Citi Double Cash Card Review

The Citi Double Cash Card  is a great option if you’re looking for an everyday use rewards card. Like many of today’s cash back credit card options, it doesn’t have a lot of purchase restrictions. You can earn 1% cash back – unlimited – on any purchase you make with the card.

Unlike most other cards, the Citi Double Cash card also rewards users for paying back purchases made on the card. It actually incentivizes users to pay off credit card debt, since the sooner you pay off your balance, the sooner you’ll earn more cash back.

How it works

The 1% cash back reward on purchases is easy. Swipe your card for any purchase – from groceries to gas to big-ticket purchases and more – and you’ll earn 1% cash back. There’s no limit to the overall amount of cash back you can earn.

Then, as you pay for your purchases – either in full or over time – you’ll earn an additional 1% cash back. Again, there’s no limit to the amount of double cash you can earn. Say, for instance, you use this credit card for a mini vacation one weekend. You book plane tickets for $250, a hotel room for $300, and pay for $200 worth of food. You’ve earned $7.50 in cash back ($750 x 1%).

If you pay off the full balance when you get your statement, you’ll earn another $7.50. Or, you could pay $300 towards your balance that month, earning $3.00 in cash back. When you pay off the remaining $450 the next month, you’ll get another $4.50 in cash back. Each time you make a payment, you’ll get the cash back amount for that payment.

  • ring-mastercardAlternative Option – The Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® offers cardholders a 1.5% cash back rewards rate on all purchases AND a 5% redemption bonus every time cash back is redeemed.  This means the effective cash back rate is 1.575% and includes a $200 cash back bonus after signing up and spending $1,000 in the first three months!

A catch

Credit card rewards usually have some sort of catch. With the Citi Double Cash card, the catch is a minor one. While you eventually earn a total of 2% once you’ve paid for a purchase, you do have to pay for the purchase before receiving the second 1%. Also, you won’t net cash back earnings by paying back balance transfers, cash advances, account fees, or interest. Plus, if you purchase an item and then return it, you won’t earn cash back for the purchase or the payback.

Other perks

  • Introductory APR: Right now, this particular card has a 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. That makes it a good option if you’re looking to shift around some higher-interest credit card debt. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 3% of the balance transferred – whichever is larger.
  • No Annual Fee: This card is also helpful in that it has no annual fee, making it an affordable option for everyday use.
  • Late Fee Pass: While we definitely don’t recommend missing payments, the Citi Double Cash card does offer a late fee pass the first time you’re late with a payment.
  • $0 Liability: With Citi, you’re not responsible for paying any unauthorized purchases, which is great for peace of mind.
  • Fraud Alerts: As with other Citi cards, this one will alert you if there’s unusual activity on your account.
  • Price Rewind: Another great Citi service is that they’ll search for a lower price after you buy an item. If they find the same item on a retailer website within 60 days of your purchase, they’ll refund you the difference of up to $300 per item and up to $1,200 per year.

Citi Double Cash Card Pros

Easy Rewards: If you want to carry a single rewards credit card, this one is a good option. With rotating category cards and cards that have rewards only on specific categories, you have to remember which card to use when. The Citi Double Cash card simplifies all that. Just swipe it for any purchase, and you’ll get an automatic 1% cash back + 1% when you pay your credit card bill.

Introductory APR: With a 0% introductory APR, this is a great option if you’re looking for a credit card for a large purchase you’d like to pay off over several months. Since the APR also applies to balance transfers, it could also be a good balance transfer option. Just remember that the cash back reward doesn’t apply to balance transfers and that there is a balance transfer fee.

No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, this credit card could be a good option to keep in your wallet for emergencies, or if you’re purchasing something that won’t net you rewards on any of your other credit cards. Since you don’t have to pay a standing fee, there’s not much to lose!

Citi Double Cash Card Cons

5% Rewards: It’s hard to think of drawbacks to a card that offers 1% + 1% cash back and an excellent 0% APR introductory offer. However, for those wanting to maximize cash back rewards, this card doesn’t offer 5% cash back on rotating categories.

