Koho Credit Building Review – Is It Legit?

As inflation uncertainty creates anxiety about a potential recession, Canadians have mixed feelings about their employment prospects and household finances. A January 2024 report by TransUnion found that financial pressures have increased consumers’ desire to obtain credit. An excerpt read:

86% of Canadians report that access to credit and lending products is important (an increase of 7 percentage points year-over-year), with 40% who said it was extremely or very importantAround one in five (19%) of Canadians report that they don’t feel like they have sufficient access to credit and lending products, compared to 55% who believe they do.”

In addition, “around one in five Canadians (22%) report that they plan to apply for new or refinance existing credit within the next year. Demand for new credit is significantly higher among younger cohorts, at 39% for Gen Z and 35% for Millennials.”

Thus, with our Inflation Calculator April CPI breakdown showcasing resilient prices for food, gasoline, and household staples, a bad credit score can derail your ability to manage through financial storms.

But, with KOHO offering credit-builder loans aimed to enhance your appeal to potential lenders, does it deliver on the promise? 

About the Company



  • Koho $250 Cash Advance: https://www.koho.ca/cover
  • Koho Credit Building: https://www.koho.ca/creditbuilding
  • Phone: 1-855-564-6999
  • Email: support@koho.ca
  • Company HQ: Toronto, ON.
  • Google Play Reviews 4.6/5 stars (66,348 reviews)
  • TrustPilot Reviews: 1.4/5 stars (278 reviews)
  • Apple Store Reviews 4.8/5 stars (78,356 reviews)
  • BBB Reviews 1.6/5 stars (45 reviews)
  • Money.ca Review 5/5 stars
  • Money With Mark 5/5 stars

KOHO Pros and Cons:

For a quick rundown of where KOHO excels and underperforms, consult our list below:


  • Reasonably priced
  • Options for Canadians with decent and bad credit
  • Reports to credit bureaus
  • Improves credit scores over time
  • No hidden fees


  • $10 subscription fee for Credit Builder
  • Additional $5 for Secured Credit Builder
  • Not everyone will qualify
  • Mixed reviews from users

What is KOHO Financial?

KOHO Financial is a full-service financial firm that offers cash-back spending accounts, KOHO credit cards, secured borrowing products, and its credit-builder program. 

The fintech company prides itself on ensuring no hidden fees or fine print — just the ultimate way to spend and save. Its credit card partner is Mastercard and it has financial backers that include Drive Capital, Portag3, TTV Capital, HOOPP, Round13, and the BDC. 

You can also contact KOHO’s customer service team seven days a week through its mobile app or website, or reach an agent by calling 1-855-564-6999.

How Important is My Credit Score?

While a single number may be misleading in explaining your creditworthiness, the Government of Canada notes that “Businesses use your credit report and score to see how risky it would be for them to lend you money. It is up to each lender to decide on the lowest score you can have and still borrow money from them. Lenders may also use your score to set your interest rate and credit limit. If you have a high credit score, you may be able to get a lower interest rate on loans, which can save you a lot of money over time.”

Consequently, increasing your credit score plays a major role in gaining approval, achieving better loan terms, and reducing financing costs. For context, Canadian credit scores range from 300 to 900, and brackets are defined as follows:

  • 300 – 579: Poor
  • 580 – 659: Fair
  • 660 – 719: Good
  • 720 – 779: Very Good
  • 780+: Excellent

So, while KOHO credit building isn’t a magical solution to jump from poor to excellent, it can help move your credit score in the right direction. 

How Does KOHO Improve My Credit Score?

The interesting thing about KOHO’s credit-builder loans is that you have two ways to borrow:

  1. The Credit Builder product lets you open a line of credit and borrow money from the company.
  2. The Secured Credit Builder product lets you deposit your own funds as a line of credit and borrow from that balance.

To explain, the second option requires you to deposit $30 to $500 to create a secured line of credit. Then, you transfer a desired amount (10% of the balance is recommended) to your KOHO spending account. On your next billing date, KOHO automatically moves the funds from your KOHO bank account back to your secured credit line. The transfers are characterized as debt repayments, and KOHO reports the activity to the credit bureaus that set your score. 

The second option can be preferable because you may only obtain a small amount with a standard line of credit. As a result, the secured line is a solid fallback option if your credit history is severely impaired. 

