If you want rewards for your daily purchases but aren’t interested in keeping up with all of the rotating bonuses or expense categories, this is this Citi® Double Cash Card could be a card to consider.
With a straightforward cash back policy that can earn you up to 2% on every purchase, this card tops Team Clark’s list Cashback credit cards.
The beauty of the Double Cash card is the simplicity of its rewards program. You receive 1% cashback with a purchase and an additional 1% cashback when paying your invoice.
Money expert Clark Howard gives the card his full approval. In fact, he likes it so much that he decided to do it add it to his wallet in 2020.
“The best cashback cards pay 2% and I’ve recommended these for years,” said Clark.
In this review, we’re going to examine the features of the Citi Double Cash card that seduced Clark, and I’m going to compare it to a major competitor in the cash back credit card market.
table of contents
Team Clark has spent time rating the credit card market across several categories, including the best cashback credit cards. We compared the Citi Double Cash Card with the best cards in this market segment. And we’ve found that it’s one of the best options for everyday shopping, thanks to its steady return on every purchase you make.
When deciding if this card is right for you, please use this review in conjunction with Clark Howards 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.
What is the Citi Double Cash Card?
the Citi Double Cash Card is a cash back credit card that rewards customers both when they spend and when they pay their bills. Cardholders can earn up to 2% cashback on their purchases by earning 1% on purchase and an additional 1% on bill payment.
There is no spending cap on cashback earnings, and you don’t have to spend in a specific category to receive your 1% premium. You can earn your additional 1% premium even as you pay over time. You only need to make the minimum payment each month in order for the purchase to continue to be eligible for the 1% back-end premium.
Citi Double Cash Card: specifications and perks
Let’s take a look at the fine print to examine some of the pros and cons of the card:
- Up to 2% cashback on all purchases: As mentioned above, there are no spending limits or purchase category requirements to receive the cashback rewards for this card. You get 1% cashback on a purchase and an additional 1% back when you pay the balance of this purchase on your credit card bill.
- Introductory period for transferring the credit: Citi offers 18 months of 0% APR on funds transferred to this card. To qualify for this benefit, the credit must be transferred to the Double Cash card within the first four months of the card membership. And there is either a 5% or 3% transfer fee (whichever is higher).
- $ 0 Fraud Liability Protection: Citi offers full fraud protection for this card, which means that you will not be held personally responsible for any fraudulent charges made online or otherwise with this card.
- Lost Wallet Service: If you lose your credit card, Citi has a program that will give you a replacement card within 24 hours of reporting the loss. As part of this program, Citi can also provide you with a cash advance to help you until your new card arrives.
- Citi entertainment: This card gives you access to the Citi entertainment portalthat can help you with things like pre-booking for events or discounted ticket options.
- Contactless payment and digital wallets: The Double Cash card is equipped with the chip technology required for contactless transactions at the checkout (just tap and go). It can also be used in digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
- Identity theft solutions: This card gives you access to Citi’s Identity Theft Solutions program in the event your relevant information is compromised online.
Here is a quick look at some of the fees that can occur with the Double Cash card:
- Annual fee: None
- Transfer fee for the credit: Either $ 5 or 3% of the balance will be transferred, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fee: Either $ 10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in US dollars
- Late Pay Fee: None for the first late payment, but up to $ 40 for late payments thereafter. Note that while there is no fee for your first late payment, it may increase your APR.
This is how the cash back program works
You’ve probably heard the line “1% when you buy, 1% when you pay” when it comes to marketing this card. And you may be wondering what that means exactly. Let’s break it down.
Earning the rewards
When you make a purchase with this card, 1% of the balance of this transaction will be added to your cashback balance. So, if you make a $ 100 purchase from your local store, you can expect your Double Cash Reward Balance to increase by $ 1 after completing this purchase.
The second 1% comes into play when you pay that purchase on your credit card bill. While this can be done slowly over time, it is better to pay the balance for this purchase after the billing cycle is complete.
