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Neo Financial Review 2024: Products, Fees, Pros, and Cons

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Neo Financial is a financial technology company that is changing how Canadians save, invest, and earn rewards with credit cards.

It is one of the neobanks we have seen challenging the traditional banking system with higher-than-average savings interest rates, no-fee cash back credit cards, and hybrid bank accounts.

This Neo Financial review covers how it works, its products and services, benefits, fees, downsides, and alternatives like KOHO and EQ Bank.

Neo Financial Overview

Neo Financial is a fintech offering savings, credit cards, and other financial products in partnership with other well-known Canadian financial institutions.

It started operations in 2019 and has offices in Calgary and Winnipeg.

So, who owns Neo Financial?

Neo Financial was founded in 2019 by two SkipTheDishes founders – Andrew Chau and Jeff Adamson, alongside Kris Read.

Since then, the company has attracted several investors, including Peter Thiel, Tobi Lutke, Golden Ventures, Maple VC, ATB Financial, and several others.

Neo Financial Accounts

Neo Financial’s line of financial products includes:

  • Neo Credit
  • Neo Secured Credit
  • Neo Money account + card
  • Neo High Interest Savings account
  • Neo Mortgage
  • Neo Invest

It also has several products in the pipeline, including buy now pay later.

Neo Financial Credit Cards

Neo Financial offers the unsecured Neo Credit card and Neo Secured Credit for those looking to establish or rebuild their credit.

It also has a partnership with Hudson’s Bay to power the Hudson’s Bay Mastercard.

Let’s break them down.

Neo Credit card

The Neo Credit card is one of the best cash back rewards credit cards in Canada.

This no-fee credit card offers a 0.5% guaranteed minimum cash back across all purchases and an average of 5% cash back at over 12,000 Neo partners. For your first purchases at participating retailers, the cash back rate is as high as 15%.

You can increase your cash back rates on the card and enjoy access to premium benefits by subscribing to optional Neo perks.

Combined with the Neo Financial app, you can easily track and budget your money, spend your rewards, freeze a lost card, and more.

Neo Credit card

Rewards: Average of 5% cash back at 12,000+ partners and a guaranteed minimum of 0.50% cash back across all purchases

Welcome offer: Get up to 15% cash back on your first-time purchases, plus a $25 welcome cash bonus.

Interest rates: 19.99% – 29.99% on purchases; 22.99% – 31.99% for cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

Our readers get a $25 bonus when they sign up, and all cardholders enjoy up to 15% cash back on their first-time purchases at several participating stores.

Cash back earned can be redeemed at any time to your Neo Money account or towards your statement balance.

Neo Secured Credit Mastercard

Neo Secured Credit Card is one-of-a-kind.

Compared to the typical secured credit card that has monthly or annual fees and zero rewards, the Neo Secured Credit offers the following benefits:

  • Average 5% cash back at over 12,000 Neo partners
  • Up to 15% cashback on first-time purchase
  • $25 cash bonus when you sign up
  • Low $50 minimum security deposit
  • Guaranteed approval regardless of your credit score
  • No hard credit check

You receive a physical card and a virtual credit card you can add to your favourite payment wallet (Apple Pay or Google Pay).

Neo Secured Credit

Rewards: Earn an average of 5% real cash back on purchases.

Welcome offer: Up to 15% cashback on your first-time purchases, plus a $25 welcome bonus.

Interest rates: 19.99% – 29.99% for purchases; 22.99% – 31.99% for cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

Credit limit: Starts at $50.

Credit score required: Poor or bad credit score.

How To Apply For Neo Financial Credit Cards

You can apply for the Neo credit cards online via these links (Neo Credit or Neo Secured Credit).

You must be a resident of Canada and the age of the majority in your province (i.e. 18 or 19 years older).

You will also need to provide a government-issued photo ID.

The Neo credit cards are issued in partnership with ATB Financial under license from Mastercard. These cards are accepted at millions of locations worldwide.

Credit Card Awards Won in 2024

Best Cash Back Credit Card 2024 - Neo Credit Card - SNC Awards
Best Prepaid Credit Card 2024 - Neo Money Card - SNC Awards
Best Secured Credit Card 2024 - Neo Secured Credit - SNC Awards.

Neo Money

Neo Savings was recently rebranded to the Neo Money account. It is a hybrid account that combines the features of a savings and chequing account.

The Neo Money account pays 2.25% interest on your balance and has no monthly account fees.

It includes:

  • $20 sign-up bonus after you make your first purchase
  • Free bill payments and debit transactions
  • Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers
  • Accepts direct deposits
  • Free Neo Money card with an account that earns cashback on purchases

This account includes a virtual and physical Mastercard you can use for online and in-store payments or to withdraw funds at ATMs.

