How the Citi Forward Card Works
Several reward credit cards are offered by each of the major banks, and these institutions are competing fiercely to grow their share of this crowded marketplace. One of the ways that card issuers are distinguishing their products is by offering increasing levels of bonus cash back on certain categories of merchants. And while many products offer bonuses categories that change each quarter, some cardholders prefer a fixed formula that they can count on year after year. Citi offers its Forward card that features one point per dollar on most purchases, and five points per dollar on transactions at restaurants and on entertainment.
How this card works
This Citi credit card offers new applicants 9,000 Bonus ThankYou points after making $650 in purchases within three months of opening an account. Another 1,000 points are a available to those who agree to accept paper statements. Cardholders then earn one ThankYou point for each dollar spent on most purchases, and five points per dollar spent at restaurants, movie theaters, and video rental stores. Cardholders can earn a maximum of 75,000 points per calendar year.
This card features a 0% APR introductory financing offer for 12 months on both new purchases and balance transfers. 0% APR balance transfers are subject to a 3% balance transfer fee. The standard interest rate is equal to the Prime Rate plus 9.74%, 15.74%, or 19.74% depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness. Cardholders can also receive a .25% interest rate reduction each quarter they pay on time and stay below their credit limit, with a maximum of a 2% reduction. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a foreign transaction fee of 3% on all charges processed outside of the United States.
ThankYou points can be worth as much as one cent each towards gift cards or student loan repayments. That make the 5 points per dollar at restaurants the highest levels of rewards for those purchases from any card. It is also good that there is no annual fee and there is a 12 month long introductory financing offer.
The potential interest rate reduction of .25% each quarter is so small as to be almost a gimmick. In addition, the limit of earning only 75,000 points per year, or a maximum of $750 worth of rewards, is not helpful for those who hope to channel a large amount of spending on this card. Finally, ThankYou points are not worth a full cent each when redeemed for cash back.
This is a great card for those that want to maximize the rewards that they receive from dining and entertainment expenses. By offering a no annual fee card with a superior bonus point earning opportunity, Citi is willing to reward its customers generously while it carves out its own niche among reward credit cards.