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?
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:
|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:
Currently, only two major card issuers don’t allow applicants with an ITIN:
|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.|
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.
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 Amazon.com 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||MLB.tv||Prime Video|
|Apple Music||HBO Max||NBA League Pass||Showtime|
|Apple TV+||YouTube (Music/TV)||Netflix||Sling TV|
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)
- 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.
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
|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 Amazon.com 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|
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