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The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the best all-around credit cards that's available. It has a simple but effective rewards structure: Get 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% as you pay, effectively making it a 2% cash back card. There are other cards that may get you higher cash back rates, but they'll require you to "activate" categories and pay attention to changing bonus categories. In comparison, the Citi® Double Cash Card is much simpler to use, making it one of the best options, especially for people who are looking for one card to utilize for all their expenses.
Citi® Double Cash Card: One of the Best Cash Back Credit Cards
There are dozens of cash back credit cards to choose from, but most of them provide cash back rates that range from 1% to 1.5% back. This is what makes the Citi® Double Cash Card so great. It offers 1% cash back on your purchases and another 1% as you pay (effectively 2% cash back).
|Credit Needed||Excellent, Good|
If you're someone who only uses one credit card for all your spending, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you opt for a card with a lower cash back rate. Depending on how much you spend per year, you may miss out on hundreds of cash-back dollars. As highlighted in the table below, the difference in cash back rates is quite significant, especially at higher spending levels.
|Annual Spend on Credit Card||Citi® Double Cash Card (Effective 2% cash back)||1.5% cash back card||1.0% cash back card||Max - Min|
To be clear, some users will be able to get more cash back from cards like the Chase Freedom® or the Discover it® Cash Back, both of which have rotating bonus categories. However, doing so requires diligence, as you'll have to keep track of the cards' bonus categories and you'll also have to activate the categories in your account. If this doesn't sound appealing to you, the Citi® Double Cash Card is likely the best choice for you. Otherwise, we suggest reading about the other cards in the comparison section, below.
There's two main drawbacks of getting the Citi® Double Cash Card: The card doesn't currently offer a sign-up bonus and it has a foreign transaction fee. Competing cards will generally reward applicants with a one-time bonus, which ranges in value but is typically around $150. To get the bonus, users must spend a few hundred dollars on the card within a period of about three months. Also, the Citi® Double Cash Card has a foreign transaction fee of 3%, meaning it's not ideal for frequent international travelers.
Bottom line: The Citi® Double Cash Card is among the best cash back credit cards, especially if you don't want to think about which card to use for specific expenses. It's a jack-of-all-trades that will earn you a high cash back rate every time you use it.
Redeeming Your Cash Back on the Citi® Double Cash Card
To redeem the cash back you earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card, you'll first have to accrue a rewards balance of $25 or more. Once you've met the threshold, you can redeem your rewards on Citi's website through a few different methods:
- Request a check of at least $25.
- Redeem for a statement credit for at least $25.
- Redeem for a credit to your linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account from which you've paid a Citi credit card bill at least two times.
It's fairly common to see cash back cards require you to earn a certain rewards balance before you're able to redeem. Therefore, we don't consider this to be a major downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card. To get a $25 rewards balance, you'll have to spend at least $1,250 on the card.
How Does the Citi® Double Cash Card Compare to Other Cards?
If you're just after one card to put all your spending, then the Citi® Double Cash Card is the best choice for you. However, if you're someone who's willing to utilize multiple credit cards or you're someone who diligently tracks your credit card spending, then you may want to consider a few other options listed below.
The Citi® Double Cash Card vs the Chase Freedom®
Unlike the Citi® Double Cash Card, which awards a flat cash back rate, the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on spending categories that change every quarter. Spending outside of the rotating categories will earn you just 1% cash back; therefore, the card is best used toward the bonus categories for that given quarter. The Chase Freedom® also limits spending in these bonus categories to $1,500 per quarter (which will get you $75 in cash back for the 5% categories) and you'll have to activate them in your account.
If you're able to take advantage of the Chase Freedom®'s bonus categories, it'll be the better card most of the time. That said, both cards come without an annual fee, so there's limited downside to applying for both cards. Doing so would allow you to get 5% cash back in the Chase Freedom®'s rotating categories and 2% back on all other purchases with the Citi® Double Cash Card.
The Citi® Double Cash Card vs the Discover it® Cash Back
|Credit Needed||Excellent, Good|
The Discover it® Cash Back functions similarly to the Chase Freedom®. It awards cardholders with 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum each time it's activated, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. That means you'll get an excellent cash back rate if your spending aligns with the 5% cash back categories. If it doesn't, or if you'd rather not have to keep track of rotating categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card is the much better card choice for you.
It's worth noting that the Discover it® Cash Back is better than the Citi® Double Cash Card when it comes to rewards in the short term. That's because Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. So if you earn $100 in cash back, you'll be awarded with an additional $100. In stark contrast, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn't currently offer a bonus at sign up or after the first year. That said, we advise applicants to always think about their long-term usage of a card.
The Citi® Double Cash Card vs the Chase Freedom Unlimited®
In the long run, the better card between the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will always be the Citi® Double Cash Card. That's because the Citi® Double Cash Card offers superior cash back rewards (effectively 2% back versus the 1.5% back available through the Chase Freedom Unlimited®). However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® currently comes with a $150 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, so it can be a solid card for earning quick cash back.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is at its best when it's paired with another card in the Chase family, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Pairing the two cards allows users to transfer their points from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Once the points are transferred, they can be redeemed for 25% more value through Chase Ultimate Rewards, effectively boosting the card's rewards rate to 1.875%.
Cash Back Credit Card Comparison Tool
If you're still unsure of which card is the best for you, use our credit card comparison tool below. It allows you to enter your monthly expenses and receive an estimate of how much each card will earn you in cash back rewards.