Canada is home to a growing number of disruptive companies, including fintechs. One of the most famous of these is Mogo. Here is an in-depth review of what it has to offer.

What is Mogo?

Mogo defines itself as a way for people to reach their money goals while being kind to the planet. In many ways, its offering is similar to a regular bank. On the lending side, it offers regular loans and mortgages. On the everyday spending side, it offers a “digital spending account” with a “carbon neutral” prepaid Visa card.


There are also some extra services you wouldn’t necessarily see at a bank such as free credit-score monitoring and free identity-monitoring. Possibly Mogo’s most unique feature is that they also support bitcoin trading and storage.

Is Mogo Safe? 

Mogo is incorporated in Canada, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and subject to all applicable Candian laws and regulations. This means that both your money and your data are as safe as they would be with a regular financial institution. Mogo has detailed information about its data security on its website.

How Does Mogo Work? 

Mogo itself is simply an app (and a website). It works with partner organizations to offer various financial products, mostly loans (including mortgages). Each of its financial products has its own application process. In other words, signing up for Mogo is only a first step. It does not guarantee approval for any of its services.

Mogo’s Products

At present, Mogo offers a credit score monitoring service, an identity-fraud protection service, a “digital spending account”, a range of loans and mortgages and a cryptocurrency trading and storage service. Here is a review of each of its main products.

Mogo Loan Review 

When you sign up for Mogo, you can have an application pre-approved in just three minutes. This has no impact on your credit score and there is no obligation to use the loan facility. You can just keep it “on ice” so it’s there if you ever need it. At present, Mogo offers loans from $500 to $35K and with terms of between 9 months and 5 years.


If you activate your loan, the key details are made available to you on a dashboard. The details shown depend on the specific product. As a guideline, you’re likely to see the amount borrowed, the amount still outstanding and/or the amount you’ve already repaid.


You have the option to make overpayments. In fact, you can repay your loan in full at any time without any penalty.


Mogo Loans - Key Takeaways

It’s hard to make specific comments about the personal loans offered through Mogo rather than by Mogo. This is because so much depends on the lender behind them. That said, the fact that you can repay early without penalty is a very attractive feature.


The preapproval option may or may not be a benefit, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, you could argue that nobody is forced to accept it let alone use it. This is true, it’s also true that some people might find it reassuring to know that they had a line of credit available to them if they needed it.


At the same time, you could argue that making people an offer of credit is creating a temptation for them to use it. You could also argue that it’s leaving the door open for people to forget to update their details if their circumstances change. For example, if someone is starting a new job, retiring or going on parental leave, updating their details may not be their top priority.

MogoLiquid Personal Loan Review

Mogo’s own range of loans is called MogoLiquid. Since Mogo issues them itself it can set its own terms and conditions. This offers two, potentially significant, benefits over regular personal loans.

Test Drives

When you get your personal loan directly from Mogo, you can “test drive” it for up to 100 days. If during that time, you decide that it’s not for you, then you can repay the principal and Mogo will waive the fees and interest.

Level Ups

When you get your personal loan directly from Mogo, you can “test drive” it for up to 100 days. If during that time, you decide that it’s not for you, then you can repay the principal and Mogo will waive the fees and interest.

MogoLiquid Personal Loan - Key Takeaways

These two additional benefits definitely add extra value to MogoLiquid loans. That said, be wary of reading too much into them. It’s hard to see how many people are really going to want to cancel a loan after 100 days (or less). Similarly, if you manage your loan well, then you can improve your credit score and hence open up further options for more credit or better rates.


On the other hand, it certainly could be convenient to have offers “pushed” out to you. This could potentially act as a prompt to take action and ensure you take advantage of deals as soon as they become available.

Mogo Credit Score Review and Identity Fraud Protection Review

When you sign up for Mogo, you are automatically signed up for free credit score reviews and also free identity fraud protection. The credit scoring is provided by Equifax. It’s worth noting that Equifax is only one of the main credit bureaus working throughout Canada. It is not, however, the only one.


This means that its rating should give you a ballpark idea of how you’ll look to the other credit bureau. It will not, however, necessarily be an exact reflection of how they view you. Also, it cannot identify whether or not there are errors in your other credit reports. It can, however, give you a monthly “spot check” of your credit score so you can see the general direction of travel.


The identity fraud protection service also works through Equifax. Essentially, it monitors for hard searches on your credit file. These are generally an indication that someone is trying to take out credit in your name. The alerts come with instructions as to what to do if you don’t recognize the activity.  

Mogo Credit Score Review and Identity Fraud Protection - Key Takeaways

Credit score monitoring and identity fraud monitoring are arguably now basic essentials. Therefore, although Mogo is far from the only company to offer these services for free, it’s still very helpful that it does. It’s also fair to say that Mogo implements them in a very intuitive way. It also goes a step further by educating its customers on how to improve their credit score.


