2017 Citi Double Cash Review – WalletHub Editors
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
The Verdict: As its commercials and name indicate, the Citi Double Cash Credit Card offers 1% cash back twice (once when you make a purchase and again when you pay your bill) and doesn’t detract from your earning potential with an annual fee. That might sound good, not great – especially when juxtaposed with offers for 5, 10, even 15 points or miles per dollar spent in certain categories – but it’s enough to make Double Cash the best cash back credit card on the market and one of the most rewarding cards overall, according to WalletHub research.
In other words, Citi (a WalletHub advertising partner) clearly has a blockbuster on its hands with this elegantly rewarding offer, which comes at no cost to qualified applicants and promotes responsible habits in an era of low financial literacy. So if you have excellent credit, don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month, and value everyday savings above travel rewards, make sure to vote Double Cash this year. It’s the best everyday rewards card that you can get, and your wallet will surely thank you!
Clearly Lucrative Ongoing Rewards: The beauty of this offer is that while rewards are its calling card, there isn’t much explanation needed to convey the deal. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on what they spend and another 1% on what they pay. So if you charge $500 to your Citi Double Cash card in a given month and then pay off the entire balance by the due date, you will earn a total of $10 in cash back. If, on the other hand, you only pay half your balance by the due date, you’ll earn only $7.50.
Again, these amounts don’t seem like much. But most people who have the credit standing needed to qualify for this card don’t spend just $500 per month. Someone who charges $3,000 to their card and pays their bill in full each month, for example, would accrue $720 in cash back over the course of a year. What’s more, in direct contrast to many points- and miles-based credit cards, cash back rewards cannot be devalued by issuers, and you won’t have to wait for a vacation that may be months away to benefit from redemption. Keep in mind, however, that you will not accrue earnings on interest payments – yet another reason to always pay in full!
- Lack Of Annual Fee Takes A Load Off Your Wallet (And Mind): Many of the best rewards credit cards require users to pay annual membership dues in return for their elevated earning rates. Citi’s Double Cash isn’t one of them. And that’s all you really need to know.
Cash Back Redemption Flexibility: Cardholders may redeem cash back earnings in the following forms:
- Statement Credit
- Gift Card
- Direct Deposit to Citi Savings or Checking Account
There are three major fees to consider when reviewing any credit card offer, and Double Cash has eliminated the most important one. The other two fees, however, will inherently affect either the way in which you use this card or the amount it ultimately saves you.
- Where’s The Bonus? The Double Cash’s biggest weakness is its lack of a sign-up bonus. While many issuers front-load their offers to catch the eye of applicants in search of instant gratification, Citi appears to be interested in promoting long-term relationships with the new customers it acquires with this product. This is certainly something to take into account, considering how lucrative initial bonuses have become and their unclear staying power, but it’s also important to remember that an initial bonus’ value diminishes the longer you plan to keep your account open.
- Welcome Home To A Bill: Double Cash assesses a 3% surcharge on transactions processed internationally. While this is common among credit cards, it’s also a deal breaker if you regularly travel outside the U.S. In such a case, you'll want to get a Visa or Mastercard with no foreign transaction fee.
- Redemption Is Not Without Restriction: Cash back earnings can only be redeemed once you’ve accrued at least $25.
Other Things To Consider
- Potential For A Very High Regular APR: If you get approved for the Citi Double Cash Card, you will be assigned a regular APR that could be as low as 14.24% or as high as 24.24%, depending on your creditworthiness. For context, the average credit card for people with the good credit needed to qualify for Double Cash charges 18.14%, according to our latest Credit Card Landscape Report, while the average card for people with fair credit charges 22%. That should underscore how important it is to always pay your monthly bill in full with a rewards card like Double Cash.
- Balance Transfer Fees Are Lurking: Don’t get tricked into using this card to reduce the cost of existing debt. Despite offering 0% interest on transferred balances for the first 18 months, this card wasn’t built for finance-charge minimization. Its 3% balance transfer fee is proof of that.
Compared To The Competition
We love Citi Double Cash because it offers the powerful duo of simplicity and great value. There are no bonus categories or annual fees to worry about. You just have to pay your bill in full every month, and you’ll receive a handsome reward for your trouble. That said, some people might be able to earn more with another card, particularly those who travel a lot. And Double Cash is unlikely to be the answer if you want to transfer a balance.
Keep that in mind as you consider the following breakdown of how Citi Double Cash compares to its most notable competitors, which just so happen to be the cream of the credit-card crop.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
Rates & Fees
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|Ongoing Rewards||1% + 1% Cash Back||1.5% Cash Back||1.5% Cash Back||1 - 10% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||0% for 9 months||0% for 15 months||0% for 12 months|
|Transfer Intro APR||0% for 18 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|0% for 9 months|
Transfer Fee: 3%
|0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
|0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||14.24% - 24.24% (V)||13.74% - 23.74% (V)||15.74% - 24.49% (V)||13.74% - 23.74% (V)|
|Minimum Security Deposit||None||None||None||None|
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