Citi Forward® Card for College Students Review

The Citi Forward® Card for College Students is a points-based credit card with a variety of redemption options attractive to college students. With competitive interest rates, no annual fee, and no cosigner required, the Citi Forward® Card is a good resource for those looking to establish credit.

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The Good

No cosigner required

Many college students are just beginning to establish a credit history and often times are required to have a cosigner when applying for a credit card. Unfortunately, you may not have a credit-worthy and willing cosigner at your immediate disposal. The Citi Forward® Card allows college students to receive a credit card on their own. This can be a great opportunity for you to get the credit history rolling without having to worry about finding a cosigner.

Citi Photocard adds security

Citi Photocard adds an additional layer of security to the credit card by placing your photo and signature on the front of the card. Whether it’s living in the dorms, riding the bus to class, or at a party with some friends on the weekend, college students are often exposed to situations that may make them more likely to misplace a wallet or purse and lose the credit card. In situations like this, or in a worst-case scenario when a theft occurs, it’s nice to have a little extra security.

Points-based system

Not many college credit cards offer a points reward system. The Citi Forward® Card does include a points system and it is designed appropriately for college student purchasing behaviors. For example, for every dollar you spend at a restaurant, you will be rewarded five points. Similarly, every dollar you spend at bookstores (including for textbooks), music stores, and movie theaters is also rewarded with five points. For college students that eat out on a regularly basis, and spend a lot of money on books and entertainment, these points have the potential to add up quickly.

Bonus points when account is maintained

The Citi Forward® Card encourages college students to stay up to date on their account by offering a bonus when the credit account is appropriately maintained. As the cardholder, you will be rewarded with 100 bonus points each billing cycle if your bill is paid on time and the card is under the credit limit. A system like this that rewards good behavior can help you establish responsible spending habits.

Diverse point-redemption options

The Citi Forward® Card provides college students with a variety of ways to redeem accumulated points. Some students may prefer to redeem points for things like gift cards, music, and electronics, while others may be interested in applying rewards to student loans, receiving a statement credit, or by contributing to a charitable cause. If you’re unsatisfied with the redemption options, the Citi Forward® Card has a program called Your Wish Fulfilled, which allows you to receive a unique reward tailored to your specific needs.

The Bad

Points can expire

Although the Citi Forward® Card allows college students to acquire unlimited points, the points can expire. In order to ensure your points don’t expire, the credit account must be active. Otherwise, your points will expire five years from the end of the month in which they were earned.

Foreign currency transaction fees

The Citi Forward® Card charges 3% per transaction for all foreign currency transactions. It is not uncommon for college students to take some time to travel internationally or to participate in a study abroad program. Budgets are almost always tight for college students, and this little extra fee has the potential to add up to an unexpected cost. There are student credit cards that have no foreign currency transaction fee. If you know international travel is on the horizon, it may be worth it to look into alternative student credit cards.

No introductory balance transfer rate

Some student credits cards allow you to transfer your existing credit balances to your new card at a lower introductory rate. With a minimum $5 or 4% transaction fee, transferring balances to the Citi Forward® Card may not be your best option. There are student credit cards that offer no balance transfer fees, and low introductory rates. For those specifically looking to transfer an existing credit balance, the Citi Forward® Card may not be the best fit.

The Details

Rates and Fees

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% per cash advance
  • Cash Advance Rate (APR): 25.24%
  • Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: 3% per transaction
  • Introductory Rate (APR): 0% for 7 months
  • Standard Rate (APR): 13.99% - 23.99%

Penalty Fees

  • Default Penalty Rate (APR): 29.99%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $35
  • Minimum Interest Charge: $0.50
  • Over-Limit Fee: None
  • Returned Payment Fee: Up to $35

Balance Transfers

  • Introductory Balance Transfer Rate (APR): None
  • Standard Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 4% per transfer
  • Standard Balance Transfer Rate (APR): 13.99% - 23.99%


  • Additional Rewards for Dining: 5 points per $1
  • Additional Rewards for Gas: None
  • Additional Rewards for Groceries: None
  • Additional Rewards for Shopping: None
  • Additional Rewards for Travel: None
  • Bonus Points Offered: 100 points per month when you pay on time and stay under your credit limit
  • Rewards Earnings for All Purchases: 1 point per $1
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 1,000 points if you sign up for paperless statements within the first 3 months
  • Type of Reward: Points

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