Neo Prepaid Card Review

a white card with black text and red circles

I signed up for the Neo Money Card, commonly referred to as the Neo prepaid card, to see if lives up to the hype. It comes automatically when you open a Neo Money Account and gives you instant access to your cash. A year later, I love this card and use it frequently. It earns up to 15% cash back and is accepted everywhere that takes Mastercard. Plus, it comes with customizable perks and a free account that earns 1% on deposits. It won’t help you build credit and the account has some limitations. But overall, I’m a very happy customer. Here’s an honest Neo Prepaid Card review based on my personal experience.  

Hardbacon Score
  • Cash Back Rewards

  • Interest On Deposits

  • Customization Options

At a glance

Excellent cash back rewards and interest on deposits. Customize your rewards with various perk bundles and discover new local businesses through the app.

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Neo Money Card Cash Back Program

The Neo Money Card, also known as the Neo prepaid card, is a prepaid Mastercard with one of the best cash back programs in Canada. You get a welcome bonus of up to 15% cash back for every first purchase at a Neo partner merchant. And since their partner network boats over 10,000 brands across the country, you can make bank with thousands of welcome bonus opportunities. Some major partner brands include, but are not limited to:

  • Hudson’s Bay
  • Frank and Oak
  • Sport Check
  • Clearly
  • The Body Shop
  • LCBO
  • Boston Pizza
  • Metro
  • Five Guys
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • and thousands more

Base Plan: Free

The free Base plan offers tons of cash back opportunities that you don’t get with most other prepaid cards in Canada. You’ll enjoy up to 5% cash back on the following purchases made at Neo partners:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes 
  • Bars
  • Retailers
  • Delivery
  • Rideshare
  • Streaming services

Gas and groceries earn up to 1% cash back no matter where you shop. Unfortunately, all other purchases outside the Neo partner network do not qualify for cash back. 

Premium: $4.99/Month

To unlock higher cash back rates and additional perks, you can upgrade your card to the Premium plan for $4.99 per month. This boosts your cash back rate at Neo partners, earning you an average of 6% on the following purchases: 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes 
  • Bars
  • Retailers
  • Delivery
  • Rideshare
  • Streaming services

Gas and groceries earn 3% cash back, no matter where you shop. This time, all other card purchases earn 0.5% cash back. You’ll also enjoy complimentary credit score monitoring, purchase protection, $2,500 life insurance coverage, on-demand access to legal assistance, and priority support.  

Get More With Custom Perk Bundles 

Another one of my favourite features of the Neo Prepaid Mastercard is the ability to customize your rewards with perk bundles. These are paid subscription plans that offer additional features based on your preferences. There are 4 perk bundles to choose from: 

Food & Drink: for $1.99/month you get 6% cash back at restaurants, bars, and cafes as well as 4% cash back on food delivery. 

Travel: for $4.99/ month you get 2% cash back on foreign purchases, 6% with Neo travel partners, as well as a Priority Pass membership for airport lounges, SmartDelay lounge access if your flight is delayed, and several travel insurances. 

Mind & Body: for $9.99/month you get 8% cash back on health and wellness purchases, free fitness through select Neo partners, access to FitOn PRO, and a Headspace Plus subscription. 

Mobile & Personal Protection: for $9.99/month you get mobile device insurance, identity theft protection, credit monitoring, as well as password and personal information protection. 

You can subscribe to multiple bundles at once. There’s no commitment, you cancel anytime and resubscribe again later. This offers incredible flexibility to maximize your rewards when your spending habits change – like during that summer vacation and eating out during the high holidays. 

Finding Neo Partners & Cash Back Bonuses

This is hands down my favourite feature of the Neo Prepaid Card, and it’s an amazing hack if you love to shop local. You can easily find Neo partners near you from the Neo Money app. Just log into your account and go to the Rewards section. 

From here, you can explore cash back partners covering almost every shopping category from food and clothes, to wellness, hotels, gas, and more. You’ll find both major national brands as well as small local gems. This feature helped me discover a small locally owned restaurant that has become my new favourite go-to for every occasion. 

