The Citi Double Cash is one of the best no-annual-fee cash back cards available, whether you’re looking for a standalone card or one you can combine with other cards to maximize your cash back on general purchases. It could also be a top choice if you need to pay off debt thanks to its exceptional intro APR on balance transfers and remarkable long-term value.
Rewards: Stellar flat cash back rate
Besides being one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market with its up to 2 percent cash back, the Citi Double Cash can help keep your spending habits in check with its earn-as-you-pay rewards structure. To receive an additional 1 percent cash back for your purchases (on top of the automatic 1 percent cash back you earn), you must pay off the balance you owe. This makes the Double Cash card an excellent option if you’re new to rewards and want to make sure you avoid credit card debt and interest charges.
The Citi Double Cash is also a great option if you’re looking for a low-maintenance rewards card. You’ll earn the same flat rate no matter how much you spend or what you buy, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. This makes it an excellent pick if you’d rather not track spending categories or juggle multiple cards to maximize rewards.
You can redeem rewards as cash back in the form of a statement credit, direct deposit or check. You can also redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, travel through Citi or Shop with Points on Amazon or PayPal. Remember that these are considered “basic” ThankYou points and can’t be transferred to a Citi travel partner without a premium Citi travel card.
To make the most of “basic” points, you can pool them with the points you earn from one of Citi’s premium travel cards, like the Citi Premier® Card. Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, this could increase the value of your points to around 1.9 cents each on average when you take advantage of Citi’s best travel transfer partners.
0% APR offer: Lengthy intro APR for balance transfers
The Citi Double Cash can also come in handy as a balance transfer credit card. The card’s 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers is impressive at 18 months (then 18.99 percent to 28.99 percent variable). That’s one of the longest offers you’ll find on a no-annual-fee rewards card. In fact, this offer is on par with many of the offers you’ll find on traditional balance transfer cards.
It’s worth noting that the Double Cash charges a 3 percent introductory fee for balance transfers ($5 minimum; 5 percent for transfers made after the first four months). However, this is a lower fee than you’ll face with some balance transfer cards, since many charge a 5 percent fee right from the start. In fact, a lower balance transfer fee could save you more overall than a few extra months of 0 percent APR.
For example, 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 spending a dime on interest. You’d only owe a $60 balance transfer fee, which you could offset this via cash back — a perk that’s lacking on many balance transfer cards.
Rates and fees: No annual fee
As long as you pay off your balance in full each month, the Citi Double Cash should be a rewarding card since it doesn’t charge an annual fee. This means you won’t have to worry about earning enough in cash back to offset an the card’s cost each year. That said, there are a few other fees to be aware of, including a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent of each purchase. If you travel outside the U.S., be sure to bring along an additional credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
You’ll also have to watch out for a high penalty APR and a fee of up to $41 if you make a late payment. The penalty APR can also last indefinitely, which makes the Double Cash card’s terms much harsher than some rival cards. Several competitors don’t charge a penalty APR or only keep it in place for 6 to 12 months if you make consistent on-time payments.