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Citi Custom Cash Card Review 2024

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Updated April 18, 2024

One of the biggest headaches of using multiple rewards credit cards is remembering which credit card to use for what purchase. Each card has different bonus categories, some requiring you to activate them multiple times per year.

The Citi Custom Cash® Card addresses this problem with its automated bonus category tracking. Citi monitors your monthly spending and provides a 5% bonus up to $500 in spending per month (then 1% thereafter) for the category you use the most. No need to remember which merchants to use or activate bonus categories. It’s all automated.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Citi Custom Cash® Card

APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual fees
$0
Credit score
credit_score_needed

TIME’s Take

The Citi Custom Cash takes the work out of getting cash back. It offers one of the highest cash back rates for a no-annual-fee credit card. It’s also one of the simplest rewards credit cards to use, as its bonus categories adapt to your spending. The card also comes with a strong intro APR offer.

Pros & cons

Pros:

  • Attractive welcome bonus
  • Up to 5% cash back for everyday spending

Cons:

  • Bonus categories are capped
  • Low earning rate for non-bonused spending
  • Foreign transaction fees

Who is the card for?

The Citi Custom Cash® Card is ideal for those with sporadic spending habits. If your primary spending categories change month-to-month (say, from home improvement to live entertainment to travel to grocery stores), Citi Custom Cash can identify the eligible category for which you’ve spent the most each billing cycle and automatically bonus it. You don’t have to activate or keep track of anything.

Additionally, the cards 0% for 15 months intro APR on purchases and balance transfers makes it a great choice if you anticipate making a large purchase that you won’t be able to pay off immediately (for example, an out-of-pocket medical expense or a vehicle repair). Alternatively, if you’ve got high-interest debt accruing on other credit cards, the Citi Custom Cash could serve as an interest-free shelter for 15 months.

Finally, this card could be an excellent way to get free travel. With a simple trick, you can convert the rewards you earn with this card into airline miles and hotel points.

Features

$200 welcome bonus

The Citi Custom Cash® Card comes with a $200 cash bonus after you spend $1,500 on purchases within the first six months from account opening. The cash you earn is fulfilled as Citi ThankYou points (more on that later).

This is a generous welcome offer for a no-annual-fee credit card—and though the minimum spending requirement may seem quite high, you’ve got six months to reach it. In fact, you’ll achieve the bonus by spending just $250 per month.

Special Travel Offer

Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi TravelSM portal through 6/30/2025.

Bonus categories that conform to your spending habits

The Citi Custom Cash is unique because it monitors your spending and pays the highest cash back rate to the category you’ve spent the most on each month. You’ll receive 5% back on up to $500 each month (then 1%) for one of the following categories:

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

You’ll also earn 1% back for everything else. For example, if you spent $200 at gas stations, $700 at grocery stores, and $600 at restaurants, you’d earn:

  • $2 for your gas station purchases (1% back)
  • $27 for your grocery store purchases (5% back on up to $500, then 1% back)
  • $6 for your restaurant purchases (1% back)

If your spending habits change the following month, the Citi Custom Cash will recognize it and automatically assign the 5% bonus to the highest spending category that month.

Intro APR offer

The Citi Custom Cash® Card offers a 0% for 15 months intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (then reg_apr,reg_apr_type). This is helpful if you’ve got a big purchase that you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off in the near future—or if you’ve already got credit card debt for which you’re paying monthly interest fees. Depending on the size of your balances, a 15-month respite on interest charges could translate into thousands of dollars in savings.

The fine print

Interest rates

The Citi Custom Cash charges a variable purchase APR of reg_apr,reg_apr_type based on your creditworthiness. Unless you’re on the low end of that range, the APR is high, even for a credit card. Of course, it isn’t a concern if you pay your balance in full each month.

You’ll also pay a cash advance APR of cash_advance_apr. Note that cash advances begin to accrue interest immediately after they are initiated.

Other fees

The Citi Custom Cash doesn’t charge an annual fee. However, other standard credit card fees apply:

  • Balance transfer fees: balance_transfer_fees
  • Cash advance fees: cash_advance_fee
  • Foreign transaction fees: foreign_transaction_fee of purchases processed outside the U.S.
  • Penalty APR: Up to reg_apr,reg_apr_type when your payment is late or returned.
  • Penalty fees: late_payment_fee for late/returned payments.

Additional perks

Turn cash back into travel rewards

As previously mentioned, the Citi Custom Cash® Card earns Citi ThankYou points—not cash back. However, you can convert your points to cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point, and redeem it as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check.

But here’s the kicker: Citi ThankYou points credit cards that charge an annual fee, such as the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card (not available to new applicants), allow you to transfer the rewards you earn with the Citi Custom Cash to 18 different travel loyalty programs. This means you can convert your points into airline miles and hotel points for free travel, potentially getting a value greater than 1 cent per point.

For example, you could transfer 20,000 points to Avianca for a one-way coach flight between the U.S. and Europe on United Airlines. Or, you could transfer 19,500 points to Singapore Airlines for a free coach flight from the Continental U.S. to Hawaii on United Airlines.

Citi Entertainment

Most Citi credit cards, including the Citi Custom Cash, offer access to Citi Entertainment. This platform allows you to book presale tickets to popular concerts, sporting events, culinary experiences, and more. Citi Entertainment could mean the difference between getting tickets and missing out.

Here’s what could be improved

The Citi Custom Cash® Card has an excellent cash back offer of 5% on your top monthly spending category.

However, the card’s 5% bonus applies to a maximum of $500 in eligible spending each billing cycle. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on all purchases. With many other no-annual-fee credit cards offering between 1.5% and 2% back on all purchases, a 1% return is not great. It requires customers to use a second card with a better standard cash back rate for all non-bonused spending.

To make the Citi Custom Cash more appealing, Citi could either raise the monthly bonus cap or increase the base earning rate of the card to at least 1.5%.

Card alternatives

Citi Custom Cash® Card
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Intro bonus
bonus_miles
$200 bonus
bonus_miles
APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
19.74% to 29.74% Variable
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual fees
$0
Credit score
credit_score_needed
Good, Excellent
credit_score_needed

Bottom line

The Citi Custom Cash® Card does the hard work, so you don’t have to. You can spend as you normally would without keeping track of bonus categories because the card will keep track of the category you use the most.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Citi Custom Cash® Card

APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual fees
Credit score
credit_score_needed

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is the Citi Custom Cash Card hard to get?

The Citi Custom Cash® Card is not difficult to qualify for. As long as you’ve got a fair credit score (we recommend mid-600s), you’ve got a shot at being approved.

Is Citi Custom Cash a beginner card?

The Citi Custom Cash isn’t a true “beginner” credit card, as you must have a fair credit score to be approved. Those just starting their credit journey will have better luck being approved for a prepaid or secured credit card.

Does Citi Custom Cash give high credit limits?

The size of your credit line will depend on your creditworthiness. Those with a less-than-perfect credit score may get just a $500 credit limit, while others may receive $10,000.

What is the minimum income requirement for Citi Custom Cash?

Citi doesn’t indicate a specific minimum income threshold for approval. Instead, it examines your debt-to-income ratio and decides if you have the ability to service the maximum payment each month.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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