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Citi Double Cash
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

Citi Double Cash Is the Best Flat Rate Rewards No Annual Fee Card

The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the rare cash back credit cards to let you earn 2% cash back on every purchase. In contrast, most other flat rate cash back cards only allow you to earn 1.5% cash back. When the Citi Double Cash is paired with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card, the points can be transferred to the ThankYou reward program (which can be transferred to airline partners). There is also a long intro period (18 months) for balance transfer made within 120 days. Unlike other credit cards, Citi allows you to transfer balances from both credit card and non-credit card balances. That means you can transfer balances from student loans, auto loans etc.


Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Intro Balance Transfer APR 0% Intro APR for 18 months from date of transfer when transfer is within 4 months of account opening
Regular APR 13.99% to 23.99%
Balance Transfer Fee Greater of $5 or 3% of balance transfer
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
Chip and PIN Yes - Signature Preferred


No Annual Fee & APR - Like most credit cards, the Citi Double Cash has no annual fee. The APR ranges from an average rate at the low end to a high APR at the upper range.

Balance Transfer Deal - Citi Double Cash offers new card holders a 0% APR deal for balance transfer for 18 months. You have 4 months to transfer your balance over to be eligible for the 0% deal. You do have to pay a balance transfer fee of the greater of $5 or 3% of the transfer amount.

Chip and PIN - Signature Preferred - All Citi Cards come with Chip and PIN. It is signature preferred which means it will default to signature first if the card processor is signature enabled.
 


Cash Back Program - 1% on Purchase + 1% Pay Back = 2%

2% Flat Rate Cash Back - With this card, you will earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase on the card. You will earn another 1% when you pay it off. So in total, you will earn 2%.

Cash Back Redemption - The cash back you earn can be redeemed in a few ways. You can redeem for statement credits, check or a direct deposit in your Citi checking account. Tip: You should not redeem via statement credit because you are paid 1% when you pay off your balance. When you redeem cash back for statement credits, that does not count as a "payment" and you do not earn 1% cash back on the amount that you redeemed via statement credit. It is better if you redeemed with a check and then use that to pay off the statement (thereby earning the 1% cash back when you pay off your balance).

Merge Points with ThankYou Program with Airline Partners - If you have a Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige Card, the ThankYou Points you earn can be transferred to airline partners. If you have either of these cards together with a Citi Double Cash, the points you earn on the Citi Double Cash can be transferred to those ThankYou accounts and they can then be transferred to airline partners if you choose to do so.
 


Competition

Card Annual Fee Cash Back Foreign Transaction Fee
Citi Double Cash $0 2% 3%
Fidelity Cash Rewards $0 2% 3%
Paypal Mastercard $0 2% 0%
Alliant Cash Back $99 2.5% 3%
Chase Freedom Unlimited $0 1.5% 3%
Capital One QuickSilver $0 1.5% 0%
Amex Cash Magnet $0 1.5% 3%
Wells Fargo Cash Wise $0 1.5% 3%


Compared to 1.5% Cash Back Cards - The main competition for Citi Double Cash comes from other flat rate cash back credit cards. As you can see from table above, almost all flat rate credit cards offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases. So right off the bat, the Citi Double Cash beats a whole bunch of them.

Compared to other 2% Cash Back Cards - However, there are two other cards that either match or beat Citi's 2%. The Fidelity Cash Rewards also gives you 2% cash back on all purchases. However, you need a Fidelity account to get that credit card. And the cash back you earn has to be deposited in one of your Fidelity accounts. They do have a "cash management account", which you can withdraw cash from. But unless you have an account with Fidelity, this rules out those that do not intend to have a relationship with them.

The other card to really compare with is the Alliant Cash Back Card that allows you to earn 2.5% cash back (for up to $10,000 in monthly spend). However, there is an annual fee of $99. Having said that, if you spend above a certain amount, you will earn more cash back with this card than the Citi Double Cash.

Compared to Trifecta Cards - Aside from the cash back that you earn, the Citi Double Cash also offers the option to transfer the cash back or points you earn to Citi's ThankYou program if you have the Premier or Prestige card. This is important because the ThankYou points from these cards can be transferred to airline partners (which some of you can get more value). The only comparable credit card to do that is the Chase Freedom Unlimited where you can transfer points to Ultimate Rewards Program if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and use these points for transfer to airline partners. Most other flat rate cash back cards do not offer this option as they are really pure cash back cards.

