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EQ Bank Mastercard vs. KOHO Prepaid Mastercard 2023

The EQ Bank Card and KOHO Prepaid Mastercard are two of the best prepaid cards in Canada.

If you want to save on bank transaction fees and earn rewards while using a debit card, KOHO and EQ Bank’s financial accounts are excellent choices.

This EQ Bank vs. KOHO comparison looks at their cash back offerings, savings, rates, fees, perks, and downsides.

EQ Bank vs. KOHO Overview

EQ Bank

EQ Bank is an online bank owned by Equitable Bank, the seventh-largest bank in Canada.

It has over $7 billion in deposits and serves more than 290,000 customers.

EQ Bank offers various accounts, including savings, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), international money transfers, and mortgages.


KOHO is a financial technology company founded in 2014. It is affiliated with Peoples Trust and offers several prepaid cards and a credit-building program.

As of this writing, it serves over 500,000 Canadians.

EQ Bank Card vs. KOHO Mastercard

FeaturesEQ Bank CardKOHO Easy MastercardKOHO Essential MastercardKOHO Premium Mastercard
Monthly fee$0$0$4$9
Sign up bonusNone$20 bonus$20 bonus$20 bonus
# of transactionsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Cash back rewards0.50% cash back on all purchases1% cash back on groceries and bills (5% at some retailers)1% cash back on groceries, bills, and restaurants; 0.25% cash back on everything else (5% at some retailers)2% cash back on groceries, gas, transportation, and restaurants; 0.50% on everything else (5% at some retailers)
Savings interest rate2.50%0.50%1.50%2.00%
ATM fees in CanadaNone (reimburses fees charged by other operators)None from KOHONone from KOHONone from KOHO (reimburses one international ATM monthly)
FX fees0%1.5%1.5%0%
Optional credit buildingNoYes ($10/month)Yes ($7/month)Yes ($7/month)
Learn moreApplyApplyApplyApply

EQ Bank Card Explained

EQ Bank Card

eq bank card-img

Earn 2.50%* interest on your balance

0.50% cash back on purchases

No monthly account or FX fees

Free ATM withdrawals

The EQ Bank Card was launched in January 2023 and offers these benefits:

No Monthly Fee: There is no account maintenance fee, and you can sign up for a free card by opening an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.

Earn Interest: Your card balance earns interest at a rate of 2.50%, which is one of the highest savings rates in Canada. This interest is calculated daily and paid monthly.

Earn Cashback: The EQ Bank Mastercard pays 0.50% cash back on all purchases. This makes it a top no-fee cash back card.

Free ATM Withdrawals: You can make withdrawals at any ATM in Canada. If the ATM provider charges a fee, EQ Bank will reimburse you within ten (10) business days.

No Foreign Currency Conversion fee: The foreign currency conversion charge that costs up to 3% is waived when you make payments in a different currency. You also earn cash back on foreign currency purchases.

Unlimited Reloads: This reloadable prepaid card can be used indefinitely. To load funds, simply transfer cash from your savings account.

Note: This card is not available in Quebec.

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard Explained

KOHO has three prepaid cards:

  • KOHO Easy Mastercard
  • KOHO Essential Mastercard
  • KOHO Premium Mastercard

Only the KOHO Easy Mastercard has no monthly fees. The other two charge a fee for extra perks.

KOHO Easy 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

This no-fee prepaid card offers these benefits:

  • 1% cash back on grocery purchases and bill payments.
  • Earn 0.50% interest on your entire balance.
  • Access to a budgeting app with automated savings plans.
  • Virtual and physical cards.
  • Access to an optional credit-building program that costs $10/month.
  • Up to 5% cash back at select partners.

KOHO Essential 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

This card has a $4 monthly fee ($48/year) and comes with a 30-day free trial. It offers the following:

  • 1% cash back on groceries, bills, eating and drinking, and 0.25% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Up to 5% cash back at select partners.
  • 1.50% interest on your entire balance.
  • Access to credit building for $7/month (optional).

KOHO Premium 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 KOHO Premium Mastercard costs $9 monthly ($84 annually), and it includes:

  • 2% cash back on groceries, transportation, and restaurants, plus 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Up to 5% cash back at select stores.
  • 0% FX fees (a savings of up to 3%)
  • One free international ATM withdrawal monthly
  • 2% interest on your entire balance
  • Optional credit building at $7/month

EQ Bank Card vs. KOHO Mastercard: Which is Better?

If you already have an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account for its solid non-promotional (i.e. not short-lived) interest rates, getting the EQ Bank Card is a no-brainer.

This card wins this comparison overall with no maintenance fees, 0.50% cash back on all purchases, high-interest savings rates on balances, no ATM fees, and no FX fees when spending abroad. To be frank, it is tough to beat this combination!

If you do not want to open another “bank account,” KOHO is the best prepaid card from a non-bank institution.

With the free KOHO Easy Mastercard, you earn 1% on groceries and bills (higher than the EQ Bank Card, which is 0.50%) and up to 5% cash back at several partners. This card also pays interest on your balance, which is a rare perk.

Not to be overlooked is the $20 welcome bonus you receive when you sign up for KOHO and use our CASHBACK promo code (make at least one purchase).

Other considerations: The KOHO Mastercard and EQ Bank Card are not credit cards and do not impact your credit score directly. That said, if you want to improve your credit score or establish a credit history, KOHO’s credit building program makes it easy.

You can subscribe to it on the KOHO app and cancel anytime.

Lastly, the EQ Bank Card is unavailable in Quebec, while KOHO is.

So, which is better? It depends. I find it useful to keep both in my wallet.

Best Credit Offers in March 2023

Get the best no-fee cash back credit card in Canada ($100 bonus)

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

Get a $100 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in the first two months.

1.95% low-rate balance transfer and purchase protection insurance.

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

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.*

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.

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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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