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Best KOHO Mastercard in Canada for 2023

KOHO is a financial technology company that offers a free spending and savings account along with some of the best prepaid Mastercard you will find in Canada.

While it is not a bank, you can use your KOHO Financial account to save on banking fees, earn high-interest rates, and access credit card perks.

Read on to learn about the best KOHO Mastercards in 2023.

Top KOHO Prepaid Mastercards

KOHO Mastercards offer many features you could expect in a Mastercard credit card, including payment access at millions of locations worldwide, top-tier security, and more.

That said, KOHO cards are prepaid reloadable Mastercards, and you don’t incur interest fees because you can only spend money loaded on your card.

The four KOHO Mastercard options are:

  • KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard (standard and no-fee)
  • KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard (monthly/annual fees)
  • KOHO Premium Prepaid Mastercard (monthly/annual fees)
  • KOHO Prepaid Joint Mastercard

KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card 2

$20 sign-up bonus after first purchase

Earn up to 5% cash back

0.50% savings interest on your balance

$0 monthly fee

The KOHO Easy Prepaid Mastercard has no annual or monthly fees. This sets it apart from the typical Canadian prepaid card.

As a user, you can load your card with funds using Interac e-Transfer or a direct deposit.

The following benefits come with your free account:

  • 1% real cash back on groceries, bills, and services
  • Up to 5% cash back at select merchants
  • Unlimited debits and Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • Access the Credit Building feature for $10/month
  • Savings roundups

KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card 2

$20 sign-up bonus after first purchase

Earn up to 5% cash back

1.50% savings interest on your balance

$4 monthly fee

The KOHO Essential Prepaid Mastercard is for those looking for extra cash back benefits and for those who want to earn additional interest on their balance. 

KOHO Essential costs $4 monthly or $48 per year. 

Features of the Essential account include:

  • Earn 1% cash back on groceries, dining in or out, bills, and services 
  • Get 0.25% instant cash back on all other purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back at select KOHO partners
  • Earn 1.5% interest in your entire balance 
  • Access the Credit Building feature for $7/month 
  • Savings roundups

KOHO Premium Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO Premium Prepaid Mastercard

KOHO - MasterCard - Premium card

$20 sign up bonus after first purchase (use CASHBACK promo code during sign-up)

Earn up to 5% cash back

2.00% savings interest on balance

Unlimited transactions, no FX fees

The Premium KOHO Mastercard is for power users who are looking to earn cash back at a higher rate while getting extra benefits.

KOHO Premium costs $9 per month, or you can save on the fees by paying for an annual subscription at $84 per year.

This card offers:

  • 2% real cash back on groceries, transportation, and restaurant purchases
  • 0.50% cash back on all other purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back at select merchants
  • Access Credit Building for $7/month 
  • Savings roundups

When spending abroad, the KOHO Premium card waives the foreign currency conversion fee, saving you 2.50% on each FX transaction. You also get 1 free international ATM withdrawal each month.

Lastly, this card provides access to financial coaching and price matching.

KOHO Joint Prepaid Mastercard

The KOHO Joint Prepaid Mastercard is a no-fee prepaid card.

It has the same features as the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard; however, it is designed for couples or friends who want to share their finances and savings goals.

This card also offers 1% cash back on groceries, bills, and services and can be used to automate savings.

Best KOHO Mastercard Benefits

While KOHO Cards are known for their cash back rewards (0.25% to 5%), there are some other features you will want to note when applying for a card.

All three KOHO prepaid cards offer these benefits as optional add-ons.

KOHO Earn Interest

You can easily turn your KOHO account into a high interest savings account.

You can earn 0.5% to 2% interest on your entire balance, depending on which subscription plan you have.

Your funds are held at a CDIC member bank and are protected for up to $100,000.

KOHO Credit Building

While prepaid cards do not impact your credit score, you can use any KOHO Mastercard to improve your credit score by subscribing to KOHO Credit Building.

This optional add-on costs $7 or $10 per month, depending on which KOHO account you have. Each monthly payment is reported to a credit bureau and is a great way to build your credit history.

You should note that if you miss a payment, this is also reported and can hurt your credit score.

