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The Citi Dividend Platinum Select for College Students has long ranked as one of the most desirable student credit cards on the market.
There’s a reason for this: The card provides college students cash-back bonuses on every purchase that they make with it. And on some purchases, in special categories that rotate during the year, students can earn a higher cash-back bonus.
But Citi, not content to leave a good thing alone, recently scaled back the cash-back rewards program with this card. And that begs the big question: Is it time for students to look for a replacement card?
The Citi Dividend Platinum Select for College Students once provided students with a cash-back percentage of 5 percent on all purchases made in select special categories. These categories rotated during the year. For the first three months of the year, students might earn 5 percent cash back whenever they used their card to purchase meals at restaurants. The following month, they might earn the same percent back whenever they used their card to reserve stays at local hotel rooms or make purchases at participating supermarkets.
That was a nice bonus. And it was rather unusual in the college-card arena.
Now, though, Citi has dramatically reduced the value of its special categories. Instead of earning 5 percent cash back, cardholders will now earn 2 percent cash back for these special-category purchases.
But is this change enough to make the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students one that young consumers should avoid? Not quite.
That’s because this card still comes with a host of other benefits. For instance, college students will still receive their 2 percent cash-back bonuses on special-category purchases and a cash-back bonus of 1 percent on all other purchases.
Also, after activating their card, cardholders will earn 5 percent cash back for purchases they make with it at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations for six months. They’ll also receive 5 percent cash back for six months every time they use their credit cards to pay for utilities.
The card comes with no annual fee, and it also boasts an introductory interest rate on all new purchases of 0 percent for the first seven months after cardholders activate their accounts. After this period, the card’s purchase interest rate will range from 12.99 percent to 20.99 percent, depending on cardholders’ creditworthiness.
These positives don’t entirely make up for Citi’s restructuring of its special-category bonuses. But they do help lessen the pain a bit.
They also mean that this card remains a keeper. Even with the lower cash-back rewards on certain purchases, the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students remains one of the best college credit cards on the market.