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A new way to think of cash back rewards

*This article is sponsored by Neo Financial. 

Cash back cards have been around for decades, and we all know the premise: you use the card to pay for purchases and you earn some of that money back. Countless Canadians have one, and they’ve become a staple of the rewards industry. When we think of cash back rewards, we think of major spending categories (groceries, gas) and a handful of partnerships with well-known national or international retailers. But Neo Financial — an all-digital Canadian financial services company — is refreshing the concept.

When using the Neo Mastercard, the cardholder can earn at least 1% cash back across all spending. And in the spirit of “Try before you buy,” consumers can download the Neo app and browse local rewards before even applying for the card. Here’s how it all works.

Local businesses, healthy communities

We all understand the role of small businesses in our lives. In fact, 95% of Canadians say supporting local shops is key to a healthy economy. And more than that, small businesses give our communities character, one-of-a-kind experiences and a personal touch that makes our neighbourhoods feel like home.

Neo’s merchant partner network taps into Canadian communities by partnering with local businesses — bringing more customers to their stores, encouraging loyalty and growing their business. Rather than offering customers their own reward system (such as a punch card from a coffee shop), these businesses can dish out cash back rewards using the Neo credit card.

This partnership gives small businesses exposure to new customers via a simple rewards system for loyal shoppers as well as an engagement platform to keep bringing people back. Business owners don’t need any hardware or software upgrades to join; there are no changes to their regular operations. Perhaps the best part: all business-funded rewards go to customers.

How the Neo cash back program works

The Neo Mastercard may be one of the most innovative reward cards in Canada — and it’s available across the country, including Québec. It’s widely accepted, and cardholders aren’t locked into an annual fee. Plus, there are flexible monthly plans to choose from if you want to accelerate your cash back earnings: $2.99 a month for an average cash back rate of 5%, or $8.99 for 6%. These plans can be switched at any time.

The Neo app is how users manage their card. Services include the ability to freeze or replace the card, check account balances, make payments, receive alerts, and use Neo with Apple Pay or Google Pay for contactless payments. The fully digital experience is seamless and simple.

Cash back is earned instantly and can be cashed out at any time via the app — no minimum amount required. Shoppers get at least 1% cash back across all spending, including most major grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops and gyms, plus online staples such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and DoorDash.

Neo tracks customers’ spending habits and the rewards follow suit, including one-time offers, loyalty discounts and exclusive deals. Users can check a merchant offers map and find nearby cash back rewards or search for something specific by category.

The earning and redeeming structures are designed to be easy to use, replacing the patchwork of other rewards systems (calculating points-per-dollar values, remembering which rewards you’ve earned from which retailer, logging into other apps or websites to check balances with other loyalty programs, etc.). From making payments to cashing rewards on the spot, everything can be done in one place.



3.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Everyday spending

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

0.5% – 15% earn rate

The company behind the card: Neo Financial

You may be wondering: What exactly is Neo Financial? Neo was launched in the prairies by the same team behind SkipTheDishes. Neo has two main products: a cash back credit card and a savings account with one of Canada’s highest interest rates. The all-digital banking experience reimagines financial services for Canadians: innovative, seamless, easy to use. On the other side of the transaction, it wants to connect businesses to their customers and keep them coming back.

For consumers looking to tap into other financial products from Neo Financial, the Neo Savings account has industry-leading interest rates (1.30%), an easy online application, no monthly fees and unlimited free transactions. An unlimited-transactions account may cost up to $29.99 per month at a traditional bank, but with Neo it costs nothing. It should be noted, however, that Neo Savings accounts do not offer overdraft protection.

All transactions can be done via the app or on your desktop or laptop using web banking on your browser. There are no brick-and-mortar locations with Neo Financial, so you can ditch the line for good.

Neo Financial says Canadians should expect more from banking and that traditional banks aren’t delivering. And it promises its cash back rewards card and high-interest savings account are only the first offerings in what will be an innovative, industry-leading banking experience for all Canadians — consumers and business owners alike.