Neo Prepaid Card Review

a white card with black text and red circles

    Prepaid cards are gaining in popularity. The market is growing at a rapid rate as more Canadians choose them over debit and credit cards. Traditional credit cards may still be preferred by two thirds of people, but this might be explained by the novelty of neobanks like Neo Financial. Our review explains how Neo’s prepaid card is unique and empowers its users to break free from traditional banking.

    [Offer productType=”SavingsAccount” api_id=”60fee79313fd2f260ff90749″]

    Who is Neo Financial?

    Because Neo Financial is a fintech and not a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, it is able to save a lot of money on operating costs and give it back to its customers in the form of better rates and rewards. Indeed, Neo Financial is one of the best neobanks in Canada.

    Now, you might worry about its legitimacy, since it was only founded a couple of years ago. Neo is a legitimate business. They partner with well-established and regulated institutions such as Concentra Bank, an institution insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). This protection ensures that your deposits are legally protected up to $100,000. Additionally, Neo Mastercards are issued by ATB Financial, which is the largest public bank in North America and Alberta’s largest financial institution.

    Neo Financial Products

    Neo offers many of the same services traditional banks do. You can do most of your banking, borrowing and investing with Neo:

    • Neo Money, a hybrid chequing-savings account with one of the best prepaid cards
    • Neo Credit, a traditional credit card
    • Neo Secured Credit, a secured credit card with almost guaranteed approval and no hard credit check
    • Neo Invest, to open a tax-free savings account (TFSA), registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or non-registered investment account with a low management fee
    • Neo Mortgage, to get a mortgage at a competitive rate

    Let’s focus on Neo Money, the account you should be opening to get a Neo prepaid card.

    What is Neo Money?

    Neo Money is a hybrid chequing and savings account linked to your Neo Mastercard prepaid card. Like any credit card, the Neo prepaid card earns cashback. It does so at pretty decent rate, at one condition: shop at partner stores. The average cashback on groceries and gas is 2%, which is okay, but you will love that you can get up to 6% at restaurants and 15% at partner stores. If you tend to shop at places that are not Neo partners, you won’t be completely left out. Neo guarantees a 0.5% cashback. However, Neo limits this top-up to $50 per month.

    Neo Money is a no-fee account, which means you get free everyday transactions and no monthly fees. There is no minimum balance, but you might want to keep a balance to get 2.25% interest on every dollar! It might not be the best high interest savings account, but it offers a decent rate and it is more practical than transferring money between a chequing and a savings account.

    Neo Prepaid Card Review: Main Features

    Neo Money and the Neo prepaid card are available to all Canadian residents, except in Quebec. The Neo Money 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.

    Basically, you can use the Neo prepaid card 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.

    Getting your card is easy. If you already have a Neo Money account, you can get a Neo prepaid card by logging into your account and selecting Card from the main menu.

    If you do not already have an account, sign up to Neo Money. You might be surprised to get rewards instantly. I certainly was! To really get the rewards, though, I had to open a Money account and deposit 50$ (for a $5 reward), and ask for a credit card (for a $25 reward).

    Opening a Neo account takes less than 5 minutes. Neo asks questions about you, your employment, you social insurance number (SIN) and financial information. They will also verify your identity. As soon as you’re approved, you will be able to set up a virtual card so you can make purchases online instantly. You can also add your Neo prepaid card to your Apple or Google Wallet.

    Activating your physical card

    If you prefer using a physical card, you will be able to get one from Neo. However, it may take 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

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

    Neo Prepaid Card and App Review: Where to Find Cashback

    The most frustrating thing about the Neo prepaid card is that it is impossible to find a complete list of the various stores you can earn cashback from. In fact, not all locations of a partner offer cashback. This means you have to be careful and double check when you shop at partner stores. A little exploration will lead you to identify some main partners, among which we find:

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

    Your dashboard can help you find cashback opportunities near you. For example, you can choose between dozens of categories to see the best offers. The offers presented to me were slightly disappointing, such as Second Cup’s and Decathlon’s 4% cashback. In fact, I live in a pretty small town, which limits the stores available, but still. I would have to drive for 30 minutes or more to get there. It seems to me like I would spend all my cashback on gas! Online offers are still interesting when they offer free shipping.

    You might want to look out for the minimum buy you have to make in order to get the cashback. In the case of Popeye’s Supplements, you will need to stack them up for a while to reach $175!

    On the other hand, the absence of a minimum threshold before your rewards become available to spend or save is appreciated. This way, you can really benefit from your rewards when you need them!

    More features to know about

    An interesting feature of the Neo app is Auto save and pay. It helps you stay ahead of your bills by setting up automatic transfers and payments. You can also decide what balance stays on your card, ready to spend, and what stays in your account.

    If you are worried about fraud, you can lock your card in-app. You are able to freeze your card anytime, and unfreeze it when you want to make a pruchase. You can also set up instant purchase notifications and the app will warn you if someone else is trying to buy stuff using your card.

    Neo Prepaid Card Review: Fees and Limits

    With the Neo prepaid card, you get a no-fee 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

    Depositing Money into your Account

    In order to deposit your pay directly into your account, log into the app and:

    • Select your Money account
    • Select the three dots at the top right corner of the screen
    • Select Account Details
    • View the details required to set up direct deposit or download your direct deposit form as a PDF document

    If it is a deposit from payroll, you will get the money instantly. However, if you are getting paid for contract work, it can take up to 5 business days.

    What happens when you make a mobile cheque deposit in your Money account? Neo could place a temporary hold on your deposit to ensure that the funds are indeed accessible from the other financial institution’s account. You will actually see the money your account balance, but you won’t be able to use the deposited amount to make withdrawals, transfers or bill payments until the end of the hold. How long will that be? Neo claims the hold will last up to 5 business days for deposits under $1,500 and 8 business days for equal or higher amounts.

    Pros and Cons of the Neo Prepaid 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 2.25% interest on your balanceNot available in Quebec
    CDIC insuranceFinding good local cashback partners is not easy
    High cashback at partnersHard to talk to customer service
    Pros and Cons of the Neo Money Card

    Alternatives to the Neo Prepaid Card

    Because some people still need to use paper cheques or send money abroad, Neo Money is not the perfect prepaid card for everyone. Here are two alternatives to the Neo prepaid card.

    EQ Bank Card – For a Better Interest Rate

    Like the Neo Money card, the EQ Bank Card is also free to get and has not 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 strutcture. 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

    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.

    FAQs about the Neo Prepaid Card

    What is Neo Money card?

    It is one of the best prepaid cards in Canada, and comes with a Neo Money account. You can use it for your daily sending and earn cashback at partner stores. Because it is not a credit card, you do not have to go through a credit check to get it. You can only spend the money you already have in your account.

    Is Neo a prepaid credit card?

    Yes, Neo Financial offers a prepaid card called Neo Money (account and card). However, Neo is a neobank that also offers standard credit cards (Neo Credit) and secured credit cards (Neo Secured) as well as other products (investments, mortgages).

    How to withdraw money from Neo credit card?

    To withdraw money, go to any ATM that accepts Mastercards. Withdraw cash from this ATM using your Neo Money card, your Neo Credit card or your Neo Secured Credit card. Fees and interests may apply.

    Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).