KOHO and Wealthsimple are some of the first names that come to mind when one thinks of P2P payment tools and prepaid cards in Canada. These two companies are often pitted against each other despite not being similar. On one side is KOHO that offers a prepaid card that works like traditional credit cards, and on the other side is Wealthsimple Cash, a mobile app that makes it easier to transfer money. You can, however, get a Wealthsimple Cash Prepaid Visa Card that allows users to withdraw money from their Cash account.

Exclusive offer: Use the HARDBACON promo code to get $20 when you open a free KOHO account and make a purchase.

In this article, we’ll compare the two options and help you identify the right one. We’ve used both services and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Today, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each so you can have a good understanding of how KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash work. Now, without much ado, let’s start:

Introduction to KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash

KOHO and Wealthsimple are very different companies. Registered and licenced in Canada, both businesses offer a variety of financial products and services. Best known for offering financial advice, Wealthsimple has greatly disrupted the country’s investing and banking routine.

Said to be worth more than $5 billion, the firm originally offered an online investing platform that made it easier for Canadians to make money online. Today, however, it offers a lot more including Wealthsimple Cash that allows users to earn interest on deposits.

Wealthsimple Cash is comparatively a new service. The business started in 2014 and didn’t offer Wealthsimple Cash until 2018. With around 1.5 million users, it’s a reliable platform that’s known to offer excellent security. Headquartered in Toronto, the company is primarily owned by Power Corporation and enjoys a good reputation.

On the other hand is KOHO that offers prepaid cards that can also be used to cover day-to-day expenses and earn interest on deposits. Established in 2014, KOHO has partnered with People’s Trust to offer the KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card. Headquartered in Vancouver, the company was founded by Daniel Eberhard to give users an affordable way to shop.

KOHO’s main purpose is to help buyers save money. It reduces bank fees and also offers more ease. It’s one of the few companies to offer a prepaid card that helps depositors earn money.

Read our in-depth reviews of these cards:

KOHO Mastercard® Versus Wealthsimple Cash: A Comparison

KOHO concentrates on one thing – offering prepaid cards. You can choose from various options including KOHO Mastercard® Premium Prepaid Card and KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card. While both cards look similar, they differ in terms of fees and limitations.

Conversely, Wealthsimple Cash offers a single account that works as a hybrid account giving users a chance to earn money on deposits while getting to spend it at the same time.

KOHO works with Mastercard and Wealthsimple works with Visa to issue prepaid cards. These cards are accepted at all physical and online stores that accept Mastercard or Visa, including international stores. Both cards work in a similar fashion but differ in terms of fees, rewards, and limitations. Here’s a small breakdown to help you compare both options:

KOHO Mastercard® versus Wealthsimple Cash Visa fees

An exciting thing about both companies is that they offer cards that are free to own. KOHO, however, has a Premium version of its prepaid card that will cost you $9 per month to own.

KOHO KOHO Premium Wealthsimple Cash
Monthly fees $0 $9 $0
Foreign exchange fees 1.5% 0% 2.5%
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawal fees $0 $0 $0
Direct load fee 75¢ for transactions under $300

There aren’t a lot of differences between the two companies when it comes to the fee charged for owning a card. There are no signup charges but the Premium card comes at a cost. There, however, is a trade off. You will have to pay a monthly fee but you can still save money in the long-run as the Premium card will allow you to use your card abroad without having to pay conversion charges.

Also, while both companies offer free ATM withdrawals, we must mention that you might still have to pay about $2 per withdrawal. This goes up to $5 per withdrawal when using your card at an international location. This money is not charged by the company as these are ATM charges that you have to pay to the ATM provider.

KOHO Mastercard® versus Wealthsimple Cash Visa rewards

This might come as a surprise to some but prepaid cards often come with rewards including cash back offers. Both KOHO and Wealthsimple offer exciting discounts and have partnered with some reliable names. Keep an eye on the official site for a full list of partners since both companies are constantly working to offer bigger rewards and new names keep joining the list every now and then.

KOHO works with over 20 partner stores that offer all kinds of products including gas and grocery. Cash back offers start as low as 0.5 percent with some companies offering up to 5 percent cash back on certain products. Some big names you can choose from include Buffalo, Pizza 73, Baskin Robbins, Bounce, Kernels, Attitude, Contiki, and Frank and Oak.

