Citi Double Cash Card Review (2019)

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Card Reviews
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Many of us go to great lengths to maximize our credit card strategy. For example, I have over two dozen credit cards — I have some cards for the perks, while I have other cards for the bonuses they offer when I spend money on them.

While I know many of you enjoy the art of maximizing rewards through credit card spending, the reality is also that there’s something to be said for having a really straightforward credit card strategy, and that’s what a vast majority of people are looking for.

Citi Double Cash Card Basics

In this post, I wanted to talk about the Citi® Double Cash Card. There’s not all that much to say about this card, because it’s actually really straightforward. The card has no annual fee, and offers an excellent return on spending.

Should this be your go-to card if you want to go great lengths to maximize your rewards? No, probably not.

However, I’d say that the vast majority of people in the US would be achieving a significantly better return on their spending by getting this card. The card offers cash back rewards, so you don’t have to deal with airline miles or travel redemptions that have limitations. You’re just earning cold hard cash, and who doesn’t like that?

So here’s what you need to know about this card:

No Annual Fee

The Citi Double Cash has no annual fee, which you can’t beat. A lot of people sacrifice credit card rewards because they don’t want a card with an annual fee, so here you’re getting a valuable card that won’t cost you anything.

Valuable Cash Back

The Citi Double Cash offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.

So after paying for your purchase, you’ll earn rewards worth two cents back on every dollar spent, which is great. A lot of people earn 1-1.5% cash back on their credit cards, so this is much better.

As far as I’m concerned, earning at least two cents back on every dollar is the golden standard for credit card rewards.

Earn valuable cash back with the Citi Double Cash

How To Redeem Citi Double Cash Rewards

As explained above, the Citi Double Cash offers a return of two cents on the dollar for your spending (after paying your bill), but how does the actual process of earning cash back work?

The cash back will show in your Citi account after logging in, and will appear in two columns — the 1% cash back you earn from spending, and then the 1% cash back you earn from paying for your purchase.

You’ll need a minimum of a $25 cash back balance to redeem your Citi Double Cash rewards, which is earned after $1,250 of spending. You have four redemption options for Citi Double Cash rewards:

  • You can redeem for a gift card from a variety of retailers
  • You can redeem for a statement credit, which will post to your account within 2-3 days
  • You can redeem for a direct deposit, which can be to a Citi account, or an account with another bank
  • You can redeem for a check, which will be mailed to you within 7-10 days

Personally, I wouldn’t redeem for a gift card (why limit yourself?), but either a direct deposit or check seems like the ideal way to redeem Citi Double Cash rewards.

0% Intro APR

The Citi Double Cash has an offer for 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% – 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

This won’t be for everyone, but I know that this is something that some people take advantage of. While some cards offer 12 months 0% APR, 18 months is quite a long time.

As always, in general, I only recommend getting a credit card if you’ll be able to pay off your balance in full every month and use it responsibly, or else the rewards won’t outweigh the cost.

Mastercard Benefits

The Citi Double Cash is a Mastercard, which is worth mentioning because Mastercard has excellent acceptance with merchants.

The same is true of Visa, though this is an area where American Express is still improving. So there is something to be said for getting a Mastercard that will be accepted virtually everywhere.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you travel internationally a lot then this card isn’t for you. The card has 3% foreign transaction fees, so the rewards you earn wouldn’t compensate for the fees you’re paying.

Citi Application Restrictions

Every credit card issuer has different policies for approving new cardmembers. With Citi, the main restriction to be aware of is that you’ll be approved for at most one card every eight days, and at most two cards every 65 days.

Is The Citi Double Cash Right For You?

It’s hard to go wrong with the Citi Double Cash Card, given that it has no annual fee and offers an excellent rate of cash back. So while I’d argue that literally no one will go wrong getting the Citi Double Cash, some people may be better served by other cards.

Let’s look at who shouldn’t be considering this card, and which cards are worth considering in place of it.

Who Shouldn’t Get The Citi Double Cash

I want to make sure I’m being clear here about who I think the Citi Double Cash is right for. I think for a vast majority of consumers who either aren’t earning credit card rewards, or who are earning rewards that are worth less than 2%, this is an excellent option.

However, this card isn’t for everyone, including:

  • Those looking for a big credit card welcome bonus, since this card doesn’t have one (then again, it’s a rewarding no annual fee card, so doesn’t need one)
  • Those who travel a lot internationally, since the Citi Double Cash has 3% foreign transaction fees
  • Those who spend a lot in categories that would be eligible for bonuses on other cards (like dining, travel, grocery stores, gas stations, etc.)
  • Those who want to earn travel rewards, and are willing to put in the time to learn how to efficiently redeem miles

Citi Double Cash Card Alternatives

If you’re looking for another card (or combination of cards) that can potentially earn you a better return, here are a few options to consider, just to give an example of the variety of options that exist:

  • If you want a card that has among the best cash back rates in the industry, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card (review) has a $95 annual fee, a welcome bonus worth $500 of travel, provides great perks, and potentially offers up to 2.625% cash back
  • If you’re looking to earn flexible travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) are an incredible duo that offer a great return on spending and valuable perks
  • If you want a cash back card and spend a lot on dining, the Savor® Rewards from Capital One® (review) has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, offers a welcome bonus worth $300 cash back, has no foreign transaction fees, and offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • If you want a travel rewards card that offers flexible points, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (review) has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 points, offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent, has no foreign transaction fees, and more

Those are just a few options, but I wanted to provide a good selection of options.

