Citi Rewards+ Student Card Review

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The Citi Rewards+ Student Card offers an interesting rewards proposition students can easily benefit from. Not only do you earn rewards for each dollar you spend, but this card’s “rounding up” feature lets you earn even more points on almost everything you buy. This card is best for college students and young adults who want to build credit while earning cash back.

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

overall rating
3.7
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 25.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 7 Months
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2X points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.4
for Fees
4.1
for Rewards
4.2
for Credit
4.0

Earn 2,500 Bonus Points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.

Top Rated For

  • Best Citi Credit Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
    Credit Builder
  • Avatar for Student Persona
    Looks for deals that make a limited budget go further
    Student

If you’re a student—or anybody establishing credit—who wants to earn flexible rewards while you build credit, the Citi Rewards+ Student Card is a good fit. 

Just remember that you’ll typically need “good” credit to qualify. This is a steeper requirement than some student cards that may approve you with fair credit or a limited credit history. 

Pros

  • Earn rewards with no annual fee

  • Round up your rewards

  • Get 10% of your points refunded

  • 0% APR offer

Cons

  • Need good credit to qualify

  • Rewards caps

Pros Explained

  • Earn rewards with no annual fee: Most student credit cards don’t charge an annual fee, but this card also has better rewards than most.
  • Round up your rewards: The Citi Rewards+ Student Card rounds up to the nearest 10 points for everything you buy, meaning you’ll earn more than 1 point per $1 most of the time. For example, a $1 pack of gum earns 10 points, and a $67 dress will net you 70 points. 
  • Get 10% of your points refunded: This card also gives 10% of your points back on up to 100,000 points you redeem per year. 
  • 0% APR offer: The Citi Rewards+ Student Card charges 0% APR on purchases for 7 months. This perk can help you save on interest if you need to make a large purchase and pay it off over several months. 

Cons Explained

  • Need good credit to qualify: The Citi Rewards+ Student Card requires cardholders to have “good” credit to qualify, whereas many other student credit cards may approve you with fair credit or a limited credit history.
  • Rewards caps: You’ll only earn 2 points per $1 on your first $6,000 spent at grocery stores and gas stations each year, which limits your ability to maximize those categories.

Citi Rewards+ Student Card Sign-Up Bonus

The Citi Rewards+ Student Card gives you the chance to earn 2,500 bonus points when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening. This bonus is generous considering most credit cards for students don’t offer one, and it’s easy to earn since you only need to spend $167 per month on your card for three months in a row to reach the threshold.

Since this card gives you 10% of your points back on up to 100,000 points per year, and since points earned with this card are normally worth 1 cent each, this bonus is worth $27.50 in rewards (instead of $25 without the 10% refund). 

Earning Points & Rewards

The Citi Rewards+ Student Card comes with a unique rewards proposition you don’t see with other student credit cards. Once you sign up, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 on up to $6,000 in annual spending at supermarkets and gas stations and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. The kicker is, Citi will round up your rewards to 10 points on each purchase you make, so small things you buy will earn rewards at a higher rate. 

For example, your $3 daily coffee will earn 10 points (rounding up from 3 to 10) just like a $10 meal will, and a $23 trip to the movies will earn 30 points (23 to 30). There are also no limits to the rewards you can earn or the rewards that can be rounded up. 

Redeeming Rewards

To redeem your rewards you can shop with points at online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. Citi’s rewards portal offers lots of other redemption options including travel, gift cards, statement credits, and online bill pay. You can even make payments toward a mortgage or student loan.

Most redemptions of Citi ThankYou points are for 1 cent each, which means a $50 gift card will set you back 5,000 points. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Use your Citi Rewards+ Student Card for all your supermarket and gas purchases to maximize the 2 points per $1 bonus category. Also make sure to use your card for regular purchases and bills, but particularly ones that will be rounded up. Remember that a $21 purchase earns 30 points, but that a $30 purchase will also earn 30 points.

The short term 0% APR offer is a nice perk for a student card, so if you have a big purchase planned and know you can pay it off in five or six payments, this card can help.

Warning

As with any introductory 0% APR offer, don’t let the short term “interest free loan” tempt you into making purchases you can’t pay off before time runs out.

Citi Rewards+ Student Card’s Other Features

  • Entertainment access, including to special presale events

Customer Experience

Citi may have some work to do in terms of overall customer satisfaction. The bank does offer 24/7 customer service options, but they ranked sixth in J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, scoring 797 out of 1,000 possible points. The industry average was 801. 

Citi also has a ways to go in terms of their mobile app. The bank’s credit card app was ranked sixth again in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, putting it behind most major credit card issuers.

One plus? Citi provides free FICO scores, updated monthly, in the app and online. 

Security Features

This credit card comes with standard security features such as fraud monitoring, encrypted communications, and 0% liability for fraudulent purchases. The app offers “Citi Quick Lock,” so you can prevent your card from being used if it’s been lost or stolen. You also get access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions—a program that can help you protect or restore your identity in the event of fraud. 

Citi Rewards+ Student Card Fees

Most fees charged by this credit card are standard, but be aware you’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee if you use your credit card outside the U.S. If you travel abroad often, you may want to consider a credit card that doesn’t charge this fee.

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CURRENT CARD
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card
overall rating
3.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 25.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 7 Months

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.