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Citi Custom Cash® Card
- Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work
- APR 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$0
Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
The Citi Custom Cash® Card, from our partner Citi, has a novel approach to rewarding spending. It offers impressive cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to a monthly spend cap—no activation required.
This Card Makes Cash Back Simple
The Citi Custom Cash® Card, from our partner Citi, gives cardholders the chance to earn a whopping 5% cash back every month in their top eligible spending category—without having to pay an annual fee.
It’s technically billed as a cash-back credit card. However, unlike its popular cousin, the Citi Double Cash® Card, you’ll earn ThankYou® Points, which can be worth more than traditional cash back rewards, especially when you redeem points for travel rewards or take advantage of the credit card issuer’s multiple airline and hotel transfer partners.
This card takes a unique approach to stand out against other top cash-back credit cards, like the Discover it® Cash Back Card and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card. Instead of assigning rotating 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 eligible categories.
Here’s what you need to know about the Citi Custom Cash Card, including some limitations that could make some people think twice before applying.
- Relatively easy to maximize the 5% cash back reward and earn $300 per year
- No annual fee
- The cash back comes in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for things like travel
- 5% cash back tier is capped at $25 in earnings per month
Citi Custom Cash Card Highlights
- Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
- Earn 5% back on up to $500 spent each billing cycle on your top eligible spending category and 1% back on all other purchases. Eligible spending categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
- Redeem rewards for cash back, a statement credit, gift cards, travel, online shopping at Amazon.com and more.
- Get an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and on balance transfers completed within the first four months from account opening. After that, an APR of 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) applies depending on your creditworthiness.
- No annual fee.
Sign Up Bonus
The Citi Custom Cash Card is offering $200 bonus after you spend $1,500 in the first 6 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. This is one of the best sign-up bonuses for credit cards without an annual fee.
New cardholders will also get an introductory 0% APR for 15 months, after which the APR jumps to 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR, based on your creditworthiness.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.
60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
1x - 3xPoints
Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.
75,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Dollar Equivalent: $1,050 (75,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Rates & Fees
1% - 5%Cashback
Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Rates & Fees
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, a 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR applies, which is based on your creditworthiness, and will be charged on all balances.
The Citi Custom Cash 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 reward rate.
The list of eligible categories includes:
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Select travel and transit
- Select streaming services
- Home improvement stores
- Fitness clubs
- Live entertainment
While it's a cash-back credit card, you're technically earning ThankYou Points. Cardholders can redeem their ThankYou Points in a number of ways, including:
- Cash back as a direct deposit or paper check
- Statement credit on their card
- Gift cards
- Travel reservations
- Online shopping at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com or via PayPal
- In-store shopping at Walmart and CVS
- Fuel purchases at BP Amoco and Shell
There is no minimum redemption amount required if you request a statement credit or direct deposit. Points don't expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. If you close your account, you'll have 60 days to redeem your points before forfeiting them.
If you also have the Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, you can pool your points together and transfer your rewards to a number of airline frequent flyer programs, both domestic and international, and hotel loyalty programs. Note that the Citi Custom Cash Card doesn't offer the ability to transfer points to these partners on its own.
Transferring & Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points: Different Ways to Use Your Rewards
How Much Are Rewards worth?
For cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check, you can redeem your points at a rate of 1 cent per point. Therefore, 10,000 ThankYou Points are worth $100. However, if you use your points to shop online with partner merchants and PayPal, the value may be less—often just 0.8 cents apiece—so it's best to avoid redemption options that offer less than 1 cent per point in value.
The Citi 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 earnings adjust 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 credit 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.
Tips for Maximizing Earnings
To maximize your rewards, read up on the terms and conditions for each category. For example, grocery purchases at superstores like Target and Walmart or wholesale clubs may not earn bonus rewards. The same is true for gas stations operated by grocery stores, superstores, or wholesale clubs.
If you want to maximize rewards on all of your expenses, consider using the Citi Custom Cash Card for your top eligible 5% spending category, then use a card that offers a flat 1.5% or 2% rewards rate for all of your other purchases.
