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Citi Double Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Both credit cards offer strong rewards, but which one is better?

CNET'S PICK
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Learn More

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn a $200 bonus Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$0
APR
20.49% - 29.24% Variable
Rewards rate
1.5% - 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; 1.5% on all other purchases
Rewards
Introductory APR
Card perks
Welcome offer
5%
Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
3%
3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
1.5%
1.5% on all other purchases
Best for
Rewards
Introductory APR
Card perks
Welcome offer
Citi Double Cash® Card
Apply Now

Citi Double Cash® Card

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
On Citi's secure website
Intro Offer
$200 cash back Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1% - 5% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.; Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
Balance transfers
5%
Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
1%
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
Best for
Balance transfers

Citi is an advertising partner.

The Citi Double Cash® Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®* are both strong cash-back credit cards, but the Freedom Unlimited will offer most people a wider array of benefits. It offers strong cash-back rates, an easily reachable welcome bonus and a better introductory APR offer.

The Double Cash still has its strengths -- particularly if you don’t spend a lot on dining and drugstores or need to knock out some existing credit card debt. Consider your goals and the details of each card’s offer to determine the best fit for you.

Rewards and redemption

Citi Double Cash® Card
  • Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
WINNER
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

The Citi Double Cash earns rewards no matter what you’re spending on, while the Freedom Unlimited earns more rewards depending on the kind of purchases you’re making. Here’s a breakdown of how your rewards on $500 of spending would look for each category.

CardDining rewardsDrug store rewardsTravel booked through issuer portalsGeneral spending rewardsTotal rewards
Double Cash$10$10$25$10$55
Freedom Unlimited$15$15$25$7.50$62.50

There are a number of bonus categories that the Freedom Unlimited will always beat the earning potential of the Double Cash, simply because it features a higher cash-back rate. 

While both credit cards earn higher rewards for booking travel through their respective issuer travel portals (the Double Cash only for a limited time), the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus category is more inclusive. You can earn the higher rate on all travel booked through Chase, while the Double Cash earns rewards only for hotels, rental cars and attractions booked through Citi Travel℠ portal (through Dec. 31, 2024).

The Chase Freedom Unlimited will be more rewarding provided you spend heavily in its bonus categories, though the Double Cash earns a strong reward rate no matter what you’re spending on.

Introductory purchase APR

Citi Double Cash® Card
  • none
WINNER
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • 15 months of 0% introductory APR for new purchases or a transferred balance (then 20.49% to 29.24% variable APR).

The Freedom Unlimited comes out on top here as well as it offers an introductory APR offer for purchases and balance transfers -- the Double Cash offers this feature only on balance transfers. However, the Freedom Unlimited’s offer is shorter in comparison.

The Freedom Unlimited offers cardholders the opportunity to make a large, planned purchase and pay it down while it accrues no interest. Considering the Freedom Unlimited’s strong rewards and shorter window of 60 days from account opening to qualify for its introductory 3% ($5 minimum) balance transfer fee (after that, 5% or $5, whichever is greater), it’s better to use it for its intro purchase APR rather than for a balance transfer.

Balance transfers

WINNER
Citi Double Cash® Card
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months (19.24% to 29.24% variable APR thereafter).
  • Balance transfer fee: intro fee of 3% ($5 minimum) so long as you make any transfers within four months from account opening, otherwise the fee increases to 5% ($5 minimum).
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 15 months of 0% introductory APR for new purchases or a transferred balance (then 20.49% to 29.24% variable APR).
  • Balance transfer fee: intro fee of 3% ($5 minimum) so long as you make any transfers within the first 60 days of account opening, otherwise the fee will be 5% ($5 minimum).

While the Freedom Unlimited carries the better introductory APR offer since it covers both purchases and balance transfers, if you need to utilize a balance transfer, the Double Cash will be the better choice.

The Double Cash also gives you more time to pay down a transferred balance, though you’ll need to complete any balance transfers within the first four months of account opening to qualify for the intro balance transfer APR. Cardholders get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 19.24% to 29.24% variable) compared to 15 months (then 20.49% to 29.24% variable) with the Freedom Unlimited.

Three months may not seem like a huge deal, but it could make all the difference depending on your budget and the size of the balance you’re looking to transfer. We don’t recommend using the Freedom Unlimited for a balance transfer, but it’s a good choice if you need to finance a large, planned purchase.

Additional card perks

Citi Double Cash® Card
  • Virtual credit card number
  • 24-hour fraud protection
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
WINNER
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

The Freedom Unlimited offers far more when it comes to additional card perks than the Double Cash. The Double Cash only provides the standard fraud protections that come included with most credit cards, whereas the Freedom Unlimited provides cardholders with a nice array of shopping protections. However, one thing the Double Cash offers that the Freedom Unlimited does not is virtual credit card capabilities. Creating a virtual credit card number can help your information stay secure while shopping online.

Welcome bonus

Citi Double Cash® Card
  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
WINNER
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Both credit cards payout the same amount once you reach their respective spending thresholds. However, the Freedom Unlimited asks you to spend $1,000 less to qualify for its welcome offer, but it also provides half the time to do it.

To break it down, you’d need to spend either $167 monthly with the Freedom Unlimited or $250 with the Double Cash. So regardless of the extra time the Double Cash offers to reach its spending threshold, you’d still spend less monthly to qualify for the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus for the same payout.

How Citi Double Cash® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® compare to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Citi Double Cash® Card
Apply Now

Citi Double Cash® Card

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
$200 cash back Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 5% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.; Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
Apply Now
On Citi’s secure website
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Learn More

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Earn a $200 bonus Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$0
APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Rewards rate
1.5% – 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; 1.5% on all other purchases
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Apply Now

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

5.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
Earn $200 Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% – 29.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Rewards rate
1% – 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Apply Now
On American Express’s secure website

The bottom line

While both the Citi Double Cash and the Freedom Unlimited are strong rewards credit cards, the Freedom Unlimited will be the better choice for most people. It has the potential to be more rewarding thanks to its bonus categories, it can help avoid interest charges on more than just balance transfers and provides a better welcome offer along with more card benefits.

 

However, if you don’t spend a lot across the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus categories, Double Cash has the potential to offer more rewards. It will also be the better choice if you’re planning on utilizing a balance transfer. You could also get both cards considering neither have an annual fee.

FAQs

Yes. Paying a balance transfer fee will typically be less than the cost of continuous interest charges on a credit card with a high APR.

Typically the difference is how much points and cash back are worth and how you can redeem them. With points, you may have more options when it comes time for redemption, but they may not always be worth one cent. Cash back, on the other hand, can usually be redeemed only as statement credits. 1% cash back is also generally worth 1 cent.

Yes. You could use the Double Cash card for everything that the Freedom Unlimited doesn’t earn more rewards for. That way, you could maximize the return on your spending and get the most out of both cards.

*All information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.