Citi CashReturns MasterCard Credit Card Review

The Citi CashReturns MasterCard hasĀ 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)

Pros of the Citi CashReturns MasterCard

  • Full 1% cash back on purchases.
  • Rewards earned on cash advances and balance transfers.
  • Automatic rewards redemption by check.
  • Long introductory 0% APR period on balance transfers (if you qualify).

Cons of the Citi CashReturns MasterCard

  • High redemption threshold.

Citi CashReturns MasterCard Rewards

  • 2% cash back on purchases for the first six months, then 1% cash back.
  • 1% cash back on cash advances.
  • Rewards earned on balance transfers.
  • 5% cash back "on average" on purchases through Citi Bonus Cash Center.

Citi CashReturns MasterCard Annual Percentage Rates (APRs)

  • Balance transfers: 0% for seven to 18 months, depending on your credit rating.
  • Purchases: 12.99% to 20.99%, depending on your credit rating.
  • Cash advances: 25.24%.
  • Default rate: 29.99%.

Citi CashReturns MasterCard Fees

  • No annual fee.
  • Balance transfer and cash advance fee: 3% 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. It works just as well, if not better, as a balance-transfer card.

If you have really good credit, you may qualify for a 0% balance transfer rate for as long as 18 months - or 12 to seven months if you have weaker credit. The balance transfer fee is 3%, which is one of the lowest around. What's more, you earn five "CitiDollars" on all balances transfers over $1,500.

If you use the card for purchases, you earn 2% cash back for the first six months, then 1% after that. You can also earn 5% 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 9% at and 2% 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. 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. Don't do that, though - the cash advance fee is 3%, and the APR is over 25%. 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.