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 the upcoming 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 your 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
**The table below scrolls horizontally on smaller screens.
Benefits of a Prepaid Visa or Mastercard
There are many reasons why individuals choose prepaid credit cards over a regular credit card.
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.
- 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 referral bonuses of an additional 1% cash back for 90 days per referral when you share your KOHO referral code.
- KOHO Save (coming soon) will pay a high-interest rate on your entire account balance.
- Enjoy Visa’s acceptability worldwide.
- Get free financial advice from a certified financial coach.
- 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 and get an extra 1% cash back for 90 days when you use the KOHO referral code “CASHBACK“.
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 here to get your $5 bonus (mobile phone link)
MOGO Platinum Visa Prepaid Card
Mogo offers a variety of financial services including personal loans (really high-interest rates), cryptocurrency trading, mortgage loans, credit monitoring, and credit scores.
Their latest product is the Mogo Platinum Visa Prepaid card which is expected to provide users with the following benefits:
- No monthly or annual account fees
- Easy budgeting, in-depth tracking of your spending and real-time transaction notifications
- Free credit score
The Mogo Prepaid Card is currently only available to current Mogo members via an invite and you can join the wait-list by signing up for a Mogo account.
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.
KOHO vs. STACK vs. Mogo Prepaid Cards
My review of the KOHO Visa and STACK Mastercard is positive and I keep both of them in my wallet. I also like what I have seen and heard so far about the MogoCard.
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 the 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 their other in-app rewards like 4% cash back on Foodora orders, free credit score, and other discount offers.
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.
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 do offer free money when you refer friends. KOHO will pay you an additional 1% cash back 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.
I am on the MogoCard waitlist and will likely get one when it launches so I can write a full review. If you’d like to sign up for KOHO or STACK, you can use the links below.
Sign up for KOHO and use promo code CASHBACK to get up to 3% in cash back (1% bonus for 90 days).
Sign up for STACK (mobile phone link) and get up to a $5 bonus
Join Mogo for your free credit score.
Tell us about your experiences with the apps in the comments!