The world is becoming a busier and busier place. With so much going on, many of you don’t have the time to constantly be finessing your points’ strategies.
Your Citi® Double Cash Card is here to the rescue! Perhaps one of the most valuable cash-back credit cards out there, Citi has delivered a card that’s easy to use for the everyday person.
If you are the type who spends a little on groceries, a little on dining out, goes to the movies, maybe travels once a year, then this card might just be for you.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- All Purchases
- Annual Fee
- Rewards CenterRedeem the cash-back from your Citi.com account page
- Foreign Transaction Fees3%
- Typical UsersParents / Families, The Average Spender
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersNone, although they do have a variety of gift cards you can purchase with your cash rewards. Check out Citi ThankYou for other Citi partners.
- Interest Rates ?
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months from date of account opening.
- After that, your APR will be 14.24% to 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Late fees ?
- $0 for first late payment
- Up to $35 after that
- 29.99% penalty APR
- Balance Transfers
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening.
- After that, your APR will be 14.24% to 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- $5 or 3% of the amount of cash, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR
- 25.99% APR
- $10 or 5% of the amount of cash, whichever is greater.
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus and Cash Back Details
While there is no cash value sign-up bonus, you do get an introductory APR.
Since the typical user of this card is not spending heavily in any given category, they may want to use this card as a way to float some cash.
There is absolutely no hassle as long as you pay the minimum fee each month (go to the Citibank Login right away and set up autopay), allowing you to accrue some quick cash if you need it.
If you’re using the intro APR, just be sure you’ve got a plan to have the cash available by the end of the introductory offer; the APR will be retroactive for anything not paid off by that time.
Having no specific focus allows you to comfortably and easily earn with your Citibank rewards card. You simply earn 1% cash-back when you purchase, and 1% cash-back when you pay it off.
Collecting Your Citi® Double Cash Card Cash-back Rewards
All the cash-back you earn with the card accrues into the cash-back bank in your Citi account.
This card makes it easy for you to get your rewards. Simply login to pay your card, and the “Redeem” button will be right there for you to click.
We suggest directly paying off your balance with your rewards, but you can also choose to get a check, direct deposit it into an account, or even redeem it for gift cards if it’s Mother’s Day and you forgot to buy something!
Choose any method, because it’s the same value no matter which way you choose to redeem your cash-back.
Other Benefits of the Citi® Double Cash Card
While this card is a fairly simple, no-frills card, there are a few more benefits worth mentioning.
First, there is no maximum to the double cash-back you can earn. Whether you spend $1,000 or $100,000 a year, you’ll still earn 1%+1% cash-back.
Next, you get a pass on your first late fee. So if you’ve forgotten to set up your autopay, you’ll get one mulligan!
Third, you get access to the Citi Private Pass and Citi Price Rewind features. Private Pass gives you access to tickets for a variety of events. Price Rewind allows you to get money back for finding a lower price on an item you purchased within 60 days.
Fourth, while not specifically marketed toward travelers, you do get some trip insurances with the card. These include trip cancellation & interruption, travel accident, and car rental insurance.
Next, you get a purchase protection and extended warranty feature with your card. These help protect the purchases you make with the card.
Finally, you can utilize Apple Pay when you use your card and get access to the Citi Concierge Services; they have also added a free FICO score to most Citi cards.
Card Drawbacks: Some Not So Great Things
When redeeming, you have to do so at a minimum of $25. So if you won’t spend a lot on the card, you may want to reconsider. To get to $25, you will have to spend AND pay off $1,250 on the card.
The cash-back on the card cannot be used for any purposes other than statement credit. Since we like travel benefits here on the blog, this part is not ideal for our goals.
Citi Price Rewind seems like a great benefit, but it takes a little more work than they let on. In order to get your money, you have to submit your item to the Price Rewind center, track it, and accept the lower price if one is found.
This probably isn’t worth it for low-priced items, but could be for higher priced ones.
Finally, the double cash-back value is great, but the fact that you don’t get the additional 1% until you pay off the balance means your extra 1% cash-back will take longer to post to your account.
Final Thoughts for the Card
Overall, the card doesn’t really have a downside since it has no annual fee. Considering that, its overall 2% cash-back is pretty good!
With this card, you can focus your energy on keeping everything else organized while earning an easy 2% cash-back for your everyday purchases.
Great Card If
- You’re spending evenly among many different categories of items
- You do not travel much
- You hate calculating out your rewards strategy and don’t want to track a variety of credit cards and points programs
- You are looking for a intro APR card to float some cash
Don't Get If
- You spend heavily in a particular category, and that category has another specific rewards card (e.g., travel, gas, supermarkets, dining)
- You need to do a balance transfer (there’s a 3% fee)
- You are a low spender and won’t accrue more than $25 cash-back (there’s a $25 minimum spend on the cash-back redemption feature)
- You’ll be traveling internationally (of course, you could just use another card)
U.P. Pro Tips
The Citi® Double Cash Card is a great card to use for all those categories not covered by other cards. Get 2% back when paying for your doctor’s visit, bills, and more!
