KOHO Premium Prepaid Card Review 2022

Overall Ranking

5/5

Overview

Affordability

5/5

Rewards

5/5

Ease of use

5/5

Tools

5/5

KOHO Premium is the upgraded version of KOHO -- a pre-paid, reloadable card and integrated app that gives real-time insights into your daily spending. It functions like a chequing account but with the benefits of a rewards credit card. With KOHO Premium, you pay an annual fee of $84 (or $9/month) but get perks in return, including up to 2% cash back on purchases and no foreign transaction charges. Learn more about the benefits of the KOHO Premium Card and get advice on when to upgrade from KOHO.

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  • Saving money
  • High interest rate
  • Cash back rewards
  • Free financial coaching
  • No foreign transaction fees

About KOHO Premium

The KOHO Premium Card is the upgraded version of the “OG” card. It works exactly the same way and offers all of the features as the standard KOHO Prepaid Mastercard®, like the ability to preload cash, use the card just like a credit card, and earn cash back on your purchases. But the premium version takes it an extra step and comes packed with extra features and additional benefits.

For starters: Earn up to 6% extra cash back when shop with partnered merchants. Earn 2% cash back on the transportation, groceries and eating & drinking; 0.5% on everything else. KOHO Premium also comes with other benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees, free financial coaching, and price-matching.

The downside is that KOHO Premium costs $84 (or $9/month) annually. But the rewards and benefits cancel out this cost, demonstrating this card offers value. Plus, you can “test drive” it for free for the first 30 days to see if it’s for you.

Key Benefits of the KOHO Premium Card

Here are the key benefits of KOHO Premium:

Welcome Offer

Sign up and get a $20 instant cash bonus (once you load your account and make your no minimum first purchase within 30 days) right to your KOHO account with our link or YOUNGANDTHRIFTY referral code.


Get Cash Back Rewards

With KOHO Premium, you earn 2% cash back on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, bars, coffee shops, and transportation, including Uber and Lyft. Earn 0.50% cash back on all other card purchase categories. You can also earn up to 6% extra at partnered merchants.That’s better than what’s offered by some of the best cash back credit cards.

So let’s say you spend $15,000/year on groceries alone. That works out to $300 cash back with KOHO Premium, whereas you’d only get $150 cash back with the standard KOHO. Your yearly food bill would pay for the annual fee, and then some.


Earn Extra Cash back from Partners

If you’re a KOHO Premium subscriber, you can score additional cash back when you use your KOHO card at participating retailers (up to 6%). For instance, Pizza Pizza offers all KOHO users an additional 3% cash back, but as a KOHO Premium user, you’d fetch more cash back. The specific value of each will vary by partner, and the extra Cash back is automatically added to your account within 1-2 business days.


Credit Building by KOHO

If you have a low (or non-existent) credit score, it makes qualify for the very tools that will help you build your credit like the best credit cards, a mortgage, and personal loans. If you find yourself in that position, KOHO’s Credit Building is a good option for building a good credit score. When you apply for Credit Building through KOHO, you will be issued a Line of Credit from KOHO. The limit of this line of credit will depend on your risk. Each month KOHO will remove a portion of the dedicated funds, and report this as a repayment to a major credit bureau, which will positively impact your credit score. This service costs $10 per month with KOHO Easy with a minimum subscription of six months, but with KOHO Premium that drops to $7 per month.


No Foreign Transaction Fees

Whether you’re travelling abroad or making international purchases from home, transaction fees charged by your bank or credit card add up over time. With KOHO Premium, you won’t pay a dime — it waives the standard 2-3% foreign exchange fee charged on purchases made outside of Canada or an international retailer. It’s true that you can get a no foreign transaction fee credit card, but most come with an annual fee above $100. It makes the $9/month for KOHO Premium all the more alluring.


Free Financial Coaching

With KOHO Premium, you get money tips delivered right to your inbox, and can schedule educational sessions with a certified financial coach. Your coach can help you master all aspects for your financial future, from basic budgeting to taxes, investing, paying off debt, and more. The cost? $0!


One Free International ATM Withdrawal Per Month

Those $5.00 charges from your bank just for withdrawing your own money in an international ATM are annoying and costly. But with KOHO Premium, you get one free international ATM withdrawal monthly.


Higher Withdrawal Limits

You can take out $400 per withdrawal, up to $800/day with KOHO Premium, which is double the limit with the standard KOHO.


High Interest-Earning Threshold

KOHO Earn Interest allows you to earn saving interests on your entire KOHO account balance. With the KOHO Premium version, you will earn 1.20% interest on all balance (no minimum deposit requirement).


Slick New Card Design

KOHO Premium comes with a new card design that is slicker than the standard KOHO. While we don’t recommend choosing a financial product based on the look alone – a stylish card is undoubtedly a benefit of KOHO premium. However, this card is optional and you can stick to one of the four two-toned standard KOHO cards if you prefer.


Other Standard Benefits

In addition, you’ll also have access to all the regular KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® benefits, including:

  • No everyday banking fees – pay no everyday fees typically associated with banking, no interest, no e-transfer fees and no NSF fees.
  • Joint accounts – Share a standard KOHO account with your significant other and earn even more. Joint accounts aren’t available for KOHO Premium yet, but stay tuned.
  • RoundUp – Round up purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the excess into savings.
  • Goal setting – Free budgeting software with savings goal setting.

Drawbacks of KOHO Premium

The drawbacks are few, but definitely something to consider before signing up.

The first is the annual fee of $84 (or $9/month). But if you’re cash-strapped, you can opt for the free KOHO Prepaid Mastercard® version or get a no annual fee credit card that offers some rewards. You just may have to accept a lower cash back earn rate in return.

