Great cash back; everything else is meh.
This card is (currently) the best cash back card you will find, that isn’t invite-only. Everything else is so-so. I’ll compare this card to the Capital One QuickSilver (1.5% cash back), which I also use.
Disclaimer: These experiences reflect my personal experience. Your experience (and many other reviewers’) will vary, depending on how you use the card, your credit profile, and whatever other factors come into play.
Cash back is only awarded once every statement cycle. (Contrast to Capital One, where cash awards are instantly available once a transaction is posted.)
Minimum redemption amount is $25. (Cap One: Redeem any amount for statement credit or against purchases.)
Redemption options: Statement credit, ACH, gift cards, and check. ACH is my favorite, and usually posts in 1-2 banking days. (ACH is nice. Cap One doesn’t have that.)
Redemption is manual - no automatic option. Just log in and request when you get your statement notice. (Cap One lets you set up automatic redemption.)
I wouldn’t look at a cash back card if you’re carrying/transferring a balance. The higher APR will eat in to any potential cash back you might earn. This is only truly a 2% cash back card if you pay in full.
Don’t go for the promo 0% or 1.99% offers - it just ties of part of your credit line you can’t use to earn more cash back!
(I don’t even know what my APR is on either card. Again, don’t use rewards cards if you’re carrying a balance.)
I’ve been a Citi customer for a long time, and they still randomly put my ACH payments on hold for “10 banking days” as others have stated. I once had a payment on hold for over a month. Even more infuriating, I make a payment online, Citi confirms my available credit is increased from the payment, and the next day they take back the available credit due to “payment review”.
Whether or not you get bitten by this process depends on whether you fall within their parameters for “normal” payment volume and frequency. Citi is very risk-adverse, so be prepared.
Capital One, on the other hand, has always credited my payments on the next calendar day (not banking day) and has never subjected a payment to review. I have never bounced a payment to either Citi or Capital One, or anyone else.
I recommend the following:
- Request a credit line increase. If you can get it to where you’re not spending more than 50% of your credit line every statement cycle, you won’t have issues no matter how long Citi takes to credit your payment. Remember, you should keep your statement balances under 30% of your line to improve your score!
- If you’re in a hurry to increase available credit (e.g. you need to make a large purchase NOW), call customer service and make a “debit card payment” - it is instant. Plus, you can overpay your current balance by 10%.
- For normal payments, I recommend using your bank’s online bill pay. Most decent banks will have the payment posted effective the next banking day, although it may take a day or two after that for the available credit to be available.
- Make normal ACH payment via Citi website. Depending on time of day, day of week, wind direction, moon phase, etc. Citi may decide to increase your available credit immediately or not. If it doesn’t increase, cancel the payment and do a debit card payment.
- If you’ve already made an ACH payment and it has cleared your bank, but Citi is still holding it, call Credit Services number listed below and ask them to verify with your bank. They will conference in your bank, who will verify your identity and confirm to Citi the payment has cleared.
Final note on payments: The payment holds only affect AVAILABLE credit. Your total balance is always updated as of the date you make the payment.
If you call the number on the back of your card, you will likely get offshore CSR on the first round. They are all friendly and well trained - but anything the tier 1 reps can do, you can usually do yourself online (except debit card payments).
If you need more advanced help, perhaps to deal with a payment issue above, ask for the Credit Services team, or call them directly: 888-302-9291
They have a little more ability to look at your account, although they generally will not make policy exceptions. They can also manually clear payments as mentioned above.
I’ve only called Capital One once (to file a chargeback): An onshore CSR answered right away, and handled the issue quickly.
If your spending/payment habits fit within Citi’s risk-averse models, you won’t have any issues. If you regularly spend up to your limit and pay it off, be prepared for trouble.
If you’d prefer an overall better experience, go for the Capital One QuickSilver. If you spend $50k a year, you only “lose” $250 in cash back - how much is your time (and sanity) worth?