Card Benefits and Perks
Beyond the strong sign-up bonus, this card's greatest strength is its ease of use. This flexible card automatically adjusts to the way you spend, so you get the most out of your rewards without having to manually turn on bonus categories. Here’s what you can expect.
- High rewards earning potential for everyday spending. Many of the card's eligible 5% categories are everyday expenses for many Americans. If you spend close to or more than $500 per month in any of the card's eligible categories, you could earn up to $25 per month in rewards on that spending alone — that's $300 annually.
- 5% rewards on cruise control. Automatically adjusts its 5% cash back based on spending in eligible bonus categories, making it easy to track spending habits.
- Flexible redemption options. Citi offers a number of ways you can use your rewards, giving you the flexibility to choose what works best for you. Just try to avoid redemption options that give you less than 1 cent per point in value to ensure that you make the most of your rewards.
- The potential to pool and transfer your points. If you want access to Citi's airline and hotel transfer partners, you'll need the Citi Premier Card, but once you have it, pooling your points and transferring them to a partner could make it possible to get more.
- Generous sign-up bonus. New cardholders can earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. That’s a tidy lump sum for a card with no annual fee.
Other cardholder perks
Additionally, Citi offers a variety of benefits for entertainment and fraud prevention. Cardholders get special access to VIP experiences, tickets before they go on sale, and more. They also don't have to pay for fraudulent charges that were made without their permission.
- Citi Entertainment: Purchase tickets for various events, including concerts, sports, dining experiences, and more.
- Citi Identity Theft Assistance: Help with identity theft.
- 24-Hour Fraud Protection: Cardholders get notifications when suspicious behavior is discovered.
- $0 Liability for Unauthorized Charges: There is no cardholder liability for fraudulent transactions.
- Digital Wallets: Contactless payment methods for compatible mobile devices.
- Lost Wallet Service: If you misplace your wallet, quick card replacement is available.
Citi Custom Cash Card Drawbacks
While this card offers a remarkable amount of value with no annual fee, it isn't perfect. Here are some reasons why you may want to think twice before applying.
- Low Base Rewards Rate: The 5% bonus category offer is impressive, but all other purchases net you just 1% back. Depending on how much money you spend each month, you may be able to get more value with a card that offers a higher base rewards rate, or at least multiple bonus rewards categories.
- Bonus Rewards are Capped: You'll only get 5% back on up to $500 spent each month on your top eligible spending category. While This cap is in-line with other 5% cards, several credit cards offer bonus rewards on a lot of the same categories without limiting how much you can earn on those expenses.
- Other Cards Offer Larger Welcome Bonuses: If you want to earn more as a new cardholder, there are several credit cards — primarily travel cards — that offer welcome bonuses worth far more than what the Citi Custom Cash Card offers.
- You Can Find Longer 0% APR Promotions: If your top priority is to save on interest with new purchases or a balance transfer, some cards offer 0% APR promotions that last as long as 21 months, giving you an extra half a year to pay down a balance. Depending on the situation, that could save you more than the value of the Citi Custom Cash Card's welcome bonus.
The Citi Custom Cash Card has no annual fee, which makes it a good choice for people who want rewards without having to pay extra each year. A credit card with no annual fee is cheaper for people who want to earn rewards, build credit, and take advantage of other benefits without having to pay an extra fee every year.
The card has a variable APR range for both balance transfers and purchases. Your creditworthiness will determine your exact APR, which may fluctuate over time.
- Regular APR: 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) Variable
- Purchase Introductory APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases
- Balance Transfer Introductory APR: 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
The Citi Custom Cash Card doesn't charge an annual fee. However, there are some other fees to watch out for. If you want to take advantage of the card's 0% APR balance transfer promotion, for instance, you'll pay an upfront fee. The card also charges a foreign transaction fee, making it less appealing for people who frequently travel abroad.
- Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of each transfer, with a minimum of $5.
- Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% per transaction
- Cash Advances: 5% of each cash advance, with a $10 minimum.
Note that the Citi Custom Cash Card charges 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 Citi 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, after that a 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable) APR applies based on creditworthiness.