Although it’s not exactly part of the credit score monitoring service, Mogo customers get access to a tool called “MoneyClass”. This is exactly what it sounds like. It has lessons on how to manage your money and, hence, improve your credit score.  


MoneyClass is far from groundbreaking. There are plenty of other places you can get the same information. It is, however, very well-presented and easy to use.

Mogo Card Review

Mogo offers what it describes as a Visa Platinum Prepaid Card. This is basically a standard Visa debit card, except it’s linked to a “digital spending” account rather than a regular checking account. As a result, you need to transfer money into it, either from your regular checking account or via Canada Post.


You get the standard Visa protections e.g. the ability to freeze your card if it is lost or stolen and the “Visa Zero Liability Policy”. Mogo enhances this with a few helpful money-management features. These include the ability to set automated transfers, the ability to set spending goals and the ability to see your spending (almost) instantly.


The fees for using the Mogo Visa card are extremely competitive. What’s more, Mogo aims to offset one pound of CO2 for every dollar you spend on your card. They do this by working with the REDD+ Amazon Forestry Project.

Mogo Card - Key Takeaways

Looked at in terms of practical usage, the Mogo Visa card is much the same as any other debit card. The fact that you have to transfer funds into it from a regular checking account (or add cash at Canada Post) is standard for prepaid cards. It may be a benefit or a drawback, depending on your point of view.


On the plus side, the fees for the Mogo Visa card are extremely competitive. What’s more, the CO2-offsetting scheme is likely to appeal to Mogo’s target market of sustainability-conscious people.

Mogo Mortgage Review 

At present, Mogo is actually a mortgage broker, rather than a mortgage lender. As a mortgage broker, it may be able to find you deals you might never have discovered by yourself. Even if you would, using Mogo still offers the benefits of convenience, simplicity and user-friendliness.


Mogo doesn’t just help you with the initial application process. It also advises you on what documents you will need to collect and walks you through the funding process. You can apply for preapproval before you even start house-hunting. You can also use Mogo to renew your mortgage and/or to refinance a property you already own.


You can get a Mogo mortgage with a credit score of just 640 and a down payment of at least 5%. Mogo does require proof of income but will accept applications from the self-employed and those new to Canada. Mogo can also offer mortgages for non-standard properties (such as vacation homes).

Mogo Mortgage - Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, Mogo is simply acting as a mortgage broker much like any other. This means that, realistically, the mortgage options you get from Mogo are likely to be similar, if not identical, to the mortgage options you would have got from any other mortgage broker.


Where Mogo does stand out, however, is the general quality of the user experience. In particular, it’s easy to speak to an actual, real human (not a chatbot) to get help if you need it.

Mogo Cryptocurrency Review

Cryptocurrency is now moving into the mainstream. Bitcoin in particular is becoming increasingly popular especially among online retailers. This is largely because the processing fees make it a cost-effective way to process both micro-transactions and dual-currency transactions. Cryptocurrency is therefore definitely worth taking seriously as a payment mechanism.  


Mogo offers a straightforward and affordably-priced way to trade and store bitcoin. You can add funds in just 30 minutes (depending on your funding options) and withdraw in days (rather than weeks). If you choose to hold onto your cryptocurrency, it is kept securely. In fact, 95% of it will be in cold storage.

Mogo Cryptocurrency - Key Takeaways

Whether or not cryptocurrency is currently useful to you will depend on your business/your shopping habits. If, however, you decide that bitcoin is for you, then there’s a lot to like about Mogo’s crypto service. The affordable fees, speed and security make this a winner. The fact that it also has Mogo’s characteristic user-friendliness is a very nice bonus.

What are Mogo’s Fees?

It’s free to sign up for Mogo itself. Just signing up gets you access to the credit score monitoring service, the identity fraud monitoring service and MoneyClass. It also gives you the option to apply for loan preapproval.


At present, Mogo itself only charges fees on its prepaid Visa card and its cryptocurrency service. As of October 2020, these are currently set as follows.

Mogo Prepaid Visa fees

  • ATM cash withdrawals $1.50 domestic/$3 international
  • Foreign currency conversion 2.5%
  • Account inactivity fee $1.99 (unless the balance is zero)

There is also a $3 charge for adding money at Canada Post. This is charged by Canada Post.

Mogo Cryptocurrency fees

  • 1% transaction fee.

Note that Mogo itself supports free funding and withdrawal however the funding method you choose may charge a fee.

What are Mogo’s Interest Rates?

Mogo itself only charges interest on its own personal loans. The interest rates on third-party loans and mortgages are set by the third-party lender. For its own “MogoLiquid” loans, Mogoa cites a representative APR of 22.9% but its overall rates vary from 5.9% to 46.96% APR.

