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Updated July 21, 2016

Citi Double Cash Review: Too Good to Be True?

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

With no annual fee and the opportunity to earn cash back twice, the Citi Double Cash card beats out many cashback credit cards. But are there catches? Read on for the full details.

Overall Score

4.7

Rewards

5.0

Interest Rates

4.0

Fees

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Earns cash back twice on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers
  • No signup bonus
  • Cash rewards expire after 12 months if there is no activity on the account
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

Great rewards credit card to earn cash back twice with no annual fee

With the Citi Double Cash, you get 1% cash back on purchases plus ANOTHER 1% cash back as you make payments for those purchases, whether in full or in installments.

THIS CARD IS A GOOD FIT IF...

  • You don't want to keep track of rotating categories, but you love to know you're getting double the rewards.

  • Your spending is varied and you want to go be rewarded the same for all purchases.

  • You need to consolidate your debt and want an introductory balance transfer APR to help you do some catching up.

Let's go over how this card works, its benefits, and its potential downsides.

CASH BACK: HOW CITI DOUBLE CASH WORKS

The Citi Double Cash gives you the opportunity to earn cash back twice.

Here's how it works:

Each time you make an eligible purchase, you'll receive 1% cash back. As you make payments, you will then receive another 1% cash back, whether you pay in full or in installments (as long as you pay at least the minimum).

There are no seasonal rotating rewards, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of them and remembering to enroll. You'll just automatically earn cash back on everything you purchase using the card. And there are no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn. Double Cash offers an excellent reward rate, so if your spending is varied, this could serve well as your primary card.

© CreditDonkey

Once you start accruing rewards, they are easy to understand (no need to decipher what points or miles equal). You'll easily see "Cash back on purchases" and "Cash back on payments" on your statement.

One thing to be aware of: if you don't make any eligible purchases or payments for 12 months, your rewards will expire. This can turn out to be a costly loss if you don't monitor your use of the card, especially if you made some big-ticket purchases early on that netted you a fair amount of cash back. Even if you paid the balance in full and forgot to redeem your rewards, you'll lose that cash if you don't use the card for a year. You may want to consider a credit card with no expiration on rewards instead, as it doesn't matter how much rewards you earn, if they expire.

Note: A purchase is not considered eligible if it is returned for credit. And if you keep a balance and pay interest, please note that you do not get 1% cash back on any interest you pay. The cash back is on purchases only.

INTRO APR ON BALANCE TRANSFERS

Besides the great cash back rate, the Citi Double Cash is also great for those who have debt on other cards and want to really make a dent in it.

If you have other credit cards with balances and a high interest rate, the Citi Double Cash card's attractive 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months is a good incentive to transfer your balance. After the introductory period, the variable APR will be 14.49% to 24.49%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Please note that there's a 3% transfer fee or $5, whichever is greater (standard for many credit cards). For example, if you transfer $1,000 from one card and $3,500 from another, it will cost you $135 in fees to make the $4,500 transfer. Still, that could be a much lower amount than you would have paid in interest on the other cards. Just make sure you have a plan to pay off the balances before this introductory period ends.

Keep in mind, there is no introductory APR on purchases. Keep in mind that if you transfer a balance, you will be charged interest on your purchases unless you pay off your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month. Paying on balance transfers also doesn't earn cash back. You may want to consider a promotional credit card with 0% apr on purchases instead.

More Citi Double Cash Perks

  • Flexible rewards redemption: After you reach at least $25 in rewards, you can redeem your cash back (which is a low minimum compared to some other cards). You can get your cash back in the form of a check, a credit on your balance, or as a gift card from a list of retailers that have partnered with Citi.

  • No late fee for paying late, once: This is a small little perk that could come in handy. Most of us are guilty of forgetting to pay a bill from time to time. Citi Double Cash will give you a pass and not charge a late fee for the first late payment.

  • Citi Price Rewind: This is a great feature offered by Citi on some of their cards. When you make an eligible purchase and register it, Citi will search for that item at hundreds of online stores. And if they find a lower price within 60 days of your purchase date, you'll be refunded the difference.

  • Travel Protection: This card offers travel accident insurance, reimbursement for trip cancellation/interruption, car rental insurance against damage or loss, and smart chip technology for enhanced security.

  • Purchase Protection: You'll get reimbursed for stolen or damaged eligible items within 120 days of purchase (up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per year), $0 liability for authorized charges, and extended one year of warranty on eligible purchases with a warranty of 5 years or less.

Drawbacks of the card

Here are some points you should consider:

  • No sign-up bonus: Cash back with no annual fee is a pretty good reward rate, and in exchange for this, there is no sign-up bonus, which may turn off some people looking for an immediate large reward.

  • You could potentially get more back with another card: If you do not mind keeping track of rotating reward categories, you could possibly earn higher rewards with another cash back credit card. Cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover It offer 5% cash back on certain categories every 3 months up to a quarterly maximum (requires free activation). But this largely depends your lifestyle and spending habits, so it's worth doing a comparison check before you apply.

