Neo Financial Mastercard Review 2024
Neo Financial Credit Card Review
Cash Back Offers
Instant Mobile Pay
3-Minute Easy Application
Platform & Mobile App
Neo Credit Card Review Summary:
When you combine the digital flexibility, the 5% cash back rewards, and the automatic hook up to an excellent high interest savings account (Neo Money), you are left with the best credit card for the average Canadian.
Check out our in-depth Neo Financial Mastercard review below for a full look at how to get an automatic 5% cash back (deposited right into an account that will pay you 10x the interest of a regular bank account) on your everyday spending.
Neo Financial is a digital-only company, so if you want the ability to walk into a bricks-and-mortar bank location, then it might be a better idea to go with a big bank credit card instead. But if you prefer the convenience of a company built for digital payments – then this is the card for you!
- 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
- Available to Canadians with a credit score as low as 600
- Instant compatibility with Google Pay and Apple Pay
- Accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard
- Very cool 15% offers on first-time purchases from partner stores
- 3% cash back on groceries and gas
- Free credit monitoring
- Free $25 Cash Bonus for New Signups
- Massive cash back bonuses only apply to partners (although that list included 11,000 companies – and growing daily).
- High-end travel insurance package isn’t standard (like on those elite travel cards that have a $100+ annual fee), however you can opt to add an excellent travel package for the months you want it! (Only 5 bucks and 3 taps on your app!)
The new Neo Financial Mastercard or “Neo CardTM” 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 complete your application in 3 minutes or less and wait for it to be approved, which normally takes a few hours at most.
Once your application is approved, you can 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 0.5% cashback, even with the free Standard 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.
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.
That said, I don’t think these folks are done – not by a long shot. They’ve added investing and mortgages and have even more up their sleeves!
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.
In 2021 Neo Financial was also selected by the Hudson’s Bay Company to offer their store-branded credit cards after their previous deal with Capital One ended. The HBC loyalty program has over 7 million active members and 2 million cardholders, so this move demonstrates major faith in Neo Financial from an iconic Canadian institution.
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 Financial Credit Card: Premium vs Base
Neo has tinkered with multiple tiers for their Mastercard over the last few years, and they’ve ultimately arrived at a very simple solution: You can pay 5 bucks per month and get the Neo Financial Premium Credit Card, or you can pay $0 and get the Neo Financial Base Credit Card.
To me, the benefits of the Neo Premium Card make it a no-brainer. Sixty bucks is very cheap for a premium card, as most similar premium credit cards charge $120-$150 per year (with no ability to go month-to-month like you can with Neo).
Here’s a quick Neo Financial Credit Card Comparison.
|Neo Base Credit Card ($0)
|Neo Premium Credit Card ($5 per month)
|Cash Back on Groceries
|Cash Back on Gas
|Average Partner Cash Back
|“Everything Else” Cash Back
|Free Credit Score Monitoring
|Priority Phone Support
Neo Financial Credit Card Review: Fees and Cash Back Rewards
The Neo financial mastercard has the best cash back rewards in Canada – the premium card that is.
Here’s how you can get rewarded for using your credit card to buy stuff you be buying anyway:
- Automatically get a 15% cash back reward on your first purchase (make it count!)
- 11,000+ Neo partners will give you an average of 5-6% cash back when you use your Neo credit card to shop with them!
- New: 3% cash back on gas and groceries (doesn’t need to be a partner!)
- 6% average cashback at restaurants, bars and cafes
- 4% on popular streaming services
- 4% on ride sharing services
- 4% on food delivery services
- With subscription perks (which you can switch at any time) you can boost your rewards with pinpoint accuracy in areas such as “travel”, “mind and body” or “food & drink”.
Andrew Chau, Co-Founder and CEO of Neo Financial recently stated:
“Canadians are working harder than ever just to make ends meet. They deserve financial products and services that make every day more rewarding, by providing more value for every dollar. We’re proud to offer financial products that transform how Canadians spend, save, and earn — including high-interest savings, boosted cashback rewards, a fully digital mortgage experience, and much more to come.”
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 they’re partnering with.
My 2nd favourite part of the Neo Card (after the massive instant 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. If you’re upgrading to a more expensive tier, you’ll simply pay a prorated fee for the rest of the month. It’s no problem!
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?
The Neo Card only launched in 2021, but it’s taking the credit card market by storm. And it’s incredibly easy to apply for:
Simply download the app, grab a government-issued ID, follow the user-friendly app directions, and wait 3 minutes for approval. That’s it!
I love this simplified application process, and I hope other credit cards quickly follow suit.
To be eligible for the Neo Card, you must be the age of majority for your province.
What Credit Score Do I Need for the Neo Mastercard?
As with most credit cards, the Neo Financial Mastercard does require a specific minimum credit score to qualify. Your credit score has to be 600 or above to get a Neo Financial Mastercard.
That said, the company has a unique and interesting way to boost you to that level. They call it the Neo Card with Credit Builder. It’s basically a secured credit card (read more below) that allows you to demonstrate to Neo that you can handle your finances in a way that would allow for the responsible use of their credit card.
Not only does Neo embrace helping folks with a lower credit score qualify for a premium card, the fact they let you snag a card with a credit score of 600 is interesting in and of itself. Most credit cards require 660, with many premium cards putting that north of 700.
The Neo Financial Secured Credit Card
Bad credit? No problem. You can still be a Neo Financial cardholder.
