This card has been discontinued and replaced by the Citi Forward® Card for College Students.
Those who constantly struggle to pay their credit card bills may feel like they need help to get bills paid on time. Banks charge late fees and penalty interest rates that make it painful to pay your bills late.
At the same time, some customers prefer to receive some kind of incentive for staying within their credit limits, and for paying their bills on time.
The Citi Forward® card offers cardholders rewards for making on-time payments.
- Earn ThankYou Points for Purchases. Cardholders earn a single ThankYou point for each dollar spent, with five points per dollar earned for purchases of movies, books, music, and dining.
- Earn Points for Timely Payments. Cardholders receive 100 bonus points when they pay on time, and stay within their credit limit, up to 1,200 points annually.
- Bonus Points. New cardholders receive 10,000 bonus ThankYou Points for spending $650 and signing up for paperless statements within three months of opening their account.
- Use Reward Points. Redeem Citi’s ThankYou points for cash back at a rate of .63 cents per point, or between .71 and 1.00 cents per point when redeemed for gift cards. If Citi holds your home’s mortgage, you can apply your points to your payment at a rate of .80 cents per point.
- Introductory Financing Offer. Applicants receive a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for twelve months, and a 0% introductory APR on purchases for seven months.
- Interest Rate Reductions for Timely Payment. Stay within your credit limit, and make payments on time for three months in a row to earn a .25% reduction in your APR. Cardholders can earn this reduction eight times, for a total of a 2% drop in their APR.
- Cell Phone Protection Policy. Citi covers the loss or damage of your cell phone up to $250, with a $50 co-pay on claims.
- Fees. This card has no annual fee, but charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.
- Sign-Up Bonus. The 10,000 bonus points for spending $650 and enrolling in electronic statements within three months equates to $100 in gift cards.
- Bonus Points in Spending Categories. Earning five points in certain spending categories can equal a healthy reward rate.
- Introductory Financing Offer. Seven months of interest-free financing on purchases, and a year of interest-free financing on balance transfers can help reduce your credit card debt.
- Cell Phone Protection. This innovative feature provides coverage for loss or damages to cell phones.
- Identity Theft Protection. This critical service provides specialized assistance if you become a victim of identity theft. You can also have your photo and signature placed on the front of this card for additional protection against identity theft. Citi provides cardholders with a substitute account number to use when shopping online. This “virtual” account number minimizes your risk when using your card online.
- Travel Protection Services. Citi provides cardholders with auto rental insurance automatically when cardholders decline the auto rental company’s collision loss/damage waiver insurance. Cardholders traveling away from home receive emergency assistance services, including help with lost luggage, translation services, and medical and legal referrals. Plane, train, and bus tickets booked for cardholders and their families, and charged to the card, receive free travel accident insurance.
- No Annual Fee. Unlike many rewards credit cards, this card has no annual fee.
- Questionable Incentives. 100 points for paying your bill on time equates to about one dollar. The cost in interest, late fees, and ruined credit far surpasses the incentives.
- Mixed Messages. Customers with credit card debt should focus on finding the best low interest credit cards, not earning rewards for spending. By offering interest rate reductions and rewards for spending, this card sends contradictory messages.
- Marginal Interest Rate Reduction Plan. You should always pay your bills on time, but not because they scrape a quarter of a percentage point off of your interest rate every month. Considering the fact that the interest rate varies by seven full points depending on your credit score, the .25% reductions seem fairly trivial by comparison. Furthermore, many banks reduce interest rates following a series of timely payments.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. This card has an outrageous 3% fee on purchases made outside of the U.S. Frequent international travelers should look for credit cards without foreign transaction fees.
For many people, paying off credit card debt can be challenging. Harsh penalties may not provide enough incentive to pay off debts. If a small bonus and a slight interest rate reduction helps you to make timely payments, however, this product may work for you.
Do you have a Citi Forward® Card? Would you recommend the card to friends and family?