19.99% - 24.99%
Average of 5% cashback at Neo Partners
Up to 15% cashback on first purchases at Neo partners
1% cashback on gas and grocery
0% at Neo non-partners but with a 0.5% cashback guarantee on overall purchases
What can you do with your rewards?
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What's a good redemption?
Insurance & Benefits
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Pros & Cons
Unique cashback program which earns cashback based on partner instead of purchase category
Massive cashback at some partners that any other credit card couldn't beat.
Unique benefit system where perks could be bought with a monthly fee and cancelled after use.
Cashback is not the best for non-Neo partners.
No built-in Purchase protection and extended warranty benefit
So you may have heard about the Neo Credit Card!
Before we go deeper, I want to mention that there are two Neo Credit cards. Neo Credit is an unsecured card, and Neo Secured Credit is the secured version of this card. Here, I will be reviewing the unsecured version of the card, the Neo Credit!
If you want to learn more about the Neo Secured card, you can read more about it in the Neo Secured card review post.
Now back to the Neo Credit review:
I have friends who told me that it's the best card they ever had and friends who absolutely hated it.
After speaking with them, I found the reason. The Neo credit card isn't for everybody.
It's what I call a situational card. Some people must absolutely have it, and some might be better off with a different card.
In fact, I have Neo Credit, and use it to maximize the rewards I earn from my credit cards.
Even if the credit card isn't best for you, applying through our offer link gets you $25 for free. You can simply set the card aside and not use it, then simply transfer the $25 out to your own account and have yourself a treat.
In this post, we will go deep into every aspect of the Neo credit card and review everything so you know if you should apply for this card or not. In case you decide to apply, the apply now buttons on this page will give you an extra signup bonus you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
Should I get the Neo Credit or not?
The answer to this question is not that straight forward. To make things easier, I created this simple flowchart that you can follow to help make your decision.
Now if you reached a Neo Card, then the decision is easy.
If you reached "It depends", I will elaborate further to help you make the final decision.
Neo Credit Fee
One unique aspect of Neo credit cards is that they are FREE. So you don't need to worry about paying anything each month or whether the rewards you are getting are offsetting the cost of the card.
Neo Credit Cards Unique reward system
Neo Credit cards have a unique reward system.
And by unique, I mean there is not a single credit card out there in Canada that even comes close to what Neo offers.
Other credit cards give you cashback based on the category of your purchases. For example, a card may give you 1% cashback on all food and drink purchases.
But Neo is different. Neo's cashback differs from partner to partner. So, for example, if you go to a restaurant, you might get 5%, and if you go to another, you might get 0.5%. Neo has over 10,000 partners across Canada, from small businesses like your local coffee shop to massive stores like Walmart. The list includes many retail favorites in Canada, like Lululemon, Aritzia, Canadian Tire, and more.
This system has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest downside of Neo Credit cards is that you don't get any cashback on your purchase if the merchant is a non-Neo partner. (Except In some rare cases, you might trigger a 0.5% cashback guarantee on your overall purchases, which does not happen often. If you want to read about it in more detail, we have a post that breaks down the Neo credit card reward system with examples.
So there is not much incentive to use Neo Credit cards at non-Neo partners!
But the most significant upside is that if the merchant is a Neo partner, the cashback return will beat almost any other credit card. While with most free cashback credit cards, you get around 1%, and with paid cashback cards, you might earn 3% in some categories, with Neo, you can get an average of 5% when shopping with its partners, which is a massive win!
To help you find Neo partners and see what their cashback rates are, we have listed the top merchants in Canada in different categories and added if they are Neo partners or not and what their cashback rate is here.
Now, with this in mind, let's answer some of the questions that might not have been answered in the flow chart.
Should you get the Neo Credit if you only shop with one credit card?
The easy rule is that if 30% of your purchases are from Neo partners, then you are averaging around 1.5% cashback on all your purchases.
If your current card is a cashback card and you are not getting a 1.5% return on average, then go for Neo.
If you have a points-based card, you can use Finly's calculator to calculate the cashback equivalent of your card, and if it falls under that, then again, go for Neo.
If you shop with multiple credit cards, should you get Neo Credit?
