Citi® Double Cash Card Is One of the Top All-Purpose Cash Back Credit Cards: Review

Oct 05, 2016 | 4 Comments

Citi double cash credit card

With so many cash back credit cards to choose from, it can be difficult for some people to pick the right one for them. The Citi® Double Cash Card is a solution to that problem. It truly is a solid choice for nearly anyone who wants to earn cash back on their spending.

The card offers a cash back program that can pay an effective 2% cash back on all your spending. Such a card program is ideal for people who prefer simple cash back rewards at no annual fee.

We analyzed the Citi® Double Cash Card to see if it is the right card for you:

Earn 2% Cash Back on Everything

The Citi® Double Cash Card actually pays unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. Then, you’ll earn another 1% cash back on any payments made toward your account balance. (In order to earn the 1% cash back, you must have met the minimum payment due.)

There’s a psychological play here. Citi is using that extra 1% cash back as an incentive for good repayment habits. Want that cash back? You better pay off that balance.

We have to be very careful to say that you can earn an effective 2% cash back on all spending. Why? It has to do with one of the cash back redemption options.

Your cash back redemption options include:

  • Mailed paper checks
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credits

Statement credits, in particular, will reduce your account balance. Therefore, you’re not going to make a payment. This would be a missed opportunity to earn 1% cash back. To earn the full 2% cash back with the Citi® Double Cash Card, do not redeem cash back as a statement credit.

Most of the other cash back credit cards will provide a base 1% cash back rate on all purchases. Meanwhile, certain categories will earn a higher cash back rate. These other cards can be complicated if they have limits on the amount of cash back you can earn. Some go as far as to changing bonus categories every few months. They can be quite beneficial to people who have clearcut spending patterns.

The Citi® Double Cash Card keeps it simple by offering as much as twice the base cash back rate.

Is it a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express?

When you apply for the Citi® Double Cash Card, it’s not clear whether it is accepted on the Visa, MasterCard, or American Express networks. Citi has been known to partner with all three networks for its credit cards.

After speaking with a Citi representative, we learned that it does come in Visa and MasterCard versions. The MasterCard version is the default card. You can request that it be converted to a Visa card. Because the card’s perks will be quite similar regardless of which version you choose, pick your preference.

No Outrageous Fees or APR

In addition to a simple cash back program, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

The card’s interest rates are also normal for a rewards card. Ultimately, you should be paying the balance off in full every month. If you carry a balance, the interest charges will cancel out the cash back earned. It will defeat the purpose of getting the Citi® Double Cash Card in the first place.

Travel Perks Have You Covered

There is a sizable list of perks that come with the Citi® Double Cash Card. These are some of the most noteworthy benefits:

  • First-time late fee waived. Citi will not charge a late payment fee for the first time that you miss the payment due date. Normally, the late fee could be as much as $35.
  • Citi® Price Rewind. This is a program that will track the price of something that you bought recently. If a cheaper price is found online within 60 days, you could be refunded the difference.
  • Travel accident insurance. In the event of a tragic accident during a trip, financial help could be available for you and your family.
  • Trip cancellation & interruption protection. If your trip is canceled before it started or during the trip for a covered reason, you can be refunded for prepaid expenses.
  • Car rental insurance. Don’t pay for insurance through the car rental agency because it comes free with the Citi® Double Cash Card.
  • Concierge service. You have free access to concierge agents who act as personal assistants for research on shopping, dining, and entertainment.
  • Free FICO credit score. Every month, you can track your FICO credit score for free. Normally, you have to pay to check it.

Generally, the card perks of the Citi® Double Cash Card are rather standard for most credit cards nowadays. You're likely to make the most use of the free FICO credit scores. The travel coverages are nice to have available in case you ever need to make a claim (albeit in rare cases).

Compared to Other Citi Rewards Cards

The Citi® Double Cash Card is just one of the many rewards credit cards offered by Citi. If you were looking for a Citi rewards card in general, see how this card compares to Citi’s alternatives:

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is Citi’s basic rewards credit card. You can earn 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment. All other spending earns 1 points per dollar. Aside from the rewards program, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card and Citi® Double Cash Card are identical (including fees, APRs, and perks).