Like all secured credit cards, the Neo Financial Secured Credit Card – Neo CardTM (Secured) – is designed for people with bad (or no) credit. Secured cardholders send in a deposit that Neo holds in an account and uses to determine your credit limit. As long as your account stays in good standing, your deposit will be returned to you when you close the account.
Most secured credit cards have a minimum deposit of $500 but the Neo Financial Secured Credit Card has a $50 minimum, which means you can start rebuilding your credit immediately.
Unlike most of the best secured credit cards in Canada, the Neo Financial Secured Credit Card has no annual or over-limit fees. It also doesn’t require a hard credit check, which means approval is guaranteed – regardless of your credit rating.
Another thing that sets the Neo Secured Credit Card apart from most other secured cards is its cashback rewards. Cardholders receive an average of 5% unlimited cashback from Neo partners and a guaranteed 0.5% on non-partner purchases. Compare this to the Plastk secured card which offers 0.004% cashback (for an annual fee) and you’ll see the difference.
The New Financial Hybrid Neo Debit Card
Neo Financial announced their new Neo Money™ Card on March 31, 2023 to much fanfare. Touting the card as a way to combat inflation, it offers many of the same excellent partnership deals as the credit card (but perhaps not quite the same high percentage of cash back).
The major highlights of the New Financial Hybrid Debit Card include:
- No fees of any kind.
- Can be accessed at any ATM worldwide.
- Automatic connection to the NEO high interest earnings account.
Co-founder Andrew Chau stated, “Canadians who have been using debit cards have been left behind when it comes to earning rewards when they spend, and we’re thrilled to put more money into Canadians’ pockets with the launch of our Neo Money™ card.”
Neo Card Premium Benefits
The Neo Card was the first card in Canada created by folks outside the typical banking industry. You can tell they approach things from a different angle by the fact that the Neo Card is the first credit card in Canada to allow users to fully customise their rewards and benefits.
The idea is to replace the standard credit card hacking of, “I use this card for groceries, but this card for gas, and this 3rd card for travel.”
As we enter 2024 Neo has stated that they will continue to add premium bundle options to the list below as their 8,000+ partner network continues to expand. Right now the main bundles are:
- Travel Bundle: 2% cash back on all purchases in other countries, lounge access at airports around the world, and an excellent automatic travel insurance coverage that includes car rental, baggage loss, and trip cancellation.
- Good and Drink Bundle: An average of 5% cash back from restaurants, coffee shops, and food delivery apps.
- Mind & Body Bundle: This bundle is essentially a purchase of mindfulness and fitness classes from Headspace Premium and FitOn Pro, in addition to some cash back from partner gyms.
- Mobile Protection Bundle: You can disregard those crazy extended insurance plans that the phone dealers try to hook you on, as this bundle provides automatic device protection. Plus, it kicks in password management via Dashlane, as well as ID theft coverage.
Again, the best part of the Neo Credit Card premium bundle benefits is that you only pay for what you want. For example, if you only need travel insurance for one month, just deselect the Travel Bundle after that time!
Neo Financial and Shell: Partners in Savings
Neo Financial and Shell have joined forces to offer customers a sweet new deal!
If you use your Neo Credit, Neo Secured Credit, or Neo Money card when you fill up and shop at Shell gas stations and convenience stores, you can get up to 4% cashback on all purchases.
- Earn 2% cashback at the pump or convenience store locations
- Earn 4% cashback on transactions made through the Shell App
And it gets better! If you’ve subscribed to Neo’s Everyday Essentials perk, you get a cashback boost of another 50% – up to 6% cashback!
Note: this offer is only available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Neo Credit Card vs Tangerine No-Fee Cashback Mastercard
Our former most commonly recommended credit card on MDJ was the Tangerine no-fee mastercard. Here’s a direct comparison between that Tangerine card and the Neo Financial Mastercard side-by-side.
|Neo Financial Mastercard
|Tangerine No-Fee Credit Card
|Cash Back Rewards
|Average of 5% cash back at all Neo Partner stores + 0.5% on everything else
|2% Cash back on specific categories of purchases, then 0.5% on everything else.
|Unique User-friendly app
|Apple and Google Pay Connectivity
|Auto-Connects to Elite High Interest Savings Account
|Yes – 2.25% interest
|Yes – 1% interest
|$0 – Free
|$0 – Free
|Accepted everywhere that Mastercard is accepted?
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.
Neo Financial MasterCard Review: FAQ
Neo Financial Credit Card Review – Final Thoughts
The Neo Credit Card has taken the Canadian rewards card scene by storm over the last couple of years, making it more convenient than ever before to sign up and start getting massive credit card rewards – all for only $5 per month!
Our Neo credit card review’s conclusion is that it’s simply the most underrated card in Canada and probably best option for most Canadians. (There are some premium cards with very cool benefits if you can stomach the $500+ annual fees.)
Neo is partnered with stores such as Canadian Tire, Loblaws, Walmart, Dollarama, Amazon, and Netflix. Earn absurdly high cash back bonuses with those partners – it’s the easiest discount you’ll ever find.
But in addition to the excellent credit card rewards program, signing up at Neo also gives you access to some really cool online banking options as well. CEO Andrew Chau recently stated in the Toronto Star in regards to Canadian banking: The experience should look and feel more like an Airbnb experience, rather than a banking experience.
Because we so highly recommend the Neo Credit Card, and they have launched improvements to the card every few months since they launched it, I’ll be updating this Neo Credit Card Review throughout 2024. Please let us know in the comments what your experience has been with it.