Neo Financial Mastercard Review

Neo Financial Credit Card Review
  • Flexibility
  • Cash Back Offers
  • Instant Mobile Pay
  • 3-Minute Easy Application
  • Platform & Mobile App
  • Welcome Bonus
4.8

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, 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!

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
  • Very cool 15% offers on first-time purchases from partner stores
  • Free $25 Cash Bonus for New Signups

Cons

  • Massive cash back bonuses only apply to partners (although that list included 7,000 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.

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. 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 Review: Fees and Cash Back Rewards

The Neo financial mastercard has the best cash back rewards in Canada.  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!)
  • Check out Neo Financial’s new Bundles.  You can get excellent travel coverage for the months you want it, or capitalize on a month you know you’ll be making more “everyday purchases” by adding that bundle to your package.  The ability to mix and match these bundles each month is super unique and can really give you a boost!
  •  For 99 cents per month (opt out any time) Neo gives you access to their Premium Access Bundle.  This bundle is pretty much a “must have” as it boosts your initial first-time bonus to 20%, gives you exclusive monthly cashback offers, lets you skip the line on customer support, and gives you automatic extended warranty.
  • Modifying your rewards strategy each month so that it fits your unique spending profile is super easy on Neo’s website or app.  They’re built from the ground up to be a digitally-friendly company!
  • The card has an annual fee of $0 – completely free.

Andrew Chau, Co-Founder and CEO of Neo Financial recently stated (in regards to their updated rewards program):

“Neo has always believed in technology to allow people to get more out of their money. With the launch of our subscription-based Neo Bundles, we’re empowering our members to personalize their own rewards experience through a whole new market of partner-based benefits that suit all lifestyles.”

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. 

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 MastercardTangerine No-Fee Credit Card
Cash Back RewardsAverage of 5% cash back at all Neo Partner stores + 0.5% on everything else2% Cash back on specific categories of purchases, then 0.5% on everything else.
Unique User-friendly appYesNo 
Apple and Google Pay ConnectivityYesNo 
Auto-Connects to Elite High Interest Savings AccountYes – 2.25% interestYes – 1% interest
Monthly Fees$0 – Free$0 – Free
Accepted everywhere that Mastercard is accepted?YesYes

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

Neo Financial MasterCard Review: FAQ

Neo Financial Credit Card Review – Final Thoughts

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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Hanseller
29 days ago

Thank you for your time and effort. That really helped me.

Noki
1 year 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!