BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSCITI DOUBLE CASH REVIEW: A SOLID CHOICE FOR EVERYDAY SPENDING

Citi Double Cash Review: A Solid Choice for Everyday Spending

The combined 2% rewards rate — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off — is among the best on any cash-back card, especially for an annual fee of $0.
Gregory Karp Author Avatar
Jul 16, 2024 11:32 a.m. PDT
Edited by
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The Bottom Line

4.9

NerdWallet rating

Although the market has started to catch up, this remains one of the better top-of-wallet cards. Use it by itself every day, or as a companion to bonus category cards.

Citi Double Cash® Card
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1%-5%
Cashback
Intro Offer
$200
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
Regular APR
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1%-5%
Cashback
Intro Offer
$200
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
Regular APR
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Rewards rate

    1%-5%

  • Bonus offer

    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.

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

    Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee 3% of each transfer ($5 min) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, 5% of each transfer ($5 min).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

View Rates and Fees
  • 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.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
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Pros and Cons

Pros

No annual fee

High rewards rate

Intro balance transfer fee

Cons

No intro APR period on purchases

Detailed Review

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a valuable workhorse among credit cards. With superior flat-rate cash back, it’s ideal for consumers who want low-hassle cash rewards on everything they charge. What it lacks in sizzle, it makes up for in daily dependability. It’s a Honda Accord in a credit card market that's lately gotten jammed with Lamborghini wannabes.

Most of what you need to know: The card gives you 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you make it, and another 1% back when you pay it off. Rewards are unlimited, and the annual fee is $0.

The Citi Double Cash® Card stands up well on its own, but it also makes an ideal companion to a bonus-category credit card for those who use a two-card strategy to maximize cash back. And you can transfer rewards to a handful of partners to potentially snag outsize value.

On the downside, the card offers no 0% introductory period for purchases, which is nearly table stakes for top-tier cash back cards. Even so, to get good, reliable rewards with minimum effort (or cost), this card should be among the top few you consider.

Citi Double Cash® Card : Basics

Card type: Cash back.

Annual fee: $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.

Rewards: 2% cash back on purchases, distributed in two stages:

  • 1% back for every dollar spent.

  • 1% back for every dollar paid off.

Through Dec. 31, 2024, cardholders also get 5% total cash back on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel portal.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Technically, rewards earned on the Citi Double Cash® Card appear in a cardholder's account as Citi ThankYou points, but that will not affect your ability to earn or redeem cash back. You'll earn 1 point per $1 spent and 1 point per $1 paid off. Points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back, meaning you'll still get 2% cash back on purchases. See here for more information.

Redemption options: Statement credit, bank account deposit or a check. You can also transfer your points to a handful of partners, including JetBlue, Wyndham and more.

Interest rate: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months and then the ongoing 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: 3% of the amount transferred or $5 (whichever is greater) for transfers completed within the first four months of account opening; 5% fee or $5, whichever is greater, after that.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
REGULAR APR
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
REGULAR APR
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
REGULAR APR
20.49%-29.24% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Benefits and Perks

High rewards rate

The industry standard for cash back used to be 1%. As its name implies, the Citi Double Cash® Card essentially doubles that rate, paying 1% back on purchases and 1% after paying the bill. The sooner you pay your balance, the sooner you earn the second half of the rewards. That's a powerful incentive to pay your credit card bill in full every month, which we recommend you do anyway to avoid interest.

While we still think this is a fine card, it’s not quite the industry unicorn it used to be. Other cards also offer 2% cash back or more on purchases.

🤓Nerdy Tip

When you redeem cash back for a credit on your statement, you don’t earn the second 1%. That’s because you’re not actually paying off that amount; it’s just subtracted from your bill. But that’s a minor consideration. Redeeming a hefty $1,000 per year would mean forgoing $10 in rewards for the convenience of taking the money in the form of a statement credit. That’s still very close to a 2% return on spending, assuming you pay your bill in full every month.

Simplicity

Many cash-back cards offer bonus categories — some of them permanent, some that change from time to time and some that adjust with your spending. They allow you to earn extra rewards in featured categories, such as gas stations, restaurants and home improvement stores. They can be a hassle to keep track of. Some limit the amount of spending eligible for bonus rewards, and all spending over that limit earns a mundane 1% cash back.

