Citi has been offering financial services to individuals and banks since 1812. Their 200-year existence makes them one of the oldest credit card companies in the U.S., although today they are international. Citi serves millions of people in 140 countries. They have 16,000 offices and 200 million customers worldwide. Currently, Citi is headquartered in New York and has over 10,000 employees. Citi offers much more than just credit cards. They were first a banking company, and they also offer help with personal lending, investing, mortgages, and business. In the United States, Citi is the third largest bank. Until the global financial crisis of 2008, they were the largest bank in the world.

 

Rank Chart
APR
Reward Options
Our Score
#1
8.24 - 18.0%
8.3
#2
11.24 - 23.24%
8.0
#3
11.24 - 23.24%
7.9
#24
citi
12.24 - 24.24%
6.4

The Good

APR Range

APRs for Citi credit cards range from 12.24% to 24.24%. Some of their cards offer an introductory APR of 0% for either 7 months, 15 months or 21 months. After that period expires, the cardholder’s APR increases to an ongoing range of variable APRs falling between 13.24% – 23.24% depending on their creditworthiness.

To illustrate, Citi’s ThankYou® Preferred Card offers a 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; after that the variable APR goes up to 13.24% – 23.24%, depending on your credit history. These APR offers, when compared to other credit card companies, are slightly higher but fall within the average APR range out there. Citi is slightly higher than Discover’s APR rates at 10.99 – 22.99%. Citi, however, may make up for it with no 0% intro APR, no annual fees and relevant reward offers.

Annual fee range

Citicard’s annual nominal fees range from $25 to $450; however, the majority of their cards do not have annual fees at all. For example, their Citi® Double Cash Card, Citi Simplicity® Card, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card have no annual fee while more prestigious cards like Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard® carries an annual fee of $450.

Customer support

Citi’s customer service hours are 24/7. They can be contacted at toll-free 800 numbers for the following categories:

  • General Account Information
  • Credit Card Online Support
  • Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
  • TDD/TTY for the Hearing Impaired
  • Citibank, N.A. (Corporate Office)
  • Fraud/Stolen Cards

Citi’s hours are better than some companies who only have business hours. But Citi customers can get help around the clock.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Citi’s foreign transaction fees are slightly better than average at 0-3% for customers traveling abroad. Most credit card companies charge a flat 3% on all foreign transactions. Citi may possibly charge 1-2%, depending on the scenario. It should be noted that although uncommon, some credit card companies offer cards with zero foreign transaction fees. This would be most ideal, but when we compared Citi to its competitors, they came up strong in this area.

Cards Offered

Citi® offers a long list of credit cards with a diverse range of benefits and rewards to fit customer’s needs. Their site lets you compare up to 3 credit cards side by side instantly.

Here are Citi’s cards:

  • Citi Simplicity® Card
  • Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold MasterCard®
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • Citi Prestige® Card
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card For College Students
  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
  • EXPEDIA®+ CARD From Citi
  • EXPEDIA®+ VOYAGER CARD From Citi
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card By Citi
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card By Citi
  • Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card
  • Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card
  • Citi® Secured MasterCard®

One thing we liked about Citi was that all their information is easy to access and made available to customers. Some companies put pricing information in their fine print. A few didn’t display their APRs. Citi, however, puts everything out in the open.

Options for Rewards

Although Citi offers one of the most exhaustive list of rewards that might be available anywhere, these rewards don’t seem to be as “rewarding” as it appears on the surface. For instance, their Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers points for things that are not practical to everyday living. In other words, the points you get are for things like concert passes. Most people, if given a choice, would prefer their points to go to things like miles, cash back or gas.

The other critique is that unless you use your credit card regularly, you will never earn enough points to actually qualify for one of the rewards. Citi credit cards are not for casual users where rewards are concerned.

With that stated, Citi offers customers a greater number of rewards than most competitors. Also, there are many cards to choose from, so you must know what benefits you want when selecting one to apply for. If, for example, you want points for travel, Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card or Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card would be your best bet.

Out of all their rewards and/or benefits, here are the ones we found to be the best:

  • Citi® Concierge: a staff of experts available 24/7 to assist with your shopping, travel, dining, entertainment and similar needs.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection: when you pay for your vacation with your Citi Card and your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to reasons like severe illness or weather, you may be reimbursed for your non-refundable trip expenses. It even covers expenses like change fees.
  • Lost Wallet Service: means Citi will replace your card if you lose it once you contact them by phone to report it.
  • Cashback rewards for gas and other consumer items

Many companies do not offer this diversity of benefits. These rewards are offered for all Citi credit cards.

Security

When it comes to security, Citi demonstrates their determination to provide the latest technology and customer service. While some credit card companies just offer fraud prevention tips for the customer and a toll-free 800 number to repost a lost or stolen credit card, Citi goes the extra mile with its Citi® Identity Theft Solutions. Many companies offer fraud protection, but they don’t specifically offer Identity Theft Solutions. If Identity Theft happens to you, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions assists you with identifying compromised accounts, filing police reports and taking steps to get your good name and good credit back. Even better, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions is free.

