Neo Financial goes all-in on embedded finance with new suite of credit cards

The FinTech startup is partnering with Tim Hortons, Cathay Pacific to offer rewards.

Neo Financial, the Calgary and Winnipeg-based FinTech startup, has been moving swiftly to launch a series of new financial products.

Within the last few weeks, Neo has announced an everyday rewards card with an airline, a financial credit card with a corporation launching its own financial division, and a secured credit card to help Canadians build credit.

Neo says it sees an opportunity to provide scalable and flexible infrastructure to other businesses.

Neo’s new partnership with Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific airline is, in the FinTech firm’s own words, a credit card created for Canadian consumers who love to travel. UPDATE: The Cathay World Elite Mastercard was made available on December 6, 2023.

Neo describes its newest card as Canada’s only that earns Asia Miles. The FinTech claims customers will receive significant travel benefits and insurance, and that the card comes with a secured option available for newcomers to Canada with guaranteed approval–no credit history required.

When used in conjunction with the Neo app, the card enables consumers to access spending insights, 24/7 chat support, real-time card management, and provides proactive alerts and notifications, the company says.

“Our collaboration with Cathay Pacific not only raises the bar for rewards programs, but it also reflects our commitment to providing extraordinary value to our cardholders in a way that rivals the big banks,” said Andrew Chau, CEO of Neo Financial.

Neo also announced that it will work with Tim Hortons to build and power a Tims Credit Card within the existing Tim Hortons app. The FinTech startup claims Neo’s banking-as-a-service solution uses a modern API architecture to empower brands like Tim Hortons to tap into new revenue streams and growth avenues, and increase customer engagement, in one platform.

“Neo was created out of our desire to offer better financial experiences to Canadians,” said Jeff Adamson, Co-founder and Head of Partnerships, Neo Financial. “We realized that legacy banking technology wasn’t going to meet the demands of our rapidly growing customer base so we developed our own world class technology to meet our needs.”

Adamson pointed out that Neo now sees the opportunity to provide that same scalable and flexible infrastructure to other businesses like Tim Hortons.

RELATED: Neo Financial bets on embedded finance, D2C combo amid tough consumer-banking market

However, It’s uncertain how consumers might respond to having their financial information shared with a company that previously has come under heavy criticism for for its data protection practices.

A Financial Post investigation in 2020 showed how the Tim Hortons app, among other things, logged detailed information about users’ devices, including the phone model, operating system, network provider, and more. Through the Radar service, it informed Tim Hortons every time a user travelled more than a 100 kilometres away from home.

Tim’s ultimately offered to settle the location privacy concerns with a free coffee and pastry for affected customers.

In terms of Neo, reporting indicates that the Fintech experienced headwinds and moved swiftly to pursuing embedded finance.

The launch of Neo Secured Credit, Neo’s latest consumer product, takes place amid a tough consumer-banking market fuelled by high inflation and interest rates—one that has seen Canadian consumer debt reach an all-time high. It also comes as Neo has reportedly struggled to grow its consumer-facing business, according to the Logic.

Founded in 2019 by the co-founders of SkipTheDishes with the goal of re-imagining everyday banking products for consumers, Neo partners with financial institutions to provide Canadians with spending, saving, investing, and mortgage options. The startup also offers embedded finance solutions on a business-to-business basis, working with firms like Intuit TurboTax, and Hudson’s Bay.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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