Citi Forward® for College Students Credit Card Review

The Citi Forward® Card is an excellent card that Citi used to offer to everyone and now is repackaged and reissued for college students as the Citi Forward® for College Students credit card. It’s likely that this will be the first credit card that students will use to begin building their credit. This card allows students to stand on their own with no co-signer required, offers bonus points for the categories students typically spend money on, and extra incentives for paying the bill on time.

This is one of the few students cards around that offers compelling-enough rewards to tempt even us workin’ folk.  You can find out below how life-long learners (even those not necessarily still in their student days!) can get hold of this gem.

Overview of Citi Forward Student Card
Signup Bonus None
Spend Rewards Earn 5 Citi ThankYou Points per dollar spent at restaurants, book/music stores, video stores, and movie theaters and 1 point on all other purchases.
Annual Fee None
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% of each transaction after converting to USD
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 4% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater

Earning Citi ThankYou Points from the Citi Forward® Credit Card for Students

The Citi Forward® for College Students has a few spend categories that focus specifically on what students spend on: restaurants for all the times students eat out, movie theaters/video rental shops for entertainment, music stores for parties, and book stores for all of the school supplies. These niche categories give you 5 points per dollar spent while everything else gives you one point per dollar spent. It’s not often (like, never) that such a comprehensive rewards system is even offered on student cards, let alone tailored specifically to student spending habits.

Earning 5 Points at Amazon??

Sounds too good to be true? Well…yes, in fact, you earn a whopping 5 Thankyou points per dollar spent on Amazon. Apparently, since Amazon was originally incarnated as an online bookseller, that old DNA is still around somewhere, and causes them to fall under the category of “bookseller” from Citi’s perspective.

Redeeming Your ThankYou Points with the Citi Forward® Credit Card

The ThankYou Points rewards redemption is the same as other Citi cards, so it would be wise to know which redemption methods are traps and which ones give you the most bang for your buck. To get the inside information, you can check out our evaluation here, “What is the Value of Citi’s ThankYou Points Rewards Program?”

The short version is that the best value for ThankYou Points is $.01 per point through either travel purchases on Expedia or through a loophole on student loans. If you decide to skip the work, a statement credit is worth $0.0070 per point while cash back is only worth $0.0063 per point. Do yourself a favor, read our article and get the most out of your rewards!

Citi Forward® for Students Fees

There’s no annual fee for the Citi Forward® for Students Credit Card. The international transaction fee is 3%, which is standard fare for Citi cards. If you’re a student who is thinking of studying abroad, you should take a closer look at some of the Capital One cards, as they have no international fees.

Callout: Citi Forward’s® 0.25% Interest Reduction Game

At first sight this offer sounds great. For every 3 months when you pay at least your minimum balance on time and don’t exceed your credit limit, Citi will drop your purchase APR by 0.25%. This is a cumulative effect, and the most you can drop your rate by is 2.0% (which would be after 8 quarters of excellent behavior).

However, after you think about it, there isn’t much value to this benefit. If you are carrying any balances, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that interest expense will far outweigh any rewards you earn. If you think you will be carrying a balance from month to month, you should probably consider a credit card with a lower interest rate than what this card offers.

Can I get the Citi Forward® Card for Students if I’m Not Currently a Student?

As far as I can tell, Citi only requires your enrollment status, current class year, and your school’s state, city, and name. They don’t require any verification beyond that. Even if you are not currently enrolled as a college student, it wouldn’t be difficult for you to enter in some data and still apply. So go ahead and give it the ol’ college try;)

I’ve also read on some forums that folks have been successful at converting other Citi cards (such as the Citi Platinum card) over to the Citi Forward for Students. This may be another option. If you have an old Citi card you don’t use (and who doesn’t!), then this could be another fruitful avenue.

GetDebit’s Final Word on the Citi Forward® Credit Card for College Students

While Citi Forward® is clearly a fantastic niche card for students (great rewards, no co-signer required, credit builder), we’re fairly confident that even non-students can find a way to get hold of this card. The big downside from an “all grown up” point of view is that you don’t get any sort of sign-up bonus with this card-but the 5 points at restaurants should more than make up for this over the long run.

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