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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Review

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Review

Sign-Up Bonus
Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 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.
Rewards Rate
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.
Intro APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card best for?

Imagine a cashback card that rewards you for those purchases you make most frequently automatically, without you having to opt into a cashback category or trying to remember which card to use that will maximize the amount of cash back you earn.

Citi did just that with its Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. The card offers a unique cashback program: 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. Those categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment and select streaming services, travel and transit purchases.

With its intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, sign-up bonus and $0 annual fee, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is definitely a game-changer in the world of cash back credit cards.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card overview

    • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 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.
    • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% - 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • 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.
    • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
    • No Annual Fee
    • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.
  • Credit needed:
    660 850
    Excellent/Good
  • Fraud protection

Intro Purchase APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases

Regular Purchase APR

16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)

Intro BT APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers

Regular BT APR

16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum

Foreign Transaction Fee

3%

Balance Transfer Fee

5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Pros and cons of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • Intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • Cashback automatically based on spending
  • Sign-up bonus
  • Easy points redemption options

Cons

  • $500 limit for highest cashback rate each billing cycle
  • No travel protections
  • Balance transfer fee
  • Potentially high APR
  • Foreign transaction fee

What we like about the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

  • Cashback tailored to your spending

    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.

    The 5% cashback categories and what purchases qualify within those categories are as follows:

    Restaurant purchases include those made at cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants. Excludes purchases at bakeries, caterers, restaurants located inside another business (such as hotels, stores, stadiums, grocery stores, or warehouse clubs) and third party dining delivery services.

    Gas purchases excludes those made at  warehouse clubs, discount stores, convenience stores or other merchants that do not use the gas station merchant category code.

    Grocery store purchases include supermarkets, meat/seafood stores, dairy stores, bakeries, and miscellaneous food/convenience stores. Excludes purchases at general merchandise/discount superstores; wholesale/warehouse clubs; candy, nut and confectionery stores. Purchases made at online supermarkets or with grocery delivery services also do not qualify if the merchant does not classify itself as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant category code.

    Travel purchases only include airline, hotel, cruise line and travel agency charges.

    Transit includes car rentals, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, bus lines, and motor home and recreational vehicle rentals. Excludes bike/scooter rentals, auto clubs and insurance companies.

    Select streaming services includes the following cable, satellite, and streaming providers: Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Apple Music, CBS All Access, Disney+, AT&T TV NOW, ESPN+, fuboTV, HBO Max, NBA League Pass, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime, Sling TV, Spotify, Starz, SiriusXM, Vudu, YouTube Red, YouTube TV, and Tidal.

    Drugstores include pharmacies in grocery stores, general merchandise/discount superstores, and wholesale/warehouse clubs if those merchants submit purchases made in their pharmacy with the drug store and pharmacy merchant category code.

    Home improvement stores include home supply warehouse stores, lumber and building materials stores, paint and wallpaper stores, hardware stores, nurseries – lawn and garden supply stores and paints, varnishes and supplies stores.

    Fitness clubs include membership fee and other purchases at athletic, sports and recreation facilities requiring membership such as health, tennis, and swimming clubs. Excludes fees associated with virtual services for home exercise equipment, personal monitoring devices, or fitness streaming classes.

    Live entertainment includes ticket purchases for live entertainment, such as: concerts, live sporting events, live theatrical productions, amusement parks, and orchestras.

  • Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers

    The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers the following intro APR promotions:

    • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases, then an APR of 16.99% - 26.99% (variable)
    • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, then an APR of 16.99% - 26.99% (variable)

    If you choose to do a balance transfer, know that there is a fee involved: 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

  • Sign-up bonus

    While the spending you’ll need to do on the card to qualify for the sign-up bonus is a bit higher than other cash back cards, know that the timeframe you have to reach the spend requirement is much longer: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 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.

  • Easy cashback redemption options

    The cash back you earn will be in the form of ThankYou® Points. That means during each billing cycle, you will earn 5 points per $1 on purchases in your top eligible spend category up to the first $500 spent, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

    Points can be redeemed as cash back in the form of a direct deposit or statement credit or for gift cards, travel or Shop With Points at Amazon.com.

What to watch out for with the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

  • $500 limit on higher cashback rate each billing cycle

    Citi Custom Cash℠ Card cardholders are limited to earning the higher cashback rate on only $500 in purchases each billing cycle. After hitting that cap, spending will be reduced to the lower 1% cashback rate. So, the most you can earn at the higher rate each month is $25, or $300 a year, not including what you earn at the unlimited 1% cashback rate on all other purchases.

  • Potentially high APR

    The APR range for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is 16.99% - 26.99% (variable). Depending on your creditworthiness and additional factors, such as income and debt load, you may find yourself approved at the higher rate. Either way, you can avoid interest charges if you pay off your entire balance in full every month.

  • Fees

    The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card may have a $0 annual fee, but know it’s not fee-free.

    You’ll pay 3% when using the card for overseas purchases and if you choose to do a balance transfer with the card, you’ll incur a fee of 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

  • Limited benefits

    While many cards tout a wide array of benefits, such as cellphone and rental car insurance, and purchase and extended warranty protection, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card does not currently offer much in the way of card benefits.

Alternate cashback card to the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Compare it to the Chase Freedom Flex℠

| Disclosures
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Flex℠
on Chase's secure site
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

While the Chase Freedom Flex℠ does require cardholders to opt into quarterly cashback categories to earn the higher 5% rate, it has a more generous ongoing rewards program for travel, dining and drugstores: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, after which an APR of 17.24% - 25.99% variable will apply.

There is also a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months. After, the regular APR will be 17.24% - 25.99% variable. The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. Then, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ comes with a $0 annual fee and an easier-to-earn sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

What makes the Chase Freedom Flex℠ a cut above the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is its more expansive benefits, including:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection

As with the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ also charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars on purchases made abroad.

But given the more enhanced rewards structure, you may find you can earn more cash back with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ than the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, but it does involve a little more effort to keep track of opting into the higher cashback categories each quarter.

Compare the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Chase Freedom Flex℠ Blue Cash Everyday<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Chase Freedom Flex℠ Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Read Review
Welcome Offer
Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 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 a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening! $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Rewards Rate
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. 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
Annual Fee
$0 $0 $0 $0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months 0% on purchases for 15 months See Terms
Regular APR
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable) 17.24% - 25.99% Variable 16.99%-27.99% Variable See Terms
Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months 0% on balance transfers for 15 months See Terms
Regular Balance Transfer APR
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable) 17.24% - 25.99% Variable 16.99%-27.99% Variable See Terms
Balance Transfer Fee
5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. Then, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good Excellent/Good Excellent/Good Excellent/Good
Card Details
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Chase Freedom Flex℠ Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Is the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card right for you?

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is designed for consumers who are looking for a cashback card that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or forethought as it automatically adjusts to your spending habits — as long as that spending fits within the card’s 10 categories.

Citi will determine your highest spend for purchases posted to your account during each billing cycle and assign the cashback amount according to the type of purchases you make. However, know that the max you will reap from spending in the 5% categories is limited to $25 a month, or $300 a year.

However, when combining the intro APR purchase deal and the sign-up bonus, this could be a great card to make a large purchase with and pay it off over time.

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site