How To Use the Citi® Double Cash Card: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
For those of you interested in getting the most out of your Citi® Double Cash Card, we put together the following list to outline how to use the card:
Tip #1: If you’re only going to use this credit card, then make sure to put everything on the card you can: bills/autopay, insurance, doctors’ visits, gift cards, etc. You will earn 2% back everywhere!
Tip #2: If you’re going to combine this with other specific category cards, then you still can’t lose. Simply use this card to pay for everything else you don’t get mega-bonuses for with your other cards.
For example, put all of your U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000) as well as gas on your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, then spend the rest on the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Tip #3: Always pay off your balance! No card holds its value if you fail to pay off the balance; the late fees make sure of that!
Tip #4: Remember that you won’t get your additional 1% cash-back until you pay off your balance.
If you’re using the intro APR grace period to float a little loan, just remember to pay it off by the month in which this introductory APR ends, or you’ll be hit with interest up through the day it was bought!
Tip #5: Use cash-back for statement credit. This pays off your balance and activates the 1% cash-back that has been waiting.
Best Way To Redeem Points
It’s simple: just go into your Citi account and apply your cash-back to your account balance. You will still get your additional 1% cash-back, and you’ll lower your required cash outlay for the month.
If you try to purchase the gift cards, you’ll have to wait to use those (or give them away). Remember that if you do use the gift cards you purchase, then you’re not earning 2% on your Citi® Double Cash Card…so don’t do that!
By using direct deposit, you’re going to get some additional cash, which can be helpful if you’re using the intro APR offer to invest in something and pull some cash flow forward (maybe to spend to get additional points on other cards!).
However, if not, then you’ll just be wasting time and resources before transferring the money back to Citi to pay off your balance.
Reasons Not to Take a Check or Account Transfer
If you opt for a check, you’re likely going to wait a few weeks to receive it, and then you have to go through the trouble of putting it into your bank before finally using it for purchases.
This option seems unnecessarily cumbersome, but if you can think of a reason this would be beneficial then please let us know.
Note that if you take your cash-back as a check or bank account transfer, you may end up having to count that as income and pay taxes on it, so we don’t recommend those methods!
Since this is cash-back only, there are no partners with this card.
Understanding the math behind each card is always essential. Some cards are a bit trickier than others, but the Citi® Double Cash Card is actually quite easy! However, it’s important to see what you can earn relative to other cards over time.
A Quick Card Recap and Model Family Spending
- Double Cash Back = 1% + 1% (equivalent of 2%)
- Annual Fee = $0
- Purchase Total to Break Even = $0 (you can’t lose with this card, unless you don’t pay off your balances and accrue interest)
We’ll use our model families to help compare the card’s value across different spending amounts and with different cards.
*Spending in specific categories of our model families during the year
Using the above spending details, we will calculate rewards from the card compared to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for a quick cash/points comparison.
|Family||Citi® Double Cash Card||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||*Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express||**Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
*We did not take into account the 3% U.S. department store cash-back in this example; Supermarkets are assumed to be in the U.S.
**We did not take into account the 20% travel portal discount or potential point transfers to loyalty partners
Note: We won’t go into the details of how the other cards are calculated, but you can check out their reviews to see the specific card math for each. In the table, we assumed 100pts = $1.
Value Compared To Other Cards
As you can see in the above table, the values are different from card to card and family to family.
It appears that for the Hartnells, the Citi® Double Cash Card is the overall winner. With more general spending and more spending overall, they get plenty of benefit from this easy-to-use card.
For the Jetsons and the Kennedys, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express seems to be most valuable. This is because they spend more heavily in supermarkets and gas, which are high earners on this card.
However, as we noted below the summary table, we didn’t take into account the 3% U.S. department store category on this card, which means it could be even more valuable for everyone. Basically, on $1,000 spent per year in select department stores, you can get $30 extra cash back.
We also didn’t take into account the travel discounts and airline loyalty partner transfer value for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This could increase the value by 1.25x-8x+ in value, depending on how the card is used.
What the Results Mean: The Value of the Card
As you can see from the results, the cash-back (and cash-back equivalent) earned did not always favor the Citi® Double Cash Card. The card is not meant to hit any one category of spending very hard.
However, we didn’t take into account any other spending outside the selected categories, which could heavily influence the spending power of the card.
But we also didn’t calculate the fact that both the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card have annual fees.
With this taken into account, the Jetsons may want to choose the Citi® Double Cash Card over the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express.
Also, if the families are just searching for an easy-to-use card they don’t have to think about, they may prefer the Citi® Double Cash Card anyway since they’ll never need to think about what categories they’re spending in.
