Neo Financial Mastercard Review
Neo Financial is an online-only fintech company that’s trying to make it easier for Canadians to spend, save, and earn rewards. And, with the Neo Financial Credit Card from Mastercard, you can enjoy a no annual fee card that pays up to an average of 6% cash back at Neo’s diverse range of retail partners.
However, maximizing your rewards with this card requires frequent spending at Neo’s national and local partners. If you’re an infrequent spender or don’t spend much on dining, shopping, or transportation, then other reward credit cards might be superior.
In This Article:
Pros & Cons
- No annual or monthly fees
- Variety of Neo partners
- No minimum redemption requirement for rewards
- Up to 15% cash back for first-time purchases from partners
- Everyday cash back from non-partners isn’t very competitive
- Earning maximum cash back requires paying for a Neo plan
- Neo’s website and app doesn’t have much information about fees or the welcome offer
New Neo Financial Mastercard cardholders get a welcome bonus of up to 15% cash back on their first purchase at most Neo partners. According to Neo, this 15% average is based on current offers, and cash back rates vary per offer and partner.
When you tap on an offer in the rewards section of the Neo app, it displays your first-purchase bonus and the regular cash back rate. For example, Swoop currently pays 5% cash back, up to $50, as a first-time purchase bonus but regularly pays 3% cash back, up to $50.
In short, Neo isn’t guaranteeing 15% cash back on all first-time purchases, but you can get up to this amount depending on the retailer.
Exclusive Offer: New Neo Financial Mastercard Cardholders receive a $25 Welcome Offer Bonus for signing up with our link. Terms and conditions apply.
Earning Cash Back
Earning unlimited cash back rewards is the main reason to add the Neo Financial Mastercard to your wallet. However, how much cash back you earn depends on if you shop at Neo partners and which rewards plan you’re on. This is because Neo pays boosted cash back rates at its partners, and you can also pay monthly fees to unlock even higher rates. The three Neo credit card plans are as follows:
|Average Neo Partners' Cash Back||4%||5%||6%|
|Minimum Everyday Spending Cash Back||1%||1%||1%|
It’s important to note that Neo advertises partner cash back rewards as averages. The average is based on current offers at select partners, varying per plan, offer and partner. So while you can expect a partner to pay around 5% cash back if you’re on the Plus plan, there aren’t guarantees. And, if your overall monthly cash back falls below 1%, Neo tops up your cash back to a minimum of 1% for up to $5,000 of spending per month at non-partners.
As for which plan is right for you, this choice largely depends on if you regularly shop at Neo partners. Some notable Neo partners include:
- No Frills
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Uber and Uber Eats
Your Neo rewards page displays a list of local partners and national partners you can earn cash back from. There are plenty of partners across categories like gas, dining, groceries, and general shopping, so there’s plenty of opportunity to earn. (For other cash back card options, check our lists of Best Credit Cards for Groceries and Best Gas Credit Cards.)
One nice aspect of Neo is that many offers are local shops, not chains, so you can find an interesting variety of retailers in your city you might otherwise miss. As long as you shop at these partners with your Neo credit card, your cash back deposits in your Neo rewards balance.
Overall, earning cash back with your Neo Card is more variable than many rewards credit cards that pay a fixed rate. However, this means you can find many lucrative offers from various partners for 5% to 10% cash back or potentially more. The main downside is that you only earn a maximum of 1% cash back for everyday spending at non-partners.
Related: Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Redeeming Cash Back
Neo cash back deposits in your rewards balance, and you can check your current balance through the mobile app or online when you’re signed into your account. Cash back appears instantly, but you can only cash out once transactions actually post to your account. This means pending purchases have pending cash back that isn’t redeemable.
However, one perk of the Neo Card is that you can cash out any amount of cash back or the entire sum. So, even if you have some pending rewards, you can still redeem your existing balance without having to reach a certain threshold. The amount you redeem applies against your next statement to help you save more money. Just note that redeeming cash back doesn’t contribute to your minimum payment amount.
Overall, the Neo Card doesn’t have many redemption options like travel rewards or free gift cards. However, statement credits are as good as real cash, so this lack of reward options isn’t a massive downside.
Other Notable Perks
Earning cash back rewards from partners is the main reason to use the Neo Card. Additional perks cardholders get include:
- Security Features: Freeze your card, report suspicious activity, and toggle online and in-store payment capabilities right from your Neo account.
- Mobile-Friendly: Add your Neo Card to your mobile device through Google and Apple pay.
- Globally Friendly: Use your Neo Card anywhere that accepts Mastercard.
