Citi Double Cash Card

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A leader among cash-back credit cards -- with one disappointing flaw.

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When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.

So why, you might ask, does this card not receive a higher score from Bankrate? There are a couple reasons, but the main thing dragging this card down is this: Because Citi Double Cash offers no sign-up bonus, it struggles to compete with many cards in this category.

Even with a top reward rate, it would take a great deal of spending to make up for the $150 in sign-up bonus some cards offer.

Review

As with many rewards credit cards that don’t force you to track spending by category, we love this card for its simplicity. Citi Double Cash pays 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back as you pay for that purchase. There’s no cap on how much you can earn back, making this card a leader in the cash-back category.

But, as we mentioned at the top of this review, if a sign-up bonus is an enticement for you to apply for a credit card, Citi Double Cash is a real turn-off. This card would quickly vault toward the top of our list of no-fee rewards cards if Citi would be a bit less frugal in this particular area.

Double Cash also suffers in comparison to some other credit cards because it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States. If you travel or shop internationally, you may want to pair this card strategically with another.

Who should get this card

If playing the points and miles game doesn’t appeal to you and you just want cold, hard cash, Citi Double Cash will help you get it. If you want to keep your plastic usage as simple as it gets, stick with this card as your wallet mainstay. Think of it like getting a 2% discount on everything you buy.

This card is an awesome addition for anyone who plans to pay off their balance in full each month and can gain the most from the double cash-back rewards. It’s also good for someone interested in consolidating and paying down debt who wants to take advantage of the 18-month 0% APR introductory balance transfer offer.

Advantages
  • Its 1% now, 1% later cash-back structure is one of the most generous everyday spending rewards cards we’ve seen.
  • Double Cash comes with travel perks, including trip insurance and purchase protection.
Disadvantages
  • You only get the second 1% cash back on the portion of your bill that you pay for. You're incurring way more than 1% interest on the balance, so this perk is worthless to people who don't pay in full.
  • The balance transfer fee is 3%.
  • There’s no sign-up bonus, unlike several of the other cards on the market.
  • You'll incur a hefty penalty APR of up to a variable 29.99% that may be applied indefinitely if you make a payment late or have a payment returned from the bank.

Fees and APR

  • You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside of the United States.
  • Citi Double Cash comes with an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, it’s a variable 14.49% to 24.49%.
  • Purchase APR is a variable 14.49% to 24.49%. There is no introductory offer.
  • This card charges no annual fee.

Extras, perks and using points

The biggest perk with this card is the ability to earn 2% cash-back rewards. The rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit, a check, or a gift card available through the Citibank site.

There is no fee to redeem your rewards.

Another nice benefit with this card is you get a pass on your first late fee. The Citi Double cash card will waive the $35 late charge the first time you slip-up.

Because this is a Citibank card, it also comes purchase protections including Price Rewind, where if the price is lower on an item you bought within 60 days of your purchase, Citi will refund the difference to you.

How this card compares

Card Details
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

If you’re up for the challenge of tracking bonus rewards categories, Chase Freedom can give you some real cash-back bang for your buck. For travel junkies and road warriors, this card is ideal when paired with an eligible Chase card to reap maximum travel rewards on your spending.

If you don’t want to do the work, get a card that offers a flat cash-back rate better than what you’ll find here.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Card Details
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.

There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash-back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.

Card Details
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target now through December 2017, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 11.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 14 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 14 months

You won’t earn one of those huge sign-up bonuses other cards offer, but if you’re looking for a no-frills cash-back card, the Discover it credit card does come with one intriguing feature: Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our 0% apr category page.

Card Details
  • Earn 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 10.74% to 23.74% based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $59, waived for the first year
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card pays 3% back during the first year of card ownership, then 2.5% thereafter. You have to be a credit union member to be eligible for the card.

 

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.