Secondly, KOHO Premium caps your deposits at $40,000, which limits your ability to earn interest. If you’re a savvy saver, look at EQ Bank instead. The Savings Plus Account offers a 2.50%* everyday interest rate and can hold up to a maximum of $200,000 in deposits. It also offers no everyday banking fees, free Interac e-Transfers®, free day-to-day transactions, and cheap international wire transfers.

* Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

Pros and Cons of KOHO Premium

  • 2% cash back on on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, bars, coffee shops, and transportation

  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Free financial coaching

  • No everyday banking fees

  • Credit Building by KOHO

  • Earn interest


  • Annual fee

  • Deposits capped at $40,000

How KOHO Premium Compares

The benefits above sound great, but are they worth the premium cost of $84 (or $9/month) annual fee? Here’s how KOHO Premium compares to a regular KOHO Easy account, and some of the other top prepaid cards and apps.

KOHO PremiumKOHOWealthsimple SaveSTACK
Cost$84 (or $9/month)$0$0$0
FeaturesHigher cash back than KOHO Easy, financial counselling, price matchingEarn up to 5% cash back extra at partnered merchants, round-up depositsEarn interest on depositsDiscounts with participating partners like Amazon, Netflix, etc.
Foreign transaction fees?NoneYes – 1.5%N/ANo
Interest on deposits1.20% interest on all balance (no minimum deposit requirement)0.50% interest on all balance (no minimum deposit requirement)0.5%No
Learn MoreVisit SiteVisit Site

While KOHO Premium is the most expensive choice of the options we reviewed above, it also offers the best cash back rewards, one of the highest interest rates on deposits (KOHO also offers a paid KOHO Essential version that offers 1.50%), and the most extensive suite of add-on features and benefits.

KOHO Premium vs. KOHO

Is KOHO Premium worth the extra $84 (or $9/month) annually for the potential 2.0% cash back along with the other potential benefits?

With the standard KOHO Easy: Earn 1% cash back on groceries, bills & services. Earn up to 5% extra cash back when shop with partnered merchants.

But if you upgrade to the KOHO Premium credit card, you would earn 0.5% cash back on your discretionary spending, and 2% cash back on groceries, entertainment, and transportation. And earn up to 6% cash back with eligible partners.

You’ll earn more overall by choosing KOHO Premium.

With most cash back credit cards, it’s smart to calculate the minimum amount you’ll need to “break-even” on the annual fee. With the KOHO Premium card, you’ll need to determine how much you’ll need to spend before it’s sensible to upgrade your card from the KOHO base version and whether your spending habits meet that threshold.

KOHO Premium vs. STACK

When it comes to calculating the rewards offered by STACK, it’s less straight forward, since they offer discounts off specific services instead of a cash back rate. Here are some examples of offers on their website right now:

  • 20% off travel booked using your Stack card
  • $1 off at Walmart
  • $1 off per week on groceries
  • 15% off Keurig purchases
  • 70% off your first four plates from Chef’s Plate
  • 20% off at Frank and Oak

With STACK, it’s difficult to make an “apples to apples” comparison, but it’s safe to say that depending on which retailers you shop at, you’ll save at minimum between $5 – $10 per month, for a total of $60 – $120 per year. Still, you’ll come out further ahead with KOHO Premium.

KOHO Premium vs. Wealthsimple Save

Although Wealthsimple Save is a great product, it’s not really comparable to KOHO Premium Card. It’s primarily a high-interest savings account, whereas KOHO Premium is multi-functional.

Wealthsimple Save’s 0.5% interest rate is decent compared to other high-interest rate savings accounts, but doesn’t beat out the savings interest offered by KOHO Premium. Also, you don’t get perks like cash back rewards or price matching.

The bottom line: Wealthsimple Save is a solid option for savers. But KOHO Premium is a multi-purpose app that offers the convenience of a hybrid savings and chequing account with a range of benefits, including cash back on purchases.

Who is KOHO Premium Best For?

If you want to earn 2% cash back and have a hard time staying on budget when using a cash back credit card in Canada, KOHO Premium might be a good option for you. If you’re in the process of improving your finances, taking advantage of the free financial counselling could set you on the path to economic prosperity.

If you’re a frequent traveller, KOHO Premium is a good addition to your pocketbook since it offers no foreign transaction fees and one free international ATM withdrawal a month.

That said, if you aren’t planning to use your KOHO card for daily spending, or are looking to build your credit score, KOHO Premium may end up being more costly than beneficial. Because KOHO isn’t a typical credit card, it doesn’t report to Canada’s credit reporting agencies, and so won’t help you improve your credit score.

If you aren’t sure, KOHO Premium offers a free 30-day trial for new users. The trial will give you enough time to test-run your KOHO Premium card and the services that come with the premium membership. If you aren’t convinced by the end of the 30-day trial, cancel your Premium membership and continue using the basic (and free) version of KOHO.

The Verdict: Is KOHO Premium Worth It?

KOHO Premium is packed with various features and benefits that make it one of the strongest prepaid, reloadable cards in Canada, but there is a monthly fee to access these features. The cost $84 (or $9/month) annually. If you spend more than $4,200 per year on groceries, entertainment, and transportation, you’ll maximize your cash back if you choose KOHO Premium. If you don’t meet this threshold, you’ll need to consider your spending habits, as well as how often you would use the additional features like free international ATM withdrawals and free financial counselling to determine whether KOHO Premium is right for you.

If you’re debating the options, take a look at our article about KOHO Premium vs. STACK.



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