Card Math Conclusion
There are many other variables we could discuss, but you get the point. Your personal value depends on your spending categories, goals, desires, and so forth.
All the above cards provide value above and beyond a normal debit card or cash, which is why we always recommend using a credit card if you have your finances in order.
The card puts up a close battle with other paid cards and also has the benefit of earning 2% in categories where the other cards don’t.
Always be sure to take the time to quickly calculate out some options. It may help you in the long run, and the Citi card will likely be one of the most valuable cash-back credit cards for the average spender.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
There isn’t much restriction on the card, besides the typical restriction of cash-back not applying to late fees, interest, or other penalties.
This card is virtually risk-free assuming you pay off the balance. The drawback is that if you are not able to pay off the balance, you could get hit with some pretty hefty interest rates and late fees.
The double cash-back is actually 1% when you purchase the item and 1% when you pay it off. So if you don’t see your full 2% right away, this is why.
Actually, this is a pretty smart way on Citi’s part to ensure it is rewarding its best customers while creating an incentive for those on the edge to keep their bills paid.
How To Redeem Your Cashback: Step by Step
To redeem your cashback, it will take 3 clicks. (1) Go into your Citi Account. At the top right or in the right sidebar, there should be a button to view/redeem cash-back; click that.
(2) On the next screen click “redeem” to bring you to the final screen, (3) which asks you which way you want to redeem.
We suggest just getting statement credit. If you get other forms of redemption, you may be legally responsible for taxes on that. Why not just use it where you need it?
Other Unique Features
Below are the remainder of the features and benefits you get for having the Citi® Double Cash Card in your wallet. Some are fairly standard, some are pretty cool, and many are never used or forgotten.
However, there is value down here, so take a look and see if you can pull some value out of these benefits!
Tip: You can view which benefits are on your Citi cards by signing in to your account and finding them under the “Benefits” section.
Flexible pay dates – You can freely choose your billing date on any date of the month. This allows you to align your statement with your paychecks or other credit cards/bills more easily.
Chip technology – The EMV chip is a new security feature being added to all cards that helps prevent identity theft. It also makes the card easier to use when you are overseas (although with a 3% fee, we don’t recommend using this card).
No longer do you have to be embarrassed for not knowing French, only for them to finally say “chip?” after wondering why they won’t take your card…(OK, it was ONE time!!)
Late fee pass – Missed your first payment because you forgot to set up that autodraft? It’s on Citi this time! Take the free pass on fees for your first missed payment; just don’t make it a habit.
Citi Private Pass – This program provides event tickets for Citi members. Use it to find tickets to your favorite band, possibly even getting VIP or prereleased tickets before they sell out elsewhere!
Lost wallet service – You’d never lose your card would you? If you happen to fall victim to this frustrating experience, Citi will get you a card replacement typically within 24 hours, and an emergency cash advance based on your limit if needed (APRs and fees do apply).
Car rental insurance – One of the more popular credit card bonus features, Citi offers up to $50,000 of insurance as long as you decline the rental agency’s insurance. Not a bad benefit at all since accidents do happen.
Trip cancellation & interruption protection – This is one of those you will want to remember. If trips go bad, you may have lots of extra fees and last minute changes that will cost you and leave you a bit grumpy.
With this benefit, you can get reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses for up to $1,500 per person.
For this to be valid, you or your authorized cardholders must purchase the entire cost of the trip on the card (you can’t use miles or only partially pay; check your agreement for details).
Also, the trip must be less than 60 days, you must try to notify and get reimbursed by the carriers (who must be common carriers such as airlines, trains, and so forth), and it must meet their criteria for accepted reasons.
These reasons include:
- Illness, either personal or within the family (specific timeframes apply)
- You’re in the military, and your leave is revoked due to reasons OTHER than war/deployment
- A natural disaster hits your home
- Severe weather or natural disasters prevent travel to/from the destination for at least 24 hrs
In other words, reasonable things to get reimbursed for. You can’t just oversleep and hope to get paid back!
If you can’t get refunded, Citi will reimburse: the difference in your unused ticket, fees (like change fees), additional costs to get you home, and other general costs and fees of unused vacation experiences.
There are many more details, so be sure to check your cardmember agreement!
Worldwide travel accident insurance – The worldwide travel accident insurance is very similar to the trip cancellation insurance.
You may get up to $250,000 of reimbursement for any medical or other costs related to an accident on a common carrier (i.e. a typical airline, train, and so on).
Check the details for what’s covered and how much you get in your cardmember agreement. There are very specific rules they follow, down to the type and number of limbs lost. Be safe!
Citi cards with Apple Pay – Use your Apple device to pay for things with your card. No more of that tiresome swiping!
This is a neat convenience option if you’re into it; just look for places with the contactless Apple Pay system and put your device near it to quickly pay.
