Most of our readers are pretty well versed with Citi PayAll, the bank’s way to let you use your credit card for bills like property rental, income tax, education and home improvement invoices, where cards are usually not accepted, to earn miles, points or cashback for payment of an administrative fee.
Now in its third year, PayAll was launched ‘for the masses’ in February 2019, following a trial in November the previous year, with some lucky users being targeted for a 1.2% processing fee before a general 2% charge was eventually settled on.
PayAll sometimes runs promotional discounts too – including a recent free-free offer for new customers and a discounted 1% fee for existing customers, allowing some to buy miles from 0.42 cents each.
Citi Rewards cards will no longer earn points for PayAll
From 1st May 2021, Citi will stop awarding ThankYou Points for PayAll transactions completed with the Citi Rewards Mastercard or Citi Rewards Visa card. The Citi Cash Back Credit Card will also cease earning cashback for PayAll transactions from the same date.
You’ll still be awarded miles when you use the Citi PremierMiles card, or ThankYou Points for using the Citi Prestige card, which is the important thing since these are the cards with the decent miles earning rates for general (including PayAll) transactions.
Using the Citi Rewards cards for PayAll transactions was basically always terrible value. Here’s how much it costs per mile, compared to the other Citi cards.
|Cost per mile
As you can see, it was never worth using your Citi Rewards for PayAll transactions, since the 2% fee combined with a lousy 0.4 mpd earn rate meant paying 5 cents per mile, way over the odds, at more than double our upper limit to buy of 1.9 cents per mile.
There was a brief exception. For three months from November 2019 to January 2020, Citi offered Rewards cardholders triple points on PayAll transactions, effectively 1.2 mpd, bringing the cost per mile down to the same 1.67 cents enjoyed by PremierMiles cardholders.
That meant those only holding these Citi Rewards cards, but not the other miles-earning options, could use PayAll at a decent rate during this promotional period. Unfortunately, no such offer was repeated.
What about recurring payments?
If you have already scheduled PayAll payments using your Citi Rewards card on or after 1st May 2021, the service fee for these will be waived (and no points will be accrued), though do be aware that new payments you set up after 1st May 2021 will be hit with the usual 2% fee for zero points in return, so make sure to avoid that!
Again we can’t really emphasise enough what a bad deal using your Citi Rewards card for PayAll transactions is, so this withdrawal of points earning will hopefully be a blessing in disguise to those of you who were doing so, unwittingly or in good faith, since you can now correct the error of your ways!
Citi Rewards benefits
Given that making PayAll transactions with the Citi Rewards cards was never good value, it’s probably worth touching some of the card’s benefits, since there are still plenty worth considering if you don’t hold one.
- Fee-free in year one
- Most online retail transactions earn 4 mpd, for the first S$1,000 spent per month
This is useful for things like online food delivery, Amazon purchases, Grab and Go Jek rides
- 4 mpd on clothes, shoes, luggage and at department stores
Even for in-store purchases
- ThankYou Points accrued are valid for five years
Initially, at least. After that the strange expiry policy means you’ll progressively get less and less validity until the next five-year cycle begins, as we explain here
- ThankYou Points transfer to 11 different airlines
- De-facto year-round 10,800 miles sign-up bonus
- SingSaver alternative – Apple Watch SE (worth S$419) or S$350 cash via PayNow with a min. spend of S$200 within 30 days of card approval, till 15th Apr 2021
Annual fee: $192.60/yr (first year free)
Apple Watch SE or S$350 cash
10,800 miles when you spend
You should never have been using your Citi Rewards cards to make PayAll transactions, due to the lousy 0.4 mpd earn rate for these payments, making it terrible value against a 2% admin fee.
In some ways though, it’s slightly strange for Citi to remove its worst value option when using PayAll. For the bank, it was a big win whenever someone used their Rewards card to make a PayAll payment!
While most people, thankfully, did not use their rewards cards this way, some went against our advice and did so anyway – at significant cost to them and therefore buying reward points / miles from Citi at extremely high rates!
Whatever Citi’s reasoning, a bad option to buy miles is coming to an end. For most of us we don’t need to worry about it – so long as Citi retains the miles / points earning benefit using PayAll with its PremierMiles and Prestige cards!
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)