Citi Custom CashSM Card Review

The signup bonus alone makes this no annual fee card worth it. If you are looking for simplicity, this is the card for you.

Written by : Updated On: December 9
cb-review_card

The basics

Reward Rate:

Groceries

Highest spend category

5%
Groceries

All other purchases

1%

The 5% categories could include:

1. Restaurants

2. Gas stations

3. Grocery stores

4. Travel

5. Transit

6. Streaming services

7. Drug stores

8. Home improvement stores

9. Fitness clubs

10. Live entertainment

 

Automatically get 5% cash back on the first $500 spent in your top eligible spend category

Key Features:

Annual Fee

None

Intro APR

0% for 15 months

Regular APR

18.99% to 28.99%

Signup Bonus

signup-bonus

$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of the account opening.

Redemption ways

signup-bonus

Statement credit, direct deposit, or check.

Our Verdict

The Citi Custom CashSM Card is a simple way to earn where you spend most each month. The current sign-up bonus gives you an additional $200 back after spending just $750 in the first three months after account opening. For a card with no annual fee, it sure does pack in a lot of benefits.

Another great part about this card is that you do not have to use it for only cash back. The “cash back” comes in the form of Citi ThankYou Points, which can then be redeemed for cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check. However, you can also use points to travel, shop online, and more.

Best Suited for:

Group-11597-2

The flexible spender

The cash back earned with the Citi Custom Cash Card can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, or checks, giving you flexibility in how you use your rewards. Plus, it is straightforward and doesn't require activating or tracking rotating rewards categories.

ProsCons
No annual fee5% back has a low spending cap of $500
Great sign-up bonus at time of writing

Hidden perks

The biggest perk of this card is that it automatically customizes cash back to your spending habits. Spending can change month to month, so it makes sense for a card to change based on how you change.

Comparing Citi® Custom Cash with a similar card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards

Reward rate1% - 3%
Reward details3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You€™ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%.
Intro Bonus:$200 Annual fee$0
Regular APR17.49% - 27.49%

Citi® Custom CashSM

Reward rate1% - 5%
Reward detailsEarn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Intro Bonus:$200 Annual fee$0
Regular APR18.24% - 28.24%

Beyond the basics

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% for 15 months on transfers completed within four months after account opening

Cash Advance APR

29.99%

Foreign Transaction fee

3% of each purchase in U.S. dollars

Loan APR

14.24% to 24.24%

Late Payment fee

Up to $41

Penalty APR

29.99%

Credit Score required

670+

What we like about this card

The Citi Custom Cash Credit Card stands out for several compelling reasons, making it a noteworthy choice for consumers seeking a versatile and rewarding credit card:

1. Innovative cash back structure: Designed to cater to the evolving spending habits of individuals, this card doesn’t restrict users to fixed categories for cashback rewards; instead, it automatically adjusts to provide the highest cashback percentage based on the cardholder’s most frequent spending categories.

This adaptability ensures that the card remains relevant and rewarding as the user’s spending patterns change over time. The ability to maximize rewards in areas where one naturally spends the most adds a layer of personalization and value that many other cards lack.

2. Simplicity of rewards system: There are no quarterly activations or complicated redemption processes. Cash back is automatically credited to the account, streamlining the user experience.

3. Welcome bonus and intro APR offer: The card often comes with a generous sign-up bonus, providing an immediate boost to the cardholder’s rewards. Additionally, the introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for a specified period can be particularly appealing for those looking to make significant purchases or transfer existing balances.

4. No annual fee: The card’s robust rewards program and additional perks come at no extra cost, enhancing its overall appeal.

 

Drawbacks and considerations

On the other hand, this card does offer some drawbacks for consumers to consider before making a decision:

1. Limited Bonus Categories: While the card offers 5% cashback in the user’s top spending category, the categories are predefined and may not cover certain niche or specialized expenses, potentially limiting the overall rewards potential for some cardholders.

2. Variable Cashback Rates: While the adaptive cashback system is a unique feature, it also means that the cashback rates for different categories can fluctuate. Cardholders might find it challenging to predict and maximize rewards if their spending habits change frequently.