Tricky Double Reward: As some of the reviews on CreditKarma have pointed out, one problem with this card is figuring out how to net the 1% cash back for payments. If you pay off the balance before you get your statement, you won’t get the extra 1% cash back. So if your typical pattern is to use a rewards credit card for a purchase, and then to turn around and pay it right off, you’ll have to change your habits for this one.

Excellent Credit Needed: If you were thinking that this credit card would be a good credit-builder, that’s not the case. According to CreditKarma reviews, you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the Citi Double Cash card.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not this card is a good fit for you depends on your credit card style. If you don’t mind carrying a variety of credit cards and remembering when to use each to net higher rewards, you may want to look at other cards. It could, however, be your backup card for making purchases that won’t net you rewards on your other credit cards, though.

If you want to streamline your credit card use down to a single card, this could be a good option. With no cash back cap, category restrictions, or rotating categories, it’s simple to use. Just be sure you understand how the second 1% cash back for payments works so that you can get the full 2% cash back on all your purchases!


Topics: Credit Cards

7 Responses to “Citi Double Cash Card Review”

  1. Kenneth

    I do have this excellent Citicard double rewards, and you are confusing me when you say “If you pay off the balance before you get your statement, you won’t get the extra 1% cash back.” This is incorrect, I always pay my balance just before my statement date, and I get the extra 1% cash back. If a few charges creep in that I didn’t pay off, I don’t get the extra cash back until I pay my balance the next month.

    • What she is talking about is if you pay your balance before you RECEIVE your statement; she is not talking about if you pay it before your payment due date. For example, if you make a payment immediately, within a few days, on a purchase — BEFORE you even receive your statement (ie before the statement closing date, not to be confused with the payment due date), then you will not receive the extra 1%. You have to wait till after the statement closing date, till you actually receive the statement. That has nothing to do with the payment due date.

      • Diane, I have this card, and my experience doesn’t match what you are saying, or what the author of this article is claiming, and I agree with Kenneth. I make partial bill payments very frequently (at least once per week). I do this mainly to keep my balance low at any given time, and then I pay off any remaining amounts on the statement at the end of each billing period in full every time in order to avoid interest charges completely. My behavior has indeed been allowing me to completely capture the full second 1%. The system works in that you can get awarded the second 1% for your payments as long as you don’t pay off your charges during the brief time window when they are “pending” charges, right after the card gets swiped. Once they are called “posted” charges a little while later, you can pay them off to get the second 1%. You can watch these “pending” and “posted” statuses easily on your online account. Charges get “posted” in about 24 hours for most things, and then somewhat slower for things like hotels (seems to be more like a little over a week for hotels sometimes). I called Citi to verify that this was indeed the way things worked too, and they did confirm this.

        It is certainly difficult to track and understand the Citi Double Cash’s cash back system though, so I understand the confusion. Also, there are clearly mechanisms in place to delay the pace at which payments come back to you. One doesn’t actually get the rewards money tallied up and available to claim until about the next statement date after the one in which you do a given purchase and payment for that purchase. This means that if you pay off your balance toward the beginning of a statement period, it can be quite a while until you see the rewards show up even for being possible to claim. The claiming process takes a few days too after you ask for the money to be awarded to you. These delays undoubtedly are by Citi’s design, but you still do get the 1% + 1% eventually, just with about 1-2 months of delay.

  2. I have this card and it is my default credit card. I also have the Quicksilver 1.5pct, Chase Freedom (5% rotating categories) and the PENFED Platinum rewards (5pct gas/3pct grocery/1pct everything else) I just use which one is the best value for the current transaction. If you have the PENFED card, beware as they have changed the redemptions to reduce the actual reward. To give you an example, to purchase a prepaid visa card as a reward, it costs more than a hundred dollars worth of points to purchase a hundred dollar card. This reduces your actual reward point value. I figured it out for gas it’s really 4.25 points instead of 5 points.
    It’s very annoying and it should be illegal to misrepresent the point value to customers.

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