CITI DOUBLE CASH CREDIT CARD REVIEW [UPDATED 2018]
If cash back is your idea of a great credit card rewards program, then be sure to check out the Citi Double Cash credit card as it offers the ability to earn cash back quickly.
Not everyone wants travel or merchandise rewards from their credit card. Many people want cold hard cash. And when it comes to earning cash back, few credit cards rival the Citi Double Cash.
- Possibly the highest cash back rate of any credit card
- No annual fee
- 18 month 0% APR for balance transfers
- No signup bonus
- You need to pay off your debt every month or the rewards rate is subpar
CITI DOUBLE CASH BACK REWARDS
The Citi Double Cash provides cardholders with 2% cash back on their purchases: 1% when they buy items and 1% when they pay down their credit card balances.
This inventive approach allows people to quickly earn cash back while spending on everyday items and expenses. This feature is also beneficial because you don’t have to spend more money to earn more cash back. The credit card literally rewards you for paying down your credit card each month.
Even though this is a cash back credit card, it still provides a sign-up bonus. People who are approved for the Citi Double Cash Back card receive a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
Essentially that means you won’t pay any interest on balance transfers for the first year and a half that you have this credit card. That’s a good deal and will make consolidating debt from other credit cards onto the Citi Double Cash Back card worthwhile.
However, after the introductory 18-month period expires, you’ll pay APR of 15.74% to 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.
Also note that balance transfers do not earn cash back. And, interest is charged on purchases and balance transfers unless you pay your entire balance off by the due date each month. To qualify for the introductory 0% APR, you must complete any and all balance transfers to the Citi Double Cash Back card within four months of opening an account.
And, there is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. So while a good offer, there are a few strings attached to the sign-up bonus with this particular credit card.
CREDIT SCORE REQUIRED
You’ll need to have a “good to excellent” credit score to qualify for the Citi Double Cash Back card. Citi recommends that people have a credit score of between 690 and 850 in order to apply.
If you qualify, it may be worth it to get your hands on the Citi Double Cash Back credit card though as you earn an additional 1% cash back on all credit card payments so long as you pay the minimum that’s due. And, there is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
ANNUAL FEE AND TRANSACTION FEES
People who want cash back rewards are likely thrifty, or, at the very least, conscious of spending money. You’ll be happy to hear then that there’s no annual fee charged on the Citi Double Cash card – ever.
While other credit cards offer a $0 annual fee for the first year and then charge a fee of up to a few hundred dollars, there’s no yearly cost to you for using the Citi Double Cash credit card. However, there are some other fees you should be aware of.
In terms of transaction fees, cardholders are charged 3% of the US dollar amount of each foreign purchase. There’s also a cash advance fee of $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. And, as mentioned, balance transfer fees will cost you either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
So, while you won’t have to pay an annual fee to use the Citi Double Cash Back credit card, you’ll likely incur other charges depending on how you use the card. Be aware of these additional fees and keep them in mind as you use the card.
You’ll also want to be mindful of the interest rates charged on the Citi Double Cash card – particularly when it comes to penalties for missing a payment or making one late.
The annual percentage rate (APR), or interest rate, charged on purchases made with the card is 15.74% to 25.74% based on your credit history, and this is pretty standard in the credit card industry. The APR is variable though and changes if the prime lending rate moves.
The APR charged on cash advances is slightly higher at 27.49%, and that interest is charged as soon as a cash advance is taken out rather than at the end of the month. The cash advance APR is also comparable to other credit cards.
Where Citi ratchets up the APR is on penalty interest charged should you miss a payment or make one late. In that case, you’ll be subject to APR of 29.99% regardless of your credit score. That’s a hefty amount of interest that should definitely be avoided.
While Citi does give cardholders a pass on their first late fee, if you miss a second payment you could end up paying excessive interest charges. So do yourself a favour and keep an eye on the calendar and remember when your credit card payments need to be made.
CITI DOUBLE CASH BENEFITS AND FEATURES
Beyond the ability to earn cash back, the Citi Double Cash card does have a few unique features worth highlighting. These include the ability to redeem cash back for cheques or statement credits, as well as no restricting categories to keep track of or enrol in. As mentioned already, there are no limits to the total amount of cash back you can earn with this credit card. That alone distinguishes the Citi Double Cash card from other similar credit cards.
With this card, you also get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events annually, including presale tickets and VIP packages to concerts, sporting events, restaurants and complimentary movie screenings. All of these are available through www.citiprivatepass.com.
Citi also promises to protect holders of the Double Cash Back card from fraud and identity theft, and provides $0 liability for any and all unauthorized charges. The Citi Double Cash Back card is also aligned with Apple Pay, enabling you to pay for purchases using an iPhone of iPad while still getting the cash back rewards associated with the card.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS CARD
The Citi Double Cash Back credit card is for people who want to earn cash back on purchases. It’s not going to earn you travel rewards or get you a free vacation. With its multiple fees, high penalty interest rate, and strict credit rating requirements, this is also not a card for people who are price sensitive or have a troubled credit history.
We also wouldn’t recommend this credit card as a way to help you pay down debt or to limit your interest costs. You don’t have to pay interest for 18 months on balance transfers which is the second longest period of all credit cards, however the 3% balance transfer fee makes this card worse than the Chase Slate card with a 15 month 0% interest period and no balance transfer fee.
Keep in mind you don’t earn cash back on balance transfers, cash advances, account fees, interest, or returned items with the Citi Double Cash Back card.
ALTERNATIVE CARD: THE BLUE CASH PREFERRED CARD FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS
While there are many cash back reward credit cards on the market, the one that’s most similar to the Citi Double Cash Back is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.
The Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1% after the initial $6,000). It also provides 3% cash back at US gas stations and select US department stores.
Cardholders earn 1% cash back everywhere else. While the amount of cash back earned is higher than the Citi Double Cash Back card in certain merchant categories, the Blue Cash Preferred card does have an annual fee of $95.
Many other cash back cards also offer higher cash back rewards, but in rotating categories. The nice thing about the Citi Double Cash Back card is that the 2% cash back is offered consistently across all purchases and for paying down the balance on the card.
While not the flashiest cash back credit card out there, the Citi Double Cash does have a lot to recommend it. Earning cash back simply for paying down your balance is a great feature and incentive to use this credit card responsibly.
It’s also convenient to know that you earn 1% cash back on any and all purchases without having to think about which merchants are offering you cash back this month or quarter.
However, the cash back rewards offered with this card come at a price in the form of transaction and cash advance fees, as well as high penalty interest should you miss more than one payment. By all means get this credit card but be sure to keep an eye on how you use it and when it’s time to make a payment.
The opinions provided in this article are those of the author and do not constitute investment advice. Readers should assume that the author and/or employees of Grizzle hold positions in the company or companies mentioned in the article. For more information, please see our Content Disclaimer.