Citi® Double Cash Card review

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Claire Dickey Twitter logo @ClaireDickey  in  Cash Back How we rate our cards  | 

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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for cash back

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

 

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Best for responsible cash back card usage

  • Rewards Rate: Unlimited 1 percent as you buy, plus another 1 percent when you pay for your purchases
  • Welcome Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Intro APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0 percent introductory APR for 18 months (then the regular variable applies)
  • Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable

“Practical” and “constructive” comes to mind when analyzing the Citi® Double Cash Card. This cash back credit card offers a few concrete ways in which you can better your financial situation, improve your credit card habits and enjoy cash back rewards without the fuss of tracking rotating categories.

Here’s a breakdown of the Citi Double Cash’s card offerings, who it’s ideal for, the best cards to pair it with and more.

Rewards

Besides being one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, the Citi Double Cash can help keep your spending habits in check with its earn-as-you-pay rewards structure.

In order to receive an additional 1 percent cash back rewards for your purchases (on top of the automatic 1 percent cash back you earn), you must pay off the balance you owe.

Earning cash back

The value you extract from the Citi Double Cash depends on how wisely you use it. In other words, make sure you’re paying at least the minimum due on time each month or, ideally, the full amount. You’ll only earn the full potential cash back if you pay off what you owe.

There’s no cap on the amount of cash back rewards you can receive with the Citi Double Cash, so feel free to swipe and earn as you please.

Redeeming cash back

Redemption options for your cash back rewards include statement credits, direct deposit, check and ThankYou points.

Check, statement credit and direct deposit redemptions start at $25, meaning you must have at least $25 in cash back rewards in your account to redeem. Converting your rewards to ThankYou points requires a much lower $1 cash back rewards balance.

If you choose to redeem your rewards for points, a ThankYou Account is automatically created for you. This allows you to further redeem your points for gift cards, travel through Citi or Shop with Points on Amazon or PayPal.

You can redeem rewards by logging into your online account or calling Citi at 1 (855) 473-4583. Cash back rewards expire after 12 months of card inactivity, meaning you haven’t earned cash back on purchases or payments for one year.

How much are points worth?

Generally, you can expect credit card cash back to be worth 1 cent per piece. In the case of the Citi Double Cash, if you spend $500 a month with the card and pay off the full amount, you’ll earn $120 in cash back rewards by the end of 12 months.

The Citi Double Cash isn’t marketed as a ThankYou point-earning Citi credit card, considering you earn cash back, not points. You can, though, easily convert your cash back rewards to ThankYou points as a redemption option. However, The Points Guy discovered that ThankYou points earned from Citi’s no annual fee cards are considered “basic” and can’t be transferred to travel partner programs for a rate higher than Citi’s base 1 cent value. In order to transfer “basic” points, you can pool them with one of Citi’s premium travel cards, like the Citi Premier® Card, to reach TPG’s latest valuation of up to 1.7 cents each.

Citi Double Cash: Details and Benefits

The Citi Double Cash is pretty simplistic in terms of additional card benefits, but that doesn’t mean those the card does offer aren’t useful.

0 percent APR offer

In addition to being a cash back card, the Citi Double Cash doubles as a balance transfer credit card. The 18-month 0 percent introductory APR offer on balance transfers (13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR after) is one of the longest balance transfer periods currently available. Keep in mind, if you take advantage of the offer, you’ll still owe either $5 or a 3 percent fee, whichever is greater. Additionally, balance transfers must be made in the first four months of account opening to qualify for the rate.

For reference, if you had $2,000 in credit card debt and transferred it to the Citi Double Cash, you could pay just over $111 a month for 18 months and completely wipe out your debt—all without paying a dime in interest. Bear in mind, you’d also owe a $60 balance transfer fee.

Security and protection perks

In addition to a solid flat-rate rewards structure and lengthy introductory APR offer, the Citi Double Cash extends a myriad of security and fraud protections.

Get $0 fraud liability, 24-hour fraud protection, Citi Identity Theft Solutions and Lost Wallet Service—meaning Citi will replace your lost card within 24 hours and provide you with emergency cash in the meantime.

Citi Entertainment

Citi Entertainment gets you access to presale tickets, events and more, whether it be a music festival, professional football game or high-end restaurant experience. For more information, read Citi Entertainment’s FAQ page.

Rates and fees

Typically, it’s important that your spending garners enough rewards to justify paying an annual fee, but with the Citi Double Cash, there’s no need; the card doesn’t charge an annual fee, meaning there’s no recurring yearly cost to own the card.

As discussed above, the Citi Double Cash offers a lengthy 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months with a 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR thereafter. The ongoing APR is well below the average current interest rate and could be one the lowest rates for a flat-rate cash back card of its caliber that we’ve seen so far this year. Just keep in mind if you fail to pay off your balance within the given 0 percent window, you’ll be subject to the card’s variable APR for the rest of your card ownership.

Frequent travelers should know the Citi Double Cash charges a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent of each purchase. If you travel outside of the U.S., be sure to bring along an additional credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.

