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Citi Double Cash Card: Pay Your Balance Down to Earn More Cash Back

You can transfer a balance to this card and shop more securely online with virtual account numbers.

Citi is an advertising partner.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the highest-yielding flat-rate credit cards on the market. However, unlike with other cash-back cards, you don't earn all the rewards upfront.  

Here's how it breaks down: You can earn up to 2% cash back on all of your purchases with this card. You get 1% when you make the purchase, and another 1% on the balance you pay down. While you'll be able to find higher cash-back rates on individual spending categories like restaurants, groceries and gas with other cards, the Citi Double Cash keeps things simple. You always know what you're earning. 

This card also has a balance transfer angle: With a fairly generous introductory APR on balances transferred from other accounts, you can consolidate your debt and potentially save on interest payments.

With no annual fee and a broad scope, this card is a great addition to any wallet, whether as a supplemental or stand-alone card. Below we'll review the rewards program and balance transfer offer, as well as some other features. We'll also suggest some great substitutes if the Citi Double Cash doesn't meet all of your wants and needs.

In this article

Citi® Double Cash Card

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Cash-back rewards

You earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you make the payment -- for up to 2% cash back on all purchases.

There are no spending caps or limits with the cash-back program, so you can continue earning indefinitely. You can redeem the points you've earned as a statement credit, direct deposit or check. For each of those options, a point is worth 1 cent. 

Other options include redeeming your cash back for a gift card, travel or purchases made through Shop With Points at Amazon. Point values may vary among these redemption options.

Introductory APR on balance transfers

This is a good card to use to move a balance from a high-interest credit card in order to tackle debt more effectively. You can take advantage of the 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months (18.24% to 28.24% variable APR thereafter). While it's not the longest balance transfer period available on the market, it's pretty generous.

Keep in mind that to use this offer, you'll have to complete the balance transfer within the first four months of opening the account. Generally, you should allow at least two weeks to make sure your balance transfers in time -- it's better to have a little extra wiggle room if you experience delays than to miss out on the introductory APR. 

The intro balance transfer fee is 3% of the transaction amount, with a $5 minimum, which is standard for the industry. But if you wait until after the initial four months, that fee jumps up to 5% ($5 minimum). There are alternative cards with no balance transfer fees, but these cards typically have shorter intro APR periods.

If you do decide to use this card for a balance transfer, you'll want to avoid making purchases until you pay your balance off. Purchases made during the balance transfer promotion will accrue interest.

Other perks

Many Citi credit cards including the Double Cash Card have virtual card capability, which helps you shop more securely online. You can generate a virtual account number through your online account -- a one-time credit card number you can use to make a purchase without giving away your real account information to help prevent card fraud.

Your Citi Double Cash Card account also allows you to link your other Citi credit cards for the convenience of managing your cards all from the same login.

Comparable cards

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

If you like the sound of 2% cash rewards on your purchases but don't want to wait to pay off your balance to earn it all, the Wells Fargo Active Cash might be a better option for you.

The introductory APR is shorter at 15 months from account opening, but you'll get 0% intro APR on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers alike (variable APR will be 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% thereafter). So this card may be good if you're looking to finance a large purchase, too. Unlike with the Double Cash Card, you'll get a welcome bonus with the Active Cash Card: $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

For more details, check out our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card* offers a similar spread of benefits to the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card but has a more accessible welcome bonus and a lower cash-back rate.

You only need to spend $500 in the first three months to get the $200 welcome bonus. But the cash-back rate on all purchases is 1.5%. You'll also get a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (19.24% to 29.24% variable APR afterward; 3% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred within the first 15 months).

See our full review of the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card for more details.


How do cash-back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards offer cardholders rewards on their spending in the form of statement credits or cash. A statement credit is a reduction in the amount due to the credit card company on your monthly bill. Note that rewards are not always available the month you earn them -- they are usually applied to your balance by credit card issuers after one or two billing cycles.

The redemption process for cash-back credit cards is either automatic or very simple. Some cards automatically apply cash rewards to your statement balance each month. Others require you to log in and redeem available rewards points for statement credits. Most points don't expire, but you will lose them if you close the account before redeeming them. 

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat-rate, tiered, rotating or choose your own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

How do you choose a cash-back credit card?

To choose the best cash-back credit card for you, the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you're already spending money each month. Once you identify the categories where you have the highest, most consistent spending, use the charts in our list to determine which card will net you the highest return. Consider other features of the cards, too, such as APR, sign-on bonuses and foreign transaction fees -- make sure you get something that fits with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Your credit card choice may also be affected by your credit score. Most of the cards we recommend require a good or excellent credit score, which is typically around 670 or higher. If you don't meet the credit criteria required, there are credit cards available that are specifically for those trying to rebuild credit, like secured credit cards. Alternatively, you can look into the best credit cards for no credit and the best credit cards for bad credit.

Our approach

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren't any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them with other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn't right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market.

*All information about the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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