This card has an attractive cash-back rewards program, but it works just as well for balance transfers.
Who the Citi CashReturns MasterCard Is For
- People who want to earn cash rewards on their credit card spending.
- People who are looking for a low-cost balance transfer option.
Credit Rating Required
- Excellent (740+)
- Good (700-739)
- Fair (660-699)
About the Citi CashReturns MasterCard
- Full one percent cash back on purchases.
- Rewards earned on cash advances and balance transfers.
- Automatic rewards redemption by check.
- Long introductory zero percent APR period on balance transfers (if you qualify).
- High redemption threshold.
- Two percent cash back on purchases for first six months, then one percent cash back.
- One percent cash back on cash advances.
- Rewards earned on balance transfers.
- Five percent cash back "on average" on purchases through Citi Bonus Cash Center.
- Balance transfers: Zero percent for seven to 18 months, depending on your credit rating.
- Purchases: 12.99 percent to 20.99 percent, depending on your credit rating.
- Cash advances: 25.24 percent.
- Default rate: 29.99 percent.
- No annual fee.
- Balance transfer and cash advance fee: 3 percent of amount.
- Late payment fee: $15 to $39
- Over-limit fee: $39.
Citi CashReturns MasterCard Review
The Citi CashReturns MasterCard is advertised as a good cash-back rewards card - which it is. But it works just as well, if not better, as a balance-transfer card.
If you have really good credit, you may qualify for a zero percent balance transfer rate for as long as 18 months - or 12 to seven months if you have weaker credit. The balance transfer fee is three percent, which is one of the lowest around. What's more, you earn five "CitiDollars" on all balances transfers over $1,500. (You can redeem 50 CitiDollars for $50.)
If you use the card for purchases, you earn two percent cash back for the first six months, then one percent after that. You can also earn five percent back "on average" if you shop through Citi's Bonus Cash Center, which the bank says has more than 400 merchants. For example, you can earn nine percent at FTD.com and two percent at Frederick's of Hollywood.
The cash-back reward has both good points and bad points. Unlike other similar cards, such as Discover and Chase, you don't have to call the bank to redeem your points - Citi automatically mails you a check when you reach the $50 rewards threshold. However, that minimum is fairly high compared to those other cards. But if you shop at stores that pay rich rewards, you may be able to reach the $50 mark fairly quickly.
The Citi CashReturns MasterCard also lets you earn the full reward on cash advances. But don't do that - the cash advance fee is three percent, and the APR is over 25 percent. So any reward you would earn wouldn't come close to making that up.
Although the Citi CashReturns MasterCard card works well for either balance transfers or to earn rewards, don't use it for both - choose one or the other. Best option: Transfer your balance for as long as you can, pay it off, then start earning cash-back rewards on purchases.