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Author: Barry Bridges
How to find the best Citi credit card for you
Table of contents:
Bankrate’s picks for the best Citibank credit cards of 2019
Recap of the best Citibank credit cards of 2019
Citi Rewards+SM Card
You can earn a significant amount of rewards points with this card’s array of features, but you need to pair the card with the Citi Prestige to get the most bang for your buck. Every time you earn points, they’re rounded up to the nearest 10. This means your daily $4 latte fix earns you 10 points instead of four. However, your points are only considered “basic” ThankYou points, so your redemption options aren’t quite as flexible as with other top-tier Citi cards.
Using this card for smaller, everyday purchases while using other top Citi cards for those larger purchases will help you maximize your earning potential and redemption value.
Read Bankrate’s full Citi Rewards+ Card review.
Citi Simplicity® Card
For paying off a big ticket item over time without incurring interest, this card offers a very competitive deal. The fact that Citi doesn’t charge late fees, penalty APR or an annual fee gives you some added peace of mind.
Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt or have a large purchase planned for the upcoming months, the Citi Simplicity can help you save hundreds in interest. Just make sure that you pay off your balances before the introductory period ends (12 months on purchases and 21 months on balance transfers) or you’ll be stuck with a 16.49% – 26.49% variable APR.
If you have good credit but want to bump your credit score up to qualify for top-tier cards, this card is an excellent way to consolidate and pay down credit card debt. By lowering your credit utilization, you can boost your credit score and take some of the monthly stress off of your budget.
Read Bankrate’s full Citi Simplicity® Card review.
This card is market-leading for its high flat-rate cash back and simple rewards structure. You’ll earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. (To earn cash back, you’ll need to pay at least the minimum due on time.) For anyone looking for great rewards on everyday spending without juggling rotating categories, this could be the card for you.
You can also pair this card with others to maximize your earning potential. If you have a cash back card that offers better rewards in certain categories such as dining or groceries, you can utilize both strategically to get the most value.
Read Bankrate’s full Citi® Double Cash Card review.
Most of the time, student cards are synonymous with lesser rewards and limited redemption options. The Citi Rewards+ Student, on the other hand, exceeds expectations. You’ll have the same earning potential as the standard Rewards+ Card, just with a smaller welcome bonus offer.
This card isn’t a beginner student card — you’ll need a decent credit score to qualify and the card is geared toward earning rewards rather than beginner credit-building.
Read Bankrate’s full Citi Rewards+SM Student Card review.
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
For those with no credit history, finding a card to help build credit can be tough. This card is one of the best options available with no annual fee. With a secured card, you will have to put down a deposit amount to secure your credit limit — but unlike some offers available, this card is light on fees and regularly reports to the credit bureaus, helping you to work on improving your financial health.
The security deposit on this card is a minimum of $200, and the deposit is held in an non-interest accruing account for 18 months. The trade-off is that you’ll receive some travel and auto protection, plus a higher credit limit range than most comparable cards. Additionally, you’ll get to avoid annual and monthly maintenance fees that often accompany secured card options.
Keep in mind that if you’ve declared bankruptcy within the past two years, Citi will automatically decline your application.
Read Bankrate’s full Citi® Secured Mastercard® review.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi
Don’t make the mistake of misjudging this card as just a co-branded rewards card. The rewards profile for frequent Costco shoppers is great, but this card has a lot more to offer than 2% cash back at Costco. The gas rewards are especially generous, despite an annual limit. It offers one of the highest cash-back rates in this category, with no annual fee with your paid Costco membership*, and there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases*.
This card is a great option for freelance and contract workers looking to keep business expenses separate while earning rewards on everyday spending. Many business cards focus their earning potential toward travel or high-budget spenders, but this card rewards business owners on more common spending categories.
Read Bankrate’s full Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi review.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
This card is a great option for anyone spending heavily with the retailer and on gas expenses. The only drawback is the once-a-year disbursement — if you’re OK with that, this card can be a complementary option for other cash back rewards cards.
Alongside generous rewards at Costco and in other everyday spending categories, you’ll have access to Citi benefits like price protections and travel benefits. There’s no annual fee with your paid Costco membership* and no foreign transaction fees on purchases*.
Read Bankrate’s full Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi review.
Why you can trust Bankrate
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Each of these Citibank credit cards has been awarded a score out of 5 based on various attributes that are weighted differently depending on what purpose the card serves. This means a travel card’s score will be affected more heavily by its travel perks than a cash back card. The bottom line is that the best card for you is the one that best fits your lifestyle. Only you can know your unique circumstances the best, so make sure to consider the pros and cons as well as the score. Here are a few factors we consider:
- Annual fee: For the best cards on the market, an annual fee is sometimes unavoidable. We do the math to try and work out when an annual fee makes sense.
- Rewards value: Be it travel rewards or cash back, we want you to get the biggest return on your spending.
- APR: Interest, in all its forms, should be an important part of card selection, particularly if you fear you may carry a balance.
- Extras and Discounts: The less marketed attributes of a card including things like insurances and warranties are valuable perks, so we bring these to the fore in our analysis.
What is Citi?
Citibank is a global bank offering everything from mortgages to investment accounts to credit cards. They launched their first credit card in 1967, back when they were called the First National City Bank. Citi is a widely trusted financial institution used by some of the most prominent governments and largest corporations in the world.
Why choose a Citi credit card?
Aside from being a highly trusted credit card issuer, Citi offers some of the best credit cards on the market, with options that benefit both high spenders and beginner cardholders.
Whether you’re looking for a simple cash back card or a luxury travel card, you can easily find a Citi card to fit your needs. A nice additional perk with both Citi credit and debit cards is Citi® Private Pass®.
What is Private Pass?
Citi Private Pass allows cardholders special access to buy tickets, including presale and VIP tickets, for thousands of events each year. Whether you’re interested in upcoming concerts, sporting events, dining experiences or theatre events, Private Pass can help give you an advantage when booking tickets.
Citi’s Private Pass is available for any cardholder with a Citibank credit card displaying a Visa, Mastercard and American Express logo, or any Citibank debit card that has the Mastercard logo. Redeeming is quite straightforward — your Citi card number is verified either at the time of purchase or at the event. To get all the details, read the terms and conditions at citiprivatepass.com.
One of the more notable benefits of Citi Private Pass is how family-friendly the program has become. Most rewards programs focus their presale tickets and entertainment offers toward luxurious experiences and nightlife. Citi breaks the mold a little bit by including offers for families, too.
Is a Citi credit card right for you?
Anyone can apply for a Citi credit card, but most of Citi’s cards are most beneficial for those who use credit cards for maximizing rewards rather than building credit. Cardholders with scores of 730 and over have the best chance at qualifying for Citi’s most valuable credit cards.
With good credit, the Citi Double Cash card or Citi Simplicity is within reach. For those with excellent credit (assuming all your other information is in order), you may be able to choose from some of the best cards available.
The Citi Secured card is an option for anyone with no credit history. It’s a great option — in fact, one of the best on the market — if you’re looking to build your credit. Using Citi credit cards responsibly over time can help you build a stronger credit score, helping you take advantage of the best cards Citi has to offer.
Barry Bridges is a senior editor for Bankrate. Before he started writing about personal finance, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to email@example.com.
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