KOHO Savings Account Review 2022: An Excellent Option

With so many savings account options out there, it’s hard to know which one will be best suited to meet your needs. 

With fully digital access, no fees, good interest rates and finance tracking, Koho might be the new solution you need to save more and spend less while having a place to park some of your hard-earned money.  

In today’s post, I will be reviewing the Koho Savings Account to help you decide whether it’s the right one for you. 

Let’s get started! 

Our Verdict
KOHO Savings Account Review
9/10Our Score

KOHO Savings Account

Digital savings account

Great interest rate and innovative features that encourage you to save more

Pros
  • No fees and no minimum balance 
  • Encourages saving
  • Easy to use app available
  • Safe and legit 
  • Cash-back and interest earned
Cons
  • Can’t replace a regular bank 
  • No loan or investment options 
  • ATM withdrawal limits, no cash deposit option

A Brief Introduction to Koho 

Contrary to what many people believe, Koho is not a registered bank. 

Instead, it was launched as a financial app in 2017 to help Canadians with conscious spending and saving. Its main goal is to simplify personal finance for consumers, specifically when it comes to credit cards and tracking your finances. 

Koho’s main product offering is its prepaid and reloadable Visa card. This card is accepted everywhere Visa is but avoids the hassle of actually taking out credit, making monthly payments, paying high interest and monitoring your credit score. 

You only spend what you have and can track your spending and saving through their user-friendly app.

And you get to do all of this while making great interest on your account balance, taking advantage of cashback features, building your credit (more on this later) and having early payroll each month. 

Koho offers three products in total: personal, joint, and premium. 

Features and Benefits: Koho Savings Account 

Features and Benefits: Koho Savings Account 

With Koho, your savings account is coupled with your spending account. 

Here are some of the account features: 

  • No monthly fees and no minimum balance 
  • No Interac e-Transfer fees, non-sufficient fund fees, or interest charges
  • Earn 1.2% interest if you set up a direct deposit 
  • Funds protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) up to $100,000
  • RoundUp feature that helps you save – choose from rounding up purchases to the nearest $1, $5 or $10 
  • Automated savings feature 
  • Separate savings pots for different goals 
  • User-friendly app to track savings and spending 
  • Access to free financial coaching 

All in all, the Koho savings features are great. Given that the organization was launched to help Canadians with their financial habits, this is no surprise. 

The interest rate on this account is excellent and is paid out monthly. This is also coupled with 0.5% cashback on all of your purchases, which can really maximize your savings. 

Koho’s savings features are also available for Koho Joint and Koho Premium accounts. A joint account can be an excellent way of achieving your savings goals with someone, especially if it is a shared goal such as a vacation or joint purchase. 

You can learn more about the three types of Koho accounts here

Fees and Charges: Koho Savings Account 

Fees and Charges: Koho Savings Account 

Koho is incredibly fair and transparent when it comes to its fees, which is quite hard to come by with big banks in Canada. 

All in all, there are practically no charges associated with the Koho savings account. 

There are, however, some features that you can sign up for that have certain subscription fees. 

If you opt for the Koho Premium account, for instance, which comes with features such as fee-free foreign exchange transactions, increased cashback, financial coaching and more, you will be charged a fee of $9 per month (or a discounted rate of $84 per year if you pay it all at once.) 

Koho also has a fantastic credit building feature that costs $7 per month. Since you are not borrowing money, you might be wondering how this works. Here’s how: 

If you have a relatively low credit score or are just interested in building it, Koho can open a “line of credit” and charge you $7 each month.

If you can be good for this fee (i.e. have this amount in your account each month for Koho to pull without issues), the company will consistently report your good credit behaviour to a major credit bureau, helping your credit score. 

If you sign up for this service, you will be able to see your current credit score easily on the app. This way, you can track your progress and stop your subscription to the service once you get a score that you like. 

Complimentary Products: Koho Savings Account 

Complimentary Products: Koho Savings Account 

Your savings with Koho will be just one part of your experience with the company. Once you open a Koho account, you will also have access to a spendable account, an incredible financial app, a physical Koho card for everyday purchases and a virtual card for online shopping at your fingertips. 

All of these products can help you simplify your finances at once. 

You can learn more about the Koho card in this Koho Card Review

Alternatives and Competitors: Koho 

Koho is just one part of the growing ecosystem of digital finance products in Canada. Let’s compare it to some other digital-only companies to see how it fares in terms of product offerings, fees and other categories. 