The Citi® Double Cash Card is better of the two cards because you’re likely to earn more rewards with it. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card only offers double points on two categories and each ThankYou point is only worth $0.50 in cash. In terms of cash back, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card offers 1% cash back on dining and entertainment and 0.5% cash back on everything else.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be seen as an upgrade of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. It has all the features of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, but with more rewards and perks. However, it does have a $95 annual fee.

You’ll also get 3 points per dollar spent on travel and gas. There is no foreign transaction fee for using your card internationally (usually 3%). Your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Citi’s travel booking portal. Finally, your points can be transferred to the loyalty programs operated by partnered airlines.

For frequent travelers, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card may be the better choice compared to the Citi® Double Cash Card. Remember that one has an annual fee while the other does not. It is still very possible for the Citi® Double Cash Card to yield more rewards after accounting for the annual fee.

Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card

The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card is no longer available to new customers. However, many existing Citi customers still have it. It has no annual fee. It offers a cash back program with 5% cash back on certain categories that change every 3 months. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

It’s a tough comparison between the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card. The decision will be entirely based on your spending habits. If you don’t take advantage for the 5% cash back categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card is obviously the better choice.

A better move may be to have both cards. The strategy is to use the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card when you will earn 5% cash back. Otherwise, use the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Good Credit Score Required

For a fairly decent rewards credit card such as theCiti® Double Cash Card, it isn't surprising that you would need a strong credit score. Although credit card issuers don't reveal the credit score requirements to qualify for a card, we have looked throughout the web to get a general idea. For the Citi® Double Cash Card, expect to have at least "good" credit before you apply.

There are also reported cases where applicants were denied even with excellent credit. Other factors may have played a role in the rejection. So, it is important that your annual income and monthly housing expenses are in good shape before applying.

Credit Score Ranges Credit Quality Effect on Ability to Obtain Loans
300-559 Very Bad Extremely difficult to obtain traditional loans and line of credit. Advised to use secured credit cards and loans to help rebuild credit.
560-649 Bad May be able to qualify for some loans and lines of credit, but the interest rates are likely to be high.
650-699 Average/Fair Eligible for many traditional loans, but the interest rates and terms may not be the best.
700-749 Good Valuable benefits come in the form of loans and lines of credit with comprehensive perks and low interest rates.
750-850 Excellent Qualify easily for most loans and lines of credit with low interest rates and favorable terms.

Final Verdict: Great for Nearly Any Consumer

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a credit card that deserves a spot in everyone’s wallet. It happens to be one of our most-recommended cash back credit cards. It is simple and very rewarding for all shoppers.

The only people who shouldn’t get it are those who do not pay off their entire balances every month. Otherwise, you’re likely to find use for the Citi® Double Cash Card.

It works great as the only credit card you own. If you really want to maximize your cash back earnings, the Citi® Double Cash Cardis a great card to complement the rest of your rewards cards. You can also have other top-notch rewards cards for certain types of spending. For all the purchases that would yield at least 3% rewards, use the Citi® Double Cash Card instead.

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Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 10:47 PM
<p>The card's expiration date, along with the card number, is printed on the back side of the card.</p>
Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 9:52 PM
<p>does this card have an expiration date? It's not stamped like other credit cards.</p>
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 8:53 PM
<p>This is an inactivity clause that gives Citi the right to wipe out the cash back that you earned. (Sounds pretty bad when I put it that way.)</p><p>Essentially, if you don't use your card to buy something or don't make a payment toward a card balance for 1 year (and therefore, you won't earn any cash back because no cash-back-earning transactions took place), you'll lose your entire cash back balance.</p>
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 8:44 PM
<p>Simon can you explain the following disclaimer from Double Cash Rewards card by Citibank. <br>Cash Rewards Expiration: Your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back from purchases or payments for 12 months. Thanks.</p>