Finally, there is one more area where the Citi Double Cash shines relatively to it's competitors. And that is they do not charge any foreign transaction fee. Furthermore, all of Citi's cards including this one is Chip and PIN though it is signature preferred. So this is a great card to use abroad. In contrast, most of these 1.5% flat rate cards charge a foreign transaction fee and many do not have Chip and PIN. Only cards from credit unions like BECU cash back credit card do not charge any foreign transaction fee.


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 2% is highest flat rate cash back - 2% cash back on all purchases is the highest available in today's flat rate cash back credit card market. The rest of the pack offer only 1.5%.

  • Long Intro Period for Balance Transfers - The Citi Double Cash has a 18 months intro period for their 0% APR balance transfer offer. It is the second longest intro period in the market today.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee - The Citi Double Cash does not charge any foreign transaction fee so this makes it a great card to use when you travel abroad.

  • Many Ways to Redeem Cash Back - Unlike many cash back cards, this cards offers you a variety of ways to redeem your cash back. You can redeem as statement credit (very common), via a check or direct deposit (not very common) or transfer points to airline partners (if you have a Citi Prestige Card).

  • Can Transfer Points To Airline Partners If Paired with Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige - If you have either the Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige, you can merge your points with the Citi ThankYou program from these cards and transfer points to airline partners.

  • Chip and PIN - Citi offers Chip and PIN though it is signature preferred.

  • Free FICO Score - Card members will get a free FICO score from Equifax that is updated monthly

Cons

  • Charges Foreign Transaction Fee - It is a pity that the DoubleCash charges a foreign transaction fee. That means if you travel abroad, this is not the card to use.


Our Take: Citi Double Cash Should Be in Your Wallet

Let's cut to the chase. The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the best credit cards available and most folks should have this card in their wallet. There are so many reasons to get this card.

  1. As a standalone flat rate cash back card - Some of you simply want to use ONE cash back credit card only and cannot be bothered by rotating categories or bonus categories. If this describes you, then the Citi Double Cash is definitely the best flat rate cash back credit card because it lets you earn 2% on every purchase. This is higher than the standard 1.5% on other flat rate cards. Yes, the Fidelity Cash Back Visa also offers 2% cash back (but you need to have an account with them). So does Paypal Mastercard (you need a Paypal account). Alliant Credit Union (you need to join them) also has a 2.5% cash back credit card but it comes with a $99 annual fee. But for most of you, the Citi Double Cash is a best flat rate cash back card.

  2. As a combination with other cash back cards - Those of you who like combining cash back credit cards need to have the Citi Double Cash in your wallet. While you may earn more than 2% on rotating categories or bonus categories, the Citi Double Cash is the only credit card lets you earn 2% for your "other regular purchase" category instead of 1% for regular credit cards and 1.5% for flat rate credit cards.

  3. As part of Citi Trifecta Strategy - Those of you who have the Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige should add the Citi Double Cash to Your portfolio as part of the Citi Trifecta strategy. As mentioned earlier, if you have both the Citi Prestige (or Preferred) and Cit Double Cash, the cash back/points you earn can be transferred to the ThankYou account of the either the Citi Premier or Prestige and those points can be transferred to airline partners. If you just had the Citi Double Cash without either the Citi Premier or Prestige, you cannot transfer the points you earn to airline partners. By pairing up, Citi Premier or Prestige card holders can earn 2X on "regular purchases" rather than just 1X.

To Sum Up - The Citi Double Cash is one of the best credit cards available to consumers today. You can earn more cash back than a regular flat rate cash back card. And when paired with either the Citi Premier or Prestige, you can earn more ThankYou points that can be transferred to airline partners. Furthermore, they offer a pretty long balance transfer deal for 18 months. Citi allows you to transfer student loans, auto loans and basically other non-credit card debt you have. This is in contrast to issuers like Chase, which only allows you to transfer credit card debt from other issuers. Another area which this card shines over others is that they have Chip and PIN cards (though it is signature preferred). This makes the Citi Double Cash a great card to use when you travel abroad. Overall, this card should be in many of your wallets.


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