Koho vs. Tangerine 

Tangerine is the leading digital bank in Canada. Like Koho, it offers spending and savings accounts, digital-only services and pays interest on its balances. 

Beyond these points, however, Koho and Tangerine differ vastly from one another. 

First off, Tangerine is a federally regulated bank that also offers loans, mortgages, credit cards, GICs, investment products and registered accounts. Koho, on the other hand, is more suited for day-to-day transactions and expenditure tracking. Not to mention it is not a registered bank. 

With that said, Tangerine and Koho are equally safe (Koho is backed by Peoples Trust – a federally regulated financial company based in BC.) They also both charge little to no fees for their services and pay interest. 

All in all, I would recommend Koho if you’re looking for a new way to track your money and save more. On the other hand, Tangerine is more suitable for those looking for a full-fledged bank that operates online. 

You could also opt for both. If you’re already a Tangerine customer, Koho can still be beneficial for you in simplifying your finances.

And luckily, both Tangerine and Koho allow for free and unlimited e-Transfers, so you can move your money easily between the two. 

If interest rates are the most important to you, leave most of your money in Koho. 

To learn more about how these two companies compare, check out this post: Koho vs. Tangerine

Koho vs. Stack

Stack is another prepaid credit card option in Canada, this time in partnership with Mastercard. Similar to Koho, the company promotes simplified finances. 

The Stack card charges no transaction fees, even for foreign exchange transactions. And, much like Koho, you can open an account without any credit checks and have access to cashback and reward options.

I find Stack and Koho incredibly similar when it comes to their prepaid card feature. Both are great options if you are looking for no fees and good reward options. 

Where the two companies differ in their offerings beyond their prepaid card. Koho also offers Premium and joint accounts, as well as options for credit building. It also pays interest on its account balances if you set up a direct deposit, whereas Stack does not. 

If these features are attractive to you, I’d recommend that you go with Koho. Otherwise, both of these companies are great at what they do. I also really like that you can deposit cash into your Stack card, whereas this is not an option with Koho. 

Dive deeper into the comparison between these companies in this post

How to Sign Up for Koho 

How to Sign Up for Koho 

You can sign up for Koho online. The process is quick, straightforward and free and requires no credit checks (unlike most traditional banks.) 

You will need to fill in your basic information at the time of account sign up and select a card colour (they have four options.) 

You can then go ahead and transfer funds into your account. Read up on how you can transfer funds to your Koho account here

Is Koho Safe and Legit? 

Is Koho Safe and Legit? 

Yes, Koho is both safe and legit. Not only is the company partnered with Peoples Trust Company (also known as Peoples Group), their customer’s deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) up to $100k. 

People’s Trust Company is a Canadian financial services company that is regulated by federal financial bodies. This makes Koho just as safe as any other big bank in Canada. 

Should I Get Koho Premium? 

Should I Get Koho Premium? 

The Koho Premium account costs $9/month or $84/year. Here are some of the additional benefits you get in addition to those included in the free account. 

  • 2% instant cashback on the three spending categories (and 0.5% on everything else)
  • No foreign exchange fees (usually 2-3%) 
  • Price match feature that ensures you get the lowest price on your purchases
  • One free international ATM withdrawal each month (typically $2-3 per transaction) 
  • Free financial coaching 
  • Priority customer service (no waiting) 

I would recommend that you start with the free Koho account. Then, once you get settled into the app and understand your transaction and fee trends, you can figure out whether or not the increased cashback, price match, FX and coaching services will be worth it. 

You can also get a 30-day free trial on this Premium account, which is great. 

Our Final Verdict 

KOHO Savings Account Review

Not all savings accounts are created equal, and it’s hard to know which ones are worth opening. 

Koho’s savings offering is a really good one. With no fees, good interest, cashback options, and the built-in motivation to save more each month, it can be a really good way to switch up your habits to ensure you have more money put aside each month. 

I’m also a big fan of their round-up, automated savings and credit building features. If these features sound attractive to you, I’d definitely recommend Koho to you. 

To learn more about Koho’s credit building feature, you can head here

Interested in virtual credit cards? Find out the seven best ones in Canada here

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Selin is a seasoned personal finance and sustainable banking expert with several years of experience working in Canadian credit unions, both in the branch networks as well as the head office. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, she's also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth community and is either working with kids or travelling when she is away from her computer.

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