Top 5 KOHO Alternatives in Canada 2024

Claire Millard
Şeyma Mektepli
Last updated
April 18, 2024

KOHO has several different account types and tiers in Canada, all of which have linked spending cards which you can use globally. You can choose an account with no monthly fee, or upgrade to unlock extra features such as no foreign transaction fees, in return for monthly charges of up to 19 CAD.

You might be looking for a KOHO alternative if you’d prefer to avoid ongoing charges, if you want the option to hold a multi-currency balance, or if you’re thinking of an account from a bank instead of a digital provider - this guide covers 5 great KOHO alternatives to consider.

In our comparison we discovered that:

  • Wise - offers a powerful multi-currency account with no ongoing fees, which you can use to hold, spend and exchange 40+ currencies

  • Tangerine - has various account options including saving and chequing products, with cards you can use to spend and withdraw globally

  • Neo Financial - provides several good payment cards which offer cash back, with or without a monthly fee

  • EQ Bank - has personal accounts with no foreign transaction fee making this a good choice for CAD spending overseas
  • Canada Post Cash Passport - supports 7 currencies and can be used for spending around the world
Go to Wise

Why you should consider a KOHO alternative

KOHO is a Canadian provider of account services and payment cards, with several different digital account products available for personal use. All accounts come with cash back on card spending, but the exact details of the account and card will depend a lot on the tier you select. You can choose an account with no monthly fee but with more limited features, or trade up to get more options and pay a monthly fee of up to 19 CAD.

KOHO offers some great options in Canada - but you might want to consider a KOHO if any of the following apply:

  • You want to hold and exchange foreign currencies - KOHO only supports CAD

  • You want to avoid foreign transaction fees without needing to pay a monthly charge - KOHO only waives foreign transaction fees for higher tier accounts

  • You want to send foreign currency payments - this isn’t available directly from KOHO

  • You’d prefer a bank to a digital provider

Still not sure? Here are a few more KOHO pros and cons - and we’ll look at some great KOHO alternatives one by one next.

KOHO prosKOHO cons

✅ 4 different account tiers

✅ All accounts have a linked card

✅ Some accounts have no foreign transaction fee

✅ Earn cash back of up to 5% on all spend 

✅ Extras like credit building services available

❌ Monthly fees of up to 19 CAD

❌ 1.5% foreign transaction fee applies unless you have an Extra or Everything account 

Online banks like KOHO: A comparison 

This guide walks through 5 alternatives you might want to consider instead of KOHO. These are digital account and card providers, which include banks, non-bank alternatives - and even Canada Post.

We’ve picked out a selection of different options, each with their own unique features, so you can choose the best KOHO alternative for you, depending on the types of transaction you need to make.

Provider Best featuresAccount and cardFees
KOHO4 different account plans with different features and feesAccounts hold CAD, and all come with a linked debit card and variable cashback up to 5%, based on account type

Account monthly charges from 0 CAD - 19 CAD

1.5% foreign transaction fee for Easy and Essential plans

WiseAccounts support 40+ currencies with mid-market rates and no foreign transaction feeNo ongoing account fees, linked with Wise international debit cards you can use globally. Local account details in 10 currencies, including CAD. Free to spend a currency you hold, exchange fees from 0.43% for currencies you don’t have in your account
Tangerine (No Fee Daily Chequing account)Digital option which is an owned subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia - this means it is CDIC insuredLots of different account products for saving, spending, investing and more - we’ve focused on the No Fee Daily Chequing account as a good KOHO alternative

1.5 CAD out of network ATM fee

3 CAD international ATM fee

2.5%  foreign transaction fee

Neo Financial (Neo Money Card)Innovative digital provider with accounts, investments, credit services and cardsNeo Financial offers various accounts including the Neo Money Card which can come with or without monthly fees and which offers a good KOHO alternative

4.99 CAD monthly fee for the Premium Neo Money card

2.5% foreign transaction fee

EQ Bank (Personal Accounts)Backed by Equitable Bank, EQ offers Personal Accounts, Joint Accounts and moreEQ Personal Accounts come with linked debit cards and very few fees

No foreign transaction fee

No ongoing fees

Canada Post Cash PassportMulti-currency digital account with a card you can collect instantly in a Post Office branchHold 7 currencies and spend any currency you hold overseas easily 

15 CAD order fee

 2.8 CAD monthly inactivity fee may apply after 12 months

1.5% fee to spend in Canada

3.25% foreign transaction fee applies if you don’t have the currency needed

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Wise - a good alternative to KOHO if you want a flexible multi-currency account and card with no ongoing fees

  • Tangerine - a good alternative to KOHO if you want an account from a digital bank which also offers other services to save, invest and borrow

  • Neo Financial - a good alternative to KOHO if you want a choice of card types, including one with no ongoing fees
  • EQ Bank - a good alternative to KOHO if need a debit card linked to a CAD personal account with no foreign transaction fee
  • Canada Post Cash Passport - a good alternative to KOHO if you want a multi-currency card you can collect in person, instantly
Go to Wise

1. Wise 

Wise offers digital accounts and payment cards which can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.43%. You can open an account for yourself or your business, with no ongoing fees to pay.