Recommended Credit Score
While Citi doesn't provide an exact credit score requirement for the Citi Custom Cash Card, you will likely need fair to excellent credit to be eligible for this card. Per FICO®, this means you'll need a credit score of at least 580.
According to Citi, the bank considers “many factors” when determining creditworthiness. While having a good or excellent credit score doesn't guarantee you'll be approved for this card, it is a strong indicator of your approval odds. If your credit score falls well under this range, you might consider taking steps to boost your score before applying for a Citi Custom Cash Card.
If you'd like to get a sense of what type of Citi card you qualify for, head over to the pre-qualification page. After you enter some personal information, Citi will match you with offers that you prequalify for.
Best Citi Credit Cards to Pair With the Citi Custom Cash
The Citi Premier Card is arguably among the best cards to use with Citi Custom Cash. With this Citi card, you can combine your Custom Cash rewards and transfer them to Citi's travel partners for a possible outsized value.
Your Custom Cash Card would be an effective complementary card in either case. The Citi Premier, on the other hand, lets the Custom Cash Card really shine. The Citi Premier Card covers each other’s biggest spending categories, including groceries, gas, dining out, travel, and lodging. This means that you can use the Custom Cash Card to get 5% cash back on purchases that aren't as common, like sporting events and commuting costs.
Furthermore, the Citi ThankYou trinity is completed with the Citi Double Cash® Card from our partner Citi, which earns flat-rate cash back or points on all transactions—provided you convert them. For those who are only interested in cash back, this is a huge win. In fact, once you've exhausted your 5% category each billing cycle, you'll be able to earn more than 1% cash back on all purchases.
Citi Double Cash Card Review: 2% Cash Back on Every Purchase and $200 Sign-Up Bonus
How Does the Citi Custom Cash Card Compare?
If you're looking for a Citi cash-back card to add to your wallet, you're certainly not short on options. Citi offers a number of cash-back credit cards with differing reward structures and annual fees. It's essential to compare your choices and pick the one that best fits your spending habits and financial goals.
Keep in mind that some Citi cash-back cards may come with sign-up bonuses or low introductory APRs, so read the terms and conditions carefully before you apply.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs. Citi Double Cash® Card
The Citi Double Cash® Card offers a flat 2% cash back on every purchase—1% when you buy and 1% when you pay back your purchases. If you prefer simplicity in your rewards program, you can't go wrong with this option. You can even transfer your rewards to some of Citi's airline and hotel partners with the Double Cash Card, though the transfer ratio may be lower.
That said, the high flat rewards rate doesn't give you an opportunity to earn bonus rewards on your top spending categories, which is where the Citi Custom Cash Card shines.
If a 0% APR promotion is important to you, the Citi Double Cash Card offers one for 18 months, but only on balance transfers. After that, the APR for this card is 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) based on creditworthiness. Neither card charges an annual fee.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card
The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card, from our partner Citi, rewards not only gas, restaurant, and travel purchases but also Costco purchases. The card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, which makes it suitable for both domestic and international travel. The main disadvantage of this card is that it requires a Costco membership, which essentially creates an annual fee.
If you prefer earning cash back rewards without having to track categories and don't frequently shop at Costco, the Citi Custom Cash Card may be a better fit. But for Costco members who spend a lot of money on gas, dining, and travel, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi might be a wiser choice.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs Citi Rewards+® Card
Although the Citi Rewards+ Card, from our partner Citi, isn't the most rewarding cash-back credit card, it does come with some useful perks that can boost your rewards with little effort on your part. ThankYou points can be redeemed for rewards like travel, statement credits, and gift cards, and you can rack up even more points with the help of perks like the sign-up bonus, annual redemption bonus, and automatic round-up.
Because the card's bonus categories are focused on grocery and gas spending (2X points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points), you'll want to use it when these purchases come up.
The round-up feature on the Citi Rewards+ Card makes it ideal for small purchases as well—every purchase is automatically rounded up to the nearest 10 points. So, a $3 cup of coffee earning 1X points will be rounded up to 10 ThankYou points, resulting in a net gain of 7 points. In addition, if you spend $45 on groceries (earning 2X points), your earnings will be rounded up from 90 to 100 points.