Citi Price Rewind – Another great option, although it does take a little bit of work to access (Citi makes it sound effortless, but it takes some tracking).
Go to the Citi Price Rewind site, sign in, select the card you purchased the item on, and then search the product to register it.
You would want to use this when you buy things like TV’s, computers, couches, or some other big purchases you need to make.
It’s up to you to determine if the amount you would get back would be worth going through the effort to track, which is why we suggest only the bigger purchases.
You’re not going to be able to buy a round of beers for your buddy and then get reimbursed for the best Happy Hour deal in town, though. Which is a shame!
The reimbursement is good for up to $300 per item and up to $1,200 per year if a lower price is found at a retailer within 60 days. Here’s a little video for some details.
At the end of the 60 days, they’ll send you an email with the results, and then you must go and request the reimbursement yourself.
So it’s definitely not automatic and can take some remembering (or well-organized reminders), but if you can max out the benefit you can save up to $1,200 on some sweet merchandise deals!
Extended warranty – If you’re a warranty person, then this benefit will appeal to you. Citi will extend a manufacturer’s warranty for 1 year after it expires, or just double the time if it’s less than a year.
The warranty has to be 5 years or less, and you can get up to $10,000 in repair, replacement, or refund.
Obviously, if the manufacturer refunds you in some way, you can’t ALSO take usage of this benefit. We don’t want to be getting into any fraud charges or anything!
Unfortunately, this benefit has a list of exceptions a mile long.
This includes vehicles of any kind (land, water, air) and attached parts, extended warranties, services that weren’t actually covered under the original warranty (obviously?), pre-owned items, medical equipment, land or construction material.
You also have to prove you took care of the item properly.
Tracking warranties is often arduous (which is why companies love them), and it would really only be worth it for your more expensive items.
You’d have to keep track of which items you bought in full on the card and then go and request the reimbursement.
Damage & theft purchase protection – A little more useful than the warranty, this protection pays back up to $1,000 per item or incident and up to $50,000 per year for anything that is stolen or broken within 120 days of purchase.
This is secondary insurance, so if you have another policy that covers this type of stuff, you must seek their reimbursement first.
Another long list of exceptions exists for this benefit. No boats, no lost items, no animals, and so forth. Hopefully you don’t need this, but it’s here if you want it!
24-hour fraud protection – Like most companies, Citibank will be monitoring your account for fraudulent charges and notifying or inquiring about them if they occur.
$0 liability for unauthorized charges – Again, you won’t be on the hook for unauthorized charges!
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Busy People Walking: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Doctors Visit: michaeljung/Shutterstock
Guy Appreciating Cash Back: Manczurov/Shutterstock
Pondering a Decision: Viorel Sima/Shutterstock
The card is a great beginner card for those looking to get started in the credit card points world.
Though the card only earns cash-back that can be applied as statement credit, there are no other drawbacks to owning the card (no annual fee, etc.).
The card earns the equivalent of 2% cash back: 1% when you make the purchase, and the other 1% when you pay the balance off.
This card only has a few benefits beyond it's 2% equivalent cash-back. First, it comes with no annual fee, making it great for the casual user.
Next, it has Citi Price Rewind. This is a tool that allows you to register an item you purchase to try to find a lower price.
Citi will look over the next 60 days for lower prices at all retailers. If one is found, you have to go back into the account to claim your reimbursement. You can get up to $300 reimbursed per item, and up to $1,200 per year.
It also comes with flexible pay days, a free pass on your first late fee, Apple Pay, and access to Citi Private Pass. These may be useful to you depending on your personal situation.
Finally, a slew of insurances are included: car rental, trip cancellation and interruption, travel accident, extended warranty, and damage and theft protection. See the Gritty Details for more information.
The Citibank login is the same as the login for all other cards.
For every purchase you make with the card, you will earn 1% cash-back, which will accumulate into your account. From there you can use the cash to redeem for statement credit at any time.
However, the minimum redemption is $25. When you pay off your balances, you'll earn an additional 1% cash-back.
Typically, yes (see card summary table for current offer).
$0; there is no annual fee on this card.
The foreign transaction fee on the card is 3%.
Not really. You can only use the cash-back for statement credit on your card.
If you purchase travel on the card, then pay it off with cash-back, that could be considered "using it for travel." However, the cash-back cannot be used in any other way.
Both cards are essentially the same thing. They earn at different rates (1.5x vs 2x equivalent), but both cards accrue the equivalent of cash-back in their accounts.
Whenever you want, you can apply the cash-back to the cards as statement credit.
The nuances here are that the Discover it Miles Card calls their cash-back "miles" and only allows you to use it for travel purchases. However, you can apply it at any time in any amount.
With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you can use its double cash-back for anything at any time, but the minimum redemption is $25.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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