Review: Neo Financial Credit Card and Savings Account

by | Published Mar 14, 2022 | Edited Oct 2, 2022


Neo Financial is a newcomer to the credit card scene in Canada, with a strong resemblance to the likes of Brim Financial. It is a cashback earning credit card, as opposed to a prepaid card. 

Let’s review the Neo Financial Mastercard and see if it has what it takes to secure a place in your wallet (or otherwise the thick binder where you store all your dormant cards). 

The Main Benefit of the Neo Financial Credit Card

The standout feature of the Neo Mastercard is its claimed cashback rewards rate of 5%. However, this rate is not static. Instead, Neo has a number of partner retailers, including local businesses as well as big-box retailers, giving cardholders the opportunity to earn rewards at different cashback rates. Neo states that you can earn an average of 5% across all retailers, and also that the cashback is uncapped.

So what are these retailers? Here is a list of all major Neo Financial partners and their cash back rewards, as of February 2022:

RetailerCategoryCashback Rate
AmazonShopping2%
American Eagle & Aerie StoreApparel1%
Anytime FitnessHealth & Wellness4%
ArdeneShopping1%
AritziaShopping3%
Ashley HomeStoreShopping3%
ATCOenergyOnline8%
AvisNational Favorites1%
Banana RepublicShopping1%
Bath & Body WorksShopping3%
BentleyShopping1%
Best BuyShopping2%
Blaze PizzaFast Food3%
BluenotesShopping1%
Budget Car RentalOnline1%
Canadian TireShopping2%
Chapters-IndigoShopping3%
Chop SteakhouseNational Favorites
ClearlyPopular Brands10%
Club MonacoShopping1%
ColesShopping3%
CostcoGrocery1%
Crave TVStreaming1%
Crystal GlassShopping10%
Disney+Streaming1%
EarlsNational Favorites
EB GamesShopping1%
Eddie BauerShopping1%
EssoGas2%
Esso/7-ElevenGas2%
Fat FranksCafes10%
FossilShopping1%
Frank And OakApparel7%
GapShopping3%
GUESSApparel1%
H-MartGrocery1%
Harry RosenShopping3%
Holt RenfrewApparel3%
HomeSenseShopping2%
Hot TopicShopping1%
Hudson’s BayNational Favorites2%
HuskyGas2%
JACK & JONESShopping1%
Kate SpadeShopping1%
Kiehl'sShopping1%
LidsShopping1%
Lube CityShopping10%
lululemonApparel2%
Marble SlabNational Favorites7%
MarshallsShopping2%
Mary Brown's Chicken & TatersCafes10%
Medicine Shoppe PharmacyHealth & Wellness7%
Memory ExpressShopping3%
Mucho BurritoFast Food10%
NetflixStreaming1%
New York FriesCafes3%
No FrillsGrocery1%
Orangetheory FitnessHealth & Wellness12%
Papa Murphy's PizzaCafes10%
Pet PlanetPets7%
Pet ValuPets3%
Petro-CanadaGas2%
PetSmartPets3%
Princess AutoNational Favorites5%
QuiznosCafes10%
Real Canadian SuperstoreGrocery1%
Roots CanadaShopping1%
Save-On-FoodsGrocery1%
SephoraNational Favorites2%
ShellGas2%
Shoppers Drug MartHealth & Wellness1%
SimonsShopping1%
Sleep Country CanadaShopping1%
SpotifyStreaming1%
StructubeOnline3%
T&T SupermarketGrocery1%
The Canadian BrewhouseRestaurants3%
The LEGO StoreShopping1%
The Rec RoomEntertainment3%
The SourceShopping1%
Tile MartShopping3%
Toys"R"UsShopping2%
UberPopular Brands2%
UberEatsPopular Brands2%
WalmartGrocery1%
Well.caHealth & Wellness8%
WinnersShopping2%
ZARAApparel3%

For a more comprehensive list, including (almost) all local and boutique partners, see this spreadsheet we’ve compiled.