  • Rewards expire: If you forget to redeem your rewards, remember that you'll lose them if you don't use this card in 12 months. If this isn't your go-to card and you forget about it, you could end up losing your rewards. See credit cards with no expiration on rewards.

  • No intro APR on purchases: There is no intro APR on purchases, so this card is suited for those who pay their balance in full each month. The variable APR is quite high from 14.49% - 24.49%. If you tend to carry a balance, you would probably be better off with a low interest credit card instead as the amount you'll pay on interest will defeat the purpose of the cash back.

  • 3% foreign transaction fee: This card does charge a 3% fee when you use it overseas, so if you're planning on traveling abroad, it's best to have a no-foreign-transaction fee card in your wallet.

HOW IT COMPARES

© CreditDonkey

Before signing up for Citi Double Cash, it's smart to compare it to some similar credit cards to see which better fits your needs.

If you want a signup bonus:
Chase Freedom Unlimited: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. This is a lower rewards rate than Citi Double Cash. However, you do get a sign up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, you get an additional $25 when you add an authorized user.

Both are great cash back cards, so see what your immediate needs are (Citi Double Cash vs Chase Freedom Unlimited). If you're planning on making large purchases soon, maybe you'll like the breathing room offered by Freedom Unlimited.

 

Citi Double Cash

Chase Freedom Unlimited

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for PurchasesN/A0% introductory APR for 15 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0%* introductory APR for 18 months*0% introductory APR for 15 months
Purchase APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.74% to 24.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.74% to 24.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back Deal Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Earn cash back twice on every purchase: 1% cash back when you buy; plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchasesCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic!

Citi Double Cash: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on June 20, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on April 13, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi® Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want more cash back in specific categories:
Chase Freedom: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This card takes a little bit of work to use because you'll have to keep track of these categories and make sure you're charging your purchases accordingly. But if the categories match your lifestyle, you have the potential to earn a lot more cash back. Plus, there's a signup bonus: earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Read our detailed comparison of the two cards.

 

Citi Double Cash

Chase Freedom

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for PurchasesN/A0% introductory APR for 15 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0%* introductory APR for 18 months*0% introductory APR for 15 months
Purchase APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.74% to 24.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.74% to 24.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back Deal Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Earn cash back twice on every purchase: 1% cash back when you buy; plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchasesCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Cash Back Bonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Categories for 2017:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2017): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2017): Grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2017): TBA
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2017): TBA

Citi Double Cash: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on June 20, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on April 13, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi® Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If the above categories don't match your lifestyle:
Discover it®: The Discover It is very similar to the Chase Freedom in the way the rewards work; the main difference is the categories. So compare and see which ones match your lifestyle more. The Discover It also offers a bonus twist: it will match all the cash back you've earned within the first 12 months after account opening. It's a good choice if you're planning on making large purchases soon.

 

Citi Double Cash

Discover It

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for PurchasesN/A0% introductory APR for 14 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0%* introductory APR for 18 months*0% introductory APR for 14 months
Purchase APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.74% to 23.74% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.49% to 24.49%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.74% to 23.74% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back Deal Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers).
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Earn cash back twice on every purchase: 1% cash back when you buy; plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchasesCash Back Rewards: 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Cash Back Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories that change each quarter (requires free and easy sign-up for 5% Cashback Bonus)*
Limitations apply*. See issuer's website for additional program details.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
January - March 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations and for Ground Transportation
April - June 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants and Movies
July - September 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores and Amazon.com
October - December 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon.com, Department Stores and Sam's Club
Bonus Categories for 2017:
January - March 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations, Ground Transportation & Wholesale Clubs
April - June 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores and Wholesale Clubs
July - September 2017: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants

Citi Double Cash: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on June 20, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Discover It: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on April 3, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi® Double Cash Card and Discover it® Cashback Match™ have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

More Offers to Consider::

BOTTOM LINE

To recap, here are the main pros and cons when considering Citi Double Cash:

Pros:

  • 1% cash back on purchases plus ANOTHER 1% cash back as you make payments for those purchases
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (after that, variable APR is 14.49% - 24.49%)
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • No intro APR on purchases
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Rewards expire if card is not used in a year

The generous cash back rewards rate makes the Citi Double Cash a great choice. If your spending is varied and you don't want to keep track of rotating categories, this is one of the highest cash back reward rate you can get. The no annual fee just adds the cherry on top.

Because of the introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months, it's also a useful card if you have existing debt and want to make a dent in it. If you do use the card to make a balance transfer, keep in mind that there's no intro APR period for purchases.

Plan to pay off your balance in full each month to best use this card.

Cynthia Cohen is a retail analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Cynthia Cohen at cynthia@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citi.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on August 29, 2014. This content may have been updated on July 21, 2016. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Citi website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi® Double Cash Card, Chase Freedom, Discover it® Cashback Match™, and Chase Freedom Unlimited have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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