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 cash back 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.
Neo Financial Mastercard Welcome Bonus
$60 in FlyerFunds
The Neo Financial credit card currently offers a cash back rebate of $60 in FlyerFunds simply for being approved for the 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.
Check out our Neo Financial credit card review for more details.
0 Cash back
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.
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:
|American Eagle & Aerie Store||Apparel||1%|
|Anytime Fitness||Health & Wellness||4%|
|Bath & Body Works||Shopping||3%|
|Blaze Pizza||Fast Food||3%|
|Budget Car Rental||Online||1%|
|Chop Steakhouse||National Favorites|
|Frank And Oak||Apparel||7%|
|Hudson’s Bay||National Favorites||2%|
|JACK & JONES||Shopping||1%|
|Marble Slab||National Favorites||7%|
|Mary Brown's Chicken & Taters||Cafes||10%|
|Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy||Health & Wellness||7%|
|Mucho Burrito||Fast Food||10%|
|New York Fries||Cafes||3%|
|Orangetheory Fitness||Health & Wellness||12%|
|Papa Murphy's Pizza||Cafes||10%|
|Princess Auto||National Favorites||5%|
|Real Canadian Superstore||Grocery||1%|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||Health & Wellness||1%|
|Sleep Country Canada||Shopping||1%|
|The Canadian Brewhouse||Restaurants||3%|
|The LEGO Store||Shopping||1%|
|The Rec Room||Entertainment||3%|
|Well.ca||Health & Wellness||8%|
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 23, 2022, Neo changed their previous 1% minimum cashback guarantee to 0.5% for new cardholders (existing cardholders will still receive the 1%).
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.
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.
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 FlyerFunds rebate page.
The Neo Financial Money account 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.
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 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 FlyerFunds rebate page.
Another brand new product to the Neo Financial portfolio is the Neo 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 or can be used if you are unable to be approved for traditional credit products.
The Neo Financial Secured credit card earns cashback at local and national retail partners (up to 5%) and has no annual fees.
25 Cash back
The Neo Secured credit 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 the 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. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Neo Financial and Neo Credit Card
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.
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.
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.
When do I get my cashback?
Cashback earned on purchases is instantly available to be applied to your account.
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.
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…
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