- Fraud Protection: Mastercard’s Zero Liability policy protects you from unauthorized transactions.
A lack of travel rewards and perks is one downside of Neo. However, Neo makes up for this somewhat by having several travel-related partners that you earn extra cash back from. The fact you get some fraud protection from Mastercard is also a plus.
Related: Best Travel Rewards Programs
Interest Rate & Fees
One important consideration when choosing any credit card is its fees. Thankfully, the Neo Card is a no annual fee card with fairly standard credit rates:
- Annual Fees: $0
- Inactivity Fees: $0
- Purchase Credit Rate: 19.99% to 24.99%
- Cash Advance Credit Rate: 21.99% to 26.99%
- Foreign Transaction Fees: 0% (however, note that the merchant you’re buying from may charge their own foreign transaction fees)
- Overlimit fee: $0
A lack of annual fees and account management fees makes the Neo Card an appealing rewards credit card, especially if you’re not a heavy spender and can’t justify a more premium rewards credit card with a high annual fee.
Related: Best No Fee Credit Cards
You must live in Canada and have a Canadian ID to apply for the Neo Card. Additionally, you must be the age of majority in your province. Neo recommends a credit score of over 600 (the fair to good range) for a successful application.
When you sign up for the Neo Card, you also choose if you want the regular Neo Card or the Neo Credit Builder Card. The Credit Builder Card is a secured credit card that helps you improve your credit with responsible use while still earning cash back like the regular Neo Card. To use this card, you transfer funds from a bank account to your Neo account to create an equal credit limit. If you make monthly payments on time and in-full with funds other than your security funds, you can gradually improve your credit score.
You need to set aside at least $50 for your security fund to use Neo’s Credit Builder, but this is the only requirement and Neo doesn’t run a credit check for its secured credit card.
Related: Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
How Does the Neo Card Compare to the Competition?
|Neo Card||Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||KOHO Premium|
|Welcome Offer||Up to 15% cash back on first-time purchases at Neo partners||Apply by July 31, 2022 and earn 10% back (up to $100) when you spend up to $1,000 in everyday purchases within your first 2 months.*||Sign up and get a $20 instant cash bonus (once you load your account and make your no minimum first purchase within 30 days) right to your KOHO account with GREEDYRATES referral code.|
|Annual Fee||$0||$0||$84 (or $9/month)|
|Enhanced Cash Back Rates||Up to 6% average cash back||2% on two categories of your choice. Get three categories if you have a Tangerine Savings account.||2% on groceries, eating and drinking, and transportation|
|Regular Cash Back Rate||1.00%||0.50%||0.50%|
|Main Perk||Boosted cash-back rates from Neo Partners||Unlimited 2% cash back on up to three categories you choose||Free financial coaching with KOHO financial experts|
*Terms and Conditions apply
Neo Financial is a newer player in the credit card reward space, so it’s far from your only option. And, depending on your spending habits, it’s not necessarily the best choice.
Cards like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card have a similar welcome bonus as the Neo Card but provide more stable cash back rewards. So, if you don’t regularly shop at Neo partners and prefer earning unlimited 2% cash back on categories like gas, groceries, recurring bills, and restaurants, Tangerine is a better choice.
Similarly, KOHO Premium pays unlimited 2% cash back on three major spending categories. And, while this card has an annual fee, it’s potentially worth it if you spend over $5,000 per year on groceries, dining, and transportation. Plus, you can get advice from KOHO financial coaches for free just by texting #coach in the KOHO app messenger, which is useful if you need a helping hand getting your finances on track.
Should You Apply for the Neo Financial Credit Card?
With no annual or monthly fees and an extensive list of national and local partners, the Neo Card is certainly enticing. However, many of its partners are for food and transportation, so this card excels if you regularly eat out, order takeout, and/or spend money on gas and rideshare programs. You can also download the Neo app without signing up, to check what local partners are in your area to see if it’s worth applying for.
If you want more consistent cash back on major spending categories, a no-fee card like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a better choice. It’s also worth noting that while Neo Financial has a competitive high-interest savings account, it lacks many regular banking features you get with many other credit card providers. This means losing access to services like investing, mortgages, and even smaller perks like paper cheques.
That said, your Neo Card can be incredibly lucrative, especially with a 6% cash back average if you shop at partners under the Ultra plan. However, if you can’t shop regularly at Neo Partners, it’s not the best rewards credit card out there.
Card issued by ATB Financial pursuant to license by Mastercard International Inc.
Neo Money is provided by Concentra Bank.
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