Citi Double Cash Comes Out Ahead vs. Bank of America Customized Cash

For most, Citi's industry-leading cash-back card is the clear winner over Bank of America®'s offering, even with relationship bonuses factored in.
Claire Tsosie
By Claire Tsosie 
Updated
Edited by Paul Soucy
Citi Double Cash vs BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

For almost any cardholder, the Citi Double Cash® Card can deliver significantly more cash back over time than the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card will. Even if you have a Bank of America® account, and you're deciding between rewards and convenience, the Citi Double Cash® Card will probably still come out ahead.

Both cash-back cards are designed to reward you for everyday spending. But the Citi Double Cash® Card outperforms the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card in just about every way. It offers the most rewards for the least cost and hassle, making it a true top-of-wallet card. But you'll need good-to-excellent credit to qualify.

Why the Citi Double Cash® Card is better

The Citi Double Cash® Card features one of the highest cash-back rates you'll find on a flat-rate card. You'll earn an unlimited 2% cash back on your purchases: 1% back when you buy, and 1% back when you pay it off.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, by contrast, is more complicated and earns fewer rewards.

How the cards compare
Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash® Card
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Apply now

on Bank of America's website, or call (877) 754-6706

Annual fee
$0
$0
Sign-up bonus

Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Rewards

1% cash back on all purchases + 1% back on every dollar paid off.

  • 3% cash back in a category of your choice (from a list of options) and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/ grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter; after hitting that threshold, you’ll earn 1% back on these purchases.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR.

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Loyalty bonus

None.

If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn a 25% - 75% rewards bonus on every purchase.

Still not sure?

Here's why the Citi Double Cash® Card is the better choice:

You'll likely earn more rewards in the first year

With the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you get a bonus on every purchase — 25%, 50% or 75% more — if you have combined balances of over $20,000 in affiliated accounts and enroll in the Preferred Rewards program.

In other words, instead of getting 3% back on gas, you could effectively be earning 3.75%, 4.5% or 5.25% back on gas, depending on your balances. (For more on how that works, see our Preferred Rewards page.)

But even if you were to qualify for that loyalty bonus and earn the sign-up bonus on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you'd still be better off with the Citi Double Cash® Card. NerdWallet calculated the cash back that a typical family could expect to earn on each card based on average household spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the assumption that cardholders would use wholesale clubs primarily for grocery purchases. The Citi Double Cash® Card comes out slightly ahead in the first year, even when it isn't offering a sign-up bonus.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although the Citi Double Cash® Card has not traditionally offered a sign-up bonus, the card currently has this offer in effect: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

You'll earn more rewards in following years, too — in most cases

When you take the long view, the chasm in earnings between the two cards only deepens. Sign-up bonus aside, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card trails the Citi Double Cash® Card in rewards by more than $100 annually, assuming average household spending.

In fact, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card gains a substantial rewards lead of nearly $100 on the Citi Double Cash® Card only for people who have $100,000 in combined balances in their eligible Bank of America® accounts and can qualify for the 75% bonus. With the 50% bonus, the rewards are roughly equal to those you'd get from the Citi Double Cash® Card.

Most people can't qualify for these larger bonuses, though. Consider that the median value of a household's interest-earning assets — including savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, certificate of deposits, and interest-earning checking accounts — at financial institutions was $2,450 in 2011, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data available.

The median value of an IRA or Keogh account in the same year — which only about 29% of households reported having in the first place — was $34,000.

It's simpler

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card rewards are more complicated because of its spending caps and loyalty bonuses. It caps bonus rewards on combined gas and grocery purchases at just $2,500 per quarter. You also need to maintain certain balances in your accounts to qualify for the Preferred Rewards bonuses.

The Citi Double Cash® Card is less of a hassle. It offers an unlimited 1% + 1% rewards rate on all categories, and you'll get those larger rewards regardless of how you spend your money or whether you bank with Citi.

The cost of convenience

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has one big thing going for it: convenience. If you bank with Bank of America® and have the card, you'd have the advantage of seeing all your accounts and credit card in one online portal, and that's useful, without a doubt. But it's probably not $100-a-year useful.

Going with the Citi Double Cash® Card is a better choice in almost every case, even if it means keeping your accounts in different places. Follow the best rewards, rather than staying loyal to a single bank, and you'll save a lot more in the long run.

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-6.5%

Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

$300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more travel cards

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Get Started
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.