Stack Vs. KOHO

Check out the difference between Stack and Koho to see which prepaid card works best for you.

WRITTEN BY
Lisa Rennie
Updated December 15, 2020

Imagine all the online shopping you can do with a credit card at your disposal. If all you had was cash in your wallet, shopping at your favourite e-commerce stores would be next to impossible. 

The thing is, having a credit card requires certain criteria to meet. What if you don’t qualify? 

That’s where a prepaid card comes into the picture. These cards are easier to get approved for and don’t require the same qualifications that you’d have to meet for a conventional card. Instead, prepaid cards usually don’t require a specific income or a high credit score. Yet they come with many of the perks that you’d come to expect with a regular credit card.

There are a few prepaid card options to choose from in Canada, but Stack and KOHO are some of the more popular options among Canadians and for good reason. There’s plenty to love about each prepaid card, but which one is better suited for you?

Let’s take a look at both Stack and KOHO prepaid cards and compare them to help you decipher which of the two you should have in your pocket.

Stack and KOHO: Who Are They and What do They Offer?

KOHO and Stack both offer online financial accounts and prepaid, reloadable cards. The cards act in conjunction with an account that has some of the makings of a chequing account.

Before you start spending money using your prepaid card, you’ll need to fund your KOHO or Stack account. When you use your prepaid card, the money will be withdrawn from your account. Funds can be added via e-transfer from another bank account you already have, or through payroll direct deposit.  

You’re free to use your prepaid card anywhere that Visa or Mastercard are accepted. You can even earn instant cash back or get discounts at participating retailers by making purchases with your prepaid card. 

Plus, both fintech firms come with an app and offer tools to help you manage your money and track your spending. You can use the app to start spending before the physical prepaid card arrives in the mail.

The money you hold in your KOHO or Stack accounts is CIDC-insured, so your funds are secure in the unlikely event that either company folds. 

It’s important to note that the Stack and KOHO prepaid cards are not actually credit cards. That’s why you must preload funds into your account before you can start using them. Since you’re not actually using credit, you won’t be spending money you don’t have and racking up a pile of debt. Instead, you’ll be spending your own money that you’ve already loaded onto your prepaid card, so you can control overspending.

The biggest difference between the two companies is that Stack’s prepaid card is a Visa, while KOHO’s is a Mastercard. These credit card companies are used to process payments when you purchase goods and services using your respective prepaid card. 

Cost of Stack Vs. KOHO

Conventional credit cards typically come with sky-high interest rates on outstanding balances carried over month to month. Chequing accounts usually charge a monthly fee for the services provided.

But with KOHO and Stack, there are no fees to pay for basic features. Plus, you can make unlimited transactions at no extra charge. 

Stack

With Stack, you’ll get an account and a prepaid card for free. All the features offered require no upgrades to higher, paid tiers. Instead, everything is included. And Stack doesn’t even charge anything for foreign currency transactions, compared to a 2.5% fee that you’ll typically see with your average credit card. 

KOHO

There’s no fee associated with KOHO’s prepaid card and account. You can also earn 0.5% cash back on all purchases, plus a little extra at select merchants. You’ll also be reimbursed up to $3 to cover the cost of Interac e-transfer fees from your bank if you put more than $20 on your prepaid card. There is a foreign currency transaction fee of 1.5%, however.

KOHO also has a Premium account that costs $84 a year or $9 a month, though you can try it for free for 30 days. With the Premium account, you can earn 2% cash back on eligible groceries, transportation, and restaurants. Plus, you can get access to financial coaching, price matching perks, 0% foreign currency transaction fees, and 1 free ATM withdrawal per month anywhere in the world. 

If you plan to do a lot of spending using your prepaid card, then you may find that the 2% cash back will help you accumulate rewards a lot faster. It may be worth the annual or monthly fee in this case. 

Want more rewards? Check out the best rewards credit cards in Canada.

Benefits of Stack Vs. KOHO

Both Stack and KOHO come with several perks to take advantage of, including the following:

Rewards

KOHO offers a rewards system that pays you 0.5% cash back on everyday purchases. Stack doesn’t offer a cash back program, but you’ll receive offers from over 140 participating retailers that you can easily redeem. These include discounts on groceries, gas, food purchases, and free membership to Amazon Prime. 

