What Citi® Credit Card it Right For Me?

FT Contributor  | 

Citibank has a variety of credit cards, and each one offers specific benefits and perks. The card that is best for you depends on your needs, your credit history, and the type of rewards you wish to pursue.

In addition to credit score, prequalification, and other factors, you should also consider interest rates and introductory bonuses, which can be quite valuable in some instances.

Here are the details of five of Citi’s most popular cards:

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card offers one of the best overall cash-back rewards programs. Yes, other cards give more than 2% back in specific categories, but the Double Cash Card offers 2% cash back on purchases in every category. Technically, you only get 1% back on all purchases, and then you get an additional 1% when you pay your bill at the end of each month. To get the full value out of this card, you need to pay off the entire balance by the due date each month.

The Double Cash Card is ideal for people who do not want to earn rewards in specific categories. Though the card doesn’t have an annual fee, you need a good credit score to qualify.

Credit Score Needed for Citi Double Cash Card

To qualify for the Citi Double Cash, you need a score of 670 or above, which FICO considers to be a “good” credit score.

Citi Double Cash Credit Card Benefits

With this card, you earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases without having to pay an annual fee. Citi also currently offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months.

Citi Double Cash Credit Card Annual Fee

The Citi Double Cash Credit Card does not have an annual fee.

Citi Double Cash Card Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The current interest rate is 25.49% for the Citi Double Cash Card, which is rather high. You need to pay off the entire balance by the due date each month to avoid interest charges, which could cancel out the cash-back rewards.

Citi Simplicity Card

The Citi Simplicity Card focuses on providing perks rather than rewards. The card does not charge late fees if you miss a payment. Also, it has one of the lower interest rates on the market. With a good credit score, you can get an interest rate as low as 16.24%. Though it does not have rewards, it does have an introductory offer that includes 12 months of 0% APR on purchases, and 21 months on balance transfers.

This card is not ideal for people who want to earn rewards, but it is useful for those who are trying to learn how to manage a credit card. With the no-late-fee policy, you do not get directly penalized for missing a payment due date. You can also get other features, such as the ability to choose your due date.

Credit Score Needed for Citi Simplicity Card

You do need a good credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for the Citi Simplicity Card. A better credit score can also help you qualify for a lower interest rate.

Citi Simplicity Credit Card Benefits

The Citi Simplicity Card does not levy late fees, it lets you choose your payment date, and it has a low interest rate if you have a good credit score.

Citi Simplicity Credit Card Annual Fee

The Citi Simplicity Card does not have an annual fee.

Citi Simplicity Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The Citi Simplicity Card’s APR depends on your credit score. It will be between 16.24% and 26.24%.

Citi Rewards + Student Card

The Citi Rewards + Student Card offers rewards points and has a unique feature that rounds up to the nearest 10 points for each purchase. Since most purchases qualify for one point per dollar spent, you can get a lot of rewards for small purchases. Also, you can earn a $25 gift card if you spend $500 in the first three months of card ownership.

The Rewards + Student Card also yields two points per dollar on groceries and gas. These categories might not be the best for some students, but those who self-cater or live off-campus will still benefit from these extra rewards. Despite being a student card, you need good credit to qualify for this Rewards +, so it is more of a second credit card for college students, rather than a first credit card.  

Credit Score needed for Citi Rewards + Student Card

You need a good credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for this card.

Citi Rewards + Student Credit Card Benefits

The card offers a $25 bonus if you make $500 in purchases over the first three months of card ownership. The main benefit is the rewards program, which rounds rewards points up to the nearest 10 for all purchases, even small ones. For a $2 purchase, for example, you would get 10 points rather than two points. You also get double points for gas and groceries, and the current introductory offer includes 0% APR for seven months on purchases.

Citi Rewards + Student Credit Card Annual Fee

This card does not have an annual fee.

Citi Rewards + Student Card Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The Citi Rewards + Student Credit Card has a variable interest rate of 15.99% to 25.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Citi Secured Mastercard

The Citi Secured Mastercard requires a security deposit. You deposit $200 onto the card, and you can then use it as a means to build your credit score. This card is not available for people who have “bad” or damaged credit, such as a credit score of 580 or below.

For this reason, the Citi Secured Mastercard is best for younger cardholders who are just starting and trying to build their credit.

Credit Score Needed for Citi Secured Mastercard

This card is secured credit card, so technically you do not need a high credit score to apply. However, Citi may not accept applicants with damaged credit or a history of bankruptcy.

Citi Secured Mastercard Credit Card Benefits

Citi reports to the three major credit bureaus monthly to help you build your credit score. Also, you can go online to your account management page and access your FICO credit score to see it improve as you make timely payments.

Citi Secured Mastercard Credit Card Annual Fee

There is no annual fee, but this card requires a security deposit. The minimum deposit is $200.

Citi Secured Mastercard Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR for this Citi Secured Card is 23.99%. However, since your goal is to increase your credit score, you will likely be best served by paying off your balance monthly.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is for people who want to earn frequent flier rewards from the American Airlines AAdvantage program. You get one frequent-flier mile for every dollar spent, and you get double miles on all American Airlines purchases as well as on rental cars, at gas stations, and on telecom purchases, such as internet and cable service.

This card is for people who plan to use American Airlines and who either intend to sign up for or are already members of the AAdvantage program. Though this card is free for the first year, it has a $99 annual fee, which means it is not worthwhile unless you plan to use the rewards to fly on American Airlines.

Credit Score Needed for Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

You need a credit score of 670 or above to qualify for this card.

AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard Benefits

The benefits of this card include the chance to earn miles without flying on American Airlines. You get double miles for each AA purchase and all purchases through partner rental car companies, gas stations, and telecom services.

American Airlines also offers additional benefits to cardholders. For example, if you own this card, the carrier waives baggage fees for the first checked bag on domestic flights. You can also earn 70,000 bonus miles if you make $4,000 in purchases during the first month that you own the card.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard Annual Fee

The annual fee is $99 per year. However, the issuer waives the fee for the first year.

AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR for this card is 17.24% to 25.24%, depending on your credit score.

Citi has a full menu of credit cards. Whether you are building a credit history, looking for a fee-free card, or trying to earn rewards, you can find an option to fit your needs.


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This post was updated December 19, 2019. It was originally published December 19, 2019.