I must admit, I was hesitant when I first heard of the Neo CardTM. Sure it looked so sleek, but it’s a credit card not from one of the big Canadian banks. Then I changed my mind. I needed to make a big purchase and wanted to get some cash back for it, and time was limited (I didn’t have two to three weeks to wait for the card). I found out that I could apply for the Neo Financial Mastercard and get a digital credit card within minutes (instead of waiting the traditional 7-10 business days after approval to get the credit card). And here we are. Here’s my Neo Financial Mastercard review.
This post will go over who owns Neo Financial, whether Neo is a real credit card, what the annual fee is, how to get cash back from your Neo credit card, and an overview of the super high-tech sign up process which still astounds me to this day.
Table of Contents
Who Owns Neo?
Neo is a private company based in Calgary Alberta. Neo Financial was created by the same founders at SkipTheDishes (you know, the take out and delivery company like Uber Eats we have all come to love).
The founders of Neo wanted to create a unique digital focused banking experience that will disrupt the 90% market share that Canadian banks typically have.
Basically they are making sure “fintech” is really in the house and maximizing the advanced technology that is available in Canada to improve our financial lives (spending and saving).
Is Neo a real Credit Card?
Yes, Neo is a real credit card. It is a Mastercard and is accepted everywhere that Mastercard is accepted. In fact, you can even use it as Apple Pay and Google Pay if you don’t want to carry a physical credit card with you.
(I am a geriatric millennial and still trying to grasp the realities of having a digital credit card in my smart phone).
The Neo credit card is issued by ATB Financial. ATB Financial is Alberta’s largest financial institution, with assets under management of over $56.6 billion.
Neo Financial Mastercard Welcome Bonus
The Neo Financial Mastercard welcome bonus is up to 15% cash back from certain merchants.
For example, at Earls (a long time western Canada restaurant chain) you can get 15% cash back your first purchase, up to a maximum cash back of $22.50. So you can get 15% cash back on your first purchase up to $150 spent at Earl’s.
You can also enter a Neo Financial Promo Code to get $50 in rewards when you sign up, for example, if your friend sends you a Neo Referral Code.
They would get $50 cash back and you would get $50 cash back (provided account is opened within 90 days).
Neo Financial Annual Fee
What’s the annual fee for the Neo Card?
There is no annual fee for the Neo Card.
That’s right, Neo Card is free, zero dollars. There is no monthly charge and it’s not just a first year free promotion.
Who Can Apply for The Neo Mastercard?
There is no particular income requirement for the Neo Mastercard in order to qualify for the Neo Mastercard. This is great news for Canadian students or young adults just starting their career.
You do need to be the age of majority to apply for the Neo Financial Mastercard and your residence has to be one of the provinces and territories in Canada.
To apply for the Neo Financial Mastercard, though, you will need a smart phone with a camera and government picture ID (like your driver’s license) to apply for the Neo Mastercard online.
Neo Customer Service
Neo Financial customer service can be reached at: 1-855-636-2265.
You can also initiate chat in Neo’s app or use the online support chat (they have a chat bot).
You can also send them an email through the contact form within your online account too.
When I used this function the reply was prompt, and within 1-2 days.
Neo Financial can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
The customer service hours are 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm MST (mountain time as they are based in Calgary).
Neo Mastercard Rewards
Neo Financial states that they are the most rewarding credit card in Canada.
This means, on average you can get 5% cash back at local and national Neo Financial partners, such a gas and grocery stores, local and national restaurants, gyms, local and national coffee shops.
This is an average of 5% cash back on both in store and online.
The Neo Mastercard is unique in that you can BROWSE the percentage of cash back of retailers ahead of time (e.g. before you make the purchase) and also find places that have Neo cash back near you when you download the app.
It feels like a hybrid of something like Rakuten (a cash back online shopping portal) but with a credit card.
For example (as of writing- the rewards can change) you can get:
- 3% cash back from Aritzia (amazing!)
- 2% cash back from Sephora
- 2% cash back from Hudson Bay Company up to $50 cash back
- 3% cash back from Holt Renfrew (up to a maximum of $20 cash back)
- 2% cash back from Zara
- 3% cash back from New York Fries
- 3%-7% cash back from private Liquor Stores
There are even time sensitive BONUS cash back in addition to the welcome bonus cash back.
For example, at the Hudson Bay Company, you can get 8% cash back up to $150 cash back.
Even if the store is not listed in the Neo Financial Rewards portal, you will be topped up to get 1% back in Neo Rewards.
However, if there is a maximum of cash back, for example, if you were planning to get a $3000 Louis Vuitton purse at Holt Renfrew, the maximum cash back you would get would be $20 (3% cash back up to a maximum of $20) and not $30 (1% cash back).
In order to see the cash back reward offerings, you have to sign up for a Neo account. You don’t need to apply for the card to see the potential local rewards available. You can browse first and see for yourself if it’s worth signing up for this card.
How to Cash Out Your Neo Money
The cash back in your Neo account shows up either immediately or at the end of the month (if you are with the 1% top up).
One of the best things about this credit card is that there are no minimum cash out thresholds. So even if you have $1 in your cash back, you can cash it out.
The cash in your Neo Rewards can be used as statement credits on your Neo Cardholder statement.
You can also use your Neo Rewards through purchases in the Neo Store.
100% Digital Sign Up process
One of the most appealing things about this credit card is the sign up process. I pretty much had my jaw open the whole time because it was so slick, and I couldn’t believe that signing up for a credit card could be this… advanced.
Amazingly, I got approved and signed up for this card (and received the digital card) within minutes after I clicked “apply”.
I was shocked how fast it was, how seamless it was, how efficient it was. It kind of felt like I was applying for a credit card in the future (well, it is 2022, after all).
I just followed the instructions, which were to look at the camera to take a picture with a selfie, and take a picture of my government photo ID.
I even got the credit card agreement emailed to me right after I signed up.
Then you get a digital card (numbers, CVV, and expiry date).
The digital card can be added to your Apple Wallet and at retailers, you can use Apple Pay or Google Pay to make contactless payments.
After that, you will get the physical card mailed to you within two weeks.
One thing to note is that the credit card statements are also electronic. So if you like paper statements you should be aware of this.
You can also manage your card using the Neo app. For example, if you need to freeze or replace the card you can do that right from the app.
Genymoney.ca’s Neo Financial Mastercard Review
My Neo Financial Mastercard review is positive.
Who would best benefit from using the Neo Financial Mastercard?
The Neo Financial Mastercard would be best for people with the Canadian lifestyle who like to shop local, who like to enjoy local restaurants and coffee shops. This card would be great for people who want to support their local and Canadian small businesses (and we know a lot of small businesses in Canada have been hit hard because of the COVID restrictions).
The cash back rewards for these places are similar in comparison or even a bit better than other cash back cards available (especially compared to the big bank credit cards)
This card is also great for those who like to shop online and stack their rewards with cash back shopping portals.
You can do some serious stacking, like with a merchant such as Clearly (for contact lenses and glasses).
For example, on your first purchase with Clearly you can get 10% cash back (up to $33), and if you buy online through Rakuten, they often have 10% cash back too.
Another example of stacking.
Click here to sign up for the Neo Mastercard using this link to receive a $25 welcome offer.
Neo Financial also offers a Neo Money account with a high 2.25% interest and a Secured Credit Card where your application is guaranteed. They also recently launched a Neo Money Card which is a pre-paid card that acts like a debit card.
Do you have the Neo credit card?
What is your Neo Financial Mastercard review?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.