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Citi Double Cash Credit Card Review

Pros Explained

  • Great cashback on unlimited purchases: This card offers unlimited cashback of 1% on purchases plus another 1% when you pay your bill, with no restrictions or spending caps. That rate is hard to beat, especially for a card with no annual fee. Competing cards with a flat rate on all purchases pay just 1.5% cashback.
  • Great intro APR on balance transfers: This card has an attractive introductory offer if you’re transferring a balance from another card or cards within your first four months with the card. You get a 0% APR for the first 18 billing cycles, which is a more extended period than many such offers. Not uncommonly, there’s a fee of $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater. After the 0% introductory period, the variable APR varies with a standard range of 13.99% to 23.99%.

Cons Explained

  • No one-time offer: Most competing cards provide a one-time cash offer, but the Citi Double Cash offers none. True, the typical bonus for a cashback card tends to be lower than those for other card types, but it’s still substantial, generally ranging from $150 to $250.
  • Miss a payment, lose half the cashback: This is not an ideal rewards card if you occasionally skip a payment, whether due to a memory lapse or tight finances. If you don’t pay at least the minimum due on your card in any month, you’ll lose the matching 1% in cashback paid after payment is received. (Of course, as is customary, you’ll also get dinged with a $40 late-payment fee and interest on your balance.)

The Citi Double Cash credit card is most appealing to those searching for a no-fee card that’s simple to use and earns excellent cashback rewards. If you’re not the type to masterpoints schemes or register for quarterly bonus-rewards categories, this card’s great cashback earning rate offers effortless and dependable tips on everyday spending.

It’s also a fine choice if you’re a more motivated consumer who wants an advantageous default card with others that offer higher rewards on certain purchases. You’d then pick and choose the most rewarding card by the transaction. For example, you might pull out the American Express Blue Cash Preferred at supermarkets and pay for streaming services, which earn 6% cashback, and gas and transit purchases, which make 3% cashback. You’d then charge everything else to your Citi Double cash card.

Rewards Earning Details

Cardholders can ultimately earn 2% cashback with this card. You get unlimited 1% cashback when you make a purchase. You then earn an additional 1% cashback when you make payment on those purchases.

You can make payments at once or over time to earn cashback, but you must complete at least the minimum amount on every bill to preserve the extra 1% in cashback. The price is due no later than the first day of your next billing cycle. To help you keep track of the cashback rewards you’re earning, Citi maintains a “Purchase Tracker” for your card account. You only earn cash back on balance shown on your Purchase Tracker.

Rewards Redemption Details

Cardholders have three main redemption options with this card:

  • Request a check 
  • Redeem cashback balance for a statement credit 
  • Redeem cashback for a credit to your linked Citi checking or savings account or to a checking account that you have used to pay your Citi credit card bill at least twice
  • Convert to points

A couple of minor caveats apply for redemptions, though, compared with some other cards. Competitors like Capital One Quicksilver—which pays a lower 1.5% cashback rewards—allow you to redeem rewards for any amount. However, with the Citi Double Cash, your rewards balance must reach at least $25 to request redemption. That could take some cardholders a while—since you need to charge and pay off $1,250 to get that rewards balance.

Also, whereas rewards with many cards never expire, those with this card do, so if you don’t earn cashback on purchases or payments for 12 months.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Getting the most out of this card is pretty straightforward since there’s no need to worry about spending caps or rotating categories. You’ll earn the most with the Citi Double cash card if you use it for every expense, from groceries to high household costs. The only exceptions might be for purchases on which you own another card that pays a better rate on any particular investment.

Charging purchases to the card earns you 1% in cashback. When those purchases are paid off, you automatically receive the remaining 1% in cash back, 2%. The cashback you earn for any month remains in your account as a future reward, as long as you make at least the minimum payment every month. 

Paying off your balance in full every month maximizes how rapidly you receive rewards. And adding authorized users to the card can also help maximize rewards as a whole.

Average Case

If you’re the average American household, we estimate you’d earn at least $264 in cashback rewards on this card each year. Here’s how we did the math to reach that figure.

Using the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we assume that you would use this card to pay for purchases in five expense categories: food, apparel, fuel, entertainment, and personal care. Assuming your spending was typical, those combined expenses would result in $13,230 per year on your credit card.

Assuming you pay off your balance in full each month, incur no interest charges, and immediately receive all your cash back, you’d earn just over $264 over the year, merely on those five core spending categories.

Aspirational Case

Whether necessary or indulgences, using this card for other significant expenses can naturally help boost your rewards further. In addition to the spending scenario in the example above, you also charge several tremendous costs to the card, totaling $10,000 for the year. Perhaps you elect to have landscaping done or undertake a home renovation or incur a significant home maintenance bill, such as replacing your HVAC system.

The additional $10,000 in spending would add $200 to your cashback for the year, again assuming on-time payments of the entire balance. Added to the $264 in cash back from everyday expenses, your rewards for the year would total $464.

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