KOHO Cards and Credit Building

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on 26 September 2023

Did you know that 3% of Canadians have a credit score of 520 or lower? A credit score at this level means that they will be perceived as a high risk. Canadians with this low credit rating will struggle to take out loans. They may even have difficulty renting as landlords are wary of taking on tenants who are perceived as financially irresponsible. If you have been unlucky enough to get a bad credit rating what is the best way to repair it?

This short intro to KOHO will explain their Credit Building Program, how it works and how you can use it to build your credit history. 

What is KOHO?

KOHO is a Canadian fintech company that was founded in Vancouver in 2014 and is currently operating out of Toronto. KOHO Financial Inc. provides financial services to over one million accounts in Canada. Despite KOHO offering some similar services to traditional big-name financial institutions, it is not a bank and has no physical branches you can visit. All of KOHO's services are accessible online and through the app.

KOHO is directly integrated into the Mastercard network. KOHO is regulated by the CDIC as a member institution. This protects up to $100,000 per account. You can easily check up on your spending through your phone and send quick and easy payments through e-transfer or set up direct deposit.

Is KOHO a credit card?

Koho debit card.

KOHO is directly integrated into the Mastercard network. This means that it has the perks of a credit card, like unlimited instant cashback with a KOHO prepaid Mastercard account. You can shop anywhere Mastercard is accepted using your physical and virtual KOHO card.

Rather than a credit card which would require you to pass a credit check, the KOHO prepaid Mastercard allows you to pay with funds you already possess meaning that there is no risk of adding to your debt or doing further harm to your credit score.

What is the KOHO Credit Building Program?

KOHO credit building is a feature offered by KOHO to help you build your credit history. You can take out a line of credit loan with KOHO which you repay every month. The loan is a low amount, the point being that it is a manageable amount to repay, and by repaying every month you slowly rebuild your credit score.

The payment is reported to Equifax. You will receive monthly credit score updates in-app and a free financial coaching service. You can cancel the Credit Building plan at any time

How does KOHO build credit?

KOHO builds your credit score by organizing a small line of credit loans on your behalf. It takes out a loan for you from a major credit union. It then manages the monthly repayments, using the money you have placed in your KOHO account. Each repayment on time will be reported to Equifax so that you can build your credit history. On average, KOHO users see a 22-point score increase within 3 months of subscription to Credit Building.

The repayments are handled by KOHO, so you don’t have to worry about them. KOHO automatically puts the repayment amount in a separate part of your account so that you don’t forget to make the payment or accidentally spend the money set aside. Over time, as you meet payments, your credit rating will begin to improve and you will be able to see the change happening in the app. KOHO does not provide detailed financial breakdowns of your credit reports so you will still need to request these from elsewhere.

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What is the KOHO line of credit amount?

You can start building your credit for just $10 of repayments a month over 6 months or $60 paid upfront. You just need to have the money in your KOHO Spendable account each month, and it will be automatically deducted and will positively affect your credit score.

After 6 months you can extend the program for another 6 months to keep working on your credit score. Over time this will improve your credit score and improve your ability to take out loans or a mortgage. KOHO has chosen a deliberately small amount to keep payments manageable and predictable. The aim is to show that you are a responsible borrower who pays back your loans reliably.

What are the pros and cons of the KOHO credit builder program?


  • Can see a change to your credit rating in as little as 6 months
  • Starting repayments as low as $10
  • Easy-to-use app
  • No credit check to use the app
  • Can watch your score to improve on the app


  • If you miss a payment you will further damage your credit
  • While you can see your credit score you do not have access to detailed credit reports
  • There is no guarantee that the program will significantly improve your credit score

Who can join the KOHO Credit Builders Program?

Anyone who is a resident of Canada and who is of legal age can set up an account with KOHO. KOHO Credit Building is available to all Canadian provinces.

Who needs to build their credit score?

Did you know that a surprising 55% of Canadians have never checked their credit score? However, anyone hoping to take out a loan, negotiate a mortgage or even move and start renting will have the opportunities open to them affected by their credit score.

The easiest way to find out your credit score is from one of the two main credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. Do you know what a good credit score is? If you’re unsure or need a reminder, take a quick look at the table below:

CategoryCredit score
Very Good
Credit score ratings

Does KOHO help build credit?

It is important to remember that holding any form of credit debt that you pay off on-time each month will help improve your credit score. Therefore if you already have a credit card that you are currently meeting repayments for, then you do not necessarily need to be paying off the KOHO Credit Building program as well. 

The KOHO Credit Building program however is a good choice for people whose credit is already so bad that they are unable to have a credit card. KOHO does a 'soft assessment' rather than a hard credit check. This means the program is available to people whose credit score has precluded them from paying on credit from other institutions. For these people, the KOHO program is a great way to start repairing credit.

Good to know

Remember: you are unlikely to see any difference in your credit score until you have completed the first 6 months of repayments.

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How to open a KOHO account?

The first step is downloading the KOHO app and starting an account with them. You will need to provide two forms of identification or one form alongside verification from someone with good standing. You can find a complete list of all the acceptable forms of identification on the KOHO website. Once you open a KOHO account, you can then subscribe to Credit Building in-app.

Good to know

KOHO does not charge fees or require a minimum balance! You can set up a count now without having to put money into it.

Once your account is set up, you can visit the website and use the KOHO login portal to access your profile. Under the heading 'Products' you will find the subheading Credit Building and can sign-up immediately.

Interested in seeing what other ways you can rebuild your credit score?

Take steps to fix your credit now

Better credit starts here


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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.

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