Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or Prime Visa: Read This Before Applying

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Last updated on May 8th, 2023

When it comes to finding the best credit card for you it is essential to do your homework first. The Prime Visa and Citi Custom Cash Card are two popular cash back rewards options, but which is best? Here is everything you need to know to find your best credit  card offer:

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or Prime Visa®: Which Is Right for You?

Before deciding which credit card is right for you, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or the Prime Visa from Amazon, here is a detailed breakdown of the cards, their features, and their suitability:

Pre-Qualification Before Applying

Applying for a credit card requires a credit check. Often, these credit checks (or credit inquiries) are known as “hard inquiries,” meaning the bank pulls your full credit report before approving (or denying) your credit card application. If you apply for a credit card and are declined, your credit score will likely take a minor hit. One way to avoid a negative impact on your credit score before getting a new credit card is by pre-qualifying before you apply.

Pre-qualification for credit cards is safe, fast, and effective. Citi and Chase offer online pre-qualification before applying, so seeing if you qualify for a lucrative cash back card has never been easier. 

Related Article: How to Pre-Qualify for a Credit Card

Credit Score Needed

Both rewards cards require a “good” or “excellent” credit score, meaning a FICO Score of 670+ is the minimum you should expect to have before applying. For versatile, no annual fee rewards cards, however, a credit score of 700+ is likely needed.

However, keep in mind that your credit score is only one part of the equation. Banks also consider other factors, including how your income compares to your debt obligations and your overall ability to make your monthly credit card payments.

How to Apply

Most credit card applications from major issuers are similar. Here is what you can expect from the application process with all three cards – including what information is needed:

Info Explained
① Full legal name and contact information You’ll need your full legal name, contact address, phone number, and e-mail address to apply for pretty much every credit card.
② Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Most credit card issuers require applicants to have a U.S. Social Security number to apply for a credit card. Since foreign citizens likely lack an SNN, they may receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. An ITIN is an ID number the IRS issues to anyone who needs to file income tax returns in the United States but doesn’t qualify for an SSN. Be ready to provide either of these items when applying for a personal credit card.

The following banks accept foreign national applicants with an ITIN number, according to Experian:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • OpenSky
  • Wells Fargo

Currently, only two major card issuers don’t allow applicants with an ITIN:

  • Barclays
  • Discover
③ Income You’ll need to provide income information when applying for a credit card. Banks like to see that you aren’t too stretched financially, and part of this process is by evaluating how much income you have from things like your job, investments, and other sources.
④ Expenses Your monthly expenses are the second part of the puzzle when it comes to gauging your risk as an applicant. Your monthly housing costs (rent, mortgage) current utilities, and other relevant info might be asked when you apply.
⑤ Credit Score The final piece of informational lender needs to judge a credit card application is your credit score. Much of the information in your credit report is supplied by creditors and lenders, and potential lenders will use these details as a point of reference when considering you for a loan or line of credit. Your credit report is prepared and sold to prospective lenders and creditors by three credit reporting agencies – or bureaus, as they’re also known. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Annual Fee

Both cards feature no annual fee. It is worth noting, however, that getting the best rewards with Amazon and Chase requires an active Prime membership. Membership with Prime does have its benefits, including free shipping, special members-only discounts, and access to millions of films, television shows, and more. However, this is still an additional cost that those considering applying for this card must consider – a charge of over $100 per year.

Introductory APR

While the Prime Visa credit card does not come with a dedicated 0% intro APR period on purchases, Chase does offer special promotional financing on select Amazon purchases.

In contrast, the Citi Custom Cash Mastercard provides 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will vary depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness. Those 15 months are on par with other lucrative cash back cards, including the Chase Feeedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited.

Related Article: What is the Longest 0% APR Credit Card?

How to Earn Rewards

Earning impressive cash back is great, regardless of the occasion. Here is precisely how the bonus categories breakdown:

Shopping with Amazon

The Prime Visa was designed for Amazon shopping. The Chase credit card offers cardholders an impressive 5% cash back  rewards on all and Whole Foods purchases 

Conversely, the Custom Cash earns 5% back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, and 1% cash back after that. Plus, cardholders automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Those 5% back categories include grocery stores and select streaming, meaning there is some significant value for the frequent Amazon shopper with the card. Here is a breakdown of Citi’s select streaming services, including Prime Video and Amazon Music Premium:

Amazon Music Fubo TV Prime Video
Apple Music HBO Max NBA League Pass Showtime
Apple TV+ YouTube (Music/TV) Netflix Sling TV
Audible Hulu SiriusXM
DirecTV Stream iHeartRadio Pandora Spotify
Disney+ Kindle Unlimited Paramount+ Sticher
ESPN+ Luminary Peacock TIDAL

Earning Rewards Everywhere Else

When it comes to earning rewards outside of Amazon, it’s just as close a contest between the  Custom Cash and Prime Visa.