The Neo Money account is offered in partnership with Concentra Bank, and your deposits qualify for CDIC insurance. Learn more in our full Neo Money guide.

Neo Money card

Rewards: Earn an average of 5% cash back at over 12,000 retail partners and a guaranteed minimum of 0.50% (up to $50 monthly); Earn 1% interest on your account balance.

Welcome offer: Deposit at least $50 and complete your first purchase to receive a $20 welcome bonus, and you can earn up to 15% cash back on your first-time purchases.

Interest rate fee: 0%

Annual fee: $0 (no monthly fees)

Neo High Interest Savings account

The new Neo HISA pays 4.00% interest on your balance, which is one of the highest non-promotional interest rates in Canada.

This free savings account can be combined with Neo Money account and Neo credit cards for a full-service package.

Neo Savings Account

neo logo

4.00% non-promo interest rate

No monthly fees

Unlimited free transactions

Access to a no-annual-fee credit card

Neo Mortgages

This digital mortgage platform can be used to obtain a new mortgage loan and also supports renewals and mortgage refinancing.

The entire application and approval process is based online.

Neo Invest

Neo Invest is another offered by Neo Financial.

This robo-advisor service provides access to professionally managed investment portfolios in partnership with OneVest.

Robo-advisors invest your money on your behalf based on your risk tolerance and investment objectives.

You simply set up pre-authorized contributions, and they divvy your funds into various asset classes using Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).

You can invest inside a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered personal investment account.

Neo Rewards Program

The highlight of the Neo cards is the ability to earn unlimited cash back at Neo partners, including a whopping 15% earn rate when you make your first purchases.

Neo Rewards also include its customizable monthly subscriptions:

  • Premium
  • Travel
  • Food and Drink
  • Mobile and Personal Protection
  • Mind and Body

Neo Financial Partners

Neo has over 12,000 participating retailers, brands, and stores across Canada.

A few examples of Neo partners in cities like Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver include:

Five GuysSecond CupWell.ca
Boston PizzaMontana’sClearly
Earl’s Kitchen + BarHudson’s BayDufresne
SubwayFrank and OakPrincess Auto
Avis Car RentalNuburgerRobin’s
Poke GuysEPOCHGo Oil
The PintFahrenheit CoffeeMPG Sports
EQ3NAPA Auto PartsArticle Furniture

Neo Financial Fees

The Neo Money account and card have no monthly fees to worry about; the same goes for Neo Credit and Neo Secured Credit. If you opt for a perk bundle, you pay a small monthly fee.

The Neo credit cards have interest rates for purchases when you don’t pay your balance within the grace period. Interest also applies to cash advances.

For Neo Invest, you pay a 0.75% managing fee per year. This is in addition to the management Expense Ratio (MER) of 0.40% to 0.50% charged by the ETFs in your portfolio.

Is Neo Financial Legit?

Yes, Neo Financial is a legitimate financial institution operating in Canada.

It was founded by two co-founders of the food delivery service giant, SkipTheDishes, and is backed by reputable financial institutions and investors, including ATB Financial and Concentra Bank.

Is Neo Financial Safe?

Yes, Neo Financial is safe.

Your deposits in the Neo Money account and the Neo High-Interest Savings account are held by Concentra Bank and are eligible for protection by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

The CDIC guarantees your deposits of up to $100,000 across all accounts (combined with any eligible deposit you have at Concentra Bank).

On the investment side of things, OneVest Management Inc. is a registered Portfolio Manager in all Canadian provinces and territories, and your assets are held with CI Investment Services (CIIS).

CIIS is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

CIPF membership means your assets are protected against firm insolvency for up to $1 million.

Downsides of Neo Financial

 The cons of Neo Financial include:

  • The purchase APR on the Neo cards is as high as 28.99% if you have a poor credit score
  • The Neo Money account does not yet support mobile cheque deposits

Neo Financial Alternatives

EQ Bank

The EQ Bank Personal Account is one of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada.

This no-fee hybrid account includes unlimited debits and bill payments, Interac e-Transfers, and mobile cheque deposits.

In addition to its standard savings account, you can open an EQ Bank TFSA, RSP, US Dollar Account, and GICs.

EQ Bank Personal Account

eqbanklogotransparent

Earn up to 4.00% interest

No monthly account fees or minimum balance

Unlimited debit transactions and e-Transfers

Free cashback card & no ATM fees

Supports mobile cheque deposits

KOHO

KOHO is a top alternative to Neo Financial for cashback rewards and high-interest rates on savings.

