Citi Double Cash Credit Card Review
Citi's Double Cash card has a lot of perks, but before you apply here's everything you should know about it.
If cash is king, the Citi Double Cash Card is your ticket to royalty.
This cash back card, which boasts no annual fee, is touted as the hassle-free, versatile rewards credit card you've been searching for to use on all your everyday purchases.
Here's what you need to know:
- Earn 1% cash back on purchases, and another 1% rewards when you pay your bill
- No annual fee
- 18-month 0% balance transfer rate
- No rotating categories or restrictions—every purchase earns cardholders 2% cash back, assuming you pay your bill on time
- Access to perks including Citi Purchase Rewind, which tracks the price of items you buy and refunds you the difference if the price decreases within 60 days
Wondering whether the Citi Double Cash Card is a good rewards credit card for you?
Answer the questions below to find out:
- Do you spend very little on dining out and gas?
- Are you overwhelmed by the number of reward credit cards in your wallet, and have trouble remembering which is the best card to use for each type of purchase?
- Do you travel infrequently, so miles aren't very valuable for you?
- Are you looking to transfer a credit card balance to a card with a 0% rate that is guaranteed for over a year?
If you've answered yes to a few or more of the questions above, the Citi Double Cash Card—which offers the top cash back rewards rate among its competitors (including American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimited) and charges no annual fee—may be worth looking into further.
1. The Verdict
With no annual fee and the best cash back rewards rate available, signing up for the Citi Double Cash Card is a no-brainer—assuming you have good credit.
If you're looking to transfer a credit card balance and take advantage of the generous 18-month, 0% balance transfer rate, the Citi Double Cash Card is a good bet.
The rewards card is praised for its simplicity and high cash back rate, with no restrictions or limits.
If you're going to carry a balance, however, this card may not be the best choice, since the interest rate you'll pay will cancel out any cash back rewards you earn.
If you're a frequent traveler or enjoy dining out regularly, other credit cards are available that could boost your earnings above and beyond the Citi Double Cash Card—and help you avoid the 3% foreign transaction fee (not to mention, most other cards offer a sign-up bonus, which this card does not).
For those consumers whose purchases fall into a broad range of categories and who are not diligent about opting into and keeping track of 5% bonus rewards categories each quarter, the Citi Double Cash Card is a good everyday, primary credit card for all of your purchases.
With the Citi Double Cash Card, you can let go of the mental calculus of figuring out which is the best rewards credit card to use based on your purchase categories.
No matter what you buy with the Citi Double Cash Card, cardholders are eligible to earn double cash back.
If you're still unsure if the Citi Double Cash Card is right for you, or just want to confirm your hunch, we've compiled a comprehensive review below, with perspectives from a wide range of experts and consumers.
Overall, the experts reviewing the Citi Double Cash Card liked the card, praising its easy-to-use cash back structure, its generous balance transfer offer (BT offer), and high rate of cash rewards.
Other attractive features include:
- No annual fee
- 2% cash back on every purchase
- Simplicity—no need to carry a dozen rewards credit cards in your wallet or keep track of rotating 5% cash back categories
- 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 18 months
- Citi Price Rewind feature
- Late-fee waiver for first missed payment
- Free access to your FICO score
While the Citi Double Cash Card received high praise from experts as an everyday cash back rewards credit card, many consumers caution that it isn't for everyone. Here are some things to consider before applying for the Citi Double Cash Card:
- No sign-on bonus offer
- Not an ideal travel rewards card, as it has no airline transfer partners
- Rewards expire if you don't use the card in 12 months
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- The 0% interest rate only applies to balance transfers, and not to purchases made with the card—so pay off your bills in full to avoid hefty interest charges
4. Main Competition
The Citi Double Cash Card leads the pack in terms of offering 2% cash back on all purchases, with no category restrictions or limits.
The next best cash back rewards cards are the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Cards. Both offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
While the Citi Double Cash Card has an advantage when it comes to its BT offer and cash back return, it does not offer a sign-up bonus.
Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Cards do offer a sign-up bonus of $100 when you spend $500 within the first three months of opening the card.
Therefore, in the short-term, you may be better off with the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards cards.
For example, if you spend $1,000 a month on your credit card, you'll earn $240 in cash back rewards with the Citi Double Cash Card.
Making those same purchases on the other two cards will only net you $180, giving the Citi Double Cash Card an edge.
