Best Citi Cash-Back Credit Cards
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available or the benefits and terms have changed. View the issuer’s site for current information.
Cash-back credit cards are among the simplest types of rewards credit cards. Rather than having to deal with points or miles, which can have varying payback rates, cash-back cards are relatively straightforward. When you spend on a cash-back credit card, you’ll end up with a rebate on everything you buy. But the devil is in the details. Some cash-back cards pay varying amounts depending on where you’re spending your money, although all of them will pay a flat cash-back rate on everything else.
Citi offers two primary cash-back cards, and the specific details of how customers can earn that cash back are quite different. Here’s a look at these two cards, with details on how customers can maximize the amount they earn back on their spending.
Citi Custom Cash Card
Best for: High spending in one category
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers bonus cash back in rotating categories, but it goes about processing this reward in a very different way than most competitor cards. Rather than providing a set bonus category, such as gasoline or groceries, the Citi Custom Cash Card pays a very high 5% cash back on the category in which you’ve spent the most money in a given month.
This is a fantastic bonus as it rewards you for your biggest expenditures, without you having to adjust your spending. Other cards require you to focus spending in certain categories, and that can lead to overspending. But the Citi Custom Cash Card simply rewards you for using the card for your normal, everyday spending.
The one caveat with the card is that bonuses are limited to the first $500 you spend in your top category every month, limiting your maximum cash-back bonus to $25 per month. However, you’ll still earn an unlimited 1% cash-back bonus on everything else you spend on the card.
Citi Double Cash Card
Best for: Overall cash back
Although the Citi Custom Cash Card provides a high 5% bonus every month, many customers will actually end up earning more cash back with the Citi Double Cash Card.
The structure of the Citi Double Cash Card is simple, as you’ll earn a flat 1% on everything you charge on the card. However, whenever you pay your bill, you’ll earn an additional 1% on what you’ve spent.
For most responsible credit card owners, this means that the Citi Double Cash Card effectively pays 2% cash back on all purchases on the card, without any limits. This means that your cash back can really add up if you put the bulk of your spending on the card.
Best of all, you won’t have to worry about figuring out which bonus category is available in any given month. No matter what or when you spend on the card, you’ll end up with 2% cash back on all of your purchases.
Which Citi Cash-Back Card Is Best for You?
The high 5% bonus cash-back payout with the Citi Custom Cash Card is appealing to many customers, as it’s a very high cash-back rate and it doesn’t involve calculating any bonus categories — the payout comes automatically on your highest-spend category. However, the bonus is limited to just $25 per month. The Citi Custom Cash Card does have an additional arrow in its quiver, however, as it offers a $200 cash bonus after you spend just $750 in the first three months after account opening. The Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t offer any type of sign-up bonus currently.
If you’re a big credit card spender, you’ll likely end up earning more cash back with the Citi Double Cash Card, which essentially pays out 2% on any and all purchases. Both cards are winners in the cash-back category, so which one is better for you will ultimately come down to how much you spend on your cards. Remember to take into account the APRs if you intend to carry a balance, however.
Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the best cash-back credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may or might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the webpage. Data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material between Aug. 11, 2021, and Sept. 28, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. Rewards had to be in the form of cash back to qualify.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citibank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been endorsed by Citibank.