Here’s the best part: Neo’s partner merchants often run bonus cash back promotions. By checking the Rewards section regularly, you can scoop amazing cash back deals. I banked almost $60 in JUST CASH BACK on my first few purchases. Here are a few examples: 

screenshot of a Neo Prepaid Card cash back cash offer.

With the free Base plan, I should only get up to 5% cash back at retailers. But Singleton’s Hair Care gives me 7% for every 3 purchases. And that doesn’t even include the 10% first-purchase bonus. Gas purchases should only give me 1% cash back. But the Shell station by my house gives me 2% cash back. 

Watch Out For Terms, Conditions, and Location Restrictions

On the downside, cash back perks don’t flow like the Mississippi River. There are usually conditions and restrictions on the offer. Watch out for things like a minimum spend amount, a minimum purchase frequency, a maximum spend amount, and a maximum on earned cash back. 

For example, Popeye’s Supplements will only give 3% cash back for every $175 spent. Decathlon Canada will only give 4% cash back on every 2 purchases, no matter how much you spend. And Second Cup will only give 4% on every 3 purchases. 

Also, the availability of cash back offers can vary widely depending on where you are. I’m in Winnipeg, which is a dense urban city. I’ve had no problem finding endless cash back deals that align with my shopping preferences. 

But my colleague had a completely different experience. She lives in a small town outside Montreal. Her cash back offers are not as plentiful because there are significantly fewer Neo partners. Most of the offers are for stores 30 minutes away or more. The cash back reward would be gobbled up by the cost of gas to drive there. At least the online offers are still interesting when they offer free shipping.

Also, not all locations of a partner offer cash back. This means you have to be careful and double-check when you shop at partner stores.

How Does The Neo Money Card Work?

It comes automatically when you open a New Money Account. The money in your account is available to spend with your card. So depositing money to your Neo account is what funds your Neo prepaid card.

For new users, the card will automatically be shipped to you upon signup. You’ll also be given the choice to add a virtual version of the card to Google Pay or Apply Pay, which lets you start using it right away while you wait for the physical card. 

If you already have a Neo Money Account account but don’t have the prepaid card, you can request it. Log into your account and select Card from the main menu.

You can use it like you would a debit card. You can access the cash deposited in your Neo Money account and spend it online or in-store without having to manually load funds onto your card. You are not borrowing money, you are simply using the money you already have.

That means there is no credit check required to get the card. That makes the Neo Prepaid Card ideal for anyone who does not qualify for a traditional credit card but wants the same convenience and perks they offer.

You won’t build a credit history, but you will be able to shop in-store, online, and travel with it. You’ll also be able to book hotels, flights, rental cars, and other things that usually require a credit card – all while earning cash back. 

Opening Your Neo Money Account

Opening a Neo account takes less than 5 minutes. You’ll need to provide some personal information about your employment, social insurance number (SIN), and financial profile. You will also need to verify your identity, so have your driver’s license or other piece of government-issued ID.

As soon as you’re account is activated, you will be able to set up a virtual card so you can make purchases online instantly. You can also add it to your Apple or Google Wallet.

Activating Your Physical Card

After opening an account, your Neo Money Card will be shipped to you automatically. It can up to 15 business days to receive it. You can view your card’s expected delivery dates in the Neo app or online. To activate your physical card:

  • Log in to the Neo app 
  • Tap on the Card tab
  • Select Activate physical card
  • Enter the CVC and the expiry date
  • Make an in-store purchase

You’ll need to insert the card and enter the PIN when you make your first purchase. For security reasons, the physical card has a different expiry and CVC number than your virtual car. This means that you’ll need to update these details for any online payment information you have saved as well as remove and re-add your card to your Google or Apple Wallet.

Depositing Money Into Your Account

The easiest way to add funds to your Neo Money account is by eTransfer, and you can sign up for auto-deposit to make the whole process faster. You can also link an external bank account that you have at another financial institution or have your paycheque directly deposited.

Features Of The Neo Money Account

Neo is one of the best neobanks in Canada, and Neo Money is one of its flagship products. It’s a no-fee account, which means you get free everyday transactions and no monthly fees. Neo offers two types of cash accounts: Neo Money and Neo High-Interest Savings. The standard Neo Money account earns 1% interest on every dollar, while the Neo High-Interest account earns a whopping 4% – one of the highest rates in Canada.

