Best Citi credit cards of 2023

Written by Robin Saks Frankel / January 17, 2023
Reviewed by Glen Luke Flanagan

The best Citi credit cards cater to both novice and experienced cardholders alike, with options ranging from secured cards to some of the market's most lucrative cash-back options. Citi’s lineup of balance transfer cards are particularly attractive with some of the longest introductory APRs on balance transfers available today.

Whether you're looking for extra rewards with everyday purchases, want a card to help you build points to use on your next vacation or need to consolidate your debt, Citi likely offers a card to fit the bill. While Citi's list of core offerings may be smaller than other major issuers', its products have found their way onto best-of lists across our site.

We analyzed all of Citi’s credit cards (not including their co-branded cards) to curate a list of the very best. Here are our selections.

Inside this article

  1. Best Citi credit cards of 2023
  2. Best Overall: Citi Rewards+® credit card
  3. Best for those who spend in one primary category: Citi custom cash card
  4. Best for balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® credit card
  5. Best everyday use card with no annual fee: Citi® Double Cash credit card
  6. Best for late payment forgiveness: Citi Simplicity® credit card
  7. Best for travel: Citi Premier® credit card
  8. Best for building credit: Citi® Secured Mastercard® credit card
  9. Compare the best Citi credit cards
  10. Should you apply for a Citi credit card?
  11. Evaluating reward potential
  12. Guide to Citi credit cards
  13. Methodology
  14. Frequently Asked Questions

Best Citi credit cards of 2023

Best overall: Citi Rewards+® Credit Card
Best for those who spend in one primary category: Citi Custom Cash Card

Best for those who need a long 0% introductory apr on balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card 

Best everyday use card with no annual fee: Citi® Double Cash Credit Card 

Best for late payment forgiveness: Citi Simplicity® Credit Card

Best for travel: Citi Premier® Credit Card

Best for building credit: Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card

Best Overall: Citi Rewards+® credit card

Why it’s the best

The Citi Rewards+® Credit Card offers modest rewards compared to most reward cards on the market, but its unique round-up feature and redemption incentives make it an interesting offer.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No annual fees

  • High reward potential

  • Introductory APR period

Cons:

  • Balance transfers have a fee of $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater 

  • 3% foreign transaction fees

  • Minimal additional perks or protections

More details

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Rewards: 2 ThankYou points per dollar at supermarkets and on gas, and 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other purchases and ThankYou points round up to the nearest increment of 10 on every purchase.

  • Welcome bonus: 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $1,500 within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate of 17.74% to 27.74%

  • APR: 17.74% to 27.74%

  • Balance transfer fee: 3% introductory fee for each transfer ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

  • Other perks and benefits: 10% ThankYou point reward when you redeem ThankYou points, multiple ways to redeem ThankYou points and they don't expire, no limit on earning ThankYou points, digital wallets, tap your card with contactless pay, 24/7 customer service, access to Citi Entertainment.

Best for those who spend in one primary category: Citi custom cash card

Why it’s the best

The Citi Custom Cash Card is an ideal choice for those who spend a lot in at least one or more of the bonus spending categories offered on the card, which includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No annual fees

  • Easy-to-redeem cash-back rewards

  • Introductory APR period

Cons:

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

  • $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater balance transfer fee

  • Limited cash-back reward categories

More details

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Rewards: 5% cash back on your highest eligible spend category (up to $500 spent) and 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases. 

  • Welcome bonus: $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. 

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24% 

  • APR: 18.24% to 28.24% variable. 

  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

  • Other perks and benefits: Automatic account alerts, choose your payment due date, Citi Mobile App, Mastercard ID theft protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, free access to FICO score, fraud early warning, Citi quick lock, 24/7 customer service, access to Citi Entertainment program, digital wallets, tap your card with contactless pay.

Best for balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® credit card

Why it’s the best
Most balance transfer credit cards with 0% APR offers require qualifying transactions to be completed within 60 days of account opening. However, the Citi Diamond Preferred lets you complete balance transfers within a full four months of account opening.


Pros and cons

Pros:

  • New applicants receive four months to complete qualifying balance transfers and get 0% APR financing

  • 21 months of 0% APR financing from the date of the first transfers

  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • Only 12 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases

  • No rewards

  • No meaningful card benefits outside of the intro 0% APR

More details

  • Annual fee: $0 

  • Rewards: None.

  • Welcome bonus: None.

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, then a variable rate of 17.24% to 27.99%, plus a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, then a variable rate of 17.24% to 27.99%  

  • APR: 17.24% to 27.99% variable.

  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. 

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

  • Other perks and benefits: Automatic account alerts, Choose your payment due date, Mastercard ID theft protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, 24/7 customer service, access to Citi Entertainment program, digital wallets, tap your card with contactless pay.