But it doesn’t stop there. Citi offers cardholders an abundance of exceptional security protection features. These features surpass the majority of credit card companies. Security features do vary from credit card to credit card.

Here are universal features Citi offers all cardholders:

Citi® Identity Theft Solutions

  • $0 Liability On Unauthorized Charges: This is common among credit card companies, but not all offer it. Plus, this is a competitive feature. you will not be responsible for a charge that you did not authorize, online or otherwise once you call their 800 fraud number to report misuse of your card.
  • Fraud Early Warning: This is not very common. Most credit card companies get involved after the fact. If Citi notices unusual activity on your card, they contact you by phone, text, email or postal mail to confirm you have authorized that purchase. This helps prevent customers even more.
  • Virtual Account Numbers: Citi protects your card from identity theft by generating a random Citi card number that you can use while shopping online. When shopping online or by mail order, you can use a randomly generated Citi card Virtual Account Number instead of your real account number. To begin using Virtual Account Numbers, you can click the Enroll link on Citi’s card benefits website page to begin using Virtual Account Numbers.
  • 90 Day Return Protection: This is a non-existent feature among credit card companies. If you try to return an item you paid for in full with your Citi card within 90 days of the purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, you may receive a refund. This applies to purchases made in all 50 State and United States territories.
  • Extended Warranty: Another unique offer to Citi customers. When customers make purchases with their Citi card, they get an extended warranty up to two extra years added on to their manufacturer’s warranty, totaling up to possibly seven years of coverage in case the item you purchased needs repair.
  • EMV Chip Technology: The chip for your Citi Card holds several benefits—it may be added to your existing card at no cost and your card will retain all of its features and benefits including the same account number. If you have a non-chip card, they mail you a card in the mail without asking you if you want one with a chip. Typically, this “forces” people to upgrade with the chip card already in their presence. Since it is at no additional cost, you don’t lose anything. The verdict is still out if chips actually offer more protection than cards without chips.

All of these features are free of charge for Citi cardholders. To learn all the details and terms of these features, customers only have to log in to their Citi account online and go to the card benefits page.

Unique Features

One unique feature that sets Citi apart is their feature, Citi Price Rewind. Citi Price Rewind searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your Citi card at hundreds of online merchants. If the same item is found at a lower price within 60 days of your initial purchase date, you may receive the difference between the price you paid and the lower price found by Citi Price Rewind.

Another unique Bonus feature worth looking into is Citi’s Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service. Most companies offering credit card don’t offer this feature. Customers having car trouble can call Citi’s Roadside Assistance number in all 50 States and the District of Columbia and they’ll send help directly to your location. The caveat, however, is that you’re responsible for the costs of any services provided—but it will depend on the particular Citi credit card you choose. This may come in handy if you’re in dire need without options, but if it is not included in a card’s annual fees, it is not beneficial to customers.

Recently, Citi released their Citi Mobile® app, which was upgraded based on customer feedback with the intent of being more mobile user-friendly. The new app offers upgrades like instant access with Touch ID™, easy bill payments, and customized notifications – like credit purchases over a specified amount and exceeding a chosen balance.

Building Credit/Student Cards

Citi is one of the few companies that offer students credit cards. Their Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card For College Students is a “starter” card for students and their Citi® Secured MasterCard®, which is an option for people with limited or no credit history, gives you the opportunity to build credit. It requires a minimum security deposit of $200.

For non-students with poor credit or also needing to build their credit, Citi offers a Citi® Secured MasterCard® where you provide a security deposit between $200 – $5,000 when submitting an application to secure a line of credit equal to what you deposit.

The Bad

Late Payment

Citicard’s late fees can be as high as $35. This is higher than the Credit Card Act’s $25 late fee cap. This means low income cardholders (i.e. students) can end up paying more in late fees than the actual minimum payment. Although all credit companies charge late fees on payments made after the due date (if you’re not paying the total balance on the card), Citi inflates their interest rates to as much as 29.99%. They do offer one card, the Citi Simplicity® Card, that has zero late fees (unique for a credit card).

The Bottom Line

Citibank offers such a wide selection of cards it gives customers the opportunity to find the card best suited for their financial situation. They offer high-end cards to secured credit cards and student cards. Many of Citi’s cards don’t charge annual fees. Their APR is average, but some of the rewards aren’t very practical—but not all. We really like their Costco Anywhere Visa® Card with no annual fee with your active Costco membership where you can redeem Costco cashback rewards. There are also other cards with good rewards for travel. We also like their student card, which has no annual fee and a 0% Introductory APR as well as their secured card for those needing to build credit at only $25 a year. There are a few expensive cards that do offer better rewards, but the annual fees are very high. The one thing to watch out for with Citi is their late fees. These fees are high and even if your APR on a Citi card does start low, a missed payment could skyrocket the APR up to 29.99% – one of the highest in the industry.

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