Welcome Bonuses

When you first sign up with Stack, you’ll receive a $5 bonus. With KOHO, you’ll get 1% cash back instead of 0.5% for 90 days, as long as your first purchase is made within 30 days of activating your KOHO card. Plus, you can receive an extra 0.5% in cash back for 90 days if you set up direct deposits to your KOHO account.

Automated Savings

Both the Stack and KOHO apps help you set and stick to a savings goal.  You can also automatically round up your purchases to the nearest $1, $2, $5, or $10. The difference will be deposited and saved, and you can access these savings any time. 

Invest in a high-interest savings account for better returns.

No Monthly Fees

Unlike the average chequing account, there are no monthly fees to pay for both Stack and KOHO accounts. Plus, there is no interest charged for using your prepaid card since it’s not a conventional credit card.  

No Foreign Exchange Fees

You won’t be charged any foreign currency fees if you make purchases using your Stack prepaid card in anything other than Canadian dollars. And the same goes for KOHO if you have a Premium account.

Interest Paid

Chequing accounts don’t always pay out interest on deposited funds. It’s a major bonus if you can find one that does, and KOHO just happens to be one of them. You can earn 1.2% interest on funds in your account. Stack does not offer any interest paid on account deposits. 

Excellent Customer Support

Both Stack and KOHO offer impeccable customer service via email, live chat, or telephone. 

Joint Accounts

KOHO offers a free joint account if you want to share your finances with your partner or family member. Stack currently doesn’t offer a joint account.

Early Paycheque

Another feature that sets KOHO apart from Stack is the “early payroll” feature. It allows you to receive up to $100 from your next paycheque 3 days before it’s deposited into your account. KOHO gets their money back when your next paycheque comes in. 

Good Credit is Not Required

A prepaid card does not require a good credit score for you to be approved. This is not unique to Stack or KOHO and is a general feature of prepaid cards. No one will be pulling your credit report to verify your credit rating, so you don’t have to worry if you’ve got bad credit.

Having a hard time qualifying due to bad credit? Consider getting a secured credit card.

Budgeting Tools

KOHO gives you the ability to set up pre-authorized bill payments so you never have to miss a payment. Stack comes with a Financial IQ feature that gives you real-time data on your spending habits to help you stick to your budget.

Safety

Your deposits are protected in both a KOHO or Stack account by the CDIC. You can also freeze your prepaid card via both apps if your card is ever lost or stolen. Plus, both Visa and Mastercard products are protected with Zero Liability Protection, so you won’t be accountable for any unauthorized transactions made with your card. 

Stack Vs. KOHO Overview

StackKOHO
Card TypePrepaid, reloadablePrepaid, reloadable
Monthly Account Fees$0– $0 for free and joint accounts
– $84/year or $9/month for the Premium account
APR0%0%
Payment ProcessorMastercardVisa
Interest Earned on Deposits0%1.2%
Foreign Currency Fees0%– 1.5% with a free account
– 0% with a Premium account
Budgeting ToolYesYes
Interac e-Transfer Fees$0$0
RewardsDiscounts with various merchants0.5% cash back
Safety– In-app card lock
– MasterCard Zero Liability Protection
– In-app card lock 
– Visa Zero Liability Protection
Digital Wallet– Apple Pay
– Samsung Pay
– Fitbit Pay 
– Apple Pay
– Samsung Pay

Should You Get Stack or KOHO?

Both the Stack and KOHO prepaid cards are fantastic options, especially for those who can’t get approved for a traditional credit card but want the flexibility that comes with paying with plastic. The one you choose will depend on your exact needs.

If you like the idea of getting cash back with every purchase and collecting interest on funds in your account, then KOHO might be best. Stack is the better option if you prefer getting discounts at some of your favourite retailers. It’s also better if you want to avoid foreign exchange fees to make purchases in other currencies without having to pay for a premium account.

Decide what your particular spending habits and needs are to determine whether Stack or KOHO works best for you.