Neo Financial Credit Card Review

Neo Financial Credit Card Review
  • Flexibility
  • Cash Back Offers
  • Instant Mobile Pay
  • 3-Minute Easy Application
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Neo Credit Card Review Summary:

The Neo Credit Card by Neo Financial is the competitor to the big bank cards that Canada has been waiting for ever since ING Direct was bought out by Scotiabank. It offers the best flexibility of any Canadian credit card -and is the most simple to use!

The combination of simplicity, flexibility, and incredibly high cash back make the Neo Card our most recommended card in Canada.

Pros

  • The most flexible and simple credit card in Canada
  • Quickest approval process that I’ve ever seen
  • Best cash back offers out of any credit card in Canada
  • Groundbreaking new app connectivity
  • Instant compatibility with Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • Accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard
  • $25 gift voucher promotion

Cons

  • Massive cash back bonuses only apply to partners (although that list includes a ton of companies, and is growing).
  • No high-end travel insurance package such as those found on expense $100+ annual fee cards.

The new Neo Financial Mastercard or “Neo Card” is the next big thing in Canadian credit cards.

We’ve seen tech companies disrupt everything from vehicles to space travel and investing. Now the new Neo credit card is coming for the old market standbys.

Three massive advantages for the Neo Card immediately stand out to me:

1) It travels at tech speed – not “bank speed”. You send in your application and Neo Financial promises to process the application in less than 3 minutes!  

You can then load the card onto your Google Pay or Apple Pay digital wallet and start collecting the rewards immediately. (Don’t worry, your physical card will come in the mail.)

2) If you use the Neo Card to purchase items from their partner companies (like Netflix, Spotify, DoorDash, Second Cup, etc.) then the cash back bonuses are absolutely the highest in Canada.  It’s not even close! For non-partners, the guaranteed 1% cashback, even with the free Essential card, is highly competitive as well.

3) The Neo credit card was created by tech people who wanted flexibility – NOT to lock you into something. There are three price points for three different cards. While the lowest tier is absolutely free, the other two tiers offer competitive pricing – and best of all – the commitment is only month-to-month, none of this annual fee stuff!

Neo Credit Card Review: Fees and Cash Back Rewards

The Neo financial credit card comes in three flavours: Essential, Plus, and Max.

The Neo Essential Credit Card is absolutely free.  It is an inexpensive way to easily pay for items and averages 4% cashback when used with Neo’s partner companies.  It also includes a guaranteed cash back bonus of 1% for non-partners.  Consequently, Neo Financial recommends this card for folks who spend less than $750 on their credit card each month.

The Neo Plus Credit Card will cost you  $4.99 per month.  You can snag an average of 5% in cash back from Neo’s partners, and 1% cash back when you spend at non-partner companies.  Neo Financial recommends this card for folks who spend between $750 and $1,000 per month on their credit card.

The Neo Max Credit Card sets you back $9.99 per month.  For that ten bucks, you get an average of 6% cash back when you spend with Neo’s partners, and 1% when you spend anywhere else.  The Neo Max Credit Card is aimed at people who spend more than $1,000 per month on their credit card.

neo financial pricing new

I love the flexibility and simplicity of these three options.  The real key here is that 6% in cash back rewards is unheard of in Canada! This isn’t an introductory offer – this is the real deal. Six percent, long term, in cash! Not that there is anything wrong with travel points (I love travel points) but good old cash is the best perk out there simply because it can be spent anywhere at any time, and there are no rules or complicated “blackout periods” to worry about. No air travel company is “blacking out” cash!

On top of that, Neo Financial just announced (September 2021) a new promotion to go along with their already impressive offering. All new customers who sign up for any of the rewards credit cards will get a $25 voucher immediately.

How Does the Neo Credit Card Work?

Unlike other Canadian credit cards, the Neo Card instantly pairs up with your Google or Apple Pay, to let your earn credit card cash back without having to bring your credit card everywhere.

The Neo Card is accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard, and the cash back is earned instantly.  There are no hoops to jump through or sites to redeem on.  

The accompanying card app makes it easy to see your balance, figure out your payment, or claim your cashback.  The other notable feature on the app is that if you don’t want to memorize all the Neo partners, you can just check the app at any time for the places around you that will let you max out your cash back rewards.  The app will even tell you which small local businesses that they are partnering with.

