The Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Custom Cash cards can both be valuable cards, but one is better for customers who need to pay off high-interest-rate debt and the other is better for customers who want to earn cash back.
Citi is an advertising partnerbalance transfers and new purchases. You can transfer your existing debt to these cards and pay it off without worrying about making interest payments, as long as you pay enough each month to erase all your transferred debt before the 0% introductory offer ends. This could save you hundreds of dollars in interest, depending on how much you transfer.
But which Citi card is right for you, the Diamond Preferred or the Custom Cash? That largely depends on how much existing credit card debt you want to pay off and how many months you might need to eliminate all of it.
The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a basic card that doesn’t offer rewards. It does, however, come with a longer 0% interest period on both new purchases and balance transfers than the Custom Cash card. The Custom Cash card, though, still offers a lengthy 0% interest rate period along with a cash back rewards program in which you can earn as much as 5% back on purchases in a category that you choose.
|Card||Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||Citi Custom Cash℠ Card|
|Introductory offer||No welcome offer||$200 cash back if you charge $750 within three months of opening your account|
|Balance transfer offer||0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months||0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months|
|Regular APR||13.74% to 23.74% variable||13.99% to 23.99% variable|
|Rewards||No rewards program||Earn 5% cash back in the spending category of your choice, up to the first $500 spent, then 1% after that|
Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
Balance transfer offer
The Citi Diamond Preferred card comes with one of the longer 0% interest periods in the industry. You’ll get 0% intro interest for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers. After this period, your rate will adjust to a variable APR of 13.74% to 23.74% depending on your credit.
You will have to pay a balance transfer fee, though, of either $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is higher. Balance transfers must be completed within four months of opening your account to qualify for the 0% offer.
The Citi Custom Cash card comes with its own 0% introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers. It lasts for just 15 months, though. The balance transfer fee for this card is $5 or 5% of the amount you transfer, whichever is higher.
The Citi Custom Cash card comes with a solid cash back program. You’ll earn 5% cash back in the category of your choice. You can choose your 5% rewards in the categories of restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, travel, transit, streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs or live entertainment.
You’ll earn 5% cash back in your chosen category on up to $500 charged in each billing cycle, then 1% after that. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points, meaning that you’ll earn 5 points for every $1 on purchases in your chosen spending category and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for cash back as a direct deposit or a statement credit.
The Citi Diamond Preferred card does not offer a rewards program.
The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a fairly basic credit card. Its biggest perk is its long 0% introductory interest rate offer. That doesn’t mean, though, that this card doesn’t come with other features.
You can set up automatic account alerts to remind you if your credit card balance is getting too high, a payment is due or if you’ve gone over your credit limit. You can also choose your own payment due date each month. This lets you set up a due date that works with your monthly paydays.
The Diamond Preferred Card also comes with identity theft solutions and protection against unauthorized charges. And with Citi Entertainment, you can get special access to tickets to events across the country.
The Citi Custom Cash card offers its own long 0% interest offer and its solid cash back program. The card also comes with a welcome bonus. You’ll earn $200 in cash back if you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
You can also add authorized users to the Citi Custom cash card at no cost and earn points on the purchases that they make with their cards.
Citi Diamond Preferred Card: Best if you need to pay off other credit card debt
The main selling point of the Diamond Preferred card is its 18-month 0% interest offer on purchases and balance transfers. This offer is especially valuable for consumers who have racked up plenty of high-interest-rate debt on other credit cards.
If you transfer that debt to the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you’ll have 18 months to pay it off without having to pay any interest. Just be careful: Once the introductory interest rate period ends, the interest rate on this card will rise to 13.74% to 23.74% variable APR. If you haven’t paid off the debt you transferred by then, you’ll have to pay this higher interest rate on your remaining balance.
Citi Custom Cash Card: Best if you spend a lot in one category each month
The Citi Custom Cash card rewards cardholders who charge a lot each month at certain types of stores. If you eat out often? You can choose restaurants as your 5% cash back bonus category. A movie buff? You can earn 5% cash back on streaming subscriptions. Renovating your home? You can earn this cash back when buying a new saw and plywood at home-improvement stores.
The Custom Cash card, then, is a good choice for everyone who spends big at one particular type of retailer each month. If you’re more interested in earning cash back than you are in a longer 0% interest offer, the Citi Custom Cash card is a better choice.
Although both the Diamond Preferred and Custom Cash cards offer long 0% interest rate offers, that’s where their similarities end. The Diamond Preferred is a more basic card, not offering any rewards program. The Custom Cash card, however, gives cardholders the opportunity to earn plenty of cash back depending on how they spend each month.
Both cards are good choices if you need to pay off high-interest-rate debt on other credit cards. The long 0% interest offer on balance transfers – 18 months for the Diamond Preferred and 15 for the Custom Cash – gives you plenty of time to pay off your other credit card debt without worrying about interest payments.
If you can pay off your high-interest-rate credit card debt in 15 months, the Custom Cash card is a solid addition to your wallet. If you think you’ll need the extra three months that come with the Diamond Preferred card, you might consider applying for that one instead.