Full Review of Citi Double Cash Credit Card
Outstanding flat-rate cash-back rewards on unlimited purchases
Generous intro APR on balance transfers
No one-time offer
$25 minimum for redemption
- Outstanding Cash Back on Unlimited Purchases: This card offers unlimited cash back of 1% on purchases plus another 1% when you pay your bill, with no restrictions or spending caps. That rate is hard to beat, especially for a card with no annual fee. Competing cards with a flat rate on all purchases pay just 1.5% in cash back.
- Generous Intro APR on Balance Transfers: This card has an attractive introductory offer if you're transferring a balance from another card or cards within your first four months with the card. You get a 0% APR for the first 18 billing cycles, which is a longer period than many such offers. Not uncommonly, there's a fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater. After the 0% introductory period, the variable APR varies with a normal range of 13.99% to 23.99%.
- No One-Time Offer: Most competing cards provide a cash one-time offer, but the Citi Double Cash offers none. True, the typical bonus for a cash-back card tends to be lower than those for other card types, but it's still substantial, generally ranging from $150 to $250.
- Miss a Payment, Lose Half the Cash Back: This is not an ideal rewards card if you occasionally skip a payment, whether due to a memory lapse or tight finances. If you don’t pay at least the minimum due on your card in any month, you'll lose the matching 1% in cash back that’s paid after payment is received. (Of course, as is customary, you’ll also get dinged with a $40 late-payment fee and interest on your balance.)
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
The Citi Double Cash credit card is most appealing to those in search of a no-fee card that's simple to use and earns excellent cash-back rewards. If you’re not the type to master points schemes or register for quarterly bonus-rewards categories, this card's outstanding cash back earning rate offers effortless and dependable rewards on everyday spending.
It's also a fine choice if you're a more motivated consumer who wants a highly rewarding default card to use in concert with others that offer higher rewards on certain purchases. You'd then pick and choose the most rewarding card by transaction. For example, you might pull out the American Express Blue Cash Preferred at supermarkets and to pay for streaming services, both of which earn 6% cash back, as well as for gas and transit purchases, which earn 3% cash back. You'd then charge everything else to your Citi Double cash card.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders can ultimately earn 2% cash back with this card. You get unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase. You then earn an additional 1% cash back when you make payment on those purchases.
Payments can be made all at once or over time to earn cash back, but you must make at least the minimum payment on every bill in order to preserve the extra 1% in cash back. The payment is due no later than the first day of your next billing cycle. To help you keep track of the cash back rewards you're earning, Citi maintains a "Purchase Tracker" for your card account. You only earn cash back on the balance shown on your Purchase Tracker.
Rewards Redemption Details
Cardholders have three main redemption options with this card:
- Request a check
- Redeem cash-back balance for a statement credit
- Redeem cash-back for a credit to your linked Citi checking or savings account, or to a checking account that you have used to pay your Citi credit card bill at least twice
A couple of minor caveats apply for redemptions, though, compared with some other cards. Competitors like the Capital One Quicksilver—which pays a lower 1.5% cash back rewards—allow you to redeem rewards for any amount at any time. With the Citi Double Cash, however, your rewards balance must reach at least $25 in order to request redemption. That could take some cardholders a while—since you need to charge and pay off $1,250 to reach that rewards balance. Also, where rewards with many cards never expire, those with this card do, so if you don't earn cash back on purchases or payments for 12 months.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most out of this card is pretty straightforward, since there’s no need to worry about spending caps or rotating categories. You’ll earn the most with the Citi Double cash card if you simply use it for every expense you can, from groceries to major household costs. The only exceptions might be for purchases on which you own another card that pays a better rate on any particular purchase.
Charging purchases to the card earns you 1% in cash back. When those purchases are paid off, you automatically receive the remaining 1% in cash back, for a total of 2%. The cash back you earn for any month remains in your account, as a future reward, as long as you make at least the minimum payment every month.
Paying off your balance in full every month, then, maximizes how rapidly you receive rewards. And adding authorized users to the card can also help maximize rewards as a whole.
If you're the average American household, we estimate you’d earn at least $320 in cash-back rewards on this card each year. Here's how we did the math to reach that figure.
Using the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we assume that you would use this card to pay for purchases in five expense categories: food, apparel, fuel, entertainment, and personal care. Assuming your spending was indeed typical, those expenses combined would result in $15,892 per year on your credit card.
Assuming you pay off your balance in full each month, and so incur no interest charges and immediately receive all your cash back, you'd earn just over $320 over the course of the year, merely on those five core spending categories.
Using this card for other major expenses, whether necessary or indulgences, can naturally help boost your rewards still further. Let's assume that in addition to the spending scenario in the example above, you also charge several major expenses to the card, totaling $10,000 for the year. Perhaps you elect to have landscaping done or undertake a home renovation, or you incur a major home-maintenance bill, such replacing your HVAC system.
The additional $10,000 in spending would add $200 to your cash back for the year, again assuming on-time payments of the full balance. Added to the $320 in cash-back from everyday expenses, your rewards for the year would total $520.
Citi Double Cash Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Lost Wallet Service that replaces your card and provides you with emergency cash
- Contactless-chip enabled card
- 24/7 customer service
- 24/7 fraud protection
- Identity theft solutions
- $0 fraud liability
- Ability to add the card to a digital wallet
- Special access to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more
According to the 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction study, Citi ranked sixth out of 11 card issuers. Its score was 801, just a few points below the national average for credit-card issuers.
As a Citi customer, as with most other card companies, you can get help with your card or account 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Just call 1-800-347-4934.
The card's security features are fairly standard and are not extensive. They include:
- Ability to lock your card if it's lost or stolen with Citi QuickLock
- Free access to your FICO credit score
The high flat-rate rewards and simplicity of this card makes it a valuable option for those who want easy-to-earn cash back on everyday spending. Its combined 2% cash-back rewards help make up for its lack of a one-time offer. It’s among the best flat-rate cash-back cards available, especially since it lacks an annual fee.
It can be a strong companion to a card that offers a high rate on bonus or rotating categories in areas where consumers typically spend the most. The Discover It Cash Back card, for example, offers 5% cash back on various categories each quarter, including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. Using the two cards together would maximize cash-back earnings.
While the Citi Double cash card is a great choice for anyone seeking cash back, it isn't the best option for international travelers. There's a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases and it lacks the higher rewards and perks of cards that focus on travel.