We calculated the rate among only the large chain stores and name-brand partners and found it to be closer to 3%. The higher cashback rates among the smaller local partners allow Neo to inflate their ‘average rate’ to 5%, however, the effective rate you’re going to be getting won’t be this high. Just something to be aware of.

Of note, Neo guarantees an earn rate of at least a minimum of 0.5% 1% across all other purchases, whether a partnered retailer or not.

Update: effective Tuesday August 23rd Neo changed their previous 1% minimum cashback guarantee to 0.5% for new cardholders (existing cardholders will still receive the 1%).

Neo Financial Mastercard Welcome Bonus

$100 Promotion (Limited Time)

Currently, there is a $100 bonus for new cardholders. This is a cash bonus that is available immediately upon signing up and being approved for the Neo Financial Mastercard 

You must enter a promo code (‘1J932‘) to apply the bonus to your application.

When signing up, several users on RFD took the following steps to combine the welcome bonus with cashback rebates (same method for GreatCanadianRebates and for our own Frugal Flyer rebate program):

1. Go to the Frugal Flyer Rebates page

2. Complete the application form, and click through the provided unique link to the Neo Financial home page. 

3. Click ‘Sign up’ and then ‘Create a profile’.

4. Enter your email and password. *IMPORTANT: Enter the code ‘1J932T’ in the promo code field.

Neo Financial sign up screen

5. You should then see confirmation that the Promo has been applied to your account

Neo Financial $100 bonus in Rewards Cash

6. Sign up for the credit card.

7. After approval, go to the rewards balance within your Neo account and verify that the $100 in rewards cash is there.

8. Don’t forget to submit the rebate application form on the Frugal Flyer page.

If you then want to sign up for the Savings account, repeat the above steps, but at Step 2, you will select ‘I already have a profile’ and then log in to your existing Neo account and apply for the Savings account from there.

Neo Financial sign up, "I already have a profile"

Disclaimer: as of late we (and GreatCanadianRebates as well) have had some issues with Neo paying out rebates when the $100 promo code was also applied, with Neo citing that the two offers cannot be stacked. So expect that you may only get the $100 promo. In our view, it is still worth a shot in trying to stack both bonuses.

First Purchase Bonuses

Some Neo partners offer large cash back returns on your first purchase with them, of up to 15%. These first purchased bonuses can be seen within the Neo Financial app.

There is usually also a cap on the total amount of cashback. These bonuses present another form of welcome bonus that you can take advantage of as a new Neo cardholder.

Neo Financial first purchase bonus from The Stock Market

Rewards Tiers

When you apply for the Neo Mastercard, you start off on the Standard tier of the rewards program, which has no annual or monthly fee. However, you can choose to upgrade from Standard to either Plus or Ultra. 

The only difference between the tiers is that the cash rewards rates are increased by 1.25x with the Plus tier, and 1.5x with the Ultra tier. 

StandardPlusUltra
Monthly fee$0$2.99$8.99
Average cashback4%5%6%
Minimum cashback0.5%0.5%0.5%
Recommended spend<$750>$750>$1,000

Whether it’s worth upgrading is a personal choice. As we found the cashback rates are lower on local and non-chain partners, I’d be curious if a partner like Amazon or Canadian Tire also increased by 1.25x-1.5x.   

Other Benefits

Virtual Card

Neo Financial add a virtual credit card to mobile device, Apple Wallet or Google Pay

Immediately upon approval, you have access to the Neo virtual card. This card has the same card number as your physical card. You can add it to Google Pay or Apple Pay digital wallets.

Fees

With the standard Neo financial card, there is no annual fee (unless you opt for the higher rewards tiers). There is also no over-limit fee or inactivity fee. 

There is a fee for purchases in foreign currency of 2.5% set at the Mastercard exchange rate.

Related: Foreign Currency for Travel Abroad: Fintech Disruptors to the Rescue

Neo Financial Savings Account: 2.25% interest rate

Frugal Flyer offers a cash rebate on new account signups to the Neo Financial Savings account. See current rates and apply via our rebate page.