But if you factor in the $100 signup bonus Chase and Capital One offer, your one-year cash-back will total $280—making those rewards cards more attractive options than the Citi Double Cash Card if you don't intend to hold onto it for the long haul.
For the long run, however, the Citi Double Cash Card comes out ahead in the reward credit card category.
5. Biggest Complaints
While the majority of card holders liked the cash back benefits offered by the Citi Double Cash Card, several consumers expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the card. Some of the most frequent complaints discussed online about the Citi Double Cash Card include:
Low credit limit
Consumers weren't very happy with the low credit limit that seems to be a default characteristic of this card.
Vanessa of Sayreville, N.J., for example, posted on ConsumerAffairs.com that although her credit score is in the mid-700s and her credit utilization ratio is well under 30%, she "wasn't thrilled about my credit limit" and "was denied three times for a limit increase."
Dissatisfaction with Citi customer service representatives
Another complaint echoed by many customer reviews was the low level of service provided by Citi customer service representatives. "Worst customer service ever," continued "thederbyguy" on WalletHub.
"They wanted my life story before I could use my card...Closed account before I even got to use it. Save yourself the headache."
High-interest rate on new purchases
The 0% balance transfer rate allows you to transfer an existing credit card balance to the Citi Double Cash Card and pay no interest for up to 18 months.
However, any new purchases you put on the Citi Double Cash Card are subject to a variable interest rate of between 14.24% and 24.24% if you carry a balance. That can add up quickly.
6. History of the Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is a MasterCard brand cash back rewards credit card that is issued by Citibank, a subsidiary of Citigroup.
It was introduced in 2014 and was selected as one of the best credit cards of 2016-2017 by Money Magazine, which named it a winner when it came to an "Easy Choice for Cash Back."
If you have been to New York City, Brooklyn, or New Jersey in the last few years, there is a high chance that you've seen Citi Bike stations and Citi Bikes on many a street corner.
The bikes proved to be a huge success when they were introduced in May 2013, selling out of 5,000 advanced memberships in 30 hours!
It is creative marketing programs like this that Citi believes will help make its rewards card top of mind when you consider a cash-back credit card.
7. What the Card Does
Citi offers a wide array of credit cards to meet the needs of consumers of all types, from secured credit cards for those working to boost their credit score, cards geared to college students, to airline-cobranded cards and those aimed at large spenders.
The Citi Double Cash Card is the company's premiere cash back rewards card, and only those with good to excellent credit will be approved.
Unlike other cards that offer reward points that can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, or even magazines, the Citi Double Cash Card keeps things simple with its cash-back rewards.
You can transfer your cash-back earnings to your checking or savings account by logging into your Citi account and clicking the "redeem" button.
You also have the option of requesting a gift card or having a check mailed to you.
There is a $25 minimum redemption amount, meaning you have to spend a minimum of $1,250 in order to get any cash back.
Also be aware that rewards expire if the card is not used for more than a year.
While you can redeem cash back in the form of a statement credit to help pay off your credit card bill, this is not recommended, since you do not earn the 1% cash back on the amount you redeem as a statement credit.
For example, if you request a $250 statement credit, you will lose $2.50 in cash back.
A better bet is to have the cash back direct deposited into your checking account, and then use those funds to pay your credit card bill.
What do people love the most about Citi Double Cash Card?
Earning 2% back on all of your purchases is twice the market average when it comes to cash back rewards cards.
According to the Credit Card Landscape Report produced by WalletHub, the average cash rewards card gives you only 1.02% cash back.
Even better, you won't have to concern yourself with rotating categories that offer bonus cash back, which can bring simplicity to an overstuffed wallet.
If you're overwhelmed keeping track of the different 5% cash back rewards categories that change each quarter on competitor cards like Chase Freedom, than the Citi Double Cash Card may become your favorite go-to credit card in your wallet.
It's a great choice for everyday spending among a broad range of expenses—assuming you don't spend significant dollars on dining, travel, and gas, all categories that generally yield between 3% and 5% cash back on other cards like Chase Sapphire.
As Reddit user supes1 points out, "There's no single card better for all those categories, but you can definitely do better with a combination of cards.For example, the Costco Anywhere card (requires Costco membership) gives 4% on gas, 3% on restaurants, 3% on travel.
For example, the Costco Anywhere card (requires Costco membership) gives 4% on gas, 3% on restaurants, 3% on travel.
