If you are looking to spend cash, avoid credit, and still earn the rewards that typically accompany credit cards, reloadable prepaid cards such as KOHO, STACK, and MogoCard may suit your needs.
The best-prepaid cards available in Canada offer users an opportunity to save on bank fees, earn cash back automatically, and enjoy real-time insights on how their money is being spent.
Similar to prepaid credit card options in Canada, these cards allow you to easily shop wherever Visa or Mastercard is accepted and you can only spend the money you load on them. This is really helpful if you are trying to combat overspending.
KOHO vs. STACK vs. MOGO
|Prepaid Cards||KOHO Visa||STACK Mastercard||MogoCard|
|Monthly Account Fees||None||None||None|
|Earn interest||1.20% on all balances||None||None|
|FX Fees||0% to 1.5%||0%||2.50%|
|Rewards||0.5% to 2.00% real cash back and in-app discounts||Multiple in-app discounts and cash back||2% bitcoin cash back|
|Automatic Savings||Available (roundups and saving goals)||Available (roundups and saving goals)||–|
|Referral Bonus||$20 sign-up bonus||$5 sign-up bonus||–|
|Partner Bank||People’s Trust||People’s Trust||People’s Trust|
|Build Credit||Offers Credit Builder program||No||No|
|Other Perks||Joint accounts and KOHO Premium available; |
Present in Quebec; Free financial coaching
|Free replacement card and No ATM withdrawal fees||Offset carbon emission|
Benefits of a Prepaid Visa or Mastercard
There are many reasons why individuals choose prepaid credit cards over regular credit cards.
1. There are no monthly or annual fees: You can avoid the $100 or more in annual fees that come with a lot of credit cards these days.
2. You don’t need good credit: For your credit card application to be approved, your credit score will need to meet the minimum requirement set by the credit card provider. However, prepaid cards do not pull up your credit score and even if your credit profile is damaged or you don’t have a credit history, you can still obtain one.
3. It is easier to budget: If you are always overspending and racking up debt and interest costs on your credit card, prepaid cards can help you deal with your spending problem since you can only spend what you have.
4. You can still earn rewards: When you choose one of these best paid prepaid cards in Canada, you will earn rewards on your spending similar (and in some cases, even better) to a credit card.
KOHO Prepaid Visa
KOHO offers a free prepaid and reloadable Visa card and app that makes banking easier, cheaper, and more fun. Opening an account is easy and once set up, you can easily load funds using e-Transfer or Payroll deposit and start enjoying the following benefits:
- No monthly fee for the basic KOHO account.
- Earn 0.5% cash back on all purchases. Cash back is credited to your account in 1-2 business days. KOHO Premium (has a small fee) offers 2% cash back on select categories of purchases.
- Earn a 1.20% interest on your balance when you set up direct deposit.
- Automatically roundup your purchases to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10, and save the difference. For example, if you spend $3.25 on coffee, you can choose to save $0.75, $1.75, or $6.75.
- Real-time insights into your spending to help your budgeting efforts.
- Set up pre-authorized debit, pay bills, and accept payroll deposits easily.
- Earn $20 per referral when you share your KOHO referral code.
- Enjoy Visa’s acceptability worldwide.
- Get free financial advice from a certified financial coach.
- Free Early Payroll offer
- Free joint accounts
- In-app support
- Available in Quebec
- Note that if you use your KOHO card to conduct foreign currency transactions, you can expect to pay a 1.5% fee (except for KOHO Premium).
Sign up for a KOHO account here ($20 bonus).
The KOHO referral code CASHBACK is automatically added to your new account when you use the link above.
STACK Prepaid Mastercard
The STACK prepaid Mastercard and app is a powerful combination that can save you tons of money particularly if you travel abroad frequently.
It took me about 3 minutes to open a free account and access the following benefits:
- No monthly fee
- No foreign exchange fees – this is a 2.5% to 3% upfront savings when you make purchases in foreign currencies.
