KOHO.

Note that KOHO also states on their website, “As a user of the earn interest feature, we’ll open an account for you with Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc. (ShareOwner). ShareOwner is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).”

Since KOHO is part of the Mastercard network, you can access Mastercard’s zero Liability policy. That means you’d likely be reimbursed if someone makes a fraudulent purchase with your card.

Does KOHO build credit?

Many people wonder does KOHO build credit? Since the card is a prepaid credit card, it doesn’t affect your credit score. This is arguably the only real negative thing about KOHO.

You’ll obviously want a good credit score if you ever want to get a loan in the future, so using KOHO exclusively for your credit needs is not a good idea.

That said, KOHO does have an optional credit building service. In other words, it is possible to build credit with KOHO.

Is KOHO debit or credit?

KOHO is technically a credit card, but it has some debit features. When it comes to making purchases, you can use KOHO wherever Mastercard is accepted. If you’re making an online purchase and it’s asking you if you want to pay via debit or credit card, you would choose credit.

You can withdraw money from your KOHO card at most ATMs. KOHO doesn’t charge you a fee for this, but the ATM that you’re using will likely charge you a convenience fee of $2-3 each time.

KOHO is also accepted at international ATMs, but you’d pay a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing cash.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Danielle Ogilvie on January 12, 2019 at 12:57 PM

    Is KOHO similar to revolut? Are there foreign currency charges or will this card be travel friendly as well?

    • Barry Choi on January 12, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      KOHO is more of a pre paid card that charges foreign exchange fees. If you want a card with no forex, take a look at the Rogers World Elite Mastercard or the Home Trust Preferred Visa.

    • Marius Gligor on September 23, 2021 at 2:22 PM

      KOHO is a terrible company, don’t waste your money, Their costumer service is non – existent.

  2. Remi on February 5, 2019 at 1:27 AM

    Is this offer or any other promotions still available?

    • Barry Choi on February 5, 2019 at 7:40 AM


      Yes, this offer is ongoing.

      • Alli on March 30, 2020 at 1:49 AM

        How can i use a koho card if im not with the bank ? Im with Uni financial

        • Barry Choi on March 30, 2020 at 1:43 PM

          Hi Alli,

          You can send funds to your KOHO card via etransfer.

  3. STACK Mastercard Review - Money We Have on February 6, 2019 at 12:07 PM

    […] also KOHO which is another prepaid card who charges a reasonable 1.5% foreign transaction fee, but clearly, […]

  4. Sandy Taylor on February 6, 2019 at 3:42 PM

    I am supposed to get up to $60.00 free when I activate my card. How does this work

    • Barry Choi on February 6, 2019 at 5:29 PM


      You get $20 free when you sign up for the KOHO credit card by using my KOHO referral code CASHMONEY20. If you set up a direct deposit with KOHO of at least $500, you would get another $40 for free.

  5. Odette on March 6, 2019 at 11:40 PM

    How long has KOHO been around for?

    • Barry Choi on March 7, 2019 at 6:26 AM


      KOHO was started in late 2017

  6. Felicia on March 8, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    Can I transfer money back to my regular bank account from koho easily or is it locked into Koho when transfered over?

    • Barry Choi on March 8, 2019 at 3:47 PM


      You can send yourself etransfers.

  7. John Samson on March 14, 2019 at 2:54 AM

    Does koho send unformation to cra?

    • Barry Choi on March 14, 2019 at 5:40 AM

      As far as I know, they don’t report your referral income to the CRA

  8. Monique D. on March 15, 2019 at 3:40 PM

    I am using Koho card for more than 6 months now as I had financial problems. I just love that card. It does not help for my credit score but as long as I don’t pay annual fees and it helps me with my spendings, it does not matter. If you have a good credit it may not be for you, but for the ones with financial problems, it is fantastic. I cannot even get a credit card with a maximum of $300.00 so the Koho card is used as a regular credit card. I just transfer funds by e-transfer and I buy what I need. I highly recommend it. The goals are very practical also. My goal is nearly 100% achieved in an easy way..

  9. Samuel on March 28, 2019 at 5:15 AM

    Is there a card like this available in the Philipines?

  10. […] travel fund. If you are worried about overspending on credit cards, consider a pre-paid card like this one.  23) Consider a capsule wardrobe so you don’t overspend on clothing. 24) If you have vision […]

  11. scott on August 2, 2019 at 4:03 PM

    Does KOHO work on inflight purchases?

    • Alex on May 11, 2020 at 10:16 PM

      A friend of mine used it on Air Canada when travelling, so I believe the answer is “Yes.”

  12. […] differences which may affect your decision when deciding which card to apply for. You can read my KOHO review and STACK review, but in this post, we’re going to look at KOHO Vs. STACK to see who comes out on […]

  13. Candace on October 29, 2019 at 10:35 AM

    Thank you for this review. I stumbled across KOHO while looking for anything that would allow me to “round-up” savings!
    I hesitated to start using the card, LOL. Now I am enamored with the thing.