With the Citi Double Cash® Card, you can be a lazy optimizer and whip out the same card all the time, without thinking about where you’re using the card and whether you’ve reached the limit for a bonus spending category. That said, there's one opportunity to earn extra rewards, at least temporarily: Through Dec. 31, 2024, you earn 5% total cash back on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel portal.

Flexibility

Even though the Citi Double Cash® Card is considered a cash-back credit card, technically what you're earning are Citi ThankYou points. And while those points can easily be turned into cash at a rate of a penny each, they could potentially be even more valuable when used for travel.

The card features a handful of travel partners, including JetBlue, Wyndham and Choice Privileges, and depending on your credit card strategy and travel goals, this conversion flexibility could potentially increase the value of your rewards, should you find a good deal on flights or hotels with those partners.

That's especially true if you happen to hold multiple Citi cards because you can combine points across them all. While the Citi Double Cash® Card features only a few transfer partners, other Citi products — like the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card — feature more than a dozen.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Citi ThankYou rewards program is not as straightforward as others and requires a little know-how to navigate in order to get the best value. For example, transfer ratios with the Citi Double Cash® Card are less than favorable: 1,000 ThankYou points would get you only 800 points with JetBlue or Wyndham.

Drawbacks and Considerations

No everyday bonus categories

Double cash on all purchases is great, but it’s less than you’ll find on cards that offer elevated rewards on spending at everyday places like restaurants, supermarkets or gas stations.

Indeed, some cards offer 5% back on bonus categories that change quarterly. In the past, categories have included gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, Amazon.com and PayPal. Good examples are the Chase Freedom Flex® and the Discover it® Cash Back. Both offer 5% back on categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter (equal to $75 in cash back), and 1% on all other spending.

Other cash-back cards have bonus categories that don't change. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a good example. The card earns 3% cash back on up to $6,000 spent per year in each of three categories: U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases. Other spending earns 1% cash back. Terms apply (see rates and fees). It has an annual fee of $0.

By contrast, bonus rewards on the Citi Double Cash® Card are limited to certain travel bookings when done through Citi.

🤓Nerdy Tip

For optimizers, the decision is not either-or, but both. Boost cash rewards by using a bonus-categories card to get higher earnings on certain purchases, and use the Citi Double Cash® Card for everything else. That reaps a superior return with a little more effort.

And some cards offer a combination: a good flat rate on most purchases, a sign-up bonus and bonus categories. Example: The Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

  • Flat rate: 1.5%

  • Bonus category rewards: 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and drugstore purchases and 5% on travel purchased through Chase.

  • Sign-up bonus: 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!

No intro APR on purchases

The intro APR offer for this card is: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months and then the ongoing 19.24%-29.24% Variable APR.

Noticeably absent is an intro APR rate on purchases. Why is that important? After you transfer a balance to this card, future purchases you charge to it will begin accruing interest immediately. You won’t have a credit card grace period, even if you pay off your new purchases in full. You only get the grace period back if you also completely pay off the balance transfer amount. That’s why many other cards feature an intro APR offer, often for the same number of months, for both balance transfers and purchases.

Foreign transaction fee

Its 3% fee for foreign transactions means this is a poor choice of card to use abroad. To be fair, this fee is more common on cash-back cards, but rarer on travel cards.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

If you want a low-hassle, flat-rate rewards card, the Citi Double Cash® Card fits the bill because its rewards apply to all spending and have no limit. Your return rate can be even better if you use it in conjunction with a bonus-categories card.

Need more information to help you compare your cash-back credit card options? Our best credit cards page can help.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

Alternate Pick: Up to 5% cash back
Big rewards in quarterly bonus categories

Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate (on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending), and 1% on all other spending. Bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300. Annual fee: $0.


Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

This card pays you 2% cash back on all purchases, but that money comes in two parts: You get 1% cash back on every dollar you spend, then another 1% back on every dollar you pay back.

The rewards structure gives you an incentive to pay off your charges as quickly as possible.

The simplest way to redeem cash back with the Citi Double Cash® Card is to take the money as a statement credit. If you have, say, $50 in cash back, you can apply it to your account and reduce your balance by $50. You can also get your cash back as a direct deposit into a bank account or as a paper check.

This card currently offers this 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..

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a Mastercard.

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