- No ATM withdrawal fees.
- Referral bonus – get a $5 bonus when you sign.
- Instant cash back on everyday purchases including gas, groceries, and entertainment. They have partnerships with Amazon, Foodora, Lyft, Netflix, Spotify, Adidas, Reebok, and many others.
- Automatic savings plan using the innovative roundup feature.
- Real-time insights into your spending habits with Financial IQ plus instant notifications when you spend, save, send or receive money.
- Enjoy Mastercard’s acceptability worldwide.
- In-app support.
You can easily load up your account with cash using Interac e-Transfer, Visa Debit, direct payroll deposit, or STACK-to-STACK transfer.
Sign up for a STACK Prepaid Mastercard to get your $5 bonus (smartphone)
MogoCard Prepaid Visa
Mogo offers a variety of financial services including personal loans, cryptocurrency trading, mortgage loans, credit monitoring, and credit scores.
Their latest product is the Mogo Platinum Visa Prepaid card which offers the following benefits:
- No monthly or annual account fees
- 2% bitcoin cash back
- Easy budgeting, in-depth tracking of your spending, and real-time transaction notifications
- Free credit scores when you get the prepaid card
- Carbon emission offset on your spending
Note that there is a $1.50 fee for domestic ATM withdrawals and $3 for international ATMs, a $1.99 inactivity fee, and a 2.5% fee for foreign currency purchases.
Learn more about it in this MogoCard review.
KOHO vs. STACK vs. Mogo Prepaid Cards
My review of the KOHO Visa, STACK Mastercard, and MogoCard is positive and I keep all three of them in my wallet.
From a monthly or annual fee standpoint, all three cards offer a no monthly account fee service. If you travel abroad often or make purchases in a foreign currency, the STACK Mastercard’s 0% foreign exchange fee is easily a savings of 2.5% to 3%.
KOHO Visa Card charges a 1.5% fee on FX transactions and Mogo Visa levies the typical 2.5% fee. If you prefer to go with either KOHO or Mogo, you can match them up with a no-FX credit card to take care of the foreign currency exchange charges. Or, you can choose KOHO Premium and have all FX fees waived.
STACK and KOHO do not charge ATM fees, however, the ATM provider you use may charge a fee. As for Mogo, you can expect to pay $1.50 to $3 for ATM transactions.
Looking at rewards, I like the 0.50% cash back I receive every time I pay for purchases using my KOHO card. The cash back shows up in my account in 1-2 days after the transaction, which is great. This is in addition to KOHO’s other in-app rewards like 4% cash back on Foodora orders, free credit scores, and other discount offers.
Also, your cash balances grow at a 1.20% interest rate if you set up a direct deposit to your KOHO account.
STACK has exclusive offers and promotions that change from time to time, for example, $5 off your grocery purchase, $150 off Contiki trips, savings on Amazon Prime, etc.
Mogo gives you 2% bitcoin cash back on all purchases and also offsets your carbon footprint. This is great for the environment.
If you are concerned about the security of your funds, KOHO, STACK, and Mogo all use People’s Trust Company which is a CDIC-insured financial institution. Also, Visa and Mastercard protect you from unauthorized transactions with their Zero Liability Protection.
Lastly, I like free money, and KOHO and STACK offer free money when you refer friends. KOHO will pay you a $20 bonus per referral.
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I prefer my KOHO and STACK prepaid cards to plain vanilla Mastercard and Visa gift cards which are not reloadable and can give you a rude shock with their unexpected fees.
If you’d like to sign up for KOHO, Mogo, or STACK, you can use the links below.
Sign up for KOHO and use promo code CASHBACK to get up to 2% in cash back ($20 welcome bonus).
Sign up for STACK (mobile phone link) and get up to a $5 bonus
Get the MogoCard and and earn 2% bitcoin cash back.
Tell us about your experiences with the apps in the comments!