Founded in 1954, City National Corp., the parent company of City National Bank, expanded from its West Coast base to New York City in 2002. They offer banking, trust and investment services with 75 offices, including 16 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville and Atlanta. They have 3,700 employees service entrepreneurs, professionals, their businesses and their families. On January 22, 2015, City National merged with the Royal Bank of Canada at the end of 2015.

 

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
#9
city_national_bank
9 - 15%
7.5

The Good

APR Range

The introductory and ongoing APR range for City National Bank’s personal credit cards range from 9% to 15%. This is on the low end for most credit card companies.

City National also offers a commercial credit card for small businesses, their VISA® COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD, which does not advertise its APR. Their large business card does not advertise its APR either.

Annual fee range

Annual fees for City National Bank’s personal credit cards range from $0 to $400. For their VISA PLATINUM CARD and VISA SIGNATURE® CARD, there are no annual fees. For their CRYSTAL® VISA INFINITE® CARD, there is $0 annual fee for the first year, and $400/year afterwards. Commercial Card customers (Small Business Owners and Large Businesses) who don’t want rewards can get a Visa Commercial Card without Rewards and no annual fee. With the exception of the Crystal Infinite Card, City National Bank’s annual fees are highly competitive with the credit industry’s average annual fee range.

Customer support

Customer Support is available at City National Bank by phone at a toll-free 800 number. When we called the general 800 number during night time off-peak hours over the weekend, there was a customer service representative available 24/7. This is superior to some companies who only have availability during business hours, i.e. 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday. The company has 3 credit card phone numbers: one for commercial cards, one for Lost/Stolen Credit Cards and one for Personal Cards. Also, City National has email support through their website, where customers can submit a question form to them directly.

Late Payment

Late Payments on City National Bank’s credit cards cost customers up to $15. This fee obeys the Credit Card Act guidelines, which state that late fees on credit cards cannot exceed $25. In fact, City National Bank’s late fee is much less than some credit cards offered by other companies on the market, which average at $38.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Customers looking to use their credit card internationally in places with other currencies are charged a foreign transaction fee of either $2 or 3% of the U.S. dollar amount for each transaction—whichever is greater. A bonus is that Foreign transaction fees do not apply to City National Bank credit cards that are domicile in one of their New York offices. Their VISA® CRYSTAL COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD has zero foreign transaction fees for small and large business owners. It is unfortunate that the other Rewards cards (which give points for travel) do not offer free foreign transactions.

Cards Offered

City National Bank offers credit cards for both personal and business (commercial) use. Here are their personal cards:

  • VISA PLATINUM CARD
  • VISA SIGNATURE® CARD
  • CRYSTAL® VISA INFINITE® CARD

Here are the commercial cards City National Bank offers:

  • VISA® COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD
  • VISA® CRYSTAL COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD
Options for Rewards

City National excels in the area of Rewards options. The rewards program offered by City National Bank allows its customers to use points for travel, including airfare, hotel, and rental car purchases. This program offers more than 1200 gift cards, gift certificates, merchandise, travel or excursions that can be redeemed with your points. The company’s rewards program, however, does not allow its customers to redeem the points earned on their credit cards for cash.

Some of the Rewards Program options are:

For each $1 spent:

  • Visa Platinum Card accounts earn 1 Point on purchases.
  • Visa Signature Card accounts earn 3 Points on gasoline purchases, 2 Points on dining and grocery purchases, and 1 Point on all other purchases.
  • Crystal Visa Infinite Card accounts earn 3 Points on travel and dining purchases and 1 Point on all other purchases.

Customers are automatically enrolled in the rewards program if they are a cardholder of a Rewards card. They just call an 800 number specified on City National’s website. The Rewards are categorized in several types: Air, Car, Hotel, Cruise, Activities, Tours/Packages.

Other Rewards Types:

  • Merchandise Rewards (i.e. material items/prizes that cardholders earn with points that are mailed to them)
  • Premier Travel Awards
  • HouseHolding (Householding combines your Points from multiple City National Bank Card Products into one Rewards account).