What we liked the most about this company is how easy it is to use these discount offers. You don’t have to pass eligibility tests to enter codes to qualify. You will be entitled every time you shop at a partner store and make an eligible purchase.

Allow 48 hours for rewards to show in your account. You will be able to use this money to make more purchases or withdraw funds. There are no limitations or minimum requirements for now.

On the other hand is Wealthsimple Cash with a less impressive rewards system. Users can earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases. They recently discontinued a 5% cash back offer on restaurant purchases made on the weekend. That was a great feature, but unfortunately, it no longer exists.

There’s some exciting news for people interested in crypto. The company lets users deposit their cash back into digital coins. With crypto coins on a roll, you can end up earning a lot of money. Also, keep an eye on the promotions page as Wealthsimple is known for offering special discounts to celebrate occasions like as Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

KOHO Mastercard® versus Wealthsimple Cash Visa limitations

Both cards come with some limitations. Compare these so that you are not taken by surprise. This chart explains different limitations set by each company:

KOHO KOHO Premium Wealthsimple Cash
Maximum balance $40,000 $40,000 N/A
Minimum balance $0 $0 $1
Maximum load per month $40,000 $60,000
Maximum deposit 10 40
Maximum transfers per month 60 150
Maximum ATM withdrawal per day $600 $800 $1,000
Maximum ATM transactions per day 5 5
Maximum POS amount per day $4,000 $4,000 $5,000
Maximum transaction size $5,000

Wealthsimple Cash clearly has the upper edge here. The company has fewer limitations and you can spend $5,000 CAD per day without any worries. Wealthsimple, however, has a minimum balance requirement, which shouldn’t be a worry for most people since it’s only $1.

Though not related to fees, there is a major drawback with these cards. Both KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash do not work in all countries. All transactions, including ATM withdrawals, will be rejected if you try to use your card in these countries:

Albania, Azerbaijan, Congo, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Central African Republic, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Latvia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mauritius, Libya, Montenegro, Myanmar, Mali, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Romania, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Turkey, Yemen, Slovenia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ukraine, Syrian Arab Republic, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Tunisia, South Sudan, and Venezuela.

KOHO versus Wealthsimple Cash: comparing Canada’s best prepaid cards

KOHO Versus Wealthsimple Cash: safety

Both companies are safe and secure. Money deposited with Wealthsimple Cash is held at a Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insured bank. This means that your funds are safe by CDIC even if the bank goes insolvent. The maximum cap on the amount is $100,000. Also, the app is safe to use and the company hasn’t been a victim of breaches or hacks.

It uses state of the art security including 256-bit encryption to keep your personal data secure. Moreover, there is also 2-step verification that provides an added layer of security. The company seems to take privacy very seriously. You can get in touch with the team if you have any privacy-related questions.

The same goes for KOHO, which works with People’s Trust, which is a member of the CDIC and is considered a reliable name. Once again, your money will be safe even if the bank goes insolvent. In addition, KOHO gives users the option to freeze or unfreeze their cards as needed. They can also set up biometric login authentication to reduce the risk of hacks.

Also, you will enjoy the Zero Liability Purchase Protection Plan with both cards. This service is provided by Visa and Mastercard. It provides protection against unauthorised charges.

KOHO vs. Wealthsimple Cash: signing up for a new account

Signing up can be a crucial step. Some companies have a long list of requirements and the process can get tedious but you will face no such difficulties with Welathsimple and KOHO. You can sign up for a new account online by downloading the KOHO or Wealthsimple mobile app that works on both iOS and Android devices.

You can request a physical card once you have your Wealthsimple Cash account up and running. This can be done from the app. The same goes for KOHO.

You will find the Cash Card icon in the top right corner of your screen. The card will be delivered to your physical address. The process can take up to three weeks; however, you will have the option to set up your digital card and start using it right away. Comparatively, KOHO is a little faster. You will receive your KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card in about 10 working days.

Both KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash will not ask you for credit reports as no credit checks are required. You can apply for a card even if you have a bad credit score. In both cases, however, you will be asked to provide documents to verify your identity and address. Documents provided must be valid and your address document must not be older than 90 days.

