A KOHO Review for 2021

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The cool thing about living in the future is that daily banking has kept up with our ever-changing times. Modern personal finance products, like KOHO, give spending and saving products the much-needed oomph! we didn’t know we needed.

In this KOHO review, Wealth Rocket takes a closer look at KOHO and its products by reviewing what this neobank brings to the Canadian personal finance landscape.

Table of Contents

Koho Credit Card

KOHO Credit
Card

KOHO Credit Card

Sign Up for KOHO & get an extra 1% cash back on all your spending for 90 days

KOHO Review: Overview, Features, Fees, and More

KOHO currently offers three main products: KOHO Personal, KOHO Premium, and KOHO Joint. Below, we'll take a look at what each product has to offer and how they differentiate from one another.

KOHO Personal: Features

KOHO Personal at a glance:

  • Fees: None
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Interest: Base Rate: 0.5%*, Promotional: 1.5%*, Category: 0.5%* to 10%*
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Savings Account: 1.2%*
  • Mobile Wallet: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
  • Web Interface: Yes
  • Direct Deposit: Yes
  • Additional Features: Round-Up Savings, Instant Cashback

KOHO Personal is the online bank’s flagship product. It acts as a combination of a debit card and prepaid Visa, with a cashback reward program that rivals any credit card.

KOHO Personal is primarily a spending tool but also acts as a budgeting and saving tool as well.

Two staple features include instant cashback and round-up savings features. The instant cashback allows customers to receive their cashback instantly. The round-up savings features grants account holders the opportunity to round up each purchase by $1, $2, $5, or $10 with each purchase.

KOHO Personal comes with no activation fee, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirements. There are also no transaction limits, unlimited bill payments, unlimited bank transfers, and unlimited Interac e-Transfers.

KOHO users can load funds via Interac e-transfer or direct deposit through their place of employment.

KOHO Personal recently introduced a high-interest savings account with an interest rate of 1.2%*. Please note that this product is only available if the cardholder sets up direct deposit.

Clients can reap the benefits of 0.5%* on every purchase, with a higher percentile on purchases at select retailers, including:

  • Altitude Sports (4%)*
  • Baskin Robbins (4%)*
  • Boostmi (4%)*
  • Bounce (10%)*
  • Branch (2%)*
  • Buffalo (5%)*
  • Chefs Plate (3%)*
  • Frank and Oak (5%)*
  • iQ (2%)*
  • Indigo (1%)*
  • Indochino (2.5%)*
  • Kernels (6%)*
  • Kit & Ace (3%)*
  • Kits (2.5%)*
  • Rakuten Kobo (2%)*
  • Mary Brown's (5%)*
  • Meyer (4%)*
  • Natura Market (2%)*
  • New York Fries (3%)*
  • Open Farm (4%)*
  • Pizza 73 (3%)*
  • Pizza Pizza (3%)*
  • Public (2%)*
  • Reebok (1.5%)*
  • Sunwing (3%)*
  • 10 Tree (3%)*
  • The Last Hunt (2%)*
  • Toronto Life (5%)*
  • Vitamix (2.5%)*
  • Well.ca (1.5%)*

Finally, customers have the choice of choosing between four vibrant credit card options.

There is a $20,000 deposit limit for a KOHO Personal account.

*Rates current as of July 2021

KOHO Premium: Features

KOHO Personal at a glance:
  • Fees: Monthly: $9* or Annually: $84*
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Cashback Rate: Base rate: 2%*
  • Cashback Categories: Food and beverage, groceries, and transportation

Additional Features: All features included with KOHO Personal, as well as Price Match, no foreign exchange fees, priority user support, access to financial advisors, and one free international ATM withdrawal per month

KOHO Premium, as you might have guessed, is the supercharged and amped-up version of KOHO Personal.

Much like an annual credit card fee, KOHO Premium asks for $9 a month or the option to pay $84 upfront annually, which comes with a $24 discount. There’s a free trial for the first 30 days, too.

More money, more perks; at least that's how KOHO Premium works anyway.

In exchange for monthly or annual payments, KOHO provides an exceptional cashback interest rate of 2%* on the following categories:

  • Food and Beverage: Restaurants and bars, take-out and delivery orders, coffee shops, and anywhere else serving anything delicious.
  • Groceries: Major supermarket chains, independent retailers, and everything in between.
  • Transportation: Public transportation, taxis, Uber, Lyft, gas, tolls, parking, and more.

If you're thinking of travelling, or finding yourself travelling often, KOHO Premium comes with no foreign exchange fees and one free international ATM withdrawal per month.

The Premium package also provides access to certified financial coaching that helps customers build a custom budget and answer any questions related to their finances and taxes.

KOHO Premium offers a price matching program that lets people upload receipts and receive a price match if KOHO finds a better one on their behalf.

Available at both tiers, KOHO offers overdraft protection, which lends customers $100 until their next paycheque. (Talk about a solid friend!)

It also comes with all of the same perks as KOHO Personal. Not bad for $84 a year.

There is a deposit limit of $40,000 with a KOHO Premium account.

