One thing I plan on doing regularly is to review other halal companies and products that are out there. That way you can get another perspective. Ultimately I think Canadian Islamic Wealth is number 1. But I’m biased. Kinda like how your mom always tells you you’re the most handsome guy or a beautiful girl. You very well could be but your mom would tell you that no matter what. Anyways, Manzil +Koho Card.
This is a really interesting relationship that Manzil has built with Koho. From the looks of things, they are trying to partner with Koho to offer a Halal Pre-Paid Visa. What makes it halal? Ultimately you load up the card with your own money and use it for your everyday purchases. Unlike a regular credit card, you can only load the card with your cash. So there is no risk of going into debt and there is no risk of paying interest on that debt if you are late. The reality is scholars have of course allowed the use of Credit Cards with the warning that you pay things off on time. The reality is many Muslims we deal with forget or spend outside their means. Which of course means the interest is inevitable. Further, utilizing interest-based financial instruments (even if deemed halal) enables the interest-based system to thrive even more. Manzil adopting this pre-paid Visa idea alongside Koho is a great step in allowing Muslims to book travel, accommodations, and shop online with money they have instead of interest or debt. Remember the Prophet Muhammad said “After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it off.” (Darimi)
I signed up for the card. The cards have an interesting assortment of colors. The Koho app is user-friendly it tracks your purchases and cashback as well. It also has savings features such as round-up which allows you round pennies to the nearest purchase and save (every little bit counts) . It also has a feature that allows you to get a $100 advance on your paycheck with no interest. This is a great feature and avoids Muslims from having to use overdraft or outrageous payday loans. Sometimes even the best planning can be hit by an unexpected bill.
You can load the card via e-transfer, direct deposit, or by linking your bank account. E-transfer is what I did and the funds ended up there in about 30 minutes. The process to load the card with money is fairly easy. They allow you to load it via e-transfer, direct deposit, and more. It took less than a week after signing for the card to arrive. A simple phone call after the card arrives allows you to activate the card and you can go use it for your pin number to be officially active.
Overall it is simple, easy to use, and comes with some nice features. Definitely a good alternative to avoid interest, overdraft fees, and more. My only critique is that the first time i tried loading the card I did so from my business account. Nobody reached out to me and told me that wasn’t going to work. I had to follow up to see what was going on. A minor issue but still needs to be pointed out.
I am not 100% sure what Manzil’s plan is for offering this card. At the very least it is a way for Muslims to get Visa features without the high fees and risk of Interest. But after having conversations with Manzil and seeing their development over the last year I think there is a “bigger fish to fry”. I see this Manzil pre-paid visa as a stepping stone by KOHO as an inexpensive way to gauge demand for halal tools and options in the Muslim community and on Manzils website they have several other halal financing options. If I were to make a prediction I think these are the workings of arranging the first-ever halal checking account and halal deposit options in Canada. This may be paving the way for the first-ever Canadian Islamic Bank. If we can go down this road this will be a game-changer for Muslims in Canada.
Overall, the story, the card, and the cause are all things I think every Muslim should get behind. At the very least you will get a card that you can use for all your purchases and get cash back. It will be halal and keep you away from debt and interest. Best case scenario, the community supporting these endeavors by Manzil could be the steps we need in order to have our own Islamic Bank.