Citi Custom Cash Credit Card Review

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Quick Take: The Citi Custom Cash credit card was developed for those looking to earn the most cash back possible — as quickly as possible. While users will earn 1% on all purchases, some purchases will come with cash back up to 5%. The card has a competitive interest rate and fee structure, offering savings as a competitive advantage.

  • Interest and Fees
  • Earning Rewards
  • Sign-Up Bonus
  • Intro APR

How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Earn cash quickly
  • Competitive interest rate
  • Balance transfer APR
  • Promotional bonus

Cons

  • Accessibility
  • Low cash back on nearly all categories
  • Incentivized spending
  • No purchase protection

Citi Custom Cash Credit Card Overview

The Citi Custom Cash card is a compelling offer designed for the most responsible borrowers. In exchange for their proven borrowing responsibility, those who get approved for the card enjoy competitive interest rates and no annual fee coupled with the ability to earn up to 5% cash back and a compelling new-user bonus. 

Applicants who sign up before the promotion expires will enjoy a 0% introductory annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers as well as $200 cash back when they spend $750 on purchases in the first three months. Those looking to access that bonus should keep in mind that the $750 must be on purchases; balance transfers and cash advances don’t count toward the promotion.  

The card’s 0% introductory APR makes it an appealing option for those looking to transfer balances. However, there are some drawbacks to consider.

While the main draw for consumers is the ability to earn cash quickly, the 5% cashback rate is only on the cardholder’s highest spend category. All other purchases will earn cash at the 1% rate, which is fairly low. Moreover, stiff requirements set the stage for limited access.

Citi Custom Cash Key Features

Some of the most compelling features of the Citi Custom Cash card include:

Interest and Fees

The credit card comes with a reasonable interest and fee schedule. See the chart below:

Fee Citi Custom Cash Average Cashback Card
Interest Rate 0% for 15 months, then 14.24% to 24.24% 14.82% to 22.81%
Balance Transfer Rate  0% for 15 months, then 14.24% to 24.24% 13.67% to 22.88%
Cash Advance Interest Rate 25.49% 24.8%
Penalty Interest Rate 29.99% 29.99%
Minimum Interest Charge  $0.50 $0.50 to $2.00
Annual Fee $0 $110 (for cards with fees)
Balance Transfer  $5 or 5%, whichever is greater 3% to 5%
Cash Advance  $10 or 5%, whichever is greater 2% to 8%
Foreign Transaction  3% 2% to 3%
Late Payment  $40 $36
Returned Payment  $40 $34

Earning Rewards

Earning cash back on the Citi Custom Cash card is relatively simple and, depending on how the cardholder uses the card, it can happen quickly. Cardholders will get 5% cash back on the highest spend category, up to $25 on $500 spent, but there’s one drawback. 

All purchases outside the cardholder’s highest spend category will earn rewards at a rate of 1%, which is relatively low compared to other cards designed for excellent credit users. Moreover, after the first $500 spent during any billing cycle on the highest spend category, even that category will earn just 1%. 

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus is a strong draw for many consumers. Those who spend $750 in their first three months will receive a $200 bonus. However, when comparing options, consumers with excellent credit scores will easily find larger bonuses. For example:

  • Capital One Savor Card offers a $300 sign-up bonus when users spend $3,000 in their first three months.
  • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a $300 sign-up bonus when users spend $3,000 on the card in the first six months.
  • Discover It matches cash back on an unlimited basis for the first year.

Nonetheless, not all cashback credit cards offer sign-up bonuses, and the $200 offered with the Citi Custom Cash card is nothing to shake a stick at.

Intro APR

New cardholders will enjoy an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. 

Applicants should remember that while the introductory APR is 0%, they will be charged a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the transfer amount — whichever is greater. However, these additional fees are commonplace with balance transfer credit cards. 

Additional Features

Citi Custom Cash cardholders also enjoy the following advantages to owning the card:

Customer Service

Anytime someone chooses to work with a financial service, the level of customer service the company is known for providing should be taken into account. After all, nobody wants to call a lender with a question and find that either nobody’s there to answer the call or the people answering aren’t knowledgeable enough to answer the question. 

