Earn 5% cash back in one of 10 eligible spending categories automatically every month, but the $500 reward earning cap can limit how much you earn in cash back, especially if your purchases don’t all fall into the same category each month.
About the Citi Custom Cash Card
The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card comes with a unique cash back rewards structure. You can earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible category each billing cycle. There’s no need to activate rewards or track categories as the Citi Custom Cash Card calculates it for you. However, the 5% cash back is limited to the first $500 spent in that category. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Earning 5% cash back sounds great, however, if you don’t max out the $500 limit in a particular category one month, your cash-back rewards could be minimal. To maximize the rewards on the Citi Custom Cash, you’ll have to streamline your purchases every month to one of the eligible categories.
Whether you use the Citi Custom Cash as your primary card or decide to pair it with another card to maximize your rewards, the card offers a few other benefits worth a look. Along with no annual fee and a decent welcome bonus, the Citi Custom Cash card also features a 0% intro APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Beyond its earning potential and offers, the card offers few additional benefits.
Citi Custom Cash Card basics
- Annual fee: $0.
- Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
- Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle up to $500 spent and 1% cash back after on all other purchases.
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- Regular APR: 18.49% to 28.49% variable.
- Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- Foreign transaction fees: 3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars.
- Other benefits: Free FICO score, identity theft protection, account alerts, fraud protection, 24/7 customer service, Citi Entertainment access, digital wallets.
- Does the issuer offer a pre-approval tool? Yes.
- Recommended credit score: Good to excellent.
Citi Custom Cash Card details
Citi Custom Cash Card rewards
The Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash back on your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle up to $500 spent and 1% cash back after on all other purchases. The eligible spending categories include:
- Fitness clubs (excludes virtual services and personal monitoring devices).
- Gas stations (excluding warehouse clubs, discount stores and convenience stores).
- Grocery stores.
- Home improvement stores (excludes florists and wholesale construction stores).
- Live entertainment (excludes sporting camps, charity benefits, golf courses, bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums, art galleries, tourist attractions and country clubs).
- Select streaming services.
- Select travel (excludes timeshares, boat leases, campgrounds and trailer parks).
- Select transit (excludes scooter/bike rentals and auto clubs).
An easy way to boost your cash-back rewards balance the first year of having the card is by earning Citi Custom Cash’s welcome bonus of $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.
Cash-back rewards come in the form of Citi ThankYou points. Cardholders can redeem ThankYou points for statement credits, direct deposit, paper checks by mail, gift cards, shop with points online or in-person at eligible retail partners, or donate them to select charities.
You can also redeem points for airfare, hotels, rental cars, and cruises through the ThankYou Travel Center. Point values vary depending on the redemption option. The minimum redemption amount for a check is $5. Citi may set minimum redemption requirements on other redemption options.
Citi Custom Cash Card rewards potential
Using government data and other publicly available information, we estimate that a household in the U.S. that would be in the market for this card has an annual income of $84,352 and $25,087 in expenses they are likely to be able to charge to a credit card.
Of the possible card spending, let’s assume our sample household spends $500 each billing cycle in one of the eligible spending categories to earn 5% cash back. Over the year, you could earn $300 cash back, or $25 a month. The remaining $19,087 in card spending would earn 1% cash back, or $190.87. The total potential cash back for the year could then be $490.87.
The Citi Custom Cash has no annual fee that would affect the value of cash-back rewards earned annually. You could also earn an additional $200 cash back in the first year, provided you meet the $1,500 spending requirement necessary to earn the bonus.
Other Citi Custom Cash Card benefits
Unlike some competing cash-back credit cards, the Citi Custom Cash is rather unimpressive, except for its 15-month intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers. Some ancillary benefits you receive with Citi Custom Cash include:
- Free FICO Score: View your monthly-updated FICO credit score anytime.
- Identity theft protection: Cardholders receive extra protection through Mastercard, which monitors their account for suspicious activity.
- Account alerts: Receive timely email or mobile phone alerts about payment due dates and balance levels.
- Fraud protection: Citi monitors your account for suspicious activity and alerts you of any issues for verification.
- 24/7 customer service: The card offers round-the-clock support from Citi’s customer service representatives.
- Citi Entertainment access: Receive access to purchase tickets to various music, sports, culinary, and other exclusive experiences through Citi Entertainment.
- Digital wallets: Add your card to eligible digital wallets for safe, convenient use within apps and stores.
Citi Custom Cash Card APR
The Citi Custom Cash comes with a 0% intro APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. The introductory period on balance transfers only applies to balance transfers made within the first 4 months of account opening.
