If you haven’t heard of KOHO, it’s a Canadian reloadable Visa card and app that gives you real-time insights on your spending while helping you reach your financial goals by automating some of your savings. This no fee card even gives you 0.5% cash-back on your purchases which is amazing since most prepaid cards give you nothing for your spending. When this card was first brought to my attention, I didn’t think much of it, but many of my readers have let me know that they love this card since it’s helped them keep their spending in check.

Interested in the card? If you use my referral code CASHMONEY, you’ll get an extra 1% in cash back for a total of 1.5% on all your purchases for the first 90 days. Now before you sign up, you’ll want to keep reading my KOHO review to find out how the card works and if it’s the right fit for you.

KOHO review

KOHO Benefits

  • No annual fee
  • 2% interest on funds in your KOHO account
  • 1% cash back bonus for 90 days with CASHMONEY referral code  
  • 0.5% cash-back on all purchases
  • Automated savings goals
  • Round up each purchase to the nearest $1, $5, or $10
  • Real-time spending insights
  • ApplePay compatible

KOHO is a reloadable Visa card so it can be used wherever Visa is accepted. You won’t improve your credit score by using KOHO, but you’ll only spend money that you have available. What’s interesting is that you can have personal or joint accounts so this card could be good for couples who are just starting to merge their finances. 

There are a limited amount of benefits that come with this no fee card, but that’s not a bad thing since wants to help you understand your spending. You get 2% interest on every penny in your account and you’ll earn 0.5% in “power up” cash-back on all purchases you make which is impressive since this isn’t a credit card. Payroll Direct users have the added bonus of free financial coaching by chat or phone.

Every purchase you make can be rounded up to the nearest $1, $5, or $10. This microsavings is then applied to your savings goal e.g. concert tickets, a new tv, a vacation etc. The idea is that you won’t notice this small transaction, but they’ll add up pretty quickly. You can set up as many savings goals as you want with an amount and KOHO will estimate how long it’ll take you to reach those goals. It’s basically teaching you delayed gratification.

For those of you who want to look like a millionaire, KOHO gives you the option to order a metal card for $159. That fee drops down to $50 if you make two referrals. I personally think this is a waste of money, but I do admit that having a metal card is pretty cool.

Since KOHO is partnered with Peoples Trust, a federally regulated and CDIC-insured bank, your money is safe if anything were to happen to KOHO. In a worst-case scenario (which is highly unlikely to happen), you’d be able to get your money back via Peoples Trust.

As mentioned, if you use my referral code CASHMONEY, you’ll earn an extra 1% in cash back for a total of 1.5% on all purchases in the first 90days.

KOHO Premium benefits

  • Free for 30 days then $9 per month or $84 per year
  • 2% Cash back on groceries, eating & drinking and transportation
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free financial coaching
  • Price matching
  • Higher “velocity” limits
  • New card design

KOHO Premium also has a subscription service that earns you additional benefits. The fee is $9 per month or $84 a year but it gives you 2% cash back on groceries, eating & drinking and transportation purchases. This increased cash back offer stacks with my referral code CASHMONEY so you can earn a total of 3% cash back on those categories. 

The additional KOHO Premium benefits are also impressive. 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% when making a purchase in any currency besides Canadian dollars. With KOHO premium, that fee is waived which makes it one of the best no foreign fee credit cards in Canada. You also get one free international ATM withdrawal per month.

Price matching is great since you can actually have KOHO check to see if there was a better price available for your purchases. If they do indeed find a lower price than what you paid, you’ll get credited the difference. The free financial coaching is also unique since you’ll basically be able to ask an expert about taxes, investing and more.

How KOHO works

With KOHO, you get a physical card that comes with a chip and PIN so your information stays secure. The Peoples Trust Company is partnered with KOHO so know that your funds are being securely held.

To load funds onto your KOHO card, all you need to do is send an e-transfer or link your bank account to your card. Your money will show up and be ready for use shortly after. Since you can only spend what you have, you never need to worry about going into overdraft.

What makes KOHO interesting is that it acts like savings account which tracks your spending. With the app (available on the App Store and GooglePlay), you’ll get instant notifications about your purchases and what categories you’re spending your money on. What’s interesting is that you can create custom spending categories so you know exactly what you’ve spent money on.

You’ll even get tips on spending your spending patterns relative to other KOHO users. For example, you may get a tip saying that coffee at McDonald’s is cheaper than Starbucks or a cable plan will cost you less with Rogers compared to say Bell. Those are just random examples to give you an idea of what kind of tips you’d get.

As you continue to use KOHO, you’ll get data on your spending patterns. It’ll show you your average spending for the day or week is. If the app sees that you’re spending above average, you’ll be alerted which will hopefully encourage you to spend less.

How KOHO compares to others

The closest thing KOHO has to competition is the STACK Mastercard. With STACK, there are no foreign exchange fees, but all other aspects of the card are pretty much the same. I should note that STACK offers a $5 sign up bonus. If you wanted to see how they compare directly, I wrote a more detailed post about KOHO vs. STACK.

You could also argue that KOHO can be compared to a secured credit card from Capital One or Home Trust since they require security funds. This isn’t really a fair comparison since security funds on a secured card can’t be used to pay off your account balance. Secured cards are meant for people who want to improve their credit score whereas KOHO is a true prepaid card.

Final thoughts

My KOHO review is positive. Although the best travel credit cards in Canada offer a ton of benefits, KOHO is a great no fee, card/app that encourages Canadians to spend and save in one spot. You’ll never spend more money than you have and you’ll earn some cash-back rewards in the process. Sign up with my referral code CASHMONEY now to earn an extra 1% in cash back for 90 days.