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First Citizens Rewards Visa card review

First Citizens Rewards Visa card review

Published: November 16, 2018
Published: November 16, 2018
Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.9 rating
2.9 rating
2.9 / 5
Introductory Offer: 2.9
Net Value: 3.5
Features: 2.0

In a Nutshell:

Cardholders with excellent credit may be able to score a relatively low interest rate on this modest rewards card; however, cardholders who transfer a balance are only given 12 months to take advantage of the card’s interest-free promotion.

0% Introductory Period
12 billing cycles

Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR

Regular APR
12.99-23.99% (variable)

Annual Fee

Other Notable Features: Cellphone protection, Visa checkout, travel and emergency assistance, car rental insurance, EMV chip, Visa discounts

Low Interest Rating:
2 rating
2 rating
2 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 2.0
Rewards: 1.3
Features: 2.0

In a Nutshell:

The regular APR on the First Citizens Rewards Visa card is reasonable, but cardholders seeking to finance a new purchase may be better of with a card that offers a 0-percent introductory APR on new purchases.

Regular APR
12.99-23.99% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months


  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 2% foreign transaction fee
  • 2% cash advance fee


  • $25 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • $25 returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Cellphone protection, Visa checkout, travel and emergency assistance, car rental insurance, EMV chip, Visa discounts

Rewards Rating:
1.6 rating
1.6 rating
1.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.7
Rewards Flexibility: 3.0
Features: 1.0

In a Nutshell:

If you plan to carry a balance and your credit is strong enough to qualify for the card’s lowest available rate, you may get some value out of this low-earning rewards card; but you can almost certainly get better rewards at a comparable cost from other cards.

Rewards Rate
1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

Annual Fee

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)

12.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

  • No limits on how much you can earn
  • Redeem cash back as a statement credit or as a checking account deposit
  • Redeem as a statement credit for travel expenses


  • Cash expires after 3 years
  • Must have a minimum of $25 to redeem
  • May not combine cash with other First Citizens Bank accounts

Other Notable Features: Cellphone protection, Visa checkout, travel and emergency assistance, car rental insurance, EMV chip, Visa discounts

Besides a low starting interest rate and a decent interest-free balance-transfer promotion, the First Citizens Rewards Visa card doesn’t have much to offer compared to most cash back credit cards.

If you have excellent credit and prefer to deal with smaller banks, you may qualify for a low enough APR to make applying for the card worth it. But you can likely find a comparable interest rate paired with juicier rewards through other cards.

The First Citizens Rewards Visa is also limited in its availability. Only cardholders living in one of the 19 states served by First Citizens Bank may apply.

Lousy rewards rate

The First Citizens Rewards Visa only gives cardholders 1 percent cash back on general purchases, which is typical for a rewards card from a regional bank, but is stingy if you compare the card to some competitors. Unlike many cash back credit cards, the Rewards Visa doesn’t offer any spending bonuses, so it can be tough to accumulate cash. For example, if you spend roughly $1,325 a month, you’ll only take home about $159 a year, or roughly $13.25 a month. Many cash back cards, by contrast, offer at least $20 a month, or $240 a year, for a similar amount of spending.

No sign-up bonus

First Citizens does not offer a sign-up bonus with its card. That drags down the card’s overall value. Many cash back cards boost your earnings in the first year by offering $100 or more in one-time bonuses.

OK balance-transfer offer

The First Citizens Rewards Visa does at least offer a zero percent APR on balance transfers, making it a decent pick for cardholders who want to transfer a small balance. Cardholders are given up to 12 months to pay off an interest-free balance transfer, which is less time than what many balance-transfer cards offer, but still relatively decent. The First Citizens card doesn’t offer a zero percent APR on purchases, though, so you may want to leave your card at home until you finish paying off the balance transfer.

Relatively low APR

For cardholders with excellent credit, the First Citizens Rewards Visa card also charges a relatively low APR compared to most cash back credit cards. The average cash back card, for example, charges an average APR around 17 percent, according to data. By contrast, this card’s minimum rate is 12.99 percent. The card’s maximum rate of 23.99 percent is on the high side, though, making it a riskier choice for cardholders with less-than-perfect credit.

Some limits on redemption

The First Citizens Rewards Visa card also comes with some restrictions on redemption, lowering its overall ranking. For example, you have to wait until you’ve earned a minimum of $25 before you can redeem it. In addition, cash expires after three years, so you can’t just leave it sitting in your account.

Why get the First Citizens Rewards Visa card?

  • You have excellent credit and are looking for a low-rate card that also offers some rewards.
  • You prefer to borrow from smaller banks.
  • You plan to transfer a small balance and need just a year to pay it off in full.
  • You prefer cash back instead of points.
  • You’re already a First Citizens Bank customer and want a card with the same bank.

How to use the First Citizens Rewards Visa card:

  • Use your card for all your purchases in order to maximize cash back.
  • If you carry a balance, use your cash back to help shave down your debt.
  • If you decide to transfer a balance, be sure to pay it off before the end of the card’s promotion period and avoid making new purchases that you can’t pay off in full.

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