Card Review: Citi® Double Cash Card
Earn More With A Great Rewards Rate And No Annual Fee
Consumers looking to get the most bang for their buck can be hard-pressed to find the right credit card to fit their spending profile. Many credit cards offer a tiered rewards system, giving you bonus rewards on certain purchases and mediocre rewards on the rest.
But with the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll get an impressive rewards rate on every purchase. The card’s rewards structure also encourages you to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. That’s not bad for an industry that prefers the opposite.
The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy and another 1% back when you pay. This means that the sooner you pay off your balance, the sooner you get your cash back. The card also charges no annual fee, so it’s a great option for both high and low spenders. After the first 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers, the standard APR for the card is 15.49% – 25.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Other perks include purchase protection in case an item you purchase is lost or stolen, price protection in case the price on an item you bought drops, and an extended warranty on everything you buy with a manufacturer’s warranty. You’ll even get some travel benefits including car rental insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and travel accident insurance.
Sign-up Bonus and Introductory Features
The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but you will get an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. The balance transfers must be completed within four months of opening the account to qualify for the promotion. There’s also a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.
With the Citi® Double Cash Card, slow and steady wins the race. The card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but its ongoing rewards rate is higher than those cash back cards that do.
For example, say you’re comparing the card with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months; If you spend $2,000 a month, you’ll earn $480 in rewards the first year with the Citi® Double Cash Card and $510 with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, including the sign-up bonus. After just 15 months you’ll break even, and beyond that, you’ll earn more with the Citi® Double Cash Card.
The card’s balance transfer promotion is also a highlight with 18 months of 0% APR and a reasonable balance transfer fee. If you use the card regularly, the rewards program on new purchases can eventually make up for the fee. The stacking of both these features makes the Double Cash a unique contender in the cash back category.
The Citi® Double Cash Card also comes with Citi’s price protection program, Price Rewind. While many other cards offer price protection, this one stands head and shoulders above them. All you need to do is register your purchase, and the issuer will track price drops for you. If it finds one, you’ll be refunded the difference automatically. This process takes out the legwork that’s required with many other issuers.
While the Citi® Double Cash Card’s high rewards rate can make up for its lack of sign-up bonus over the long run, some people simply prefer the incentive of a bonus. For people who don’t spend a lot each month, it would take much longer to make up for the lack of a bonus.
The card’s 0% APR promotion on balance transfers is impressive, but is not as generous as the 21-month interest-free period offered by Citi’s Simplicity® Card. Consider that card if you’re looking to transfer a balance and finance a large purchase, since that card offers a 0% APR promotion on new purchases.
Lastly, while the card’s rewards rate is solid, people who spend a lot in one or two categories may find better rewards elsewhere. For example, the Discover it® Card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter. Historically, these have included Amazon.com, gas stations, restaurants and wholesale clubs.
Make sure to review your spending over the last month to determine if a card with bonus categories is a better choice for you. In some cases, it may even be wise to have two cards to maximize rewards. For example, use the Discover it® Card for its 5% categories and the Citi® Double Cash Card on everything else.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a simple cash back credit card with a high rewards rate, the Citi® Double Cash Card fits the bill. If you need to do a balance transfer, you’ll have a year and a half to pay down your debt interest-free. What’s more, the card’s lucrative rewards program can make up for its balance transfer fee.
Simply put, the card is worth holding onto for it’s long term value. It might not be as flashy from the get-go, but unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee is one of the best offers on the market today.