Manage your money online or in the Wise app, send payments to 160+ countries, and spend in 150+ countries globally with your card. Accounts offer local details to get paid for low or no fee from around the world, in several major currencies including CAD, USD, GBP and EUR.

You’ll also get some free ATM withdrawals monthly and there’s no minimum balance to maintain, making this a flexible account for occasional or everyday use.

Go to Wise

Best Wise features 

  • Wise multi-currency account which supports 40+ currencies for holding and exchange

  • Wise debit card available, with expense cards to issue to team members for business customers

  • Fees are transparent and split out from the exchange rates you get, making it easy to see what international transactions cost you

  • Wise exchange rate - currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate

  • Business account available, for Canadian registered businesses, freelancers and sole traders

Wise prosWise cons
✅Accounts support 40+ currencies
✅ Debit cards have no foreign transaction fee
✅ Mid-market exchange rates
✅ Send money overseas to 160+ countries 
❌ Transaction and currency conversion fees apply
❌ No cash back option
Go to Wise

2. Tangerine 

Tangerine is a digital bank linked to the Bank of Nova Scotia. As we’ll cover later, all the KOHO alternatives we look at are safe to use, but the fact that Tangerine is a wholly owned subsidiary of a large bank does offer a few perks, and allows Tangerine to provide some investment services, mortgages and loans.

Tangerine has a selection of CAD accounts and a USD saving account product - in this guide we picked out the no fee chequing account option as a good KOHO alternative because you won’t pay for many transactions in Canada. However, some transaction fees do apply if you use your account or card internationally.

Best Tangerine features 

- Various account options including saving and chequing products, mainly in CAD

- Debit card offered for chequing accounts

- Fees include foreign transaction charges and out of network ATM fees

- Exchange rate - Tangerine uses a foreign transaction fee when you spend in foreign currencies with your card

- Business account services available

Tangerine prosTangerine cons

✅ Wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia 

✅ Lots of different account and card products

✅ Chequing accounts have limited fees

✅ CDIC insured

❌2.5% foreign transaction fee 

❌ 3 CAD international ATM fee

3. Neo Financial 

Neo Financial is a financial technology company which offers credit services, investments, cards, and different account plans which come with their own features and fees. As a KOHO alternative we picked out the Neo Money card which is a prepaid card linked to a Neo Money account. You can earn cash back on your spending, and if you choose to upgrade to an account plan with a monthly fee you’ll unlock more benefits too. Accounts pay interest, so there’s a decent chance you can earn both when you spend and when you save.

Best Neo Financial features 

- Lots of different accounts and services available including Neo Money cards which we selected as a good KOHO card alternative

- Debit cards available, including some with no ongoing charges

- Fees include a 2.5% foreign transaction fee and monthly fees for the Premium Neo Money card

- Exchange rate includes a foreign transaction fee

- Business solutions including BaaS and card services are available - contact Neo Financial to learn more

Neo Financial prosNeo Financial cons

✅ 2 different Neo Money cards available, as well as many other account products and services

✅ Earn cash back on Neo Money card spending

✅ Cards are available with no monthly fee

✅ Neo Money accounts may pay interest depending on the product selected 

❌ Monthly fees apply to upgrade to a Premium Neo Money card

❌ 2.5% foreign transaction fee

4. EQ Bank 

EQ Bank is backed by Equitable Bank and offers personal and business services in Canada. EQ Personal Accounts hold CAD and come with linked debit cards you can use at home and abroad. There are no EQ Bank foreign transaction fees when you use your card overseas, making this our pick as a potential KOHO alternative.

Best EQ Bank features 

- Personal, joint, savings and USD account options available

- Debit card available with very few charges

- Low fees - personal accounts have pretty much no ongoing fees to worry about

- No foreign transaction fees

- Business account available

EQ Bank prosEQ Bank cons

✅ Several different account and card options

✅ No foreign transaction fee

✅ Personal accounts have very few charges to worry about

✅ Backed by Equitable Bank

❌ Accounts can not hold foreign currencies 

❌ Not all account features available in Quebec

5. Canada Post Cash Passport  

Our final choice as a KOHO alternative is the Canada Post cash Passport which might be a good choice if you want a card you can get instantly, which offers multi-currency holding options. You can hold and exchange 7 currencies, and there’s no extra fee to spend internationally as long as you have the currency you need in your account already. It’s worth noting that a few fees do apply including charges for using the card in Canada.