After signing up, your current credit score will appear. Then, as KOHO receives and reports your payments to the credit bureaus, your credit score will update to reflect the most recent transactions. In as little as three months, you can begin to see credit score improvement. 

As a reminder, you must pay back the loan every 30 days based on your billing date, not when the money was withdrawn. For example, if your next billing date is September 5, and you moved money out on August 28, the payment is due on September 5, not the 28th.

As an added bonus, KOHO also provides personalized financial insights, recommendations, and credit-building tips to help you make better decisions and improve your financial health.

What’s the Catch?

To enroll in the KOHO secured credit-building option, you first need to subscribe to its credit-builder program. Both options are beneficial because your repayment activity is sent to the credit bureaus, but a credit-builder subscription costs $10 per month, and the secured credit-building option has an additional $5 monthly service fee

Furthermore, if you miss a payment on either line of credit, the latency is reported to the credit bureaus, which can damage your credit score. Therefore, it’s important to remember that positive and negative activities are impactful. 

KOHO Cover Cash Advance

As an interesting product that can help enhance your creditworthiness, a KOHO cash advance provides anywhere from $2 to $250. The great thing about “Cover” is that approval is guaranteed, there is no credit check, and no interest. You simply pay a $2 per month membership fee, and KOHO’s algorithm determines the appropriate limit based on your financial data. However, please note that the fee varies “based on the amount of the cash advance among other factors.” Essentially, KOHO may set different rates for different users.

Despite that, you can access the funds through the KOHO app, or withdraw the money at an ATM. You can also increase your cash advance limit by using the app frequently and building your relationship with KOHO, repaying the monthly fee on time, paying bills from your account, and enrolling in the credit builder program. 

What separates KOHO’s cash advance from similar products like Bree Loans is you can repay the funds whenever you want. Typically, the outstanding debt is deducted from your next paycheck, but KOHO allows for more flexibility. 

As a result, while both products help avoid overdraft fees that can reach upwards of $50, you may prefer KOHO for its range of services. 

How Do Users Rate KOHO?

Depending on who you ask, KOHO reviews range from excellent to poor. For example, Trustpilot gives the company 1.4 stars out of a possible 5, although several complaints are related to KOHO’s cash-back accounts and not its credit-building service. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the KOHO app has a 4.6-star rating on Google Play with over 66,000 reviews. 

Two testimonials read:

  • I’m really impressed with Koho. It has all the features I have been looking for: saving options, credit building, high interest for just having your money with them, and rebates for shopping at certain businesses. I really love that there are no hidden fees, and I can do as many transactions without them charging me extra.
  • Plenty of positives with Koho … 5% interest, credit building, easy app to navigate, my pay gets deposited quickly … however, when I needed customer service the process has been very frustrating. slow, not helpful, transferred to at least 3 different people.

Thus, while most users are upbeat about the banking side of the equation, as a fintech company, KOHO’s digital-first model may result in shortcomings on the customer service side. As such, think about what services you value the most to determine if KOHO Canada is right for you.

What’s Our Opinion of KOHO?

There are plenty of positives about KOHO, but like most things in life, it’s not perfect. Its credit-builder programs cost anywhere from $10 to $15 per month, and customer service can be hit-and-miss.

However, the programs do work to improve your credit score, and the cost savings on future loans can greatly exceed the monthly subscription fees. As an example, a $5,000 personal loan with a 10% interest rate repaid over two years incurs $537.39 in financing costs. Conversely, an identical loan at 9% interest incurs $482.17, while 8% incurs $427.27 — which means reducing your interest rate by 2% saves over $100 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Therefore, the results highlight the importance of improving your credit score. And if a better score helps you obtain cheaper financing in the future, the savings can greatly outweigh the KOHO subscription fees.

So, while KOH’s credit-builder programs are not for everyone, we view them as beneficial for Canadians with bad or extremely bad credit. 

To Learn More

If you want to sign up or learn more, visit: www.koho.ca or any of the following links:


Alex Demolitor

Alex Demolitor is a Canadian financial writer hailing from Halifax, NS. Alex has a Bachelors Degree from King's College and passed the CFA Exam Level III. He specializes in fundamental analysis of the stock, bond, commodity, and FX markets. He also covers US & Canadian economic indicators.