How the Citi Double Cash compares to similar cards

In the current economic environment, it isn’t uncommon to notice issuers lowering the time period of introductory balance transfer offers from their cards’ offerings or removing them altogether. Luckily, the issuer trend of adding extra bonus categories or limited-time offers geared toward online shopping and home-based needs has also continued into 2021. The Citi Double Cash card is excellent for earning more cash back on these homebound purchases that typically aren’t covered in other bonus categories—such as online specialty merchants, bills and digital products—but competing cards might offer more features and an intro APR for purchases.

With all that in mind, here are three solid cash back or balance transfer credit cards to consider before deciding on the Citi Double Cash.

Card Annual fee Rewards rate Sign-up bonus Other details
Citi Simplicity® Card $0 N/A N/A
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum). Afterwards, the ongoing APR is 14.74% to 24.74% variable
Wells Fargo Platinum card $0 N/A N/A
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases from account opening and qualifying balance transfers. Afterwards, the ongoing APR is 16.49% to 24.49% variable
  • Up to $600 cellphone protection when paying your cellphone bill with this credit card (up 2 claims for damage or theft per year, $25 deductible)
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card $0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
$150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases from account opening and qualifying balance transfers. Afterwards, the ongoing APR is 14.49% to 24.99% variable
  • Up to $600 cellphone protection when paying your cellphone bill with this credit card (up 2 claims for damage or theft per year, $25 deductible)

The information related to the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Best cards to pair with the Citi Double Cash

When it comes to pairing credit cards, it’s best to choose a card that supplements and even makes up for what the initial card is lacking.

In the case of the Citi Double Cash, consider pairing it with a rotating cash back card that can help you earn a higher rate of rewards in categories you tend to spend more in. Additionally, if you know you have a big purchase coming up, a low introductory APR on purchases may be helpful. Seeing as the Citi Double Cash doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, you might look to pair it with a card that does.

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back, for example, offers 5 percent cash back on rotating categories each quarter—every three months—on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent (activation required). Here’s a look at the Discover it Cash Back bonus calendar for 2021:

  • January through March 2021: Grocery stores (includes Walmart grocery pickup and delivery pick-up purchases, excludes other Walmart and all Target Purchases), Walgreens and CVS
  • April through June 2021: Gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
  • July through September 2021: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October through December 2021: Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com

This no annual fee credit card is a good option for you if a significant chunk of your spending falls within these rotating categories (keep in mind categories are subject to change each year). Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com may be helpful during the holiday season, especially with the card’s 0% 14-month introductory variable APR on purchases (11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR after).

Lastly, the Discover it Cash Back offers a pretty stellar Cashback Match welcome bonus; at the end of your first year of card ownership, Discover matches all of the cash back you’ve earned. If you racked up $200 in cash back rewards, for example, this welcome offer would bring you to a total of $400 in cash back earnings.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Similar to the Discover it Cash Back, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card offers a rotating cash back calendar with new places to earn heightened rewards; earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1 percent)  and an automatic 1 percent cash back on everything else. Chase only announces new quarterly bonus categories a few months ahead of time, so keep an eye on Chase’s 2021 cash back calendar to see how it stacks up to Discover’s categories.

The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t charge an annual fee, and there’s a 15-month introductory 0% APR on purchases (14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR after). New cardmembers can also receive a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months. Even better, Chase has added year-round unlimited bonus categories to stimulate rewards spending:

  • 5 percent cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases
  • 3 percent cash back on dining (including eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases

Bankrate’s Take – Is the Citi Double Cash worth it?

The Citi Double Cash is a great choice for those looking for an everyday credit card that earns a solid cash back rate on each purchase—no rotating categories or cash back calendars to keep up with. There’s no opportunity to earn a welcome bonus with the Citi Double Cash, though, which may be a drawback if you value bonus earning-potential over all else.

To be approved for the Citi Double Cash, you’ll need good to excellent credit score (between 670 and 850), meaning this card might not be the best option for you if you’re just starting to build your credit or have a poor-to-mid-range credit score.

Most importantly, the Citi Double Cash is only worth it if you can pay back what you owe and avoid carrying a balance for an extended time; if you don’t pay them off, each purchase only earns 1 percent cash back. Should you have a history of skipping credit card payments or paying bills late, it might be best to consider a different cash back card.

Those who’re in the market for a balance transfer credit card can benefit greatly from the Citi Double Cash with its significantly long introductory APR period on balance transfers. Further, you can continue to get use out of the card after your debt is paid off, thanks to its simplistic rewards structure. The earn-as-you-pay caveat may even act as encouragement to stay out of debt.

Pros

  • Unlimited 1 percent as you buy, 1 percent as you pay cash back rewards structure
  • No annual fee
  • 18-month introductory 0 percent APR on balance transfers (13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR after)

Cons

  • No welcome bonus offer or introductory APR on purchases
  • Balance transfer fee of 3 percent of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater
  • 3 percent foreign transaction fee