Accepted documents include driver’s licences, passports, utility bills, etc. Presently, only Canadian residents and citizens qualify for these cards. You must have a Canadian address to receive your card as both KOHO and Wealthsimple send prepaid cards via mail.

Which company has the better mobile app?

This is the era of mobile apps and consumers like to use mobile devices to get the job done. Fortunately, both companies understand this and offer intuitive mobile apps that can be used to perform a variety of tasks from checking your balance to transferring funds. We used both apps and can say that they stand on the same level.

Don’t expect to waste a lot of time on these apps as they are both easy to use. There’s little to no learning curve and tabs are self-explanatory. But, if we had to pick one we’ll go with KOHO due to some unique features it comes with. The app has a financial coaching section that helps users manage debt. The section is well-read and detailed. It has some actionable tips that can help you understand how debt works and what you can do to improve your finances.

Another great feature is the tracking option that helps keep an eye on one’s spending habits. Pay special attention to this section as it’s very detailed with some great tools. You’ll find exciting graphs that make it easier to understand information.

The Wealthsimple Cash app doesn’t have many unique features but it gets the job done. You will be able to check your transactions and even make payments without having to exchange personal details. A large number of users believe that it is one of the biggest advantages of Wealthsimple Cash.

KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash digital wallets

Don’t worry if you are a fan of digital wallets as both KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash support online wallets including Google pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. A large number of online and offline stores now accept these e-wallets. They are designed to make online shopping easier and safer.

You can activate this feature through the app. Activation will only take a few minutes. You’ll have to create accounts on these websites and link to your KOHO or Wealthsimple account.

KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash: how to deposit money

Technically speaking, both companies offer reloadable cards. You can’t directly add money to your Wealthsimple card. You’ll have to add money to your linked Cash account.

The company offers instant deposits. You can use your Mastercard or Visa debit card and add up to $500 instantly. Maximum deposit is $5,000 per month. Money can be deposited by using the Cash app. The company supports almost all major providers including TD, ATB, Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, and Tangerine.

Another option is to link a bank account to your Cash account. The company offers instant deposits, up to $250, and there can be a delay of up to three days when depositing more than $250. The amount ($250) can be deposited all at once or in pieces. The limit resets every three business days.

On the other hand, KOHO also offers several deposit methods. You can use your Visa debit card to transfer money to your account. Another option is to link your bank account to your KOHO account. Supported banks include Scotiabank, CIBC, and TD Bank.

In addition, the company even gives users the option for Direct Deposits. It’s among the fastest and most reliable KOHO deposit methods. To sum it up, both companies allow instant deposits but no cash or cheques are supported.

KOHO Vs Wealthsimple Cash: referral bonuses

Referral bonuses are awards or rewards given to a user for referring new users. These bonuses are usually given in the form of cash and come with some limitations. For example, you can only earn up to $1,000 in referral bonus with KOHO.

The company offers up to $20 per user. On the plus side, KOHO will also award $20 to the joining user. At the end of the day, everyone will be making money. You will not earn this money instantly as the new user must verify their account and spend a specific amount of money to qualify for the referral bonus.

There are similar conditions when using Wealthsimple Cash. The company doesn’t have a fixed referral bonus. It starts as low as $5 per referral and goes as high as $10 per referral. This is lower than what KOHO offers but you might be able to make more money with this company as Wealthsimple has no cap on referral bonuses.

Customer support

You may have to contact customer support from time to time, hence it is important that you choose a company that offers good customer care. Overall, both companies impressed us. They offer several ways to contact agents and are quick at solving issues.

You can contact the KOHO team from Monday to Friday between 9 AM and 9 PM EST and from Saturday to Sunday between 9 AM to 5 PM EST. We found the team not just professional but also very friendly and well-informed. You can even contact the team via live chat. Small issues get resolved in a few minutes but in some cases, you have to contact them via phone or email.

Email support is quite impressive. You’ll get a response in 2 working days. However, get ready to wait longer if KOHO has to contact the issuing bank to solve your issue. The same goes for Wealthsimple Cash, which offers phone, email, and live chat support.

