One of the most common questions we get from prospective members here at Koho (other than “What is Koho?”), is whether opening a Koho account will affect their credit score or not. For starters, no, opening a Koho account will not affect your credit score. However, as a financial services company, we are required to verify your identity and confirm that you have a Canadian credit file in order to comply with the federal financial regulations under FINTRAC. This is what is called a soft check, and since we do not report to the Canadian credit bureaus, this will not affect your credit score or history.
But what exactly does it mean when a financial institution (FI) checks your credit score?
To help our prospective members understand how your credit score or history impacts your financial life, we decided to take away the FI lingo and break it down for you here.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a numerical grade that informs lenders (financial institutions, credit card companies, brokerages, etc.) how likely you are to repay your debt if you borrow money from them (think of it like your letter grade for school). A credit score ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest score that a borrower can achieve (Investopedia).
Your credit score is based on your credit history, which is a record of your payment history and amounts owed. If you’ve never checked your credit score, you can get a free credit check from our friends at Borrowell in under 3 minutes.
So why do people get credit cards?
“With great credit comes great responsibility”
Building your credit with a credit card is a great way to get help on insurance rates, renting or buying a home, and can even open opportunities for some pretty sweet rewards — but be mindful of how you can pay that money back. Afterall, it is a credit— meaning, you’re borrowing money that you may not have at the time of the purchase. Just remember, credit isn’t evil — it’s how you manage it, and understanding what it means to borrow money.
For a quick guide on building credit, check out Borrowell’s awesome blog post on ‘New To Credit: Guide to Building Great Credit in Canada‘.
Does Koho offer credit?
Since we offer our own Koho Prepaid Visa card, Koho members can spend whatever they load up on their Koho card without having to ever worry about any interest charges or fees. Although we don’t offer credit like a traditional credit card company or financial institution, Koho is a great option for those looking to rebuild their credit by minimizing their use of their existing credit cards.
By using your Koho card for your daily expenses such as your morning coffee, groceries, utility bills, etc., the less you have to worry about getting a big credit card bill at the end of the month. You can even use our Goals feature to set aside funds to help pay off your credit card debt — for a step-by-step guide on how to set up goals on Koho, check out our blog post here.
At Koho, it’s our mission to help more Canadians take control of their financial life, so ping us via our in-app chat or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any tips on repaying your debts (seriously, we nerd out on these kinds of things so feel free to reach out!).