Citi® Double Cash Card review: Earn rewards when you buy, and when you pay
Rating as of Dec. 2, 2022 based on a review of services February 1, 2023.
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (regular APR of 18.49% – 28.49% Variable)
Earn 2% cash back on new purchases; unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
No annual fee
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all solution for a credit card, look no further than the Citi® Double Cash Card. With no annual fee, it’s a fantastic starter card that offers a simple yet valuable approach to earning rewards.
Citi® Double Cash cardholders receive 1% cash back when they buy and 1% cash back when they pay their statement bill, for a total of 2% cash back on virtually all purchases. This 2% earning scheme also incentivizes you to build good credit habits, as you won’t see the other half of the cash back payout until you make your credit card payment.
Let’s dive in to understand who this card is best suited for.
- Best for: Straightforward rewards.
- Intro offer/sign-up bonus: 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
- Regular APR: 18.49% - 28.49% (Variable) for purchases and balance transfers after the introductory period.
- Annual fee: $0.
- Cash back: 1% when you buy; 1% when you pay.
- Unique features: Access to Citi Entertainment®, which includes special access to thousands of events, concerts, dining experiences, and more.
Pros & cons of the Citi® Double Cash Card
- No annual fee — With no annual cost, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a great cost-effective card to have.
- 0% intro offer on balance transfers — The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers of card ownership. Just be sure to pay it off before the intro period expires.
- Cash back rewards never expire — All the rewards you earn will pool into your Citi ThankYou® points balance. As long as you keep your account active, your rewards will always be available.
- Uncomplicated rewards potential — No matter the purchase, you’re always earning up to 2% on everything you buy with the card. To illustrate, if you spend $20,000 on your card in one year, you’ll earn $400 worth in cash back rewards.
- High APR after the intro period — While the Citi® Double Cash Card is a terrific no-annual-fee product with an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers, once you pass the intro period, you’ll want to be wary of its high ongoing APR.
- 3% foreign transaction fee — You’ll want to avoid bringing this card on any international travels, as you’ll incur a 3% foreign transaction fee on all your purchases.
- No sign-up bonuses — Unlike other rewards cards, the Citi® Double Cash Card does not come with an introductory welcome offer, beyond its 18-month 0% APR on balance transfers.
In-depth analysis of the Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card’s rewards rate is twofold: it offers cardholders up to 2% cash back on all purchases, but only if you pay off your monthly statement on time and in full. This encourages cardholders to make smart decisions to reap the full potential of the cash back rate.
Ultimately, many people will appreciate the simplistic approach offered by the Citi® Double Cash Card. You don’t have to think about whether or not you’re maximizing every single purchase that comes your way. Simply swipe your card and earn 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay —for a total of 2% cash back — no matter the purchase.
You’ll earn all your rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou® points, which you can then redeem for the cash back redemption of your choice: statement credit, direct deposit, or check. Each point is worth 1 cent apiece, so 50,000 points is worth $500 in cash back. There’s no minimum amount required to cash out.
Best of all, your points will never expire as long as you keep your account open.
Unfortunately, the Citi® Double Cash Card does not provide a welcome offer for new applicants, beyond its 0% introductory APR on balance transfers. However, for a card with no annual fee, its 2% earning rate is lucrative enough to overlook the lack of a one-time bonus.
New cardholders can enjoy a 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers. This can be compelling if you’re looking to reduce debt on any existing credit cards you may carry.
Even so, you’re not totally off the hook for fees. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening.
Additionally, balance transfers must be completed within the first four months of account opening. Otherwise, the standard variable APR of 18.49% - 28.49% (Variable), which depends on your creditworthiness, will apply to unpaid or new balance transfers and ongoing card purchases.
In sum, it’s best to make timely payments on your statement to avoid accruing late charges and interest fees, as the Citi® Double Cash’s standard APR is quite steep.
Read more: How do credit card balance transfers work?
There is no annual fee with the Citi® Double Cash Card, making it one of the most cost-effective yet lucrative cards on the market — so long as you don’t get dinged by the high interest from carrying a balance month-over-month.
Read more: Best no annual fee credit cards
The Citi® Double Cash Card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee when you pay in a different currency, so it’s likely not the card you’ll want to bring on your international travels.
The 2% unlimited cash back rate will essentially be negated if you pay with this card in a foreign currency.
Read more: Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards
Other unique benefits
As a no annual fee card, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t come with a whole lot of fancy benefits. However, cardholders will receive complimentary access to Citi Entertainment®, getting you first dibs for tickets to thousands of events worldwide.
Depending on how much you like to spend on concerts, sports, or other events, this cardholder benefit can come in handy.
Citi® Double Cash Card vs. the competition
The Citi® Double Cash Card does face some fierce competition in the market. Let’s see how it stacks up against two of its biggest competitors: the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Cash back: Earn an additional 1.5% on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent in the first year), 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- Intro offer: Earn an additional 1.5% on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent in the first year). That’s a value of up to $300 cash back!
- Intro APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months & 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
- Ongoing APR: 19.24% - 27.99% Variable.
- Annual fee: $0.
One of the Citi® Double Cash Card’s closest rivals is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which also doesn’t carry an annual fee.
There are two big differentiators between these cards. First, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with an enticing welcome offer. If you spend up to the maximum limit, you could earn $600 in cash back rewards from the sign-up bonus alone!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also offers a nice ongoing earn rate of an additional 1.5% on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent in the first year), with 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
While the rewards rate could potentially be more lucrative in certain areas, such as travel or dining, the Citi® Double Cash offers simplicity by providing 2% cash back on all purchases.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Cash back: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
- Intro offer: Earn a $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- Ongoing APR: 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable).
- Annual fee: $0.
Another cash back card worth considering is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. There’s no annual fee, and it offers a similar unlimited earning rate.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a lower payout, at just 1.5% cash back on all purchases. However, it offers a lucrative $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
For context, you may have to spend up to $10,000 on a competing credit card to earn $200 in cash back rewards, so this sign-up bonus can be quite valuable if you overlook the mediocre 1.5% earning rate.
Finally, the 0% introductory APR period on the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card applies to purchases — not just balance transfers.
Who should get the Citi® Double Cash Card?
Those searching for a starter card
If you’re looking for someplace to start, the Citi® Double Cash Card checks off many boxes for beginners. There’s no annual fee, a lucrative up-to-2% earning rate, and rewards that never expire as long as you keep your account open.
Those who value simplicity over everything
The mindless ability to charge everything to one card — without having to worry about maximizing every dollar for rewards — is a breath of fresh air. The Citi® Double Cash Card is best for those who don’t want to keep up with multiple cards and want a staple in their wallet.
Those who want to build and earn credit
The Citi® Double Cash Card only offers the other half of its cash back rewards when you pay off your statement credit every month. This can be a great practice for young adults who are credit card newbies, so you can learn how to maintain responsible credit habits and sustain a long financial future.
Read more: How to use a credit card responsibly
How to apply for the Citi® Double Cash Card
When you’re ready to apply for the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll need to supply basic information such as your full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number, as well as your gross annual income.
It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to fill out the application, and some applicants may even receive instant approval. Otherwise, Citi may need some more time to verify your credit history before you receive a final answer in the mail.
The bottom line
For those who are searching for a reliable credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the best cash back options available. Simple and affordable, you’ll have no trouble racking up cash-back rewards thanks to its effortless 2% earning rate.
Featured image: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com