The AMEX Blue Cash Preferred (has an annual fee) offers a whopping 6% cash back on groceries."
The added bonus of having 18 months of 0% interest on balance transfers is a nice perk for those who are carrying a credit card balance.
"This is a fairly lengthy 0% intro APR, and can be very helpful for anyone wanting to transfer their balance from another high-interest card to avoid paying interest for 18 months," according to a review of the card on NextAdvisor.
"While you have to pay a 3% balance transfer fee for transferring a balance, this one-time balance transfer fee is likely a lot cheaper than the ongoing interest you're paying on your current credit card—plus, you have 18 months to pay off the balance."
The 18 months is a generous amount of time as compared to the Chase Slate credit card, which only offers the 0% promotional rate for 15 months on balance transfers.
If you currently carry a credit card balance of $5,000, the Citi Double Cash Card can save you upwards of $703 in interest charges over the course of 18 months if you do a balance transfer.
Now, that's something to celebrate! Just be aware that if you don't pay off the balance transfer amount by the time the introductory 18-month 0% interest rate promotion expires, you may be subject to additional interest charges that will cut into your savings.
What do people dislike about Citi Double Cash Card?
To get approved for the Citi Double Cash Card, you'll need an excellent credit score.
Some cardholders were frustrated that they were only approved for a low credit line—between $2,000 and $5,000—with this card, despite high income or larger credit lines being offered to them by other banks.
Andrew of Pinckney, M.I., for example, posted on ConsumerAffairs.com that although he has excellent credit history, has paid off his mortgage and has many other credit cards with high limits, Citibank froze his card two times explaining that the bank was concerned about his credit limit.
And for those who end up carrying a balance long after 18-month introductory 0% balance transfer rate expired, this card's hefty interest rate more than offset the unlimited cash back rewards it provided.
Some users also complained about poor customer service. "...Do nothing but toe the company line," wrote a user going by "T.S." from Beacon, N.Y. "DO NOT do business with them. The absolute worst credit card company I've dealt with. Class action lawsuits need to be filed."
While many users praised Citi for its thorough security features that prevent credit card fraud, others complained that certain normal behaviors—like shopping at two nearby locations of Macy's—can trigger the card's fraud sensitivity and result in charges being declined.
Others, like cardholder Nathan Berlin, complained about having trouble getting in touch with the fraud department after unauthorized activity was detected on his card.
"There have been many excuses but the main frustration is that there is no way to get a hold of the fraud department," he writes. "Worse yet, they did not report the fraud case correctly on my credit report. Therefore, I have had to call all 3 credit bureaus in order to correct the problem."
Users also cautioned that the second 1% back will only occur if you make a payment after the billing statement closes.
Paying your bill any earlier may result in not earning the additional 1% rewards on all of your credit card charges.
"In order to get the full 2% cash back and not pay any extra, you have to pay in full every month," says cardholder Chris Kotterman on Quora. "If you can't do that, I wouldn't use it.
The value of 2% cash back dissipates immediately in the face of 13-24% interest."
8. Benefits and Fees
Double cash back—1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay your credit card bill—is the key attraction when it comes to choosing the Citi Double Cash Card.
But it's not the only benefit worth knowing about.
Cash back. The Citi Double Cash Card leads the pack in offering the highest percentage of cash back available on any purchase.
The next best rewards card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which only offers 1.5% cash back on purchases.
For a family charging an average of $1,325 a month, they will receive $318 in cash back using the Citi Double Cash Card—vs. $238.50 from the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.
The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 2% cash back, but it is invested directly in a customer's linked Fidelity brokerage account, making it more difficult to redeem.
You don't have to pay off the card balance in full to earn the additional 1% cash back (although doing so is a smart move to save on interest fees).
Just pay the minimum balance on time, and you'll earn another 1% cash back on top of the 1% you earned when you used the credit card to purchase in the first place.
It's important to note that you do not earn any cash back on balance transfers, interest charges, or fees.
When you log into your Citi account, you can view the Purchase Tracker in your billing statement to see how much of your balance qualifies for cash back.
Fraud protection. The Citi Double Cash Card provides $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen, purchase protection, and an extended warranty program.
Insurance. While it does not offer roadside assistance or lost luggage reimbursement, the Citi Double Cash Card does come with worldwide car rental insurance, which may cover you against theft or damage to your rental car and enabling you to save money by declining the rental car company's collision loss/damage insurance.