Why? Money expert Clark Howard explains:
“Any reward card of any kind only makes sense if you pay your credit in full,” says Clark. “Because they usually charge you high interest on your balance. This means that every win of rewards you get is actually a huge defeat. “
Also remember that your card must be considered “current” in order to receive cashback rewards. You can read more about it here.
Claiming the Rewards
Once you have earned at least $ 25 in cashback rewards, there are a number of ways you can redeem your prize, including:
- Request a check as payment for your rewards.
- Redeem your rewards as an account statement.
- Redeem as credit on a Citi savings or current account.
- Convert the cashback rewards into. around Citi thank you rewards Points.
Citi Double Cash vs. Alliant Visa Signature Card: Which Is Better?
The Alliant Credit Union offers members an unlimited 2.5% cashback with their credit card, which is slightly better than the Citi Double Cash. But the tradeoff is an annual fee that goes into effect the second year you own the card.
So which one is the better choice for your wallet?
First, let’s give a brief overview of what the Alliant Visa Signature Card offers:
- 2.5% cashback on all purchases
- $ 99 annual fee (waived for first year of membership)
- No purchase categories
- No cap on cashback
Now let’s make some assumptions and make some reminders for this comparison:
- Set the APR aside for this exercise. We assume that you pay your bill every month.
- We will be evaluating year 1 and year 2 of Alliant separately as the annual fee of $ 99 is only waived for the first year.
- Remember that there is no annual fee for the Citi Double Cash card.
Given these parameters, here is a breakdown of what the annual cashback payouts would look like with monthly spend increments of $ 500:
Annual cashback numbers based on monthly expenses
|Monthly expenses||Alliance year 1
(2.5% cashback, no annual fee)
|Alliance year 2 and beyond
(2.5% cashback minus annual fee)
|Citi Double Cash (2% cashback)|
|$ 500||$ 150||$ 51||$ 120|
|$ 1,000||$ 300||$ 201||$ 240|
|$ 1,500||$ 450||$ 351||$ 360|
|$ 2,000||$ 600||$ 501||$ 480|
|$ 2,500||$ 750||$ 651||$ 600|
|$ 3,000||$ 900||$ 801||$ 720|
|$ 3,500||$ 1,050||$ 951||$ 840|
|$ 4,000||$ 1,200||$ 1,101||$ 960|
|$ 4,500||$ 1,350||$ 1,251||$ 1,080|
|$ 5,000||$ 1,500||$ 1,401||$ 1,200|
So what conclusions can we draw from this comparison table?
First, let’s acknowledge that the Alliant Visa Signature Card‘s first year is going to be pretty solid. The 2.5% cashback and the lack of an annual fee make a difference. But once you finish this introductory phase, things get a little murky as you try to decide between the two cards.
With Year 2 rolling around on the Alliant card, some readers may be better off with the Citi Double Cash card. In particular, if you are spending less than $ 1,500 per month on the credit card, you will likely get better results with Citi Double Cash, even though it has a lower cashback percentage (2% versus 2.5%). Remember, you need to factor the $ 99 annual fee when determining the total cashback from Alliant after Year 1.
For me, the sweet spot where the Alliant card looks better than the Citi card is around $ 2,000 a month. If you already have the Citi Double Cash card, the threshold may need to be higher – considering the implications of adding another credit card to your portfolio.
Consider adding the Citi Double Cash to your wallet? Before making your final decision, let’s review some of the card’s key pros and cons:
Citi Double Cash: pros and cons
|Up to 2% cashback (1% when purchasing, 1% when paying) with no upper limit on premiums||There is no welcome bonus|
|18 months 0% APR for balance transfers||No introductory APR for new purchases|
|No annual fee||There is no reward program beyond cashback|
Bottom line: If you are looking for a cashback credit card that rewards spending without any hurdles, the Citi Double Cash card might be the right choice for you. With up to 2% unlimited cashback on every purchase, you know exactly what you are getting when you shop and settle credit on this card.
Do you have experience with the Citi Double Cash Card? Let us know how you like it in the comments below!