Neo Savings is an online-only, high-interest savings account that has all the basic functions of a traditional bank account, but offers a highly competitive interest rate of 2.25% at the time of writing (not a promotional rate!). This rate is competitive with EQ Bank, which is 1.65% at the time of writing. 

Related: Are New Bank Account Promotions Worth It?

You can use your Neo savings account to pay bills, make Interac e-transfers, deposits and withdrawals, all from one place. The Neo Money account has no minimum balances or monthly fees (essentially unlimited free transactions). 

Neo Savings can be funded through three methods: Interac e-Transfer, transfer from a linked bank account, and via direct deposit.

Neo Financial Secured Card

Frugal Flyer offers a cash rebate on new account signups to the Neo Secured Card. See current rates and apply via our rebate page.

Another brand new product to the Neo Financial portfolio is their secured credit card. This card functions the same as the Neo credit card with the Standard rewards tier. This card can be a good method to build your credit if needed.

The Neo Secured Card:

  • Is a physical and digital secured card that doesn’t require a hard credit check
  • Offers guaranteed approval
  • No monthly or annual fees
  • The credit limit is equal to security funds, which must be a minimum of $50
  • Security funds are stored safely in their Neo account
  • Security funds will be fully returned if you close their card and owe no balance remaining

As with the Neo Credit Card, the Secured Card earns cash back on everyday spending with an ‘average’ of 5% at partners, a 15% welcome bonus on first purchase at some partners, and a minimum of 0.5% across all purchases (partners or non-partners).

Conclusion: Keep an Eye on Neo Financial

The Neo Credit Card is an interesting new financial product, one that is unlike any other in Canada in terms of its reward structure. Neo emphasizes brand loyalty and local partnerships. This is great for small businesses, but for us in the miles & points game, all that matters is the value we can extract from being a cardholder. On that front, it’s difficult to determine where Neo belongs in my wallet. 

As someone who doesn’t do much local shopping, or have any brand loyalty (I’ll go wherever is cheapest/most convenient), the Neo card isn’t quite right for me. And the big brands that are included in Neo’s partnerships (eg. Safeway, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Amazon) don’t earn high enough rates for me personally. However, I could certainly see this card being a winner for certain demographics that shop frequently at local boutique retailers. It could also be a good card to use for some large online purchases, particularly if stacked with a cashback portal like Rakuten Canada.

However, as Neo is backed by some very savvy entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and has continued to add new products and features at an aggressive pace (Savings, Secured Card, and now Invest), I would definitely keep an eye on what the future holds for Neo Credit Card and Neo Financial. I can see them becoming a challenger across the fintech spectrum much like Wealthsimple has become with their Cash, Invest, Trade, Crypto, and Tax products.  

Neo Financial Credit Card

The Neo Financial credit card earns cashback at local and national retail partners (up to 5%). This card is available to individuals in Canada.

Read our full review here.

BONUS
0 Cash back
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$0+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes

Frequently Asked Questions about Neo Financial and Neo Credit Card  

  1. What credit score do I need to be approved for a Neo Financial Credit Card?

    Neo only requires a credit score of 600 to be approved for their credit card.

  2. What bureau does Neo Financial use for approval / hard inquiry?

    Neo Financial works with TransUnion to access your credit score for approvals and to report payments from your credit card. 

  3. Who issues the Neo Credit Card?

    ATB Financial, a financial institution and Crown corporation wholly owned by the province of Alberta, is the issuer of Neo Financial's Mastercard product.

  4. When do I get my cashback?

    Cashback earned on purchases is instantly available to be applied to your account.

  5. Is Neo Financial insured?

    Yes, Neo Savings Account is provided by Concentra Bank, a member of CDIC. Therefore, your savings are covered under CDIC for up to $100,000.

  6. What is the Purchase Credit Rate / APR for Neo Card?

    The Purchase Credit Rate / APR on the Neo Card is 19.99%-24.99%. However, you shouldn’t be asking or caring about this rate whatsoever, because you aren’t a noob who carries balances or pays interest on credit cards. Because you know how credit cards work

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the science (and art) of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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