The KOHO Essential Mastercard offers:

  • Earn 5% savings interest on every dollar
  • Up to 5% cash back at partner retailers
  • Unlimited free bill payments
  • Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers
  • $20 welcome bonus

KOHO members get physical and virtual cards and a mobile app that’s great for budgeting and automated savings.

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on groceries and transportation, up to 5% unlimited cash back at partner stores in Canada. Get 5% interest on your entire balance. Users also get access to a free budgeting app, 0% APR cash advances and free credit score checks.

Welcome offer: $20 sign up bonus after first purchase (use CASHBACK promo code during sign-up)

Interest rate fee: N/A

Annual fee: $0*

Neo Financial Canada FAQs

Is the Neo Credit card a real credit card?

Yes, the Neo Credit card is a Mastercard credit card that is acceptable worldwide.

Is Neo Financial a bank?

No, Neo Financial is not a bank. It is a financial technology company or neobank that provides banking services through partnerships with other financial institutions such as ATB Financial and Concentra Bank.

What credit score do I need for Neo Financial?

You need a minimum credit score of 600 to qualify for the Neo Credit card. For the Neo Secured Credit card, you can qualify even if you have a poor or bad credit score rating.

Does Neo help build credit?

Yes, you can use Neo credit cards to build your credit score. To do this, you need to pay your balances on time and limit your credit utilization to 35% or less. Neo Financial reports your credit usage and history to TransUnion.

Is Neo a Mastercard?

Yes, both the Neo Credit card and Neo Secured Credit card are issued under license by Mastercard.

Where is the Neo Card accepted?

The Neo cards are accepted whenever Mastercard is accepted which is at millions of locations worldwide.

Who are Neo partners?

Neo Financial has thousands of partners across Canada, including popular brands like Earls Kitchen + Bar, Harry Rosen, Hudson’s Bay, Boston Pizza, Montana’s, and several others.

What is Neo Financial’s promo code?

When you open an account here, you receive a $25 bonus for the credit card (limited time offer – no promo code required). You can also get an extra $20 bonus when you open a free Neo Money account and make your first purchase.

Top Banking Offers for May

Stop paying monthly fees with a free chequing account + $400 bonus

Get $400 cash bonus when you direct deposit $100 for three months.

Unlimited debits, online bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

No monthly account or transaction fees.

Get a high interest rate on your savings (6.00% interest rate offer).

Get the TOP spending and savings account with 5% rewards and $20 bonus

Instant approval and a $20 welcome bonus when you make your first purchase.

Earn up to 5% unlimited cashback on purchases while paying no fees!*

Earn 5.00% interest on your entire account balance.

Free debits, e-Transfers, bill payments, budgeting app, and access to credit building.

Earn a regular 4.00% interest on your savings account

Earn up to 4.00% interest on every dollar when you set up a direct deposit.

Free access to a hybrid account with unlimited transactions & e-transfers.

Access to a prepaid card that pays 0.5% cashback on all purchases.

No monthly or annual account fees; free ATMs in Canada.

Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

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3 thoughts on “Neo Financial Review 2024: Products, Fees, Pros, and Cons”

  1. Gravatar for Sheila Cox

    My experience doesn’t jive with your upbeat description of NEO at all! I closed my account with NEO after unsuccessfully attempting to reach them by phone for a week. Their lines were completely unavailable at that time and their callback service did not work at all either, even after several tries. When I finally succeeded in reaching them by phone a week later and explained that I was rather alarmed by the inaccessibility of NEO, especially since it meant I couldn’t even reach them in case of emergency, such as a stolen or lost card. The NEO agent apologized but said that if I closed the account I would never be able to have a NEO card again. I replied that I really didn’t want or need a card who treated their customers this way. I emailed a complaint to them at their customer complaint address, by the way, and never heard a word back from them. This was several weeks ago. I feel a lot safer after getting rid of NEO. My other cards (one of which is also a Master card) certainly don’t treat customers like this.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

      @Sheila: Sorry to hear you have had a poor experience using Neo. I have had an account (card and savings) for a while without issues. The cashback rate is excellent! That said, I haven’t had a reason to contact their customer service yet for anything.

  2. Gravatar for Andrew T

    I echo Shelias comments
    I opened their brand new Cathay card and thankfully never used it
    When I tried to set up my external bank payment they were not set up with any of the major banks except BMO
    2 days telling them that I cannot send a payment so please cancel the card
    A promise by a manager to call me back never happened.

    Oh and they still expect me to pay the membership fee for a card I never used for 12 days

    I am the CEO of a successful manufacturing business and if I treated our customers this way we would deserve to loose business and so do they

    Disgusted

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