As a premier lender, Citi offers one of the highest-quality customer service teams available with any credit card company. The team is available day or night, weekends and holidays, through varying contact methods. 

Moreover, the staff at Citi is highly trained and knowledgeable, so they should be able to answer cardholder questions quickly and clearly. 

Cashback Redemption Options

Different cashback credit cards will offer different redemption options. In the case of the Citi Custom Cash card, there are three options: direct deposit to a bank account, a statement credit or a check.

Product Change Capabilities

Citi allows cardholders to interchange products based on creditworthiness. Therefore, cardholders who have been approved for the Custom Cash card and decide the card isn’t quite what they’re looking for are often able to upgrade or downgrade to a different Citi product. 

Who Citi Custom Cash Card Is Best For

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all financial offer, and the Citi Custom Cash card is no exception to the rule. Considering the benefits and drawbacks of the credit card, the prime applicants would have the following characteristics:

  • Good to Excellent Credit. For applicants to be approved, they must have a good to excellent credit score. Those on the low end of the good score still might have difficulty getting approved depending on other factors like their debt-to-income ratio. Moreover, those with bad or fair credit will not be approved.
  • A Strong Sense of Self-Control. When earning cash back for spending, it’s easy for consumers to get so wrapped up in earning money that they don’t realize how much they’re spending. Only consumers with a strong sense of self-control should consider signing up for a credit card that incentivizes spending.
  • Strong Budgeting Skills. To avoid racking up high levels of debt, cardholders need to have strong budgeting skills. 
  • In Need of a Balance Transfer. Finally, due to the 0% balance transfer intro rate, those with high interest-rate balances are perfect candidates for the card.

Takeaway

The Citi Custom Cash card is a compelling offer for those looking to earn cash back on purchases in categories where they spend the most money or for those interested in transferring high-interest balances to a zero-interest credit card.

Alternatives to the Citi Custom Cash Card

There are several alternatives to the Citi Custom Cash card. Some of the most compelling offers include:

Wells Fargo Active Cash

Cardholders can earn a $200 introductory bonus plus unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Their card comes with no annual fee, and the interest rate is competitive.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card also comes with a 0% introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Cardholders also enjoy other perks such as cell phone protection when they pay their bills using the card, contactless payment and no limits to the number of rewards they can earn.

There are four ways cardholders can redeem their earned cash:

  • Get cash at the ATM
  • Use for purchases  
  • Get gift cards  
  • Send cash to a qualifying Wells Fargo checking, savings or credit card account. 

Chase Freedom

Cardholders can earn a $300 introductory bonus plus 5% cash back at gas stations, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. The cashback rewards earned never expire.  

The card also comes with a competitive interest rate and a 0% promotional rate on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, and cardholders won’t be charged an annual fee.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards

Cardholders can earn a $200 introductory bonus plus 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases. The credit card also comes with a competitive interest rate and a 0% promotional rate for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

Cardholders have no limits to the amount of cash they can earn, and the earned rewards will never expire.

The card also gives cardholders several additional perks, such as access to their FICO scores, online and mobile banking, paperless statements, contactless payments and digital wallet technology.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citi.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Citi Custom Cash Card.

  • How hard is it to get a Citi Custom Cash Card?
    • Due to the fact that the card requires applicants to have a good to excellent credit score, it is relatively difficult to get a Citi Custom Cash card. However, those with good-to-excellent credit will find the process of applying and being approved relatively simple.
  • Is the Citi Custom Cash Card worth it?
    • This largely depends on what the cardholder is looking for in a credit card. If the cardholder is interested in earning cash, multiple redemption options and a quality support team, the Citi Custom Cash card is definitely worth the time spent filling out an application.
  • Is the Citi Custom Cash Card a credit card?
    • Yes, the Citi Custom Cash card is a credit card.
  • Is the Citi Custom Cash Card metal?
    • While the Citi Custom Cash card may appear to be metal in pictures online, like most cashback cards, it is made of plastic.
  • Does Citi Custom Cash have purchase protection?
    • The Citi Custom Cash card does not have purchase protection.
  • Does Citi Custom Cash earn ThankYou Points?
    • The cash back offered through the Citi Custom Cash card is tracked using ThankYou points, with each ThankYou point converting to a value of $0.01.

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