Best everyday use card with no annual fee: Citi® Double Cash credit card

Why it’s the best

The Citi® Double Cash Credit Card is a top-notch choice for everyday use, due to its simple and generous rewards. But the card's lengthy introductory APR period on both purchases and balance transfers also makes it a great option for those who need to finance a large purchase or consolidate debt. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No annual fees

  • Introductory balance transfer APR

  • Easy-to-redeem cash-back rewards

Cons:

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

  • No low introductory APR period

  • Low reward potential

More details

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Rewards: Unlimited 2% cash back—1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay for the purchase.

  • Welcome bonus: None.

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24%

  • APR: 18.24% to 28.24% variable.

  • Balance transfer fee: 3% introductory fee for each transfer ($5 minimum) within the first 4 months of account opening, then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

  • Other perks and benefits: No cash-back caps or category restrictions, Multiple ways to redeem ThankYou points, Mastercard ID theft protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, lost wallet service, 24-hour fraud protection, 24/7 customer service, access to Citi Entertainment program, digital wallets, tap your card with contactless pay.

Best for late payment forgiveness: Citi Simplicity® credit card

Why it’s the best

Mistakes happen and if you occasionally miss or skip a credit card payment, the Citi Simplicity® Credit Card may be an ideal choice. The card doesn't charge late or penalty fees. Though it offers no rewards nor welcome bonus, its introductory APR on balance transfers also makes it a decent debt-buster.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No annual fees

  • Introductory APR period

  • Introductory balance transfer APR

Cons:

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

  • $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater balance transfer fee

  • No reward potential

More details

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Rewards: None.

  • Welcome bonus: None.

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24%, and a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24%

  • APR: 18.24% to 28.24% variable.

  • Balance transfer fee: 3% introductory fee for each transfer ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

  • Other perks and benefits: No late fees, no penalty fees, automatic account alerts, Tap your card with contactless pay, choose your payment due date, digital wallets, Mastercard ID theft protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, 24/7 customer service.

Best for travel: Citi Premier® credit card

Why it’s the best

The Citi Premier® Credit Card rewards purchases in several everyday categories as well as gas, air travel, and hotels. The earning structure makes it a solid option despite its annual fee, but the card won't compete with the best travel rewards cards in terms of additional benefits.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Plentiful cash-back reward categories

  • High reward potential

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee

  • No low introductory APR period

  • $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater balance transfer fee

More details

  • Annual fee: $95

  • Rewards: 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, at supermarkets, on gas, and on air travel and hotels, plus 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

  • Welcome bonus: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Intro APR: None.

  • APR: 20.24% to 28.24% variable.

  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Other perks and benefits: Multiple ways to redeem ThankYou points, $100 annual hotel savings benefit through thankyou.com, transfer ThankYou points to participating airline loyalty programs, tap your card with contactless pay, digital wallets, add additional cards for no fee, additional cards can also earn ThankYou points, access to Citi Entertainment.

Best for building credit: Citi® Secured Mastercard® credit card

Why it’s the best

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card is ideal for consumers looking to build credit. With responsible use, a secured card like this one can help build a better credit score. With features for credit building, applicants should beware of a high ongoing APR and understand a deposit is required to secure the entire line of credit.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No annual fees

  • Available to those with poor credit

  • Available to those with debt

Cons:

  • Deposit required

  • No reward potential

  • High standard APR

More details

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Rewards: None.

  • Welcome bonus: None.

  • Intro APR: None.

  • APR: 26.74% variable.

  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3%

  • Other perks and benefits: Deposit from $200-$2500 required to establish credit limit, free access to FICO score, automatic account alerts, choose your payment due date, digital wallet, tap your card with contactless pay, Mastercard ID theft protection, $0 liability on unauthorized charges, 24/7 customer service.

Compare the best Citi credit cards

Card nameAnnual feeRewardsWelcome bonus Intro APROngoing APRBalance transfer feeForeign transaction fees
Citi Custom Cash Card$05% cash back on your highest eligible spend category (up to $500 spent) and 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases $200 cashback after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24% 18.24% to 28.24% variable $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater 3%
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card$0NoneNone0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, then a variable rate of 17.24% to 27.99% 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, then a variable rate of of 17.24% to 27.99% 17.24% to 27.99% variable$5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greate3%
Citi® Double Cash Credit Card$0Unlimited 2% cash back—1% cash back when you make purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay for the purchaseNone0% introductory APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24% 18.24% to 28.24% variable3% introductory fee for each transfer ($5 minimum) within the first 4 months of account opening, then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum)3%
Citi Simplicity® Credit Card$0NoneNone0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24% 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, then a variable rate of 18.24% to 28.24% 17.24% to 27.99% variable$5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater3%
Citi Rewards+® Credit Card$02 ThankYou points per dollar at supermarkets and on gas, and 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other purchases and ThankYou points round up to the nearest increment of 10 on every purchase 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $1,500 within the first 3 months of account opening0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate of 17.74% to 27.74%17.74% - 27.74%3% introductory fee for each transfer ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum)3%
Citi Premier® Credit Card$953 ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, at supermarkets, on gas and on air travel and hotels, plus 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other eligible purchases80,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of account openingNone20.24% to 28.24% variable$5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greaterNone
Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card$0NoneNoneNone26.74% variable$5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater3%