Citi Double Cash Card Summary

The Citi Double Cash is a great no annual fee option for someone looking to earn cash back rewards. Earning up to two cents back per dollar is worthy of consideration, and much better than the return on credit card spending that most people are getting.

If you’re big into maximizing points then this card isn’t for you, but if you’re someone who is just a casual credit card user, or if you’re looking for a card to recommend to a family member or friend who wants a simple strategy, this is an excellent option.

If you want to learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

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Comments
  1. I have put considerable annual spend on this card since the earliest days of its inception and recommended it enthusiastically to many. Scripted and hard to understand overseas customer support and cancellation of all secondary benefits on 22 September 2019 will result in a closed account in the coming months. Spending has been switched to a more attractive local credit union rewards card. This is unfortunate since the Citi Double Cash card was one of the best if not the best no annual fee credit cards on the market. After 22 September 2019, the only Citi card worth using is the Costco card for which secondary benefits were reduced but not eliminated. Sad.

  2. I’d add that since it is a World Mastercard, if you put your cell phone bill on it then you will be covered by the new MC cell phone insurance. That’s not bad for a card that also gives you 2% back!

  3. PayPal Mastercard offers 2% cashback with every purchase (not 1% purchase and 1% paydown) and offers zero foreign transaction fee. That, combined with the reduction of Citi benefits, makes that card a better option. That said I would rather spend on travel rewards cards or something like the CFU.

  4. Can anyone confirm @HADLEY V. BAXENDALE’s comment that the Citi Double Cash has cell phone protection? I checked the internets and did not see this feature. I will take that card out of the sock drawer today and transfer my cell phone bill to it, if true. Thanks.

  5. Available starting July 1

    Cellphone insurance: World cardholders will get cellphone protection worth up to $600 per claim, while World Elite cardholders will get protection worth up to $800 per claim, to cover theft, damage and even screen scratches. For both cards, losses are covered up to $1,000 per year. To receive this benefit, you’ll have to pay your cellphone bill with the Mastercard World or World Elite card to get this perk.

  6. Meg,

    Did you get that information from the Citibank Double Cash website? Mastercard’s website indicates that added coverage information is specific to the issuer. Cell phone protection was not evident on the Citibank Double Cash website.

    JimT

  7. Just curious- why do you recommend redeeming via direct deposit? Wouldn’t a statement credit be just as easy if not easier?

  8. Fidelity 2% VISA – Pro, supports Apple Pay. Cons- 1% international fee, requires Fidelity account.

    PayPal 2% MasterCard – Pro, no international fee. Con, doesn’t support Apple Pay.

  9. Jim T –

    You bring up a good sleuthing point, however, your restatement of the coverage is not complete.

    The MasterCard website states the following with respect to the cell phone insurance coverage:

    “Disclosure

    Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions and exclusions of the Policies applicable to your Card, as specified by the underwriter, and is subject to change with notice.

    This site does not supplement or replace the Policy and/or Program Terms.

    Submission of a claim does not guarantee coverage or coverage availability.”

    https://www.mycardbenefits.com/Home/AboutCellPhoneProtection?cd=en&prog=cel

    Now, under the Citi Double Cash Damage and Theft protection or Extended Warranty section, excluded items relate to transportation related items and other such things, not cell phones.

    Therefore, the coverage exclusions of the Citi Double Cash Card are not in conflict with the MasterCard cell phone insurance coverage.

    I also asked a Citi rep online about this and she responded in the affirmative — although reps are notorious with respect to the answers they supply.

    I encourage others to query their reps about this matter to ascertain — hopefully — a definitive answer.

  10. Hadley V. Baxendale,

    I concede your point about the limitations of my coverage restatement and understand the interpretation of the coverage statements as you have stated. I also completely concur with your statement stating the need for a definitive answer.

    Nevertheless, all of these protections are cancelled effective 22 September 2019 per Citibank. The extra 1/2% that the Citi Double Cash card offers is not worth this level of angst given a plethora of strong 1.5% no annual fee cash back cards currently on the market. It is worth the 1/2% loss to me to avoid Citi credit card gyrations with scripted and hard to understand overseas customer service with the exception of the Citibank Costco card. Seriously, why carry a World Elite Citibank Double Cash card after 22 September 2019? Much of my business is going to a plain old Platinum Mastercard that pays 1.5 to 3.0 percent uncapped on all spend with no annual fee and few extra insurance benefits – most have been eliminated. Have a nice day and thank you for the response.

  11. I called Citi and talked to two people who didn’t know of any cell phone coverage other than the extended warranty. They thought maybe Mastercard would know and transferred my call to them. Mastercard transferred me back to Citi before I could even finish explaining what my question was. I doubt there is such coverage. Bummer. Just bought 2 new phones and don’t have any of the other cards with known phone coverage benefits.

  12. Given the discrepancy of responses, I re-checked with Citi via Chat and received the disconcerting news that contrary to earlier assurances, the Citi Double Cash is not a World Elite MC – Full Stop — End of discussion.

    No coverage, then.

    Sorry guys and gals.

    Will have to change my auto payment yet again!

  13. @Stu, I was under the understanding that a statement credit wouldn’t get you the 1% return from payments.

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