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KOHO Review: 2024 Fees, Interest, Credit Card & Credit Building

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Byron Mühlberg

Reviewer

Apr 23, 2024
Advertiser disclosure

Koho Financial Inc offers an excellent debit card and current account (8.3/10) recommended by Monito's experts for its money saving features, including interest on savings, cash back on purchases, and credit building capabilities (7.9/10). KOHO has a growing reputation across Canada (7.8/10) and phenomenal feedback from its customers (9.7/10). In addition to its low everyday fees (7.9/10), KOHO's easy-to-use mobile app offers Canadians an attractive alternative to traditional banking.

What Monito Likes About KOHO:

  • Competitive and affordable fee structure,
  • Features include spending categorisation and round-up for savings,
  • Helps improve credit history through on-time payment reporting,
  • Attractive cash back percentages on specific purchases.

What Monito Dislikes About KOHO

  • Lacks functionality for international money transfers,
  • Minor fees for ATM withdrawals and no free ATM network,
  • Credit building feature comes with a subscription fee.
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KOHO is a premier Canadian virtual account that gives you control your finances and budgets with:

  • unlimited free e-Transfers;
  • zero-interest overdraft protection;
  • an account that earns you interest;
  • a card that offers cash back;
  • an optional credit builder platform.

How Monito Reviewed KOHO's Services

As with all services reviewed by Monito, KOHO underwent a rigorous evaluation to assess the quality of its service. To begin with, our experts analysed several key criteria, including customer reviews, the percentage cost of various transaction types, top-up options, access to customer service, as well as business and legal metrics such as revenue, appropriate authorisation, and company size. As with all Monito Scores, KOHO's score was peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert.

Reviews are written independently by Monito's editors, and the recommendations given are our own. Services you sign up with using our links may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Trust & Credibility

7.9

Background check

KOHO partners with federally regulated banking institution, Peoples Trust Company, and the KOHO card is issued by Mastercard.

Security & reliability

KOHO is not technically a bank. It partners with Peoples Trust Company, a CDIC member.

Company size

Founded recently in 2014 with a growing retail customer base of over 500,000.

Transparent pricing

Easy to find and understand fee schedule, except for the foreign transaction fee

Is KOHO Safe?

Yes, KOHO is a legitimate and safe fintech option. Koho Financial Inc. is a Canadian company founded in Vancouver in 2014. While it is a relatively young company, it has managed to build a medium-sized customer base of around 500,000 users. KOHO partners with Peoples Trust Company, a federally regulated banking institution, to store your money.

The KOHO card issued to customers is powered by Mastercard, ensuring global acceptance and ease of use. Moreover, the website uses HTTPS to ensure secure data transmission during online interactions.

Koho Financial maintains a transparent pricing structure, with detailed fee schedules readily available on their website. While most fees are clearly disclosed upfront, we had to consult the FAQ website to find KOHO's 1.5% foreign transaction fee for the Essential Plan.

Is KOHO a Bank?

Koho Financial Inc. is not a bank. Instead, it operates as a fintech company that provides a wide range of financial services and solutions. KOHO partners with Peoples Trust Company, a federally regulated bank in Canada. This partnership ensures that in the event of KOHO facing financial difficulties, KOHO account holders' funds would be made whole up to $100,000 CAD — returned by Peoples Trust Company, the CDIC-insured partner bank.

Service & Quality

7.9

Using the mobile app

Overall good customer consensus about the UX and the app's many features.

Managing the account

No cash deposits or international money transfers available, and no multi-currency options.

Contacting support

Extensive FAQ and 24/7 support in-app, by phone, or by email.

Making card payments

3-D secure card compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay but lacks social payment features.

KOHO's Service Quality

KOHO offers a high-quality digital Canadian checking account with several useful features to enhance your banking experience. You'll receive instant notifications for all transactions, and the automatic spending categorisation makes budgeting a breeze. Additionally, KOHO provides both physical and virtual cards for easy access to your funds.

The online checking account is easy to use and allows free top-ups using a debit card or bank transfer. Moreover, the joint accounts feature is ideal for families managing their finances together.