Citi Custom Cash Card

With no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR, the Citi Custom Cash Card offers great value, but applicants should check Citi's list of eligible bonus reward categories before applying. The list includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.

Annual fee: $0 

Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on your highest eligible spend category (up to $500 spent) and 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: The Citi Custom Cash Card offers several key benefits to its cardholders, but overall remains a card with one main feature: Rewards. Additional benefits include Mastercard ID theft protection and $0 liability, but while these benefits are largely convenience ones, the rewards, welcome bonus, and introductory APR benefit will likely be the main reasons most apply for this card.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card

If you’re looking for the longest runway possible on a 0% APR balance transfer offer, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card fits the bill. The card’s nearly two-year interest-free period helps you knock out high-interest debt, the main goal of any balance transfer card.

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: None.

Welcome bonus: None.

Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: Mastercard ID theft protection and $0 liability on any unauthorized charges helps reduce worry if you lose a card. The card doesn’t come with many meaningful extras, but the main event here is the lengthy balance transfer period.

Citi® Double Cash Credit Card

When you want simple cash-back rewards from a crest card, the Citi Double Cash delivers. With this card there’s no complicated categories to track, it’s just a simple rewards card that scores you solid earnings on your spending.

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn an unlimited 2% cash back—1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay for the purchase.

Welcome bonus: None.

Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: Perhaps the most attractive benefits with the Citi® Double Cash Credit Card are its rewards and introductory APR on balance transfers, but the card also includes Mastercard ID theft protection and $0 liability on unauthorized charges, both of which can give you peace of mind that your identity and finances are secure. The Lost Wallet Service adds an extra layer of security, with 24-hour fraud protection and 24/7 customer service available should any issues arise. Other features include access to Citi Entertainment program and contactless pay.

Citi Simplicity® Credit Card

This card's main draw is its lengthy introductory APR on balance transfers, although it also offers a decent introductory period on purhcases too. There’s no other meaningful perks with this card, it’s only ideal for those seeing a long 0% APR balance transfer period.

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: None.

Welcome bonus: None.

Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: The Citi Simplicity® Credit Card offers plenty of convenience features, such as no late fees or penalty fees, automatic account alerts, and contactless payment via tap-and-go technology. But it lacks major benefits like rewards or other valuable extras.

Citi Rewards+® Credit Card

Although the earn rate on the Citi Rewards+ card can easily be beaten by several other cars, what is unique is the card’s round-up feature. This means smaller purchases put on the card can, over time, add up to big rewards.

Annual fee: $0 

Rewards: Earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar at supermarkets and on gas, and 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other purchases and ThankYou points round up to the nearest increment of 10 on every purchase.

Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $1,500 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Foreign transaction fees: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: The Citi Rewards+® Credit Card offers multiple ways to redeem ThankYou points, so you can choose the option that best suits your preference. With every ThankYou point redemption, cardholders earn 10% ThankYou points and points earned do not expire.

Citi Premier® Credit Card

The Citi Premier card earns elevated rewards in areas that check a lot of boxes on a busy household spending checklist. If you can travel once a year and book your hotel room with the card via Citi’s travel portal, you’ll offset the card’s annual fee.

Annual fee: $95

Rewards: Earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, at supermarkets, on gas, and on air travel and hotels, plus 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Foreign transaction fees: None

Other benefits and drawbacks: Annual $100 hotel savings benefit when you book your stay through thankyou.com. With multiple ways to redeem ThankYou points, you can use them for purchases and transfer them to participating airline loyalty programs.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card

If you’re just starting to build your credit, a secured card can be a good way to start. The Citi Secured Mastercard offers many of the features you should look for in a secured card including a lack of annual and account opening fees and it reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: None

Welcome bonus: None

Foreign transaction fee: 3% 

Other benefits and drawbacks: The Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card requires a deposit of at least $200 up to a maximum of $2,500. Designed like other secured cards to help users build credit, the card also offers no-extra-charge access to your FICO score. With various account alerts available as well as the option to choose your payment due date, the card provides the same convenience benefits other cards on this list do. You can also enjoy $0 liability on unauthorized charges and use contactless pay with the card.