KOHO Referral

KOHO users can refer friends to the platform and earn $20 for each person that joins. They also receive $20.

The referral bonuses are paid out after your friend signs up and makes their first purchase within 30 days of registration.

You can invite up to 50 friends and earn up to $1,000.

How To Apply For a KOHO Mastercard

The application process for a KOHO Mastercard is straightforward.

Visit the KOHO website here and enter our CASHBACK referral code to get $20 after your first purchase.

Complete the short application form, and you will get a KOHO card in the mail.

You can apply with any credit score; however, you must be the age of the majority in your province (i.e. at least 18-19 years old).

KOHO also offers a free virtual card you can use right away on the KOHO app.

Pros of KOHO Mastercard

  1. Free budgeting app: You can use the KOHO app to manage your budget and create savings goals.
  2. No-fee cash back card: KOHO prepaid cards pay 0.25% to 2% cash back on all purchases and up to 5% cash back at some retailers. There is no limit to how much you can earn.
  3. No credit check: There is no hard inquiry on your credit report when you apply for KOHO.
  4. Save on FX fees: If you upgrade to KOHO Premium, you don’t pay the 2.50% FX fee. And with the Free and Essential versions, you only pay 1.5% on foreign currency purchases, saving at least 1%.
  5. Access to savings: This card also offers high interest rates on your balance, making for a solid savings account.
  6. Free transactions: If your traditional chequing account charges for Interac e-Transfers and bill payments, you can use KOHO to cut your monthly bills. A free KOHO account includes unlimited bill payments and Interac e-Transfers.
  7. Payment wallet compatible: KOHO works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Cons of KOHO Mastercard

  1. Fees for Premium: To unlock 0% FX fees abroad, you need to upgrade to a Premium account.
  2. No insurance coverage: Unlike these no-annual-fee credit cards, a KOHO Mastercard does not offer an extended warranty or purchase protection insurance.
  3. Credit building fee: In order to use a KOHO prepaid card to improve your credit score, you must subscribe to the credit building program for $7 or $10 per month.

Is KOHO Safe?

Yes, KOHO is safe.

The funds you load on your KOHO Card are held in trust at a Canadian bank that is a member of the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). The CDIC insures eligible deposits up to a maximum of $100,000 per insured category.

Also, KOHO is backed by some of the largest financial institutions in the world, including Drive Capital, National Bank of Canada, and Portag3 Ventures.

Lastly, cardholders enjoy the consumer protections put in place by Mastercard.

KOHO Prepaid Credit Card FAQs

How does KOHO make money?

KOHO makes money from the interchange fees that merchants pay to Mastercard. It also makes money when you subscribe to a Premium account or the credit building service.

Does KOHO build credit?

Yes, you can use KOHO to build your credit history by paying for a Credit Building monthly subscription.

Is KOHO a credit card?

While KOHO offers many credit card benefits and features, it is not a credit card.

Can KOHO be used as a debit card?

KOHO can be used like a debit card, as you only spent money that is loaded onto it. It can be used online or in-person, anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Do you need a bank account for KOHO?

You can use the KOHO Mastercard as you would a debit card, with unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers, and you can even get your payroll deposited into your account. You can apply for KOHO without a bank account; however, it does not replace one. If you want to do more complex banking, you will need a bank account.

Best Credit Offers in February 2023

Earn up to 5% cash back at over 10,000 retail locations ($25 Bonus)

Get a $25 bonus when you are approved for the Card.

No annual account fees.

Earn up to 5% unlimited cash back at 10,000+ participating stores.

Guaranteed instant approval credit card.

Get up to 5% cashback and grow your savings ($20 bonus)

Best free prepaid reloadable Mastercard plus a $20 welcome bonus.

Free budgeting app with automatic savings features.

Increase your credit score with optional credit building add-on.

Earn up to 2.00% interest on your entire balance.*

Get one of the no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada ($150 bonus)

Earn 2% unlimited cash back in up to 3 spending categories.

Get a $150 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in the first two months.

1.95% low-rate balance transfer, airport lounge access, and insurance benefits.

No annual fees to use the card and cashback is paid out monthly.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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