Best Canada Post Cash Passport  features 

- Multi-currency account supporting 7 major currencies

- Debit card available

- Fees - 15 CAD order fee; 2.8 CAD monthly inactivity fee may apply after 12 months; 1.5% fee to spend in Canada

- Exchange rate - a 3.25% foreign transaction fee applies if you don’t have the currency needed

- Business account services not available

Canada Post Cash Passport  prosCanada Post Cash Passport  cons

✅ Get a card instantly at a Post Office branch

✅ Supports 7 currencies for global spending

✅ Secure and easy to use

✅ No fee to spend a currency you hold

❌ 15 CAD order fee

❌ 3.25% foreign transaction fee

Cards like KOHO

KOHO accounts come with different cards depending on the tier of account you’d prefer. One of the key differences is in the amount of cash back you could earn, and whether or not you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee. Higher tier KOHO accounts have ongoing fees but greater earning opportunities.

Not sure if KOHO cards are right for you? Here’s a summary of the cards offered by the providers we looked at earlier as a reminder and comparison:

  • Wise - spend globally with the mid-market rate, low conversion fees from 0.43%, and no ongoing card costs

  • Tangerine - chequing accounts have a debit card you can use globally, with some foreign transaction fees to consider

  • Neo Financial - earn cash back on spending - upgrade to a Premium Neo Money card for get even higher earning rates
  • EQ Bank - cards can offer no foreign transaction fee and more or less no other ongoing charges to worry about
  • Canada Post Cash Passport - hold 7 currencies which you can spend overseas conveniently
Go to Wise

Online banking apps like KOHO

Let’s round out our review with a comparison on each of our chosen alternatives against KOHO, and a few final words on why we’ve selected them.

Wise vs KOHO

Try Wise if you need an account to spend internationally, with no ongoing fees and some free ATM use.

  • Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies and have no ongoing fees

  • There’s no foreign transaction fee to pay and currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate

  • Get some free ATM withdrawals globally every month

Go to Wise

Learn more: Wise vs KOHO

Tangerine vs KOHO

Check out Tangerine if you’re thinking of an account from a bank-backed provider, where you can also access additional products and services.

  • Simple, straightforward products from a digital provider owned by the Bank of Nova Scotia

  • Lots of transactions are offered for free in Canada

  • Get investment services, mortgages and loans all from the same provider if you need them

Neo Financial vs KOHO

Compare Neo Financial to KOHO if your priority is getting cash back on your card spending, and you don’t mind paying a monthly charge.

  • Earn cash back on your card spending, including higher rates if you upgrade your account to a monthly fee option

  • Lots of different account and card types offered so you can compare and select

  • Business solutions including BaaS and card services are available

EQ Bank vs KOHO

EQ Bank might be a great KOHO alternative for you if you want a low cost, low commitment CAD account with no extra fee for international use.

  • No foreign transaction fee to pay when using your card abroad

  • Backed by Equitable Bank

  • Different account options available including personal, joint and USD accounts

Canada Post Cash Passport vs KOHO

Take a look at the Cash Passport if you want a multi-currency account and don’t have time to wait for a card to arrive by mail.

  • Multi-currency account which supports 7 currencies

  • Get a card instantly by calling into a Post Office branch

  • No fee to spend a foreign currency you hold in your account

Are these KOHO alternatives safe?

Yes. All the providers we’ve picked as KOHO alternatives are safe. Some are backed by major Canadian banks - others are financial technology companies which may be licensed and regulated slightly differently, but which still need to follow stringent rules to keep customers and their money safe.

KOHO competitors in Canada: Conclusion

While KOHO does offer attractive cards for Canadian customers, there are fees to pay for the higher tier accounts if you want to unlock all the available features.

  • If you’d prefer an account with no foreign transaction fee without needing to pay ongoing charges you might like Wise as a KOHO alternative.

  • If you’re interested in comparing cash back offers based on the fees involved, you may decide to look at KOHO vs Neo Financial.

Use this guide to help you pick a KOHO alternative which might suit your needs - whether that’s for spending at home and abroad, or accessing broader financial products and services.

Go to Wise

Apps like KOHO FAQs

What is the best alternative to KOHO in Canada?

There’s no single best KOHO alternative - which suits you will depend on how you like to transact. If you’re considering a KOHO alternative to cut out foreign transaction fees you might like Wise or the Canada Post Cash Passport for example, while other KOHO alternatives like Neo Financial could be a good bet for people looking for cash back options for card spending.

What is the catch with KOHO?

KOHO is a reputable provider in Canada with different account plans depending on your preferences. There’s no catch with KOHO - but you will need to pick the right account plan for your spending needs to manage your costs effectively. Or check out KOHO alternatives to see if there’s something better for you out there.