Should you apply for a Citi credit card?

Citi credit cards offer a range of competitive rewards and 0% introductory APRs that can make them attractive for consumers looking to earn points or miles, as well as those interested in consolidating debt. Whether a Citi card is right for you depends entirely on whether or not the specific benefits and terms of the card fit your spending habits and financial and credit needs and goals.

Introductory APR offers allow users to make purchases without accumulating interest during the introductory period, but it's important to have a plan to pay down a balance before the end of the period, as interest will apply to any remaining balance. Though financing a large purchase can be appealing, it's critical to ensure you can actually pay for the purchase before the end of the period. Transferring balances from other cards can help avoid interest charges on those other cards, but the balance transfer fees may make it too costly or cut into your savings—be sure to calculate carefully before making a balance transfer to one of Citi's cards with a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers. If you’re looking for a credit card with introductory APR offers, Citi's options are often lengthier than much of the competition.

Coupled with enticing introductory rates are generous reward programs offered by several Citi credit cards. Depending on the type of card chosen, customers may receive cash-back rewards or points when using their card responsibly and paying off any outstanding balances each month (or within the grace period). Citi's ThankYou rewards can be used to purchase merchandise through partner retailers or redeemed directly via statement credits towards future expenses made with the same card.

For those looking for more than just basic benefits associated with owning a credit card, Citi also offers a lineup of co-branded cards with brands like American Airlines' loyalty program AAdvantage or Costco Wholesale. These cards offer benefits associated with the co-branded partner that often serve customers well if leveraged often. Citi's business cards also offer small and large businesses alike rewards and finance management tools.

Evaluating reward potential

We evaluate the reward potential of travel rewards credit cards based on what we'd expect a household in the 50th percentile of wage earners to spend each year on a credit card. We gather these figures from the government and other publicly available data. In a year, we expect a household might make about $84,352 and spend about $25,084 of this on a credit card.

For a cardholder with the Citi Double Cash, which earns an unlimited 2% cash back (1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay for the purchase), for instance, this could mean $501 in cash-back rewards.

Guide to Citi credit cards

Citi offers a variety of credit cards to meet the needs of different types of consumers. The best Citi credit card for you will depend on your individual financial situation and goals.

Rewards cards offer points, miles, or cash-back rewards for spending in certain categories such as gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants. This type of card is ideal if you want to earn rewards every time you use your card for purchases. Many rewards cards even come with additional perks such as travel insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranties on eligible items.

Balance transfer credit cards are designed to help you pay off existing debt faster by offering an introductory 0% APR period (for a specified length) on balance transfers made within the first 60 days after opening an account. Be sure to read all terms carefully before applying so that you understand any fees associated with balance transfers and how long the promotional interest rate period lasts — these can vary significantly from one card issuer to another.

Student credit cards are specifically designed for people who are enrolled in college or university programs full-time or part-time, and typically have lower credit limits than traditional credit cards but may also come with extra features like student loan discounts or cash-back bonuses when used at select stores or restaurants near campus locations.

Methodology

Sound Dollar’s credit cards team has spent hours analyzing hundreds of credit cards. We took a deep dive into the details of each product and that analysis, combined with our years of experience covering credit cards, informed us as we developed these credit card rankings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Citi credit card?

The best Citi credit card for you will depend on your financial needs, creditworthiness and spending habits, and preferences. Citi offers a variety of credit cards with different rates, rewards, and benefits for a variety of consumers. Our list can help you narrow down your options.

What are the different types of Citi credit cards?
What are the benefits of having a Citi credit card?
Which Citi credit cards offer the best rewards?
What are the best Citi credit cards for balance transfers?
What are the fees associated with Citi credit cards?
What is the best way to earn rewards with a Citi credit card?

About the Authors

Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel is a credit cards and personal finance writer and editor for Sound Dollar. Previously, she covered credit cards and related content at other national web publications including Forbes Advisor, NerdWallet, Bankrate and HerMoney. She's been featured as a personal finance expert in outlets including CNBC, Business Insider, CBS Marketplace, and has appeared on or contributed to The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, NPR, International Business Times and NBC, ABC and CBS TV affiliates nationwide.

Full bio
Glen Luke Flanagan

Glen Luke Flanagan

Glen Luke Flanagan is a deputy editor on the credit cards team at Sound Dollar. Prior to joining Sound Dollar, he covered credit cards, credit scoring and related topics as a deputy editor at Forbes Advisor and a senior writer at LendingTree. He’s passionate about helping people understand personal finance so they can make the best decisions possible for their wallet.

Full bio

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