How to Sign Up for Mogo (Step-by-Step)

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to sign up for Mogo: 

  1. 1
    Download the Mogo app

If you want to get the most from Mogo, then you’re really going to need to have it on your phone. This will allow you to get real-time alerts from its identity fraud monitoring service and also spending notifications when you use your Visa card. That said, you can sign up via mojo.ca if you prefer.

  1. 2
    Create a Mogo account

All you need to get started is an email, a password (which you create) and to agree to the Mogo privacy policy.

  1. 3
    Provide additional details as required

Realistically, you are probably going to need to provide further information if you want to make serious use of Mogo. For example, even if you just want to use their credit score monitoring and identity fraud monitoring services, you will still need to verify your identity.


How much information you will need to provide will depend on the product. You should expect it to be in line with what you would have had to provide at a regular bank or credit union.

Mogo Cryptocurrency fees

  • 1% transaction fee.

Note that Mogo itself supports free funding and withdrawal however the funding method you choose may charge a fee.

Pros & Cons of Mogo 

Mogo is very clearly targeting a specific customer demographic, namely people who value ethics and sustainability and want financial products that reflect that. Whether or not you see that as a pro will, of course, depend on your outlook on life. Setting that aside, here are some of the more objective pros and cons of Mogo.

Pros of Mogo

  • Well-designed app and mobile-friendly website

With so many of us managing our lives on our phones, it’s really helpful that Mogo is clearly designed to be easily used on mobile devices.

  • Minimal fees

Mogo itself keeps its fees to a minimum and such fees as it does charge are at very competitive rates. Potential customers should, however, be aware, that using Mogo products may incur additional fees over which it has no control. For example, the $3 fee to add funds to a Mogo prepaid card at Canada Post is charged by Canada Post, not Mogo.

  • Support for cryptocurrency

Mogo’s cryptocurrency option really is excellent.  It’s simple to use, affordable and secure.

Cons of Mogo

Apart from the fact that it’s not yet registered to operate in Quebec, the only real con of Mogo is that it has a fairly limited range of products. What’s more, it works mainly through third-party vendors, which means that the deals you get through Mogo are very likely to be the same, or at least very similar, to the deals you can get through other channels.

  • Worth noting

It isn’t exactly a con, but it does have to be acknowledged that Mogo’s only standout service is its cryptocurrency offering. Admittedly, the prepaid debit card is different from the credit cards offered by its main competitors, but for practical purposes, it’s hard to see how it’s a huge benefit. This means that, effectively, Mogo has the same range of products and services as Credit Karma and slightly less than Borrowell.

Who Should Use Mogo?

First of all, if you’re in Quebec, you can’t (yet) use Mogo. Secondly, you can’t use Mogo if you need a regular checking account, insurance or business-specific products. Mogo does, however, offer personal loans that can be used for small business expenses.


With all that said, there are two compelling reasons for at least considering Mogo. The first is if you want, or need, to trade and/or store cryptocurrency. The second is if you consider that their values reflect yours. In other words, if you’re looking for a financial company with genuine ethical credentials.

Mogo’s Main Competitors    

At present, Mogo is still working largely in partnership with the mainstream financial services companies. This means that its main competitors are really other fintechs especially Credit Karma and Borrowell.

Mogo vs Credit Karma

Credit Karma’s headline service is its credit score monitoring service. It does, however, also promote various financial products, including credit cards, personal loans and mortgages. These are currently all provided by third parties rather than by Credit Karma itself.


There are five key differences between Mogo and Credit Karma. Firstly, Mogo’s credit score monitoring and fraud identity monitoring services are provided by Equifax. Credit Karma’s credit score monitoring service is provided by Transunion.  


Secondly, at present, Mogo only offers a prepaid debit card. It does not offer credit cards. By contrast Credit Karma only offers credit cards, not debit cards, prepaid or otherwise. Thirdly, Mogo supports cryptocurrency whereas Credit Karma does not.  


Fourthly, Credit Karma operates throughout Canada (and in other countries), whereas Mogo is not yet available in Quebec. Fifthly, Mogo has a very different look and feel from Credit Karma’s. It’s brighter, and bolder and has much greater emphasis on the importance of ethical values such as sustainability and responsible borrowing.

Mogo vs Borrowell

Mogo and Borrowell both use Equifax for their credit score monitoring service. They also have a very similar look and feel to their websites. That said, Mogo’s website still places more emphasis on ethics and sustainability. There are, however, three main differences between them.


FIrstly, like Credit Karma, Borrowell only offers credit cards, not debit cards. Secondly, Mogo supports cryptocurrency, whereas Borrowell does not, at least not yet. Borrowell does, however, offer a much broader range of products than Mogo (and Credit Karma). In particular, it also supports banking and insurance. Thirdly, like Credit Karma, but unlike Mogo, Borrowell is established across the whole of Canada. 


About the author 

Maurice

Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe's background and how he can help your business.

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