3. Foreign Transaction Fees: The card imposes foreign transaction fees, making it less favorable for international travelers.

4. Annual Fee Absence Impact: While the lack of an annual fee is undoubtedly a positive aspect, it may also mean fewer premium perks and benefits compared to cards with annual fees. Users should weigh the absence of fees against potentially missing out on certain premium features.

Other Offers

You can customize the alerts you receive and automatically get notified about balance levels, payments due, or if you go over your credit limit.

The card is contactless chip enabled, so you just tap it on the reader at checkout.

Make online checkouts easier and more secure with the digital wallet.

You can manage your entire account from the easy to use mobile app.

You can choose when your bill is due to make it easier on your schedule.

Get alerts if there is suspicious activity on information you choose to protect.

You will never be held responsible for unauthorized purchases made on your account.

Check your score at any time with no impact on your score.

Citi is always monitoring your account and will flag suspicious activity and contact you to verify.

If you have misplaced your card, you can block new charges while still allowing recurring charges to go through.

Citi representatives are able to assist you whenever you need.

Get exclusive access to presale tickets and experiences with Citi Entertainment.

How to decide if this card is right for you

Deciding if the Citi Custom Cash Credit Card is the right fit for you involves a thoughtful consideration of your spending habits, preferences, and financial goals. Here are key factors to evaluate:

1. Analyze Your Spending Patterns: Review your monthly expenses to identify your primary spending categories. The Citi Custom Cash Card is most advantageous when it aligns with your highest spending areas.

2. Consider Category Flexibility: Assess whether you prefer a credit card with fixed bonus categories or one that adapts to your changing spending habits. The Citi Custom Cash Card’s unique feature of automatically adjusting to your top spending category each billing cycle offers flexibility but may not suit everyone.

3. Evaluate Rewards Potential: Estimate the potential cashback earnings based on your typical spending. If your major expenses fall into categories frequently eligible for the 5% cashback, this card can be lucrative. However, if your spending is diverse and doesn’t align well with the available categories, you might explore other rewards cards.

4. International Usage: If you frequently travel abroad, consider the foreign transaction fees associated with this card. If international travel is a significant part of your lifestyle, a card with no foreign transaction fees may be more suitable.

5. Credit Score and Approval Odds: Check your credit score and assess whether it meets the requirements for the Citi Custom Cash Card. This card typically targets individuals with good to excellent credit. If your credit score is lower, you may want to work on improving it or explore cards with more lenient approval criteria.

6. Annual Fee Consideration: The Citi Custom Cash Card does not have an annual fee. If you prefer cards without recurring fees, this is a positive aspect. However, weigh this against potential benefits offered by cards with annual fees, such as premium travel perks or enhanced rewards programs.

 

Pair this card with:

Citi Premier Card

citi-Premier

The Citi Custom Cash Card would pair very well with the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card because you can combine your points.

Apply now: Citi Premier Card

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FAQs

Choose the Citi Custom Cash Card if you prefer adaptable 5% cashback in your top spending category each billing cycle. Opt for the Citi Double Cash Card for a consistent 2% cashback on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay), ideal for those who want simplicity and steady rewards across various spending areas. Consider your spending habits and reward preferences to make the best choice.

The credit limit on the Citi Custom Cash Card can vary widely from person to person. Credit limits are determined by various factors, including your creditworthiness, income, and other financial considerations. When you apply for the card, Citi will assess your credit history and financial situation to determine an appropriate credit limit for you. It’s important to note that credit limits are not publicly disclosed and can only be known after your application is approved.

The Citi Custom Cash Card is designed to provide cashback rewards based on your spending patterns. The card automatically adjusts to offer 5% cashback in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle. Eligible categories may include dining, groceries, gas, travel, and other common expenses. You earn 5% cashback on up to $500 of spending in the selected category each billing cycle. After reaching the $500 limit, and on all other purchases, you earn 1% cashback. Cashback is automatically credited to your account.