The travel accident insurance offers financial assistance if a tragic accident occurs while you are traveling.
The Citi Double Cash Card also comes with trip cancellation and interruption protection, which will reimburse you for non-refundable expenses, such as changing your flight or hotel booking, due to certain unforeseen circumstances.
Citi Price Rewind. This feature enables you to track the price of items bought with your Citi Double Cash Card, and receive a refund if the price drops within 60 days at any of the hundreds of online stores that Citi checks.
You are eligible for a refund of up to $500 per item, with a maximum of $2,500 in refunds each year.
If you're not big on shopping around for the best price, this perk alone can save you hundreds of dollars each year!
Concierge services. Citi Concierge is a 24/7 hotline you can access to help with your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment, and everyday needs. Contact Citi Concierge at email@example.com or 1-800-508-8930.
Extended warranty. The extended warranty program that provides you with an extra year of warranty—covering you up to $10,000 a year.
Damage and theft protection. If an item you purchased with your Citi Double Cash Card is lost or stolen within 120 days (or 90 days if you live in certain states), Citi will reimburse you up to $50,000 within a year for damages.
In consumer reviews, many griped about the low credit line they were approved for with the Double Cash Card, despite having a good credit score and being approved for a substantially higher credit line with competitor cards such as the Chase Freedom.
Users complained of only being approved for a credit line of between $2,000 and $5,000, despite gaining access to credit lines of $10,000 or more from other banks like Chase.
Introductory rate. The Citi Double Cash Card does not offer an introductory APR for purchases.
If you don't pay your entire bill by the due date, the balance will be subject to an APR ranging from 14.24% to 24.24%.
0% Balance transfer rate. The Citi Double Cash Card currently offers a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers, for up to 18 months.
Once the 18 months have passed, the APR varies from 14.24% to 24.24% based on your creditworthiness, including whether you pay your bills on time.
Cash advance rate. Cash advances will cost you with the Citi Double Cash Card—to the tune of a 25.99% APR (along with a cash advance fee, detailed below).
Annual fee. Like many of its competitors, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, the Citi Double Cash Card does not charge an annual fee.
Its competitive advantage is that it offers a higher percentage of cash back in any category than most of its competitors (namely the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which only offers 1.5% cash back).
This makes it a very attractive credit card to use for everyday purchases besides for groceries, gas, and dining out—categories where you can earn between 3% and 5% cash back using competitor cards like Chase Freedom or the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card.
Foreign transaction fee. This card is not the best card to use when traveling abroad since you will incur a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase made outside of the United States.
Balance transfer fee. While the Citi Double Cash Card offers an attractive 0% interest rate on balance transfers for a generous 18 months, be aware that you will be charged 3% of the amount of credit card debt that you transfer to this card ($5 minimum).
Cash advance fee. Need cash quickly? It will cost you in the form of a cash advance fee of 5% ($10 minimum).
Late fee. You get a pass the first time you pay your bill after the due date—you won't be charged a late fee the first time it happens. Afterward, expect to pay up to $35 each time you submit your payment after the stated due date.
What do experts say about this product?
Financial experts like the Citi Double Cash Card, calling it a fuss-free cash back card that makes it easy to earn money back on all of your purchases, without any restrictions.
They especially liked that the card incentivizes good behavior—the additional 1% cash back when you pay your bill on time may serve as a good motivator to pay off your credit card balances and avoid carrying a balance (which more than offsets the cash back rewards earned).
Credit card holders who are diligent about maximizing rewards in rotating categories, however, will be better off sticking with a card like Chase Freedom, which offers 5% cash back rewards for certain categories each quarter.
For consumers focused on improving their credit, Citi provides free access to your FICO score (in comparison, myFICO charges more than $350 annually to monitor your credit report).
9. Website, Apps and Digital Services
While expert reviews didn't focus much on the Citi Double Cash Card's website, the secure site allows you to view your statements and account activity, pay your bills, and even view your FICO score.
You can redeem rewards online, too.
Digital-based fraud technology
The Citi Double Cash Card comes equipped with digital-based fraud protection in the form of EMV/chip technology, which provides greater fraud protection and enables you to use your card when traveling abroad.
Banking on the go
The Citi Mobile App appears to be well received.