After the introductory periods expire, any balances or purchases will be subject to a variable APR of 18.49% to 28.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
Citi Custom Cash Card pros
- High cash-back bonus rate: Cardholders can earn 5% cash back in one of 10 eligible spending categories that is automatically calculated based on your spending patterns.
- Introductory APR offer: It comes with a lengthy intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers.
- No annual fee: There’s no added cost to keep the Citi Custom Cash card.
- Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on the card in the first six months.
Citi Custom Cash Card cons
- Spending cap: The 5% cash back is capped at $500 per billing cycle on your highest eligible spending category, netting a potential $25 each month in cash back at the higher rate (not including any other purchases that earn 1% cash back).
- Foreign transaction fee: The Citi Custom Cash carries a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made overseas.
- No travel benefits: The card does not come with any travel protections or perks.
How the Citi Custom Cash Card compares to other rewards cards
Citi Custom Cash Card vs. Citi Double Cash
While the Citi Custom Cash Card will automatically calculate your rewards based on where you’re spending the most each billing cycle within its 10 eligible categories that earn 5% back, the Citi Double Cash offers a more simpler approach to earning cash-back rewards..
Instead of earning higher bonus rates in specific categories, the Citi Double Cash earns up to 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay, with no spending cap. Regardless of your spending habits, you’ll earn 2% cash back with responsible card use. Like Citi Custom Cash Card, this Citi card has no annual fee and a lengthy 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers, but it doesn’t come with a welcome offer.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card
The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories like grocery stores and gas stations on up to $1,500 in total combined purchases each quarter. Unlike the Citi Custom Cash Card, though, activation is required each quarter to earn bonus rates.
Where the Freedom Flex stands out is that cardholders can also earn cash back in additional categories. You can earn 5% on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% on all other purchases.
Plus, in the first year of having the card, you can earn 5% cash back on grocery store spending (excluding Walmart and Target) on the first $12,000 spent. The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee and also comes with a 0% intro APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers and a $200 cash back welcome bonus (after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of having the card). Another Chase Freedom Flex benefit is that the card also offers cell phone protection coverage.
Citi Custom Cash Card vs. Citi Premier® Card
If you want to level up your rewards, the Citi Premier® Card is worth a look. While it carries a $95 annual fee, it features a generous 60,000-point welcome bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months) and a $100 annual hotel savings benefit.
The Premier card earns 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and on air travel and hotels and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Since it earns ThankYou points, The Citi Premier Card offers the same redemption options as Citi Custom Cash. Plus, the Citi Premier Card does not assess any foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad.
Should you get the Citi Custom Cash Card?
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers hassle-free cash back earning that adjusts to your spending habits every month. However, with its $500 spending cap on the 5% cash-back categories, the most you’ll be able to rake in at that rate is $25 a month (not including any purchases that qualify for the 1% earning rate).
However, if you tend to spend around $500 regularly in one of the 10 eligible cash-back categories, you could realize an annual savings of around $300, not including the $200 welcome bonus the first year of having the card.
If you’re looking to save on interest charges by financing a large purchase for over a year (or transfer a balance from another credit card), the Citi Custom Cash Card can help you do that with its intro 0% APR for 15 months for purchases and balance transfers. Just know that any balance remaining after the intro periods expire will be subject to the ongoing APR of 18.49% to 28.49% variable.
Citi Custom Cash Card summary
|Citi Custom Cash Card details|
|Rewards||5% cash back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle up to $500 spent and 1% cash back after on all other purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers|
|Regular APR||18.49% to 28.49% variable|
|Balance transfer fee||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater|
|Welcome bonus offer||$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening|
|Foreign transaction fees||3%|
|Card benefits||Free FICO Score, identity theft protection, account alerts, fraud protection, 24/7 customer service, Citi Entertainment access, digital wallets|
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Citi Custom Cash Card credit limits are based on the cardholder’s income, current debt and creditworthiness.
Citi doesn’t publicly disclose credit requirements for its cards, but you will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Citi Custom Cash. That means that you should have at least a 670 FICO Score, up to the max score of 850.
The Citi Custom Cash may provide instant approval after you apply, but you may receive notice at a later date by email or mail.
The Citi Custom Cash could be a good first credit card if you meet Citi’s credit requirements. The no-annual-fee card offers several benefits, including flexible cash-back earning, a welcome bonus offer and a 0% intro APR offer. However, you may find other cards that could be a better fit.