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UPDATE: The cards in this review are no longer being offered by Citi. They have been replaced by the Citi® Double Cash Card.
The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa and the Citi® Dividend Card for College Students are both great cards from Citi. The former is suited for people with an excellent credit history, while the college card is for young people who are just starting to build their credit. They offer similar rewards, interest rates, and fees, though the Platinum Select card provides more additional benefits.
Both of these cards offer 5% cash back categories that rotate throughout the year. From January to March, the category is “New Year, New Start”; from April to June, it’s “Celebrate Spring”; July to September is “Summer Fun”; and October to December is “Holiday Shopping.”
The cash back for each month applies to eligible merchants and purchases that fall under the theme of that category. The Summer Fun category, for example, includes movie theaters, theme parks, car rental agencies, and certain purchases from the Hilton line of products and services. Cardholders need to enroll in these categories throughout the year in order to get the cash back.
1% cash back is awarded for all other purchases.
For the Platinum Select card only, cardholders earn $100 in cash back if they spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening their card.
Both cards have a maximum cash back of $300 per year, so any spending beyond that will not earn cash back. This does not include the $100 bonus from the Platinum Select card.
The Dividend Card for College Students does not come with any extra services, but the Platinum Select card comes with a large number of benefits from Citi.
Cardholders are protected from identity theft with Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and are not held accountable for unauthorized charges. Retail purchases are also protected against accidental breakage, fire, or theft, up to 90 days after the purchase and for up to $1,000. Most items that are purchased with a warranty can have that warranty extended for up to 1 year.
Also included is Citi® Price Rewind, a rather unique service among credit cards. When eligible purchases are registered with Price Rewind, the service will automatically search hundreds of online retailers for that same item, for 30 days after the purchase. If the same product is found at a lower price, you can get the difference between them credited to your account.
There are also a number of benefits that travelers will find very helpful. Automatic travel accident insurance is provided for the cardholder, their spouse, and their children, whenever plane, train, or bus tickets are purchased with the Platinum Select card. Eligible car rentals are covered by auto rental insurance when the car rental company’s collision waivers are declined, and Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage is provided for common carrier tickets, for up to $1,500 dollars.
The Platinum Select card comes with EMV technology for enhanced security and access to merchants in foreign countries.
These cards have very similar costs and fees, with the College card just 1 percent higher for purchase and balance transfer APR’s, as well as having a shorter introductory period. Neither card has an annual fee.
The Platinum Select card comes with a 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, after which it goes up to 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%, depending on your credit score. The introductory rate only applies to balance transfers completed within the first 4 months. Balance transfers also cost $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater.
The Dividend Card for College Students comes with a 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers that lasts only 7 months, after which it becomes 13.99%, 18.99%, or 23.99%. With this card, the introductory rate for completed balance transfers only applies for the first 2 months, and they cost the greater of $5 or 4% of the transaction.
Other than those differences, the other costs of these two cards are identical.
The APR for cash advances for both cards is 25.24%, and they cost either $10 or 5% of the amount of the transaction. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the transaction.
These cards have a penalty rate of 29.99%, which might be applied if a late or returned payment is made. Late and returned payments also incur fees of up to $35 each.
The Bottom Line
These are both good cards for different types of people. The Citi Dividend Card for College Students seems like the obvious choice for students, but it might be prudent to consider getting the Platinum Select card instead. If you’ve already built up a good enough credit history, you can immediately benefit from the lower interest rates, cash back bonus, and extra benefits. Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you need to get a student card. The rewards, low costs, and services also make it a good choice for non-students looking for a cash back card with rotating categories.
If you’re a student with no or poor credit, the Dividend card for College Students is a solid card with some nice reward categories, some of which you could end up using frequently. If you’re in this situation, you’ll want to learn to understand what it takes to build good credit, the options available to you, and how to use credit cards responsibly to avoid real financial trouble in the future.
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