Citi® Double Cash Card review: 18-month BT offer
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Earn 1% cash back when you buy plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases (you must make at least the minimum payment on time to earn cash back).
- Take advantage of an 18-month, zero interest offer on balance transfers (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
- Our 2020 Editor's Choice pick for Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Rewards.
- Savvy shoppers willing to employ a little more strategy might prefer cards with rotating bonus categories.
Are you good about paying off your credit card balance each month? If so, Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer might be appealing to you. If you have excellent credit, this 2020 CardRatings Editor's Choice winner for best flat-rate cash-back credit card could change the way you think about earning rewards. Citi is a CardRatings.com advertiser
Some of the top Citi® Double Cash benefits include: double cash back - earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases (just make sure to pay at least the minimum due on time); no annual fees; and 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). Often times 0% APR introductory offers are limited to one year or less. The Citi® Double Cash balance transfer offer, however, is a generous 18-months. This is a great perk if you're carrying a large balance and need some extra time to pay it off.
Citi® Double Cash is also the only card that earns you 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases (whether you pay your balance in full or over time, though you must make the minimum payment on time to earn cash back). The double cash angle is a different structure than most rewards cards on the market, which makes cardholders think differently about the way points can be accumulated.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
There is no traditional signup bonus offered with Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer; however, the bonus categories for this card are not restricted, and rebates have no caps, which is somewhat of a bonus in and of itself. This cash-back rewards card is good for high value ongoing rewards– the more you spend, the more you earn. The categories aren't rotating either, so knowing exactly how your rewards are being accumulated, at all times, is subjectively an important feature.
Receiving rewards points for purchases and payment on accounts is a great incentive to pay off your balance each month. Any time a credit card company can promote smart credit card habits, it's a win.
Really though, the true Citi® Double Cash bonus is the long intro 0% balance transfer APR offer. Like we mentioned above, most credit cards within the cash-back category have, usually at most, a 12-month introductory offer— Citi® Double Cash offers 18 months on balance transfers, which is one of the longest intro periods we've seen. If you have a major purchase on the horizon that would be easier to pay off in smaller increments, this extended balance transfer intro might be an appealing feature.
Although Citi® doesn't share what credit score is needed to receive the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer, this card is reserved for those with excellent scores. The credit scoring agency Experian considers scores of at least 740 to be "very good" and anything above 800 as "exceptional." Please note, however, that these numbers can vary between different bureaus.
No credit card is perfect, and one of downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer is its foreign transaction fees. The Citi® Double Cash foreign transaction fee is equal to 3% of the U.S. dollar amount for purchases made in a foreign currency. For instance, you'll pay a $3 fee if you buy $100 worth of items from an overseas website that charges in a foreign currency. Doesn't sound terrible, but think of it this way: If you take a vacation in another country and make $3,000 worth of foreign purchases, you'll pay $90 in fees. Since the Citi® Double Cash card pays out a maximum of 2% cash back, the foreign transaction fee wipes out any rewards you may earn on those purchases.
While the Citi® Double Cash card is a solid choice for everyday purchases, be sure you have a different card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees if you plan to frequently travel internationally.
Another fee to keep in mind is the balance transfer fee— 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.. Furthermore, you must pay at least your minimum due each month in order to earn cash back; that isn't a downside, per se, as we like a card that encourages responsible use, but if you're someone who sometimes misses a due date, you'll be disappointed when those rewards don't add up.
Citi® Double Cash vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns a bit less than the Double Cash card, but the 1.5% cash back earned is automatic per each dollar spent and you can earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and 3% at drugstores. Additionally, it also offers new cardholders the chance to earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) in your first year as a cardholder and a nice welcome bonus of $200, earned once spending $500 in the first three months of card membership. Lastly, it offers 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months (then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable).
The Freedom Unlimited® card is especially a good bet if you have any other Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning cards like Chase Freedom Flex℠ or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, that is if you're willing to be strategic with your credit card use. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns bonus back in rotating categories, so the Freedom Unlimited® makes a good companion as it can be used to earn bonus rewards on all the purchases that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ doesn't earn bonus rewards on. The same idea applies to the tiered-rewards Sapphire Preferred®, but with this card, points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel, so you could theoretically get more out of your rewards when pairing the Freedom Unlimited® card with the Sapphire Preferred® card if you pooled your rewards into your Sapphire account. Or, if simplicity if the name of the game, simply use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to earn unlimited 1.5% on every purchase you make to easily rack up rewards on all of your purchases.
The information related to the Sapphire Preferred® credit card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards.
Citi® Double Cash vs. Discover it® Cash Back
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
Similar to the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer, the Discover it® Cash Back has no annual fee and the ability to redeem cash back at any time with no minimums. Where the two cards differ is in how points are earned and the new cardmember bonus opportunity. The Discover It® card earns 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate). For new cardmembers, at the end of your first year, Discover matches that 5%— effectively meaning you earn 10% cash back in those categories.
Where the Citi® Double Cash card excels is in straightforward cash back earning. With the Citi® Double Cash card you earn 1% when you make a purchase plus an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases. While this is less than the possible 10% cash back rate offered by the Discover It® card, you earn the same rate on all purchases and you don’t have to worry about opting into quarterly bonus categories. Remember though, the match offered by Discover is only good for the first year. After that, you'll just earn 5% in rotating categories up to the quarterly maximum, and then 1% on everything else.
Citi® Double Cash vs. Capital One® Quicksilver®
For those who want a no annual fee cash back card without the hassle of rotating categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card are both great options. One of the largest differences between the cards is their introductory bonus offers. The Quicksilver® card has an introductory bonus offer of $150 after spending $500 on purchases during the first three months of card membership. The Citi® Double cash card does not have an introductory cash back bonus offer, although it does have an intro 18 month 0% APR offer on balance transfers. For those looking for a signup cash back boost, the Quicksilver® card is a great choice.
These cards also differ in their cash back earnings rates. The Citi® Double Cash card earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases for a possible total of 2% cash back on all your purchases, while the Quicksilver® card earns a flat-rate 1.5% cash back on all purchases made.
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer is best for consumers with excellent credit who are interested in earning cash-back rewards, but don't want to keep up with rotating categories or spending caps. As with any rewards card, the ideal cardholder is someone who will pay their balance in full each month so that interest charges don't eat into the rewards you're earning.
Lastly, it's also important to remember that this card does charge foreign transaction fees, so you should plan to carry a different card along when you travel abroad.