Neo Financial Review: The Highest Cash Back from Your Favorite Stores

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                  Neo Financial is the latest fintech brand to enter the Canadian banking scene, and they’ve put forward an incredible offer: a high-interest savings account and a credit card that earns you a supercharged cash-back rate at partner retailers.

                  I’ve been using Neo as my primary spending card for the past month – and I’m obsessed. Not only am I earning a great cash back rate on all my favorite stores, the app has actually helped me discover new local businesses. The map within the Neo app identifies all Neo partners in my neighborhood, making it easy to see where I should go to earn the most cash back.

Who is Neo Financial?

Neo Financial is a Canadian company that offers a cash-back rewards credit card and high interest savings accounts. Neo is a fully digital financial institution, which means they have no brick & mortar branches. You will do all your banking with Neo via their app or by logging in to your account on their website.

The Neo Card

               The Neo card is a high-rewards cash-back credit card powered by Mastercard. Your Neo card offers an average of 5% cash back at Neo partners, and guarantees 1% cash back across your total monthly spend. Your Neo card can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

The Neo Savings Account

The Neo savings account is a high-interest online savings account. Right now, they are currently offering 1.3% interest. Your Neo savings account is CDIC insured so you can rest assured your money is safe.

Neo wants to change the way you spend, save, and get rewarded by providing simple, innovative products that save you time and money. Savings accounts and a credit card are just the beginning! Expect to see more exciting financial products from Neo in the near future. In the meantime, you can enjoy high cash back on your spending and high interest on your savings while you wait.

Is Neo Financial a real credit card?

Yes, Neo is a real no-fee, cash-back credit card! Your Neo card is a Mastercard that’s accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The difference between using Neo and any other card is you earn more cash back with Neo!

Does Neo affect my credit score?

Yes, Neo is a credit card so it will impact your credit score. Applying for a Neo card counts as a new credit application, which can impact your credit score. Likewise, your payment history with Neo will become part of your credit report, so make sure you always pay your bill on time!

You’ll need a credit score of 650 or higher to apply for a Neo card. Your Neo card interest rate and credit limit will be determined by your credit score and household income at the time of application. [3] 

If you don’t qualify for the Neo Card, they’ll be offered the Neo Card with Credit Builder. The Neo Card with Credit Builder. All the perks of the Neo Card, but with guaranteed approval.

How it works:

1. Guaranteed approval.

2. Set aside security funds to set your credit limit. You can change your limit at any time or access these funds in the event that you need them to pay off a balance.

3. Start using your card immediately, anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

4. Get cashack.

5. You can build your credit score by making payments on-time and in-full each month.

If you apply for a Neo credit card and are declined, or you are offered a high interest rate or low credit limit, you can wait 30 days or more and work on your credit score, then apply again.

How much cash back will I earn from Neo?

You’ll earn an average of 4% to 6% cash back at Neo partners, and you’re guaranteed 1% cash back everywhere else[4] . If you shop somewhere that isn’t a Neo partner, you’ll notice the cash back doesn’t show up on the transaction in the app. However you are still guaranteed the 1% cash back, and it will be added to your reward balance at the end of the month, up to $5,000 of spending.

This is considerably higher than most competitors, which tend to offer 2% cash back on some spending categories, and only 0.50% cash back everywhere else. You can maximize the cash back you earn at Neo partners by signing up for Neo Plus or Neo Ultra.

Maximizing cash back Neo Financial partners

Obviously the best way to earn the most cash back is to shop at Neo partners, and thankfully the app makes them really easy to find!

I explored the Neo partners in the app and made sure to favorite all my regular stops. Turns out basically every single restaurant and café I frequent for lunch during my work week is a Neo partner so I started accruing tons of cash back right away!

Here are some easy ways to maximize your cash back with Neo partners:

Look for special offers

                  Many Neo partners will offer a double-digit cash back reward on your first visit, so this is a super simple way to really get the most bang for your buck right off the bat. Others also offer bonus cash back for frequent visits, so you may see a special offer for extra cash back if you visit two or three times. You can find Neo partners directly in the Neo app.