My 2nd favourite part of the Neo Card (after the massive instance cash back bonuses many of the partners offer) is the flexibility of the card.  You’re never locked into any long-term contract, and  if you want to upgrade or downgrade cards, you can do it in moments with a couple of clicks.  

This tech-savvy approach should come as no surprise when you consider that Neo is the brainchild of Andrew Chau and Jeff Adamson, better known as the Canadian entrepreneurship team behind Skip The Dishes. 

How to Apply for the Neo Credit Card?

Because the Neo Card just launched in much of Canada (after a soft launch earlier this year) you might be wondering how to apply for a Neo Card of your own.

I love this simplified application process, and I hope other credit cards quickly follow suit.

Simply download the app, grab a government-issued ID, follow the user-friendly app directions, and wait 3 minutes for approval.  That’s it!

To be eligible for the Neo Card, you must be of age of majority for your province.

What is Neo Financial?

Neo Financial is an online financial company that is seeking to cut costs to the bone, and offer Canadians the most simple, user-friendly banking products that they have ever seen.

They started with an excellent high interest savings account option that rivals our go-to favourite over at EQ Bank, and the Neo Credit Card.

That said, I don’t think these folks are done – not by a long shot.

When I started researching the company, I saw investor names like Peter Thiel, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke, and Dragon Den Star Arlene Dickinson. Those folks don’t put time and effort into a small-scale company.

I personally love the idea of supporting a Canadian start up with a fresh take on how banking should work. (I mean… truthfully, not as much as I love maxing out my credit card cash back, but I’m pretty happy that I can do both at the same time.)

Neo Card Review FAQ

Neo Credit Card vs Tangerine No-Fee Cashback Mastercard

Our former most commonly recommended credit card on MDJ was the Tangerine no-fee mastercard. Now obviously there are three different Neo Credit Cards, so for the purposes of this comparison, I decided to compare it to the Neo Essential Credit Card and the Neo Plus Credit Card.

Neo Essential No-Fee Credit CardTangerine No-Fee Credit CardNeo Plus Credit Card
Cash Back RewardsAverage of 4% cash back at all Neo Partner stores + 1% on everything else2% Cash back on specific categories of purchases, then 0.5% on everything else.Average of 5% cash back at all Neo Partner stores, then 1% back on everything else.
Unique User-friendly appYesNo Yes
Apple and Google Pay ConnectivityYesNo Yes
Auto-Connects to Elite High Interest Savings AccountYesTangerine’s high interest savings rate has been substantially slashed over the years.Yes
Monthly FeesNoneNone$4.99
Accepted everywhere that Mastercard is accepted?YesYesYes

As you can see, the Neo Card offers many features that Tangerine just has no equivalent of. When it comes to maxing out your rewards, you can see that simply by understanding where you can use your Neo card to its maximum advantage, you can double the best case scenario of the Tangerine no-fee Mastercard. You can also see how Neo stacks up against other credit cards by reading our guides on the best no fee cashback cards in Canada, or the best premium cashback credit cards

2021 Neo Credit Card Review – Final Verdict

The Neo Card is the natural evolution of online banking. Our Neo credit card review’s verdict is that It is the most usable and convenient credit product that we’ve ever seen for the Canadian market.

That convenience alone would make the Neo Credit Card a strong contender for our wallets (and smartphones!) but when you combine it with the absurdly high cash back bonuses – it’s simply the best credit card option in Canada.  

If you have one specific store or online destination that you LOVE – and that Neo isn’t yet partnered with – then I might pair the Neo Card with a store-specific card that allows you to maximize your spend, but in terms of an everyday card, you can’t beat what Neo Financial has put together.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Kyle Prevost

Kyle Prevost is Canada's Top Personal Finance Teacher and an author/speaker/advisor when he is not in his classroom. His writing has been featured across Canada’s most-read publications. When he isn’t nerding out about P/E ratios or MERs, you can find Kyle on a basketball court or in a boxing ring trying to recapture something he isn’t sure that he had in the first place.
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Noki
3 months ago

Thank you for the detailed review.

Is there an official list of partners on the website? I look through the entire site and can’t seem to find it, it does says one can check before applying so would I need to start applying for the credit card before the site will list the partners?

Thanks!