Citi Custom Cash Card: 5% Cash Back Rewards Based On Your Spending

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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)
Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
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. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

The Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5% back on your top eligible spending category without the need to track quarterly bonus categories. This makes it a great choice for maximizing your everyday spending without keeping up with spending categories. Plus, there’s no annual fee, and a 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Pro Tip

If you want to use the Citi Custom Cash Card’s 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, make sure you have a plan to pay off balances within this timeline. Any remaining debts after the intro period will accrue interest at 13.99% to 23.99% APR.

At a Glance

  • $200 welcome bonus when you spend $750 within three months of account opening
  • Earn 5% back on up to $500 spent in your top eligible category each billing cycle, then 1% back. Categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
  • Earn 1% back on other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%

Pros

  • Solid welcome bonus for a no annual fee card

  • Earn 5% back up to limits with no enrollment required

  • No annual fee

  • Introductory 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • 5% back capped after $500 spent per billing cycle

  • Just 1% cash back outside of 5% bonus category

  • No major cardholder benefits

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Additional Card Details

One of the biggest downsides of the Citi Custom Card Card is that, outside of the rewards and the introductory APR offer, this card doesn’t offer any added perks. The only additional benefits you’ll get from Citi are standard among any major issuer, including the ability to add authorized users and chip and pin technology. 

Should You Get the Citi Custom Cash Card?

Whereas most credit cards with 5% back require you to actively choose your category each quarter or keep up with a rotating schedule of bonus categories, the Citi Custom Cash Card does things differently. You’ll automatically earn 5% back in the eligible bonus category you spend the most (on the first $500 spent per billing cycle). Eligible categories include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Select travel
  • Select transit
  • Select streaming services
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Live entertainment. 

If you’re looking for simplicity, that rewards structure can definitely make this card one to consider. There’s no need to enroll to earn 5% back — it’s automatically determined each billing cycle. That makes earning 5% cash back easier than with rotating 5% cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Discover it® Cash Back

The biggest drawback to this card’s rewards is the spending cap. The 5% rewards rate only applies to your first $500 in that category per month, so you’ll earn just $25 per month max, or $300 per year (not including any additional cash back you earn at the 1% rate). That spending cap still compares to other 5% cards, though. Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back both limit 5% rewards to $1,500 in quarterly spending, which is equal to about $500 monthly.

But if you spend well over this amount in any of the eligible categories, you might get more value from a card with a lower rewards rate and no cap, like the 2% flat cash back Citi® Double Cash Card.

You might also consider adding this card as a complement to another cash back card already in your wallet. For instance, you could use this card for spending within a category you don’t earn rewards on elsewhere — such as drug stores or your gym membership — and use your other rewards card for spending outside that category. 

Citi Custom Cash Card’s introductory APR offer also makes it a good option if you’re considering a large purchase in one of the rewards categories, or if you want to consolidate high-interest debt from other cards. You can get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%. However, if your primary goal is 0% interest, there are other cards available with longer intro periods

How to Use the Citi Custom Cash Card

After you’re approved for the Citi Custom Cash Card, start maximizing your rewards by spending $750 within three months of account opening. You’ll earn $200 in cash back, which can be redeemed for gift cards, statement credits, travel and more.

Because your 5% rewards bonus automatically applies to the eligible category you spend in most, all you have to do to maximize rewards is use it for any everyday purchases already in your budget, or choose a category and focus on your spending there. 

Remember, the 5% rewards only apply to your first $500 spent per billing cycle in the bonus category though, after which you’ll earn just 1%. If you’re using this card to maximize a specific category, and pairing it with other rewards cards already in your wallet, consider keeping a closer eye on your spending so you’ll know when you surpass the spending cap.

When you’re ready to redeem your rewards, you can log onto your online account to redeem for cash back via statement credit or direct deposit at a rate of 1 cent per point. You can also redeem through Citi’s ThankYou portal for gift cards, Amazon.com purchases, travel, and more, though these redemption rates vary.

Finally, if you decide to take advantage of your card’s 0% APR offer for purchases or balance transfers, make sure you only charge or transfer what you can afford to pay off within 15 months. If you carry a balance after that, the variable APR this card charges will quickly wipe out any rewards you’ll earn.

Citi Custom Cash Card Compared to Other Cards

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (3.9/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    No current offer
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99 – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Bottom Line

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Citi Custom Cash Card can help you earn flexible rewards with no annual fee — and you can take advantage of 0% interest for 15 months. But the spending cap may limit your annual rewards value, depending on your budget. If you really want to maximize your spending, consider pairing this card with a flat cash back card or other rewards credit card that offers a higher rate of return on regular spending and bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Citi Custom Cash Card and the Citi Double Cash Card?

The Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5% back on up to $500 spent in select categories each billing cycle (then 1% back) and 1% back on all other purchases.

By contrast, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 2% back for each dollar you spend — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. Neither card charges an annual fee.

How can you redeem rewards earned with the Citi Custom Cash Card?

Citi Custom Cash Card rewards are earned as ThankYou Points, which can be redeemed for statement credits, a direct deposit, gift cards, travel or purchases through Amazon.com.

What are the bonus categories for the Citi Custom Cash Card?

Bonus categories on the Citi Custom Cash card include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drug stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.

Is the Citi Custom Cash Card a metal card?

The Citi Custom Cash Card is not a metal credit card, which is typical among cash back credit cards.