However, credit card top-ups and cash and check deposits are not available with KOHO. Furthermore, the service does not support international money transfers, and the account functions exclusively in CAD.

KOHO Interest Rates

The round-up feature automatically saves your spare change, contributing to your savings. KOHO's member plans have varying interest rates. Members enjoy an impressive 5% interest on their balance (as of April 2024).

Additionally, KOHO provides a cover feature, offering up to $250 worth of overdraft without penalty or interest fees.

For customer support, KOHO excels with 24/7 assistance available through the mobile app, online FAQ page, phone, or email.

KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card

KOHO's Mastercard prepaid card will be delivered for free in approximately 10 days. With the KOHO mobile app, you can effortlessly track your expenses in real-time. The card is 3-D secure and compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay, making it easy to make secure and contactless transactions.

One of KOHO's biggest selling points is its cash back benefits. Essential plan members receive 1% cash back on groceries and transportation, while Everything plan members (at a $19 monthly fee) enjoy even more benefits, including 2% cash back on groceries, eating/drinking, and transportation, as well as 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. Additionally, Everything plan members can earn an impressive 6% cash back on bookings made through booking.com.

KOHO Credit Building

KOHO offers a credit building feature, which is beneficial for individuals looking to improve their credit history. For Essential plan members, the cost is an optional $10, while Extra plan members would pay $7. Everything plan members enjoy a reduced rate of $5.

Here's how KOHO's credit builder works:

  1. KOHO opens a line of credit for you.
  2. You choose an amount to set aside from your line of credit, which becomes untouchable.
  3. Each month, KOHO reports that amount as an on-time payment to Equifax, boosting your credit score with every payment.

A higher credit score can lead to lower interest rates on significant purchases like cars and houses, resulting in potential savings for you. Learn more about the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Fees & Exchange Rates

7.9

Everyday use

No fees to top up the account by bank transfer, direct debit, or debit card.

ATM withdrawals

$2-3 CAD fee per ATM withdrawal.

Online spending

Good for domestic spending within Canada.

International spending

Essential plan levies a foreign transaction fee on spending and ATM withdrawals abroad.

KOHO's Fees and Exchange Rates

KOHO offers various membership plans with different features and monthly costs. The available plans are as follows:

  • Essential Plan: $4/month ($0 if you set up recurring direct deposits or deposit $500 per month)
  • Extra Plan: $9/month
  • Everything Plan: $19/month

For everyday use, KOHO provides excellent rates with no non-sufficient funds fees and free domestic e-transfers. Topping up your account through a bank transfer is also free. However, if you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, there is a minor fee ranging from $2 to $3, as KOHO does not have a fee-free ATM network.

KOHO International Fees

For international use, you'll have more fees to consider. Only Extra and Everything plan members receive one free international ATM withdrawal per month and zero foreign transaction fees.

While shopping online with Canadian vendors is seamless, be aware that KOHO's Essential plan charges a 1.5% foreign transaction fee for international card purchases. This fee applies to every purchase or cash withdrawal in a foreign country. Since KOHO partners with MasterCard, your purchases will use MasterCard's exchange rate on foreign purchases (monitor here).

If you frequently travel abroad, it may be advisable to explore other debit cards with no foreign transaction fees, which we cover in our guide on the best debit cards for international travel.

Customer Satisfaction

9.6

Customer Satisfaction

KOHO has very good reviews on both the Apple App Store and on Google Play, with an average satisfaction score of 4.7/5 stars. In total, around 100,000 customers left four- and five-star reviews. We summarise the pros and cons below:

Positive KOHO Reviews

  • Features are more flexible and useful than traditional banks,
  • High interest and cash back on purchases, including subscriptions,
  • Great app design with useful spending categorisation,
  • Credit building has helped customers improve credit scores.

Negative KOHO Reviews

Some customers reported the following negative points of feedback:

  • Glitches with double-charging for certain transactions,
  • Accounts blocked and cards frozen,
  • Trouble with e-transfers getting processed,
  • Difficulties contacting customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions About KOHO

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