The Citi Custom Cash Card may be a better fit if you prefer cash back and want the flexibility of earning rewards without having to track categories. If you like the idea of earning points that can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or other rewards, and you like the idea of rounding up points on every purchase, the Citi Rewards+ Card may be a better option.
How Does the Citi Custom Cash Card Compare to Other Cash Back Cards?
Cash-back credit card rewards programs come in all shapes and sizes, and the right one for you depends primarily on how you spend your money and how complex you want your rewards to be. Depending on what you're looking for, here are some other top cash-back credit cards you may consider instead of or in addition to the Citi Custom Cash Card.
Citi Custom Cash vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card
Another no-annual-fee card, the Chase Freedom Flex Card, also offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter in categories that change every three months when you activate. You'll also get 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at drugstores and on eligible dining-related purchases, and 1% back on everything else. Without set categories, however, it can be difficult to know whether you can maximize the 5% bonus every quarter.
Like the Citi Custom Cash Card, the Freedom Flex offers a $200 welcome bonus, but you only have to spend $500 in the first three months to get it.
The Freedom Flex also allows you to pool points with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, which can open up opportunities to transfer your rewards to airline and hotel partners.
Overall, the Freedom Flex gives you more ways to get the most out of your rewards, and its bonuses for new cardholders are more valuable and, some would say, easier to get.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
For those who want to earn cash-back rewards across a number of everyday spending categories, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express could provide excellent value. It earns 3% at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 in combined purchases in each category per year, after which it drops to 1%). Once you reach that cap, it earns 1% on all other purchases. You get cash back in the form of Reward Dollars, which are easy to turn into statement credits.
With either of these cards, you can earn a lot of cash back. While the Blue Cash Preferred's rewards program has more flexibility, it also comes with an annual fee. So the Citi Custom Cash Card may be a better fit if you prefer a no-fee card without complicated category tracking. However, households that spend at least $6,000 on groceries each year may find more value in the Amex Blue Cash Everyday.
Ultimately, your shopping habits will determine which card offers the best rewards. Be sure to review your options to choose a product that’s well suited for your needs.
Best Cash Back Credit CardsVisit the Marketplace
Who is the Card Good For?
The chance of earning 5% back for the eligible category you spend the most on every month can be incredibly appealing, especially because the Citi Custom Cash Card includes common everyday categories such as grocery store purchases, restaurant purchases, and drugstore purchases.
While the $500 monthly spending limit for cash 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 in 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 credit card that offers 1.5% or even 2% back on all purchases to maximize your cash back.
With the Citi Custom Cash Card, cardholders earn 5% cash back on the first $500 spent on purchases in their top eligible spending category each billing cycle and 1% cash back thereafter. Cardholders earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other card purchases.
Eligible categories include restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, select streaming services, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment, select travel and select transit expenses. Cardholders do not have to keep track of rotating bonus categories, as the rewards earning will adjust automatically as your spending changes in the eligible categories.
Cash back earned with the Citi Custom Cash Card comes in the form of Citi ThankYou Points. You can redeem ThankYou Points online for redemption options that include statement credits, cash back via direct deposit or paper check, gift cards, travel rewards, Shop with Points at Amazon and other online retailers, and much more. You can also choose to donate your points to charities. ThankYou Points carry no minimum redemption requirements for statement credits or direct deposit redemptions.
New cardholders who haven't opened a Citi Custom Cash Card account within the last 48 months are eligible to earn the card's sign-up bonus. If you've previously earned the card's sign-up bonus and closed the account later, you may be able to apply for an account again, but you are likely ineligible to earn the sign-up bonus again. You may be better off applying for another Citi credit card or another reward credit card that offers an opportunity to earn a sign-up bonus.
Citi Custom Cash Card cardholders earn 5% cash-back in their top eligible spending category. Customers also earn unlimited 1% cash-back outside of the highest spending category each billing cycle. Eligible top spending categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.