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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Review

An exciting 5% cash back card with terrific flexibility.

finder.com’s rating: 4.9 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you have diverse spending needs that change from month to month.
  • Pick something else if you regularly spend most in a single category and exceed $500 a month in that category.
  • Apply with a good to an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
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$200

Welcome offer

Up to 5%

Cash back

$0

Annual fee

0%

Intro purchase APR

for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome Offer$200 cash back after spending $750 in the first 3 months. Fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back
Rewards5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle on up to the first $500 spent, then 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases
Purchase APR0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerMastercard

Review by


Steven Dashiell is a writer at Finder specializing in all things credit cards. With more than 300 articles under his belt, he aims to help readers embrace credit cards and maximize their rewards. Steve is studying to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, and is a frequent face on Finder’s YouTube channel, offering the latest in credit card hacks and advice. His expertise has been featured on numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Time, CBS, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Martha Stewart Living and more.

Expert review

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a new 5% cash back card from Citi and joins the Citi® Double Cash Card as the second non-cobranded cashback card in the provider’s lineup. It offers a unique spin on the traditional 5% cashback card configuration: You’ll earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent. It will revert to a 1% reward rate after that. It otherwise earns 1% back on all other purchases, comes with a $200 signup bonus after you spend $750 in your first 3 months of account opening, requires no annual fee and carries a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR.

Doing the math, 5% of $500 is $25. If you spread this out over the year, you’ll earn $75 a quarter with this rate, which is the same earning cap you’d find on a rotating category card like the Chase Freedom Flex℠. The main benefit the Citi Custom Cash has over a typical rotating category card is how much easier it is to reach that spending cap. Considering your eligible categories include everyday categories like restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores, you have plenty of options each month for maxing your rewards. And if you’re familiar with rotating category cards, you’ll know that not every quarter offers categories that make it easy to max your earning cap – the current Freedom Flex categories, for example, are on gas stations and home improvement stores, which is likely less useful for a city commuter without a car. In fact, Citi has stated that this card was directly influenced and customized for the millennial market and pandemic-spending, where consumers value the simplicity and flexibility of cash back more than a rewards program.

The lack of annual fee and signup bonus are just icing on the cake for the Citi Custom Cash. In fact, it’s unique reward structure may very well be the future of all rotating category cards. We had seen a sign of this over 2020 as providers sought ways to increase card usability during the pandemic. The Citi Custom Cash is the natural evolution of this desire for flexibility and the result is an excellent rewards card well worth a spot in most cardholder’s wallets.

How to apply for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

You can apply for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card by doing the following.

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Fill out the requested information and click Agree & submit.

What credit score do I need for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card?

To qualify for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, you’ll want to apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card benefits

  • Flexible rewards. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card earns 5% back on your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle, on up to $500 that cycle. After meeting the cap you’ll earn 1% back until the next billing cycle. This puts its total accelerated earnings on par with a rotating category card, but without the quarterly limitations. If you were worried about the complexities of a rotating category cash back card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is your answer.
  • Rewards on everyday spending. The rewards categories offered on this card are strong, as they include most typical spending areas. Eligible categories are grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, drugstores, live entertainment, home improvement stores and fitness clubs. It also includes select spending on the following categories: travel, transit and streaming services.
  • Signup bonus. The card’s $200 bonus is higher than the average you’d find on a 5% cashback card, which usually sticks to the $100 to $150 range if they offer a bonus.
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay an annual fee to use this credit card.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card drawbacks

  • High penalty APR. Missing payments on this card can result in a hefty penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable.
  • Foreign transaction fees. This card isn’t great for travelers abroad. You’ll pay 3% on transactions made outside of the US.

Compare 5% cash back credit cards

Here are other similar 5% cash back credit cards to compare to help you find the best card that suits you.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Up to $350: 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months for up to $200 back, plus $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn up to $350. In your first 6 months, you can earn a $150 statement credit when you spend $3,000, and earn 20% back on Amazon purchases made with your card, up to $200 total. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Target® or Walmart®) on up to $12,000 in the first yeares) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Target® or Walmart®) on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% cash back on up to $1,500 combined in quarterly categories you activate, 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card reviews and complaints

As of June 2021, Citi is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and earns an F rating from the organization. Of the 5,433 customer complaints, all have been resolved. Many complaints mention billing and collection issues. Note that this F rating refers to Citi’s likelihood to interact with its customers, not the rating of the card or business itself.

Citi features a 1.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot as of June 2021. Customer complaints include difficulties transferring money and unexplained account closures. Again, this rating is based on customer interactions with Citi, not the card itself.

Bottom line

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is an excellent cashback card that takes a traditionally somewhat tricky to navigate 5% cash back system and makes it much simpler to use and maximize. Given the ease of use and big value, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a new favorite at Finder and a cashback card that can easily fit into nearly any wallet.

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