Sign up for Neo Plus

You can also subscribe to Neo Plus for $2.99 per month. This increases your offers by 1.25x and gives you an average cash back of 5% at partners. This option is recommended if you spend more than $750 per month on your Neo card, but I would encourage you to verify that you’re spending more than $750 per month at Neo partners. Because joining Neo      Plus will not increase the 1% cash back you get at retailers that are not Neo partners, you want to make sure you’re spending your money where it can be boosted before you pay for Neo’s premium membership.

Sign up for Neo Ultra

With Neo Ultra, you can increase your offers by 1.5x and get up to 6% cash back at partners, but the fee is $8.99 per month. This option is recommended if you spend more than $1,000 per month on your Neo card. Again, I would recommend that you confirm you are spending $1,000 or more at Neo partners, not just in general.

How to cash out your cash back from Neo

                  Cashing out your cash back earned with Neo is easy, and you’ll have the option to deposit it right into your Neo savings account or credit it back to your Neo card. Here’s how to cash out your Neo cash back:

  1. Tap your cash back amount in the Neo app
  2. Select “cash out”
  3. Choose to cash out the total amount or enter a custom amount
  4. Choose to redeem your cash back as credit to your Neo card, or deposit to your Neo savings account
  5. That’s it!

Neo Financial Pros & Cons

No financial product is perfect and Neo is no exception. While they do have lots of perks and benefits, there are some downsides to the Neo card as well. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of Neo financial:

Neo Financial Pros

  • Super high cash back on most purchases
  • High interest savings account
  • No fees
  • Tracks & categorizes your spending
  • Easy to sign up and use your card with Apple Pay or google Pay, even before it’s mailed to you

The biggest pros for using Neo are obviously the high cash back rate and no fees. I also appreciate that they’re a purely digital company and I don’t have to visit any branches to do my banking. I received my Neo card number immediately when I signed up and was able to add it to my wallet and start using it right away.

Neo Financial Cons

  • Low credit limits (maximum $10,000)
  • High cash back offers are at partners only
  • No additional perks like extended warranty protection or travel insurance
  • Neo partners are mostly restaurants

The biggest downside in my opinion is Neo’s low credit limits. When you apply for a Neo card, you’ll get a limit of $2,500 to $10,000. I was approved for $6,000. While this is still a generous amount, there are months where I do quite a bit of spending on my credit card with travel. Because my limit is only $6,000, I have to pay off my Neo card in full before using it for more purchases if I’m having a particularly spendy month.

It’s also worth noting that while Neo offers incredible cash back, that’s its only reward. There’s no additional bells & whistles like car rental insurance, airport lounge access, or extended warranties. This makes Neo the perfect card for regular everyday purchases, but you will likely want to keep a dedicated travel rewards credit card in your wallet for more comprehensive perks.

Finally, the other downside is the super high cash back rate is at Neo partners only, and most of those partners are restaurants and cafes. I personally would like to see more retailers that sell clothing, home décor, or kids toys. But I know Neo is adding new partners often, so I expect I’ll be able to earn even more cash back on my shopping the longer I use the card.

How I’m using Neo Financial

Because Neo is a local Alberta company, I’d actually heard of them from friends that work there long before they officially launched. Nevertheless, it took me a while to sign up because the plight of a personal finance blogger is perpetually having too many financial products on the go specifically to review them. But I was growing disenchanted with my existing cash back card that kept reducing their rewards, so when Neo cropped up again it was easy to entice me to sign up.

Many local businesses I already frequented had incredible bonus cash back offers. I saw many offering over 10% cash back on your first purchase, and some were as high as 17%!

While those double-digit offers were usually only good for your first purchase, the cash back rates at Neo partners were still very high. Most I saw were 7% or 8%. Since these were places I already visit weekly, it almost feels like I’m being paid to shop.

Right now, I’m choosing to credit all the cash back I earn with Neo to my Neo card. It feels like a discount on all my shopping!

How to Sign-up for Neo

To get your Neo card click here. You’ll be asked to enter your personal information as well as provide proof of ID. You should get an offer for your credit limit and interest rate immediately. Simply tap “accept” and you’re ready to go!

Once you’re approved for a Neo card and you accept the offer, you’ll be able to start using Neo right away, even before your card comes in the mail. You can add your Neo card to your Google Pay or Apple Wallet and then simply tap to pay when you’re out shopping. You can also access your Neo card number within the app to use for any online shopping. It was so easy to set up my Neo card in my Apple wallet that I still haven’t used my physical Neo card yet!

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