*Rates current as of July 2021

KOHO Joint: Overview

KOHO Joint is similar to KOHO Personal, except that it allows two people access to share one account.

On a KOHO Joint account, you can add one other person to the account. Whether they’re your partner, family member, friend, or anyone you trust sharing money with, anyone can manage your finances with you— just make sure it’s someone you trust, as the person whose name is on the account has the sole power to close the account.

What is KOHO?

KOHO is a digital bank that is based in Toronto, Canada. Since the neobank burst onto the Canadian personal finance scene in 2014, KOHO has accumulated over 125,000 members and is currently one of the most popular alternative banking products currently available.

As an online-only financial service, KOHO offers some very customer-centric financial products. Some of their product features include unlimited features, instant and bonus cashback, and round-up saving options, among many other exciting, customer-focused banking features.

How Does KOHO Work?

Using KOHO is as easy as spelling KOHO. The hybrid bank account combines the features of a chequing account, savings account, and credit card into one flexible account. It is accepted anywhere Visa is.

In a similar fashion to a chequing account, KOHO users must add funds to their accounts to make transactions.

As a result, KOHO does not charge interest or require minimum payments, allowing customers to avoid the revolving debt of credit cards while budgeting extra effectively.

That said, it is not a credit-building tool, though a recently introduced option allows customers to improve their credit score, for a small monthly fee.

But wait, there’s more! KOHO two tiers, essentially a free and paid option. Regardless of the one chosen, KOHO offers some incredibly unique programs and features, notably its instant cashback.

KOHO Personal, its free tier, earns 0.5%* cashback, while KOHO Premium, which costs around $9 a month offers 2%* on most purchases. There’s also a joint account option, which is identical to KOHO Personal but allows up to two additional cardholders to use the account.

While KOHO operates entirely online and does not have any branches, customers can access and monitor their funds using KOHO’s stunning mobile app or through its sleek website.

All accounts come with sleek debit card choices and are additionally compatible with Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.

KOHO does not have any physical branches, meaning you'll have to use a third-party bank or credit union to withdraw cash.

*Rates current as of July 2021

Is KOHO safe?

KOHO works in partnership with Peoples Trust, a Canadian trust insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

The Peoples Trust holds finances on behalf of KOHO, meaning that your money is safe in the unlikely event that KOHO should go out of business.

Despite not holding customers’ funds, KOHO is partnered with a CDIC-insured institution, meaning your money is as safe as any other Schedule 1 bank.

KOHO Pros & Cons

KOHO is an exceptional personal finance product and budgeting account, though it does come with a few gaps that new customers should consider before signing-up.

Pros: The Good Stuff

Logo No fees and unlimited transactions: Need more be said?

Logo Cashback program: KOHO offers a cashback program that comes at a return rate rivaling most chequing accounts and credit cards on the Canadian market.

Logo Round Up savings feature: Setting savings goals is available through a feature that rounds up loose change. The feature is adjustable to the users' liking and is cashable at a moment's notice.

Logo Opulent card choices: KOHO brings the noise with four beautiful card choices, and even offers a luxurious titanium card (for only $50 and two sign-up referrals).

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

Logo No registered account options: To be fair, KOHO is primarily a spending account, but there are no registered accounts available, meaning cash earned is taxable.

Our Final Thoughts

I signed up for KOHO last year to write this article—and have been using it ever since. In fact, I recently signed up for KOHO Premium.

While I sometimes use credit cards, I'm not a huge fan of them for a few reasons. I don't really like having a bill to pay at the end of the month. It also allows me to overspend more often than I'd like.

KOHO is an exceptional tool because the money you place into the account is yours. Once it's spent, it's spent. It allows you to walk into businesses and consciously spend, a habit credit cards don't come with.

It also allows me to set-it-and-forget-it with its Round Up feature, allowing me to save for goals without consciously thinking about it.

I know I'll be using KOHO for many years to come, and can honestly say that they've been great since the get-go.

That said, for a totally free card that's accepted anywhere Visa is, I'd say a spot in your wallet for KOHO is well deserved.

Koho Credit Card

KOHO Credit
Card

KOHO Credit Card

Sign Up for KOHO & get an extra 1% cash back on all your spending for 90 days

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! KOHO Personal is free, while KOHO Premium comes with a monthly or yearly charge.

KOHO Personal is free to use and comes with a 0.50% cash return, as does KOHO Joint.

KOHO Premium comes with an annual fee of $84 or a monthly fee of $9. The annual upfront payment is $23 cheaper.

Yes! KOHO recently introduced a credit building feature. It currently costs $7 a month to rebuild your credit using KOHO.

KOHO reports your credit score to the credit bureau each month. All you have to do is ensure that your balance can cover any recurring payments.

Yes. KOHO is accepted anywhere Visa credit cards are. If you sign up for KOHO Premium, there are no foreign exchange fees and even one free withdrawal per month. Considering that KOHO Premium offers cashback at restaurants, and transportation, it's an exceptional option for travel or business outside or inside Canada.

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