If you are using only cashback or Free credit cards, then the answer is definitely yes.
The cashback rate you get on most Neo partners beats the cashback rate you can get from any other card.
But suppose you are a person that uses point-based cards, especially a paid one. In that case, you have to decide whether carrying a new card that you occasionally use for a marginally higher return in some cases is worth it or not.
Neo Credit Card - Benefits at a Premium
Similar to Neo's reward system, their benefits system is also unique.
They have a series of perks that you can subscribe to for a monthly fee. Here's a small summary of their different perks and benefits:
The main difference between Neo benefits with other cards is that other cards have fixed benefits. Meaning that from the moment you get them, the benefits don't usually change. Because of this, some of the better benefits are only available with the more expensive cards.
But with Neo, you have the option to subscribe to a benefit, and when you are done using it, cancel your subscription! This will give you the highest return on your money.
Before we go into the benefits you can subscribe to, I have to point out one of the biggest disadvantages of Neo credit cards. While almost every free and paid credit card comes with purchase protection and extended warranty insurance, Neo credit cards don't have that, and there isn't even an option to subscribe to them.
Now most people I know have never used either of their benefits in their life, so if you are part of this group, then you don't need to worry.
But if these two benefits are crucial to you then Neo might not be for you!
Neo has five perks: Premium, food and drink, Mind and Body, Travel, and mobile & personal protection. If you want to go into the detail of Neo benefits, we have a detailed post here. Although most of these perks have their own use cases, there are two that definitely stood out for me.
For $4.99/Month, you basically upgrade your card so that you get some extra features and cashback. With this benefit, you get cashback (0.5%) on all your purchases and not only on the ones that are Neo partners, and you also get Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty.
I would say these are not as impressive because there are many other free cards out there that offer these.
The part that is more interesting is the boosted cashback rate across the Neo partner network, especially on food and services. If you buy a lot at these Neo partners, you will get a big increase, making the $4.99/Month more than worth it.
Based on thisinformation, you can decide whether this perk is worth it for you or not. It might be an absolute must-have for some and something not that impressive for others.
2. Travel benefit.
For $4.99/month, you get access to so many travel-related benefits and insurance. So before you go on your trip, you can simply subscribe to these benefits, and once you come back from your trip, go ahead and cancel it.
What's more impressive is that the travel insurance even has trip cancelation and trip interruption insurance on top of the other coverages.
Travel cancelation and trip interruption benefits are rare benefits that even some paid cards don't offer, and being able to get this for only $5 is an absolute win if you already don't have this insurance.
So that's why if you travel a lot and none of your cards have travel insurance, then you can get Neo and use this benefit when you are traveling!
Neo Credit card - Pros and Cons summary
What are the real benefits/pros of the Neo Credit card?
Average of 5% and guaranteed minimum of 0.5% cash back at Neo partners
Relatively easy to get approved (low credit score, no income requirement)
No monthly fees (unless you opt-in for subscriptions)
Top-of-the-line mobile app that helps track your spending, rewards, and card status
Access to cashback instantly (can redeem cash back at any time)
What are the real cons to the Neo Credit card?
No included insurance coverage or consumer protection. However, add-on subscriptions can be purchased for a certain monthly fee, and can also be canceled at any time.
Neo Credit Card - Conclusion
Neo Credit cards are definitely a unique credit card to have, but they are not for everybody.
If you only use cashback or free cards, then Neo is something you want to have in your arsenal.
In addition, if none of your current credit cards offer any travel insurance, Neo credit cards offer travel insurance for a very small fee.
Neo Financial - Beyond Credit Cards
In addition to the cash back credit card, Neo offers one of the best high-interest savings account in Canada. In fact, it was voted Canada's Best High-Interest Savings Account by the Financial Post in 2021.
As of July 2023, the Neo Money account offers a 2.25% interest rate.
That number easily beats most other banks across Canada by up to 225x more, without any minimum balance requirements.
It's worth highlighting that this account also comes with a free card that allows you to spend right from your savings (while earning the 2.25% interest on your balance) and earning the same cash back rewards as the Neo Credit card.
No need to say more...