As stated, the Custom Cashearns 5% back on your top spend category each month – up to $500 spent every billing period. Here are those 5% back categories:

Dining Fitness clubs Grocery stores
Drugstores Gas stations Home improvement stores
Travel & transit (select) Live entertainment Streaming service (select)

All other purchases made with eh Custom Cash (including after the $500 threshold is met – earn 1% cash back.

Outside of Amazon, the Prime Visa also earns an impressive 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal.  Additionally, the card provides 2% cash back at gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants – plus 2% back on local transit and commuting, including rideshares. Those 2% back rewards aren’t excessive but give some value versus the Custom Cash. For example, Prime cardholders can earn maximum rewards at Amazon and Whole Foods while earning enhanced cash back on drugstore purchases– something the Citi card cannot do.

How to Redeem Rewards

Earning up to 5% cash back is great, but how can you convert those rewards into awards?

How to Redeem Rewards with Citi

While the Citi Custom Cash℠ Mastercard earns “cash back,” those rewards take the form of ThankYou points. This means that 5% back is 5X ThankYou points – a rather lucrative total.

Cardholders can redeem their ThanYou Points for a huge selection of rewards, including:

  • Gift cards, including 15% more value when redeeming ThankYou points for gift cards from Wayfair®, Sephora®, and Grubhub.
  • Merchandise through participating retailers (including Amazon)
  • Travel
  • Charity
  • Citi loan payments (mortgages, student loans, etc.)

Citibank offers point transfers to 17 airline and hotel partners:

Wyndham Rewards Aeromexico ALL – Accor Live Limitless Flying Blue JetBlue TrueBlue Qantas Frequent Flyer
Avianca LifeMiles Cathay Pacific Choice Privileges Qatar Privilege Club Shop Your Way Singapore Airlines
Emirates Skywards Etihad Guest EVA Air Thai Royal Orchid Plus Turkish Airlines Miles&Miles Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

How to Redeem Rewards with Prime Visa

All points accrued with the Prime Visa Card are redeemable towards eligible Amazon purchases, cash back through Chase (either as a statement credit or into available savings or checking account), or redeemed for gift cards. Amazon credit cards also allow cardmembers can earn, view, and redeem rewards earned on their card daily rather than monthly, with the introduction of daily rewards. 

These options provide solid value for cardmembers – especially those who prioritize savings with Amazon – and want to use points to get that big-ticket item they have their eye on.

Other Features

The Citi Custom Cash Card is a Mastercard product. This means cardholders can expect the following basic Mastercard protections:

Zero Liability Protection Mastercard Global Services ID Theft Protection

In addition to these basic protections, cardholders may also have access to World Elite Mastercard features, including Luxury Hotels Collection access, Mastercard’s Hotel Stay Guarantee, Priceless Experiences, and more.  Citi credit cards also enjoy the following protections to all cardholders:

$0 Fraud Liability Virtual Account #s FICO Score Access
Citi Quick Lock Citi ID Theft Protection Fraud Alerts

Conversely, the Prime Visa Card is a Visa Signature product. While Visa Signature’s basic protections are nearly identical to Mastercard’s the enhanced perks differ slightly: 

Zero Fraud Liability Cardholder Inquiry Services Emergency Card Replacement Luxury Hotel Collection Extended Warranty Coverage
Roadside Dispatch Lost/Stolen Card Reporting ID Navigator from Norton Travel & Emergency Assistance


Here is a quick recap of all the features of all three card offers:

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Prime Visa
Rewards Rate Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn 5% back at and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership and on purchases made through Chase Travel, 3% back at restaurants, gas stations, drugstores, and local transit, including rideshares, and 1% back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus $200 after spending $1,500 in 6 months, plus 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers $150 Amazon gift card upon approval
Annual Fee No annual fee No annual fee

The information related to Citi Custom Cash Card has been collected by and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Featured image by Gam-Ol  / PixaBay

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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