Call 1-855-255-9038 to get in touch with an agent. The team is available Monday through Friday between 8AM and 8 PM EST and from Saturday to Sunday between 9 AM and 6 PM EST. You can also write to them. They typically reply within 24 to 48 hours.

KOHO prepaid card extra features

Now that we have covered the main features of the KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card, let’s talk about some special tools it comes with. Our favorite is the Early Payroll option that allows KOHO users to receive up to $100 from their paycheque before the due date. You can receive this money three days before it’s due for free or pay $5 to receive it sooner.

The money will be added to your balance and can be withdrawn or used to make purchases. It’s very easy to activate this feature. Submit an online application and upload the required documents. You will, however, have to get some papers signed by your office.

Use this option when you’re low on cash. The money used will be deducted from your next pay. In addition, KOHO also allows users to earn money on the amount deposited. It is one of the few companies offering prepaid cards to extend this service. The interest rate is 1.2 percent and while this isn’t very high, it can prove to be rewarding.

Wealthsimple Cash extra features

The Wealthsimple Cash Card itself doesn’t come with special features but the app does. You can use it to pay bills, transfer cash instantly, and even earn money. Just like KOHO, Wealthsimple pays interest on the deposit thanks to the account being a hybrid of a chequing and a saving account. The rate is a 0.5 percent and they pay on the fifth of every month.

KOHO vs Wealthsimple Cash: the verdict

If all that you want is a prepaid card then the KOHO Mastercard® can be a great option. It comes with some impressive benefits including Early Payroll, multiple deposit options, low fees, and excellent customer support. The card can be reloaded and used easily.

On the other hand, Wealthsimple Cash isn’t just a card. It’s a tool that allows users to do a lot more than just shop using a prepaid card. you can use it to shop online, earn interest, and even trade crypto. Give it a try if you’re interested in streamlining your finances and put it all under a single umbrella. Also, you can try both KOHO and Wealthsimple Cash. There are no limitations on working with both companies and doing so will not impact your credit score.

Alternatives to the KOHO Mastercard® Card or Wealthsimple Cash

If you think the KOHO Mastercard® Card or Wealthsimple Cash aren’t for you, here are some alternatives that may be better for you. 

STACK Prepaid Mastercard

The STACK Mastercard is a prepaid credit card with no fees and can be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. It is perfect for those who want to control their spending but don’t want to sacrifice the convenience of having a credit card.

Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card

Use your Mogo Visa Platinum anywhere Visa is accepted. Plus, get access to many benefits like credit score checking, budget automation and even identity theft protection all for free. 

Canada Post Cash Passport Mastercard

The Canada Post Cash Passport Mastercard is a prepaid credit card that you can use to withdraw cash, pay bills or make purchases at any business that accepts Mastercard.

The card is available to Canadians over the age of 18 who have a Canadian address and a valid social insurance number. You can apply for the card online, in person at a Canada Post outlet or by phone.

Compare the different prepaid credit cards and choose the one that suits your needs!


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of a reloadable prepaid card? 

A reloadable prepaid card is often a more convenient way to spend money. It’s like a debit card  but without the associated bank account. You can combine the benefits of today’s most popular payment options – credit cards, debit cards and cash – into one easy-to-use card that lets you reload as often as you like.

Where can I buy prepaid credit cards? 

There are a variety of places to buy prepaid credit cards. The best place to get the right card is online. Check out our list of the best prepaid credit cards.

How do Visa Prepaid cards work? 

Visa Prepaid cards are an easy, convenient and affordable way to pay. You can use them anywhere credit cards are accepted, without needing a bank account or credit card.

Can I withdraw money from a Visa Prepaid card? 

Prepaid cards can be used to withdraw money from certain ATMs. They are subject to a network fee.

How does a prepaid travel card work? 

Prepaid travel cards are a great way to save money on airline tickets and other travel expenses. They are accepted worldwide depending on the network used, for example Visa, Mastercard or Amex.

Can I use a prepaid card on Amazon? 

Yes, you can use a prepaid card on Amazon and most merchants accept Visa or Mastercard.

Does Uber accept prepaid credit cards?

Yes, Uber accepts prepaid credit/debit cards.

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