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It's a KOHO vs. STACK showdown! This expert review looks at how these two prepaid credit cards compare based on key features.

If you’re considering adding a prepaid debit card to your financial arsenal, you’ve likely considered KOHO vs. STACK – the top two products in this space. While more companies are jumping into the prepaid debit card market (such as Tangerine and Wealthsimple), KOHO and STACK still reign supreme.

But you may be wondering, KOHO vs. STACK: which is best? These two prepaid debit cards might seem identical to the untrained eye, but several differences set them apart. Our detailed STACK vs. KOHO comparison can help you choose between the two options.

KOHO vs. STACK: Comparing the Key Features

KOHO and STACK are relatively similar prepaid debit cards. They are both offered by independent companies that aren’t affiliated with a big bank or financial institution, and work similarly. With a prepaid card, you load money onto the account and then use it for your daily spending – just like a credit or debit card.

However, KOHO and STACK are not credit cards because you have to add your own money to the account before you can spend it. But both cards offer extra perks that you might get with a credit card –  like cash back, travel rewards, or discounts – and neither card allows you to build your credit score, so they aren’t useful tools for repairing bad credit.

But there are some key differences to consider. Here’s how the two products stack up (no pun intended) against one another.

 KOHO VisaSTACK
NetworkVisaMastercard
Annual fee$0$0
Banking feesNo monthly fees, no interest charges, no Interac e-transfer fees, no NSF funds fees, no ATM withdrawal feesNo monthly fees, no interest charges, no Interac e-transfer fees, no NSF funds fees, no ATM withdrawal fees
Foreign transaction fees1.5% (0% for KOHO Premium users)0%
Rewards0.50% cash back on all card purchasesPremium discounts and offers on merchandise
SecurityZero liability insuredZero liability insured
Interest on deposits1.20%0%
FeaturesAutomated savings, budgeting software, direct deposit, joint accounts, round up savings, Early PayrollBudgeting software, round up savings, split the tab feature, direct deposit
Is it regulated?YesYes
More Info Visit SiteVisit Site

Network

KOHO is a Visa debit card and STACK is a Mastercard debit card, which shouldn’t make a difference in the vast majority of purchases. But if you frequently shop at retailers who do not accept Visa (like Costco and No Frills), you can’t use KOHO.

Winner: Neither — choose based on your spending habits.

Account Fees

KOHO Visa and STACK are both free to use and have no fees associated with everyday banking, including no monthly fees, no interest charges, no e-transfer fees, and no NSF funds fees. Neither charges for ATM withdrawals, but you still might incur a charge from the ATM provider.

Winner: It’s a tie.

Foreign Transaction Fees

When you make purchases outside of Canada, you are usually charged a foreign transaction fee. The industry standard is 2-3%.

STACK has no foreign transaction fees, whereas you’ll get dinged 1.5% on non-Canadian transactions with your KOHO card. However, you can avoid this by upgrading to KOHO Premium.

Winner: STACK — for its 0% foreign transaction fees.

Rewards

KOHO Visa allows users to earn 0.50% cash back on all purchases. A flat cash back rate makes calculating your potential benefits easy. If you upgrade to KOHO Premium, you can also get 2% cash back on groceries, transportation, and restaurant purchases. So $15,000/year spent on groceries and takeout would net you $75 with KOHO Visa, and if you upgrade, $200 with KOHO Premium.

STACK, on the other hand, offers discounts and special offers with various vendors like Netflix and Amazon. Your benefits will depend on how often you take advantage of these offers.

Winner: KOHO — cash is king and you can earn a bundle back on your everyday spending. 

 

Security

Both KOHO and STACK hold their funds with Peoples Trust, a federally regulated institution with $7 billion in assets. That means if either company were to fail, you would get your deposits back.

Also, KOHO and STACK users are covered by zero liability insurance. So if your card is ever used for unapproved purchases, you will not be responsible for the charges.

Winner: It’s a tie.

Interest Earnings on Deposits

With KOHO Visa, you will soon be able to have up to $20,000 in your Save account and earn 1.20% interest on your balance. So that means if you have $20k in the account, you could earn up to $240 in interest annually. This feature is TBD, but you can get on the waitlist now.

With STACK, you don’t earn any interest on deposits.

Winner: KOHO — you just can’t beat 1.20% interest.

User Experience

Both KOHO and STACK offer excellent features, including native budgeting software, a beautiful app with digital purchasing capability, and a Round-Up function that adds “spare” funds to your savings account.

STACK users can use the app to split the bill evenly at restaurants and request money from their friends. That’s kind of cool, but here’s something even better: with KOHO, you can access $100 of your paycheque up to three days early with no fees or interest.

Winner: KOHO wins by a hair because of Early Payroll.

STACK vs. KOHO: The Verdict

KOHO and STACK are both strong competitors in the prepaid debit card market. In our expert opinion, however, KOHO’s straightforward cash back earning scheme, 1.20% earned interest on deposits, and the option to upgrade to a premium account puts it ahead of STACK as my selection. But if you shop frequently at Costco, No Frills, or another retailer that doesn’t accept Visa cards, the balance would likely shift in favour of STACK.

The bottom line: there’s no reason why you can’t have both cards in your wallet. You can use each one strategically to save (and earn!) money on every purchase that you make. Pair ‘em with a cash back credit card and you’ll be rolling in the dough in no time.

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