It earned 4.5 stars according to customer reviews in the Apple iTunes app store. MicNewUser, an iTunes user, gave the Citi Mobile app five stars.
He's happy that you can now redeem card rewards in the app. Plus, "the spend breakdown feature is fantastic," he wrote. "Just when you think everyone's credit card apps are the same, I think they just one-upped everyone on this one."
Customers like the following mobile features, which enable them to:
- Quickly access their account using Touch ID
- View statements
- Check recent card activity
- Report fraudulent transactions
- Pay their bills
- View their free FICO credit score.
- Lock and unlock their credit card with Citi® Quick Lock
- Request a new card if the Citi Double Cash Card is lost, stolen, or damaged.
If you have an Apple Watch, you'll also be able to access account information by downloading the Apple Watch app.
10. Getting Started
If you're ready to sign up for the Citi Double Cash Card, you can log online to the Citi website and click on the "apply now" button.
You'll want to make sure you have a good credit score (between 690 and 850), to help ensure that you will be approved for this cash back credit card.
If you are interested in taking advantage of the 18-month 0% balance transfer offer, or BT offer, be sure to read the fine print about the variable APR after the offer expires and follow the instructions on the website after being approved for the credit card.
Details about the BT offer are included in the handy FAQ section below.
11. Closing Your Account
To close your Citi Double Cash Card, call the toll-free number listed on the back of your credit card.
If you are registered for online access with Citi, you can also send a secure message through their online portal.
There are no penalties for closing an account, but you will be responsible for paying off any of the remaining balance before the account can be terminated.
In addition, you will want to redeem the cash back rewards you have earned as you will lose them once the credit card has been closed.
Q: How is this cash back card different from other?
With Citi Double Cash Card, you earn 1% on all purchases when you use the card. Plus, you'll earn an additional 1% when you pay your bill. Other cash back rewards cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, only give you 1.5% cash back when you make a purchase—and no extra cash back upon paying your credit card bill.
Q: Does the Citi Double Cash Card come with the Price Rewind feature?
Yes! Here's how it works: When you buy a laptop or something else on Citi's list of eligible items, you can upload your receipt and Citi will search hundreds of online retailers to see how much they are charging for the same item. If the price drops within 60 days, you'll receive a credit automatically for up to $500 per item. There is a maximum $2,500 you can claim each year through the Price Rewind program.
Q: Does the Citi Double Cash Card have an annual fee?
Q: Does the Citi Double Cash Card come with any purchase protection benefits?
Yes, the Citi Double Cash Card offers damage and theft protection, which means that if an item you purchased with your Citi Double Cash Card is lost or stolen within 120 days (or 90 days if you live in certain states), Citi will reimburse you up to $50,000 within a year for damages.
The Citi Double Cash Card also offers an extended warranty program that provides you with an extra year of warranty—covering you up to $10,000 a year to repair, reimburse, or replace the item up to the amount charged on your card.
Q: How does the late fee waiver work?
If you forget to pay your Citi Double Cash Card on time, you'll get a pass and won't be charged a late fee the first time it happens. This can save you as much as $35.
Q: Can I use the Citi Double Cash Card with a PIN at an ATM?
To make cash advances, you will need to call Citi to request a PIN. Be aware that cash advances are costly with this card, as you will be charged a fee of 5% of the amount requested ($10 minimum). You'll also pay interest on the amount of your cash advance.
Q: Can I use the Citi Double Cash Card while traveling internationally?
The Citi Double Cash Card comes equipped with an EMV chip, making it more secure and enabling you to use the card as you travel across the globe. The chip may also help to prevent identity theft. However, the card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it's not the best card to use when traveling outside of the United States.
How does the Citi Double Cash Card balance transfer offer work?
The Citi Double Cash Card currently offers an 18-month BT offer that carries an introductory APR of 0% followed by an ongoing APR of 14.49% to 24.49% based on your creditworthiness, with no annual fee.
In addition to the attractive intro APR, this cash-back credit card also earns cardholders unlimited cash back rewards—1% on all purchases plus an additional 1% upon pay-off.
Here's what Citi bank has to say about their balance transfer offer (BT offer). Make sure you read the fine print:
- Balance transfers do not earn cash back
- 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
- Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening
- Balance transfer fee: either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Interested in a cash-back card or more from Citi bank? Check out Citi Credit Cards: Everything You Need to Know.
Do you use the Citi Double Cash credit card?
How has the card worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.