For anyone who enjoys concerts, is avid DIYers, or has too many health club memberships or streaming service subscriptions, this card can help earn great rewards in categories that most cash-back cards never touch. Arguably the best part of the Citi Custom Cash Card is probably the eligible cash back category, which is 5% cash back on the first $500 in the eligible high earner category per month, unique enough to warrant a bonus Cards – Finding the cashback category on these purchases is hard.
Plus, the card doesn’t have onerous registration requirements like other 5% category cards, which means you’ll have fewer tasks to do each quarter. For this reason, a custom cash card is likely a good add-on card to use in one of the eligible categories. These include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, pharmacies, hardware stores, health clubs and live entertainment.
For others looking to maximize their first $500 in larger spending categories like restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores, 5% is hard to beat. But considering that’s only the first $500 spent in eligible categories, that means the maximum cash back reward you’ll get is $25 per month. Getting $25 back on $500 isn’t a bad return, but cardholders need to ask themselves whether the extra return of up to $25 per month is worth the extra management of a credit card and an extra open credit report account.
Most cardholders will likely find a 2% cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card (1% on purchases and 1% on checkout) more convenient. With 2% cash back, if you spend $2,000 per month, you’ll earn $500 in one category at 5% and $1,500 in all other categories at 1% The same amount. When choosing between cards, the 2% cash back yield might be a better option. But for someone combining the two cards, the extra 3% cash back on spending $500 a month might be worth the extra account.
You can also pair this card with another card to earn ThankYou points, unlocking the ability to transfer your rewards to one of Citi’s travel transfer partners, which may increase the redemption value of your earnings.
The card offers 15 months of introductory 0% APR on eligible balance transfers and purchases. Thereafter, the variable effective annual interest rate is 14.24% – 24.24%, depending on the credit rating. There is also a 5% balance transfer fee per balance transfer; a minimum of $5.
At first glance
- 5% cash back on purchases in one of the highest eligible spending categories per billing cycle, up to $500 per month on purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Certain qualifying cash back categories that offer potential bonus rewards are not available on other cards
- 0% introductory APR on eligible balance transfers and purchases within 15 months. Thereafter, the variable effective annual interest rate is 14.24% – 24.24%, depending on the credit rating. There is also a 5% balance transfer fee per balance transfer; minimum $5
- No annual fee
- Welcome Bonus: $200 cash back after spending $750 within the first 3 months of account opening. Rewards points in the form of 20,000 ThankYou® points redeemable for $200 cash back.
Citi Custom Cash Card Awards
Earn rewards automatically with your Citi Custom Cash credit card. During each billing cycle, earn 5% cash back on purchases in one of the highest eligible spend categories, the first $500 spent per month and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Eligible 5% cash back categories include: restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select public transportation, select streaming services, pharmacies, hardware stores, health clubs, and live entertainment.
After that, the card will earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. Rewards are technically earned as CitiThank You Points, which can be redeemed for 1 cent per point for cash or combined with another Thank You Points card.
Citi Custom Cash offers a welcome bonus: $200 cash back after spending $750 within the first 3 months of account opening. Rewards points in the form of 20,000 ThankYou® points redeemable for $200 cash back.
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As the Citi Custom Cash Card earns Citi ThankYou Points, redemption is subject to the Citi ThankYou Rewards Terms and Conditions. Cashback redemptions can be used for direct deposits into bank accounts, statements of credit, or even charitable donations. Points can also be redeemed for merchandise through Shop With Points, used to repay credit, or as cash back for a minimum redemption amount of $5.
To determine the rewards potential of the Citi Custom Cash Card, we need to consider the amount U.S. households are likely to spend on the card each year. Forbes Advisor uses data from various government agencies to determine basic income and average spending for each category. 70% of wage-earning households bring in $100,172 per year, and our payout is based on that number.
0% introductory price
0% introductory APR on eligible balance transfers and purchases within 15 months. Thereafter, the variable effective annual interest rate is 14.24% – 24.24%, depending on the credit rating. There is also a 5% balance transfer fee per balance transfer; $5 minimum This is comparable to similar products.
Benefits of the Citi Custom Cash Card
- 24/7 Customer Service: 24/7 support.
- Digital Wallet: Compatible option for contactless payments with mobile devices.