One of the best reward offers is with their VISA® CRYSTAL COMMERCIAL CREDIT CARD, where cardholders get a 5% discount on qualifying taxi and limousine charges and up to $5,000 per card per calendar year.

Unique Features

One standout feature that sets City National Bank apart is their CITY NATIONAL REWARDS®, powered by the SCORECARD® Program. These Rewards comes as a feature with the following City National Visa Credit Cards: City National Visa Platinum Credit Card, City National Visa Signature® Credit Card, City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, City National Commercial Credit Card with Rewards and City National Visa Crystal Commercial Credit Card. ScoreCard is a card stimulation and incentive program platform administered by Fidelity National Card Services, Inc.

You will earn Points on net purchases only (purchases less returns and other credits). For each one dollar ($1) spent, you will earn Points as follows:

For Visa Platinum Credit Card, Visa Commercial Credit Card and Visa Crystal Commercial Credit Card accounts:

  • 1 Point on net purchases (except that the Visa Crystal Commercial Credit Card account will not accrue Points on any taxi or limousine net purchase).

For Visa Signature Credit Card accounts:

  • 2 Points on net purchases made at merchants that classify their merchant location for Visa as groceries, restaurants, and fast food and takeout food dining establishments.
  • 3 Points on net purchases made at merchants that classify their merchant location for Visa as gasoline stations.

For Crystal Visa Infinite Card accounts:

  • 3 Points on net purchases made at merchants that classify their merchant location for Visa in any of the following categories: airlines, hotels, taxis, limousines, rental cars, trains, buses, gasoline stations, groceries, restaurants, and fast food and takeout food dining establishments.

Another feature unique to City National Bank that other credit card companies do not offer is Crystal Card Concierge—a dedicated toll-free telephone number with operators who have international expertise to assist you while you travel.

The Bad

Security

City National Bank offers customers the following security technology:

  • EMV Chip Technology: Provides an extra level of security when you use your card at chip-enabled terminals when traveling abroad.
  • Fraud Prevention Center page where customers can get information, tips, and resources on ways to prevent fraud. There is also a toll free 800 number in case you lose your card or it is stolen. This is not as secure or thorough as some companies who offer more detailed security technology. For example, Barclay offers SecurPassTM, which is an encrypted security feature which is a special code in place of your password that lets customers log in to their account on the same device used to request the code. City National also doesn’t offer customer liability protection. Some companies—Barclays, for example—offer customer liability Barclay offers $0 Fraud Liability protection where you aren’t responsible for unauthorized purchases made with your card that you report to them.
Building Credit/Student Cards

City National Bank has not provided opportunities to help customers build credit, such as offering student or “starter” cards. Their line of credit cards are for personal or business purposes for those with a reputable credit history. If anyone is just starting out, these cards are not a viable option. Some companies offer “starter” or secured credit cards, making City National Bank less in this area.

The Bottom Line

City National Bank offers a line of credit cards with rewards points that can be redeemed for travel purchases. We recommend checking out their VISA PLATINUM CARD and VISA SIGNATURE® CARD, which have zero annual fees and a low APR ranging from 9% to 15%. The downside is that Rewards points cannot be redeemed for cash. For a travel-focused rewards program, we were surprised that two of the three cards offered have fees for foreign transactions. Only the Crystal Visa Infinite Card has no fees for foreign transactions.

A plus to the rewards offered on City National’s credit cards is that your points don’t expire and you get their Crystal Card Concierge—a dedicated toll-free telephone number with operators who have international expertise to assist you while you travel. however, City National is planning a 2015 merger with the Royal Bank of Canada, which may affect its credit card terms and conditions and its rewards program. If travel rewards are what you are looking for in a credit card, you may want to review the benefits offered by City National’s Rewards Program, but we recommend you verify that those benefits will remain intact when the merger with Royal Bank of Canada takes place.

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