The new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, from our partner Citi, gives cardholders the chance to earn 5% cash back every month on their top eligible spending category. The card is technically billed as a cash-back credit card, but you’ll actually earn ThankYou Points, which can be worth more than traditional cash-back rewards.
Here’s what you need to know about Citi’s new credit card, including some limitations that could make some people think twice before applying.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: Variable APR Between 13.99%–23.99% After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 5% Back in Top Eligible Spend Category
Details: Full Review
Terms and restrictions apply
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: New cardholders can enjoy an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness. Note that there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. Furthermore, balance transfers need to occur during the first four months of account opening.
Once the no-interest offer concludes, a variable APR between 13.99%–23.99%, based on credit worthiness, will apply to all balances.
APR: After the intro 0% APR offer concludes, a variable APR will apply.
Rewards Rate: The card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want flexibility in their spending rewards.
Why We Like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
The Citi Custom Cash Card, from our partner Citi, has a novel approach to rewarding spending. The credit card offers an impressive 5% cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to $500 spent per month — no activation required. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on every purchase because that’s the base rewards rate.
The list of eligible bonus categories includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel and transit, select streaming services, drug stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Citi ThankYou credit card holders can redeem their points for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. Alternatively, they can redeem their points for gift cards, travel and online shopping via Amazon.com.The ThankYou rewards program also partners with a number of airlines, both domestic and international, and you can transfer your points to these frequent flyer programs.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Review
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers a sort of hybrid approach to compete against other top cash-back credit cards like the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex. But instead of assigning bonus categories every quarter and essentially forcing you to spend money in those categories to maximize your rewards, the Citi Custom Cash Card gives you 5% back on your top spending category from a list of nine.
The Custom Cash Card is offering $200 cash back after you spend $750 in the first three months — that’s 20,000 ThankYou Points, which you can redeem for cash back or for a number of other things, including gift cards and travel.
New cardholders will also get an introductory 0% APR for 15 months, after which the APR jumps to the card’s regular variable APR, based on your creditworthiness.
The credit card offers an impressive 5% cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to $500 spent per month — no activation required. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on every purchase because that’s the base rewards rate.
The list of eligible bonus categories includes:
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Select travel and transit
- Select streaming services
- Home improvement stores
- Fitness clubs
- Live entertainment
The Custom Cash Card has no rotating bonus categories to sign up for like the Chase Freedom Flex. As your spending changes each billing cycle, your rewards earning adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
The $500 monthly cap seems low, but it matches up with the Discover it Cash Back and Chase Freedom Flex, which limit their 5% rates to $1,500 spent per quarter. Also, this card offers more flexibility than Discover and Chase, which require you to activate your bonus categories every month, and they may or may not be categories in which you spend a lot.
Introductory 0% APR
Similar to the popular Citi Rewards+® Card, the Citi Custom Cash Card also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the card’s regular variable APR, which is based on your creditworthiness, will be charged on all balances.
Note that the credit card charges is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. Furthermore, balance transfers need to occur during the first four months of account opening.
If you plan on carrying a balance transfer for longer than the Custom Cash Card’s 15-month offer, then consider the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. The Citi Diamond Preferred offers new cardholders long-term 0% interest on balance transfers and new purchases. Read our full review of the Citi Diamond Preferred.
New Purchase 0% Intro APR
While many credit card experts recommend paying off your balances every billing cycle, the Custom Cash Card could make borrowing in the short-term acceptable. This credit card gives members up to 15 months of zero interest on new purchases. The trick is paying off your balance before the 0% period ends so you don’t get a stuck paying interest on the 16th month of card ownership.
The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is common for cash-back credit cards in the same tier as this one.
Citi ThankYou credit card holders can redeem their points for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. Alternatively, they can redeem their points for gift cards, travel and online shopping via Amazon.com.
The ThankYou rewards program also partners with a number of airlines, both domestic and international, and you can transfer your points to these frequent flyer programs. This is one of the best ways to use your points because you may be able to get a better redemption rate than the standard 1 cent per point.
Should You Apply for the Citi Custom Cash Card?
The chance of earning 5% back on your top spending category every month can be incredibly appealing, especially because the credit card includes everyday categories like grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations. And while the $500 monthly spending limit for bonus rewards is relatively low, it’s standard among the rotating cash-back cards.
If you’re a ThankYou Points enthusiast, the Citi Custom Cash Card can be a great way to maximize your rewards on categories that other Citi ThankYou credit cards don’t offer. However, it may not make sense to use just this card for all of your purchases because of its mediocre base rewards rate. Consider pairing it with a card that offers 1.5% or even 2% back on all purchases to maximize your cash back.