You can only have one Neo Money account, but you can open multiple Neo High-Interest Savings Account and create separate savings goals for each. I currently have 2 High-Interest accounts open. On the downside, Neo does not currently offer joint accounts. If they ever do, I’ll probably leave Tangerine and move everything to Neo Money. 

The Neo Money App offers great money management features. Auto-save and auto-pay help you stay ahead of your bills by setting up automatic deposits and bill payments. You can also decide what balance stays on your card, ready to spend, and what stays in your account. Other account functions include directly depositing your paycheque, eTtransfers, linking external accounts, and request/send money to/from your contacts. 

screen shot of the various features of the Neo Money Account

If your Neo prepaid card is ever lost, stolen, or compromised, you can lock it from the app and order a new one. You can also freeze your card anytime, and unfreeze it when you want to make a purchase. Instant purchase notifications warn you if someone else is trying to buy stuff with your card.

Fees & Transaction Limits

The Neo Money Card comes with a no-fee Neo Money Account. While there are still some small fees you may have to pay here and there, it is true to say that it is mostly free. You can hold and transfer large amounts of money so there shouldn’t be any issue with transfers and bill payments. Your balance can reach $200,000. While traditional banks will punish you with high fees for non-sufficient funds or stopping an e-transfer, Neo understands people make mistakes and has a more forgiving approach.

Monthly Account FeeFree
Send & receive Interac e-TransferFree$3,000 per outgoing transaction, $10,000 daily/weekly, $20,000 monthly
Electronic TransfersFree$30,000 outbound to linked external bank per transaction; $100,000 inbound per transaction
Pre-authorized Debit and Bill PayFree$25,000.00 per payment
Neo to Neo$5,000 per transaction, $10,000 daily, $20,000 weekly, $30,000 monthly
Non-sufficient fundsFree
Stop Interac e-TransferFree
Inactive accountFree
Printed version of monthly statement or other documentation$5 each
Neo Money Fees and Limits

Who Is Eligible For The Neo Prepaid Card?

Both the Neo Money Account and its prepaid card are available to all Canadian residents, except in Quebec, who have reached the age of majority in their province/territory. The card is issued by Equitable Bank and the Neo Money account is provided by Concentra Bank, a CDIC member institution. Also, you can withdraw cash from any ATM in the world where Mastercard is accepted.

Pros & Cons of the Card

Although the Neo prepaid card offers some interesting features, users on TrustPilot and Google are expressing dissatisfaction with various Neo Financial products (mostly credit cards) and customer service. Here’s our summary of pros and cons.

No minimum balanceNot made for travellers or multi-currency users
No monthly or transaction feesNo paper cheques
Earn 1% interest on your balanceNot available in Quebec
CDIC insuranceFinding good local cashback partners is not easy in smaller towns
High cash back at partnersHard to talk to customer service
Pros and Cons of the Neo Money Card

Alternatives to the Neo Money Card

Because some people still need to use paper cheques, send money abroad, or combine household finances with a joint account, it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. Consider these two alternatives:

EQ Bank Card – For a Better Interest Rate

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”63d2cb6a18196b6d2e1928c2″]

Like the Neo Money card, the EQ Bank Card is also free to get and has no monthly charges. You can earn more money on your balance with this card. EQ Bank offers a 2.5% interest rate on your balance. However, you only get 0.5% cash back on your purchases. What makes EQ Bank stands apart is its internal money transfer fee structure. In partnership with Wise, you get the real exchange rate (no markups) and pay one small clearly outlined fee for sending a transfer.

KOHO Prepaid Card – For Easier Cashback

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”637cf8206bbb7962c19ae225″]

The KOHO prepaid Mastercard is also free if you choose the Easy plan. It works in the same way as the Neo Money card and the EQ Bank card. The Easy plan offers 1% cashback on groceries and transportation. It is not huge, but you also earn 0.5% interest on your entire balance. However, you should know that it charges a 1.5% conversion fee for foreign currency transactions.

Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.