    TBH I have a love hate relationship with my overdraft on my regular bank account. But with this card I can preload my budget and just spend what I have. It’s hard to explain how this changes my spending habits, except that I am mindful of my limit, instead of thinking “oh well overdraft will allow.”

    I plan to continue using the card as a way to keep myself balanced and out of overdraft, which will allow me to save for real financial freedom.

    **Also, last night we were out for supper and I paid with my KOHO card and the waitress nearly fawned over the fact I had a pink card! I was proud to pay with my own money rather than charging it to pay later.

    • Barry Choi on October 29, 2019 at 11:39 AM


      Thanks for sharing your positive experience with your credit card. Most people who leave comments here are usually complaining =P

  14. Kathy Munro on November 26, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    One big problem with Koho is that they are hard to contact and slow to follow up

    • Barry Choi on November 26, 2019 at 10:14 AM


      Use the in-app chat, I find them to respond quicker there.

  15. Navkaran sandhu on December 11, 2019 at 6:49 PM

    Can i use koho for hotel check as they only accept credit cards

    • Barry Choi on December 11, 2019 at 8:05 PM

      Yes, as long as you have enough credit on your card to cover the costs

  16. Jake on December 31, 2019 at 6:22 AM

    What is the minimum amount one can have to open and purchase a koho visa card. I want to use it online with a questionable dating site that has PayPal and wants you to accept and agree on an unspecified amount with recurring high fees

    • Barry Choi on December 31, 2019 at 8:29 PM


      You can load any amount onto your KOHO card, there is no minimum

  17. Denis on February 12, 2020 at 3:15 AM

    Can i transfert money from my paypal account to my Koho card

  18. Helen on March 17, 2020 at 2:20 PM

    Something is odd with KOHO. I can’t login and asked me to verify identity by logging in to my bank account. I can’t access my account. I tried to email and they do not respond. Their contact number 1855 564 6999 can’t connect to the customer service yesterday, and today, the line is disconnected.
    Is scam going on?

    • Barry Choi on March 17, 2020 at 2:26 PM

      Hi Helen,

      I just checked my app and had no problem logging in or accessing my funds.

      Are you trying via your app?

  19. Mat on April 20, 2020 at 5:46 PM


    Is your CASHMONEY20 code still valid?

    Looking for a fee-free banking alternative with bonus sign ups (already tried Tangerine and Simplii)
    Would this be a good alternative?


  20. Lisa McBeth on March 12, 2021 at 8:47 PM

    I have been using QUBER and they offer 2% incentives on my savings and an opportunity to win cash prizes for my savings. I don’t know why I would move to KOHO or NEO when my money is growing faster and there are more features they offer. What am I missing here?

    • Barry Choi on March 13, 2021 at 1:05 PM


      I believe QUBER gives you 2% only at select merchants. If you do most of your shopping where you get that extra cash back, then QUEBER is better.

      • Lisa McBeth on March 13, 2021 at 1:25 PM

        Hello Barry
        Actually QUBER gives 2% incentives for me for my savings through their saving challenges. They have cash back from some merchants that is different and in addition to the 2% incentives, which banks called interest.

        • Barry Choi on March 13, 2021 at 1:29 PM


          I took another look and you’re right. The 2% is nearly impossible to beat right now.

  21. Andrea on February 2, 2022 at 10:15 AM

    BEWARE!!! If I could give them a ZERO rating or a -100 rating I definitely would. Biggest mistake signing up with this “banking” company. Not even close to being a bank lol. It’s a total joke in my opinion.
    They are scam artists. They take your money for authorizations and don’t return it when the authorization expires. They are unfriendly, unprofessional and ignorant. They owed me over $300 in authorizations that weren’t returned to my account, but they closed my account cause I was rude to them. My money was missing and they were just blaming everyone and everything else. And there was $225 still in my koho account that I luckily e-transferred to myself about 30 minutes before they closed my account for no reason, so at least I wasn’t out another $200. And the credit building program, the early pay program and the cover me program is nothing but a cash grab for them.
    My advice is stay away from koho if you don’t want to get robbed of your hard earned money.

  22. William Harder on March 8, 2022 at 12:49 PM

    Is there no way to talk to a human? I have looked high and low

    • Barry Choi on March 8, 2022 at 12:54 PM


      I personally have only dealt with them via chat. I’m not actually sure if there’s a way to get a hold of them on the phone.

  23. Matt Grout on September 24, 2023 at 12:18 AM

    I hands down have loved Koho since I started using them and stopped using my big bank that I won’t mention that really just took my money every month and joined this and still hard to believe it’s free.. I now do pay a very small fee for a bit better service but this was my and my decision.. Koho IS THE BEST. I will bank with them aslong as they exist!! Thanks KOHO

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