Citibank Cash Back Card – MoneySmart Review 2019
The Citibank Cash Back Card is one of the most eye-catching cashback cards in Singapore, promising a very huat 8% cash rebates on everyday spending categories.
In contrast, the average cashback card offers only 3% to 5% rebates at best, which can leave you feeling a tad underwhelmed. Let’s take a closer look at the Citi Cash Back Card and see if it’s as good as it sounds:
Citibank Cash Back Card terms & conditions
|Citi Cash Back Card|
|Annual fee & waiver||$193 (waived for 1 year)|
|Supplementary annual fee||$96.30 (waived for 1 year for first 2 supp cards)|
|Interest free period||25 days|
|Annual interest rate||26.90%|
|Late payment fee||$100|
|Minimum monthly repayment||1% or $50, whichever is higher|
|Foreign currency transaction fee||2.8%|
|Cash advance transaction fee||6% or $15, whichever is higher|
|Minimum income||$30,000 (Singaporean) / $42,000 (non-Singaporean)|
|Card association||Mastercard, Visa|
|Wireless payment||Mastercard PayPass, Visa payWave, Samsung Pay, Citi Pay|
How the Citibank Cash Back Card works
The Citibank Cash Back Card is everyday cashback card for the average Singaporean, covering most of our daily spending categories i.e. food and transport.
It gives you a very impressive 8% cashback on major spending categories – groceries, dining, petrol and Grab (until 31 March 2019) – as long as you hit the minimum spend of $888 a month.
Each category is capped at $25, which means that ideally you won’t exceed a certain amount of expenditure each month. Here’s a break down of the categories:
|Spending category||Cashback||Cap||Max. expenditure|
|Dining (restaurants, cafes, bars)||8%||$25||$312.50|
|Groceries (all supermarkets, Honestbee, Redmart)||8%||$25||$312.50|
|Grab rides & GrabPay wallet top ups (until 31 Mar 2019)||8%||$25||$312.50|
|Petrol (all stations, but bonus savings up to 20.88% at Esso & Shell)||8%||$25||$312.50|
(Note that most of these are worldwide, so if you travel frequently or go to JB to buy groceries often, that’s not a problem.)
Who should use the Citibank Cash Back Card?
The Citi Cash Back Card appears to cover all the bases, but because of the specific cashback caps, it takes a very specific spending profile to truly maximise this credit cards.
Let’s call our ideal user Joe Average. He’s probably been in the workforce a few years and is earning enough to comfortably spend about $1,000 a month on life’s essentials.
Whether single or married, he doesn’t cook at home much, so a grocery bill of about $300 each month should take care of the pantry staples and toiletries. Most of the time he dines out (3 to 4 times a week, nothing too pricey) or orders food delivery.
Joe drives a regular (non-luxury) car to work every day, spending about $300 on petrol each month. He takes Grab sometimes, and is also digitally savvy enough to use GrabPay for his dining and retail transactions.
Notice also that Joe Average has a very regular, predictable lifestyle, and is not prone to wild fluctuations in these 4 main categories of expenses. If you tend to randomly fly off to exotic countries for a “sabbatical” or are always indulging in your latest lifestyle craze, then maybe this isn’t the right credit card for you.
Alternatives to the Citibank Cash Back Card
Unless you are exactly like Joe Average, it will be challenging to try to adjust your lifestyle to the credit card. You may be better off with one of the many other cashback cards in Singapore that don’t impose category-specific cashback caps.
There are tons of these but we’ll highlight just 3 all-purpose cards:
OCBC 365 Credit Card – With a lower minimum spend of $800, the OCBC 365 is more accessible than the Citi Cash Back Card, but it loses out as the rebates are much lower and more dining-focused: 6% on dining, 3% on grocery, land transport, online travel and recurring telco and electricity bills, plus up to 23% savings at Caltex.
BOC Family Card – Minimum spend of $800, but still pretty competitive rebates across a whole bunch of categories: 10% on dining and entertainment, 5% on selected merchants (BEST Denki, Popular Bookstore, Unity Pharmacy, Watsons and Welcia-BHG), 3% on groceries, online shopping, telco bills, Grab and taxi rides in Singapore, capped at $1,200 cash rebates in a year. You will have to use a separate petrol credit card if you drive though.
POSB Everyday Card – If you find the Citi Cash Back Card’s minimum spend rather annoying, the POSB Everyday Card is a no-hassle alternative for 5% cashback at Sheng Siong (capped at $50) and 3% at Watsons, plus up to 20.1% savings at SPC.
Still, if you happen to be a good fit for the Citibank Cash Back Card, it’s pretty damn impossible to find a better deal out there. As a bonus, you’ll get $150 in NTUC FairPrice, Takashimaya or CapitaLand vouchers if you’re new to Citi and sign up through MoneySmart:
- 8% cash back at food & beverage outlets, food & groceries delivery (including Deliveroo, honestbee, RedMart)
- Up to 20.88% savings at Esso and Shell, and 8% cash back at other petrol stations
- Total min. retail spend of S$888/month, 8% cash back capped at S$25 per category (Dining, Grab, Groceries and Petrol)
- For retail spend less than S$888 and/or other retail spend categories, 0.25% cash back is awarded, no cap on 0.25% cash back earned