5 Things to Know About the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus Credit Card

The card offers a flat 1.8% cash back and a lucrative first-year bonus. But there are cards that earn higher ongoing flat rates.

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The Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard® is ideal for those who value simplicity. The card's flat cash-back rate of 1.8% on all purchases puts it ahead of a slew of cards that earn a more typical standard of 1.5%. Plus, for a limited time, new account openers can earn bonus cash back in the first year of having the card.

However, there are cards that earn more lucrative flat-rate rewards. Before you join the cash-back crowd, here are five things to know about the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard®.

1. It earns a flat rate on all purchases

On an ongoing basis, the card offers a base rate of 1.8% on every purchase, all the time. This means that there are no rotating categories or spending caps to keep track of. The amount of cash back you can earn is unlimited, so using the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard® will get you the 1.8% discount every time you shop.

That flat rate is notably higher than what you’ll get from similar cards on the market, like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, which offer just 1.5% back. However, a growing number of flat-rate competitors will out-earn the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard®.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, for example, pays an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. It also comes with a sign-up bonus as well as an introductory APR offer for purchases and balance transfers.

2. New cardholders can earn bonus rewards for a limited time

Through Jan. 4, 2022, the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard® is offering an introductory bonus of 5% back on the first $6,000 spent in the first year of holding the card. After that, you’ll earn the card’s base rate of 1.8%.

This bonus can rake in a decent amount of cash in the first year: If you hit the spending cap, you’d earn $300 before your rate drops down to 1.8%.

However, this bonus 5% rate won’t apply after your first year of having the card. And while a potential $300 bonus is generous, other cards offer bonuses of $200 or more for far, far less spending.

3. It comes with an introductory balance transfer offer

Cardholders get a 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99%, 19.99% or 23.99% Variable. This interest-free period can make it less costly to transfer over and pay down debt from a higher-interest card.

Note, though, that there’s a balance transfer fee of 4% of the amount of each transfer or $10, whichever is greater, so it’s important to do the math before transferring a balance to this card.

4. You’ll get a break on fees

The Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard® won’t cost you anything to carry. An annual fee of $0 can make it easier to hold onto a card for longer, which can in turn positively impact your credit scores.

Plus, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, making it a winner for overseas travelers.

Additionally, those who might not get their card payments in on time will get a little relief. You'll get hit with a late fee, but you won't be subject to a penalty APR. Still, NerdWallet recommends that you always pay your bill in full and on time every month, as paying too late can harm your credit scores.

5. Your cash back might be tied up

Earning rewards with the card can be easy, but redeeming them is a little less so. Rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit on your card or as a direct deposit into your Citizens personal checking, savings or money market account — but earnings must be cashed out in increments of $25.

While minimum redemption requirements are common on cash-back cards, often it's just a baseline dollar threshold you must meet in order to cash out all your rewards (or as many as you'd like). But this card's requirement is more restrictive than that.

For example, if you've earned $80 in rewards with the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard®, you don't have immediate access to that full amount. You can cash out $25, $50 or $75 — or wait until you hit $100 — but you can't cash out at $80.

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