Review: Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card -- $100 cash-back offer
By Peter Andrew
My niece Jemma called recently, and launched into a long sob story about juggling small kids (it should be an Olympic sport) with trips to the laundromat. Her washer had recently broken down, and couldn't be repaired economically. She was too financially responsible -- something she didn't get from my side of the family -- to dip into her emergency fund, and was saving up for a new one.
The first questions I asked Jemma were whether she'd bought the old machine using a credit card, and, if so, how long ago she made the purchase. I was wondering whether her card offered an extended warranty, which might have doubled the coverage of a manufacturer's one. But the defunct washer was ancient so that was a non-starter. My second inquiry was whether she'd thought of applying for a zero-interest balance-transfer credit card offer. Most of these offer interest-free introductory periods for purchases as well as transfers, so she could easily pay down her new appliance over a year at precisely the same cost (nothing) as saving up -- but without those pesky laundromat trips. One of the cards I could safely have recommended was the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card- $100 Cash Back.
Zero interest introductory offer
That's because not only does this plastic offer a full 12 months of zero intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, but it's also, at the time of writing, giving a $100 sign-up bonus -- providing you use it to make at least $500 in purchases during the first three months your account is open. That puts it way in front of Jemma's current plan of saving up for her new washer.
If you want to transfer a balance, you have to pay a 3-percent one-off fee on the dollar amount you move, with a $5 minimum but that wouldn't affect Jemma, because she's looking to make a purchase. If she hasn't paid down her washer purchase by the time the year was up, she's going to have to pay one of three interest rates, depending on her creditworthiness, and these range from the highly competitive to the painfully expensive -- check the latest terms and condition for the details.
Like you, Jemma should get a straight 1-percent cash back from Citi on all her eligible purchases on the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card, except those in bonus spending categories that change each quarter, which earn 5 percent cash back from Citi. But she wouldn't earn that higher rate if she were to buy her washer in the current quarter (the first in 2013) because those three categories are:
- Fitness clubs
Unfortunately, the Citi website doesn't list future quarters' categories, so it's not possible to schedule your purchases to take advantage of the higher cash-back rate. It's also important to note that, with this card, the total cash-back earnings you can accumulate in any one year are capped at $300.
Right for you?
That rewards program isn't what you'd call exciting, and there are better ones out there. Moreover, the card's other features and perks are perfectly fine but unlikely to make you excited. What transforms this offer for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card - $100 Cash Back from the ordinary to the desirable are its $100 sign-up bonus and its year free of interest. If those appeal as much to you as they would to Jemma, this card is worth a look.
Peter Andrew has over 25 years of experience writing about marketing, advertising and management. He regularly covers consumer credit card topics for IndexCreditCards.com and other personal finance publications including Fox Business, TheStreet and MSN Money. He also writes frequently about mortgages and auto loans. Peter has spent extended periods living overseas, in the UK, France and Africa. He lives with his partner of 20+ years, and wastes too much of his time on cryptic crosswords.