The Citi Dividend Card is a cash back credit card with rotating quarterly bonus categories that earn 5%. The overall rewards you earn are limited to just $300 a year, which is really low for a cash back credit card. For that reason, we don't recommend this as a primary cash back credit card for most consumers. Frequent online shoppers, however, may find the Citi Dividend's Bonus Cash Center useful for its bonanza of unlimited cash rebates from 1 - 25% at different e-commerce retailers. Here are more analyses and credit card recommendations in our review of the Citi Dividend card.
The cash back you earn on the Citi Dividend Platinum Select is capped at $300 each year, which is a low ceiling that we think makes the Citi Dividend less useful to the majority of consumers. If you want a rewarding cash back credit card, there are other similar rotating bonus category cards like the Chase Freedom or the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ cards that are better because general earning power isn't constrained so much. Those cards have limits too, but just on the 5% bonus categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in spending each quarter when you activate). All other spending on the Freedom and Discover it® - Cashback Match™ cards still earn 1%, unlimited. The limit applies to both the bonus categories and all other net spending, with the exception of online shopping done through the Citi Bonus Cash Center.
...Unless You're a Frequent Online Shopper
If you do most of your shopping online, then this card can give you access to a world of extra rebates back through the Bonus Cash Center at many retailers. Any cash back you earn through the Bonus Cash Center is unlimited, so there are a great number of savings here. This is really the only bright spot for the Citi Dividend.
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|Signing Bonus||$100 after $500 in purchases in the first three months|
|Rewards||5% on quarterly categories*|
|1% on all other|
|*Rewards capped at $300 per year|
|Additional Benefits||1 - 25% online rebates through Citi Bonus Cash Center, unlimited|
|Intro APR||0% for the first 12 months|
|Purchase APR||12.99% - 22.99 (variable)|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3%|
How Dividend Dollars Work
The cash back you earn are called "Dividend Dollars", and can be divided into two pools: Bonus Cash Dividend Dollars, and Non-Citi Bonus Cash Center. Clicking through to e-commerce sites from the Citi Bonus Cash Center will earn you a specified cash percentage, or a fixed dollar amount back. The Dividend Dollars you earn through the online shopping portal are unlimited. On the other hand, once you earn $300 in dividend dollars in the second pool, you can't earn any other rewards.
Redemption options are quite limiting. Dividend Dollars can only be redeemed as checks, so there will be a time delay for check processing, and you can't use them as immediate statement credits like so many other credit cards allow for. Next, you can only redeem them in increments of $50, so you can't have access to all of your balance whenever you want it.
Update: Citi just recently announced the Dividend Platinum Select's summer bonus categories: car rentals, Hilton Hotel bookings, movie theaters, and theme parks. These categories will earn 5% in total.
From April - June 2014, the theme for the bonus category is home improvement. Purchases made at home and garden stores, such as the Home Depot, home furnishings, or Bed Bath & Beyond, etc., earn 5%.
Perhaps the best feature of the Citi Dividend card is its access to the Citi Bonus Cash Center. Through the Bonus Cash Center, cardholders can enjoy additional cash rebates at more than 530 e-commerce retailers. Cash bonuses range from 1 - 25% when users shop through the Bonus Cash Center portal. Please see our table below for a selection of Citi's merchants and their cash rebate percentages.
|Bonus Cash Percentages||Online Retailers|
|5%||JCPenney, 1-800-Contacts, Sephora, PETCO, Nordstrom, Advance Auto Parts|
|4%||Kmart, Sears, Drugstore, iTunes, Nike, Gilt, Groupon, Asos|
|3%||Hotels.com, Lowe's, Macy's, OfficeMax, Avis, Bloomingdale's, Ace Hardware|
|2%||Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Apple Store, Gap, Home Depot, Old Navy, Sony, HP|
|1%||Best Buy, Expedia, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity|
In order to get the credit, you have to log into your Citi Dividend Platinum account online, and click through to the retailer from the Cash Bonus Center portal. Complete your purchase with the Citi Dividend credit card, and your cash bonus will appear in your account balance.
As we've mentioned, there are other cash back credit cards that can reward consumers more than the Citi Dividend Platinum Select does. Read more about the pros and cons of the alternatives below.
Between the two quarterly rotating cash back cards, the Chase Freedom is the winner. You can't earn more than $300 each year with the Citi Dividend Platinum Select card, while the Chase Freedom has no such overall ceiling. Sure, the Chase Freedom has limits too, but they're only on the first $1,500 of each quarter's special bonus categories. All in all, you can earn more in cash rewards from regular spending with the Chase Freedom.
These are both rotating bonus category cards, but the winner is actually another card, the Chase Freedom. The Freedom aside, the choice between the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and the Citi cards comes down to lower merchant acceptance rates vs. capped earnings. If your spending and subsequent earnings are lower than $300, then go for the Citi Dividend. Otherwise, if your major retailers already accept Discover, then the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ has better earnings potential for you.
If you spend more than $10,000 a year, then the Fidelity Investment Rewards Credit Card will yield more cash earnings for your spending. The Fidelity Investment Rewards card is our favorite no-fee cash back credit card for delivering the highest flat rate cash back of 2% on all net spending. Above $10,000, you would already be earning more than $300 on the Fidelity Visa Card, which you would not be able to do with the Citi Dividend Platinum Select. The one consideration of the Fidelity Visa Card is that you should have a Fidelity Investment account to get the 2% rate.
Which would you prefer, an opportunity to earn bonus rewards for certain categories, or the convenience and simplicity of a 1.5% cash back credit card? The Citi Dividend allows you to earn higher than average rewards just in the bonus categories, while the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you earn a higher rate across all of your net spending.
Comments and Questions
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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.