- 24-Hour Fraud Protection: Cardholders are alerted when suspicious activity is detected.
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Help tackle identity theft.
The card also offers standard Mastercard benefits, including:
- Zero liability protection. You are not responsible for any unauthorized charges to your card.
- global service. Get emergency help anytime, anywhere in any language. This includes reporting a lost or stolen card, emergency replacement or cash advance, locating an ATM, and answering questions about your account.
- Prevent identity theft. You can sign up for this service, which monitors your credit file for changes that could indicate fraud, sends you emergency alerts, and assigns you to a solution specialist if fraud is detected.
- Regular APR: 14.24% – 24.24% (variable)
- Purchase Introduction APR: 0% for 15 months of purchase
- Balance Transfer Introduction APR: Balance Transfer 0% for 15 months.
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer fee: There is a 5% balance transfer fee per balance transfer with this offer; minimum $5.
- Cash Advances: 5% of each cash advance; minimum $10
- Outsourcing transaction fee: 3%
How the Citi Custom Cash Card Works
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card and American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (conditions apply, see (rates and fees)) is a good example of a card for those looking to see cash back rewards across a variety of shopping categories. 3% cash back in the US. Supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year on purchases, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cashback is received in the form of Rewards Dollars that can be easily redeemed for account balances, and Amex Blue Cash Everyday divides rewards into categories.
Which card is more valuable depends on your spending habits. But for those planning to use one of these cards along with the unlimited 2% cash back card, the first question to ask is, “Are you going to spend at least $6,000 a year on groceries?” If the answer is yes, Well an extra $60 in annual cash back looks more attractive than an extra $25 in cash back on spending $500 a month in the top categories, then we think you should double-check your math, but good for you – with Amex Blue Cash Everyday. For everyone else, the obvious answer is Citi Custom Cash.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card with Chase Liberty Flex℠
Chase Freedom Flex also offers 5% cash back, albeit in a very different way. With Freedom Flex, you’ll get 5% cash back on your first $1,500 reward tier purchase every quarter. These categories change quarterly and must be activated to receive cash back. Since there are three months in each quarter, the average spend in this category is capped at $500 per month — the same as Citi Custom Cash. This means you can get the same amount of cash back by maximizing both categories.
While Citi Custom Cash means spending can be leveraged in specific categories – which may be more attractive to some potential cardholders – Freedom Flex also offers 5% cash back on travel and 3% refund on purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards 1% on food and drugstores and all other purchases. That’s why we call the cash-back offer between these two cards a toss up: it all depends on each consumer’s spending habits.
Although the Freedom Flex is for purchase only, both cards have similar APR introductory periods. Initial 0% APR for 15 months from account opening for purchases and fund transfers, with variable APR from 14.99% – 23.74% thereafter. The introductory balance transfer fee is $5 or 3% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater for the previous 60 days, then $5 or 5% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater. Neither card has an annual fee.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card and Citi® Double Cash Card
We’re fans of these cards from Citi, albeit for different reasons. We think Citi Double Cash and Citi Custom Cash are good neighbors in a wallet. Citi Double Cash offers unlimited 2% cash back on all categories – 1% on purchases and 1% on withdrawals – Citi Double Cash is the plastic standard for flat-rate cashback cards. But add Citi’s newest product, Citi Custom Cash, and maximize your 5% bonus on the first $500 per month in the highest earning category for up to $300 in additional cash back rewards per year.
When it comes to choosing a card, Citi Double Cash is undoubtedly the better cashback card for most people. Low transfer fees and introductory APR also make it a great card for transfers: 0% introductory APR on 18-month transfers. Thereafter, the standard variable APR based on credit is 14.24% – 24.24%. There is also an initial balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of any transferred amount within the first 4 months of account opening, whichever is greater. After that, the fee is 5% of each transfer (minimum $5). With the addition of the ability to pair Double Cash with a premium thank you card for travel partner transfers, Double Cash is powerful.
Is the Citi Custom Cash Card right for you?
There must be a reason not to get this card. It wouldn’t be a great master credit card. It can add other accounts to the credit score. Maximizing the value of your cash back rewards requires some attention and effort on the purchases made on the card. However, using this card with a 2% cash back card or other solid cash back rewards card is a good idea for those trying to maximize their monthly rewards in specific categories not covered by other cards.