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Citi Double Cash Review: Best-In-Class Cash Back

Review Updated
Lyle Daly

Our Credit Cards Expert

Nathan Alderman
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.  Citi is an advertising partner of The Ascent.

The Citi Double Cash® Card is good for earning cash back and paying off debt with its balance transfer offer. The rate of 2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay, is excellent, especially since you earn that everywhere. This card also has one of the longest 0% intro APR offers on balance transfers.

Keep reading our Citi Double Cash® Card review to learn how it could help you save.

Great for: Cash back and balance transfers

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Fair to Excellent (580-850)
Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Fair to Excellent (580-850)

Intro APR Circle with letter I in it. N/A

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. 2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Up to 2% cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. 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.

20,000 ThankYou® Points

  • This card combines a top-notch balance transfer offer for 18 months with best-in-class unlimited 2% cash back on purchases. There's no introductory APR for purchases, so you'll need to pay those off in full every month if you want to avoid interest charges.

    • High cash back
    • 0% intro APR balance transfer offer
    • No annual fee
    • Free credit score monitoring
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • No 0% intro APR on purchases
    • 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.
    • 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 Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
    • 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.
    • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).

Credit card comparison

We recommend comparing options to ensure the card you're selecting is the best fit for you. To make your search easier, here's a short list of standout credit cards.

Offer Our Rating Welcome Offer Rewards Program APR Learn More
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best for cash back on rotating categories
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. Circle with letter I in it. N/A 1% - 5% Cashback Circle with letter I in it. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Intro:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Regular: 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best for cash back
Up to $300 cash back Circle with letter I in it. Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. 1.5% - 5% cash back Circle with letter I in it. Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 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, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Intro: Circle with letter I in it. 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Purchases: 0% Intro APR on Purchases, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers, 15 months

Regular: 20.49% - 29.24% Variable

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best for earning travel rewards
75,000 Miles Circle with letter I in it. 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 2X-5X miles Circle with letter I in it. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Intro:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Citi Double Cash review

Is the Citi Double Cash worth it?

You can't go wrong with a 2% back card -- that's typically the highest rate cards offer on all types of purchases. The fact that the Citi Double Cash® Card splits that up into two 1% rewards is a little frustrating and seems unnecessary. But if you always pay your credit card bill on time, it isn't a big deal.

Author's note

I've had a few Citi credit cards, and I think it has several quality card options with useful features. As far as Citi itself is concerned, I'm not a huge fan. Its web platform is lackluster and has frequent technical issues, in both my own experience and according to online reports. For years, I've been getting a message about how it's time to update my password every time I log in. Each time I try, I get an error message and can't update it. All I can say is please don't hack my Citi account.

What everyone else is saying

The Citi Double Cash® Card has been around a long time, and practically everyone has shared their opinion on it. Here's what review sites and cardholders have said.

What our competitors think

Average competitor rating: 4.3 / 5 stars

We read five competitor reviews of the Citi Double Cash® Card. They all pointed out the cash back rate of up to 2% as a standout feature. Everyone agreed that this Citi card is a smart choice for people who want to keep credit card management simple, without any complicated rewards programs.

There were a few common criticisms. Every review mentioned the 3% foreign transaction fee as one of the big drawbacks. Several reviews also mentioned that the 0% intro APR only applies to balance transfers, not purchases.

The social media consensus

People seem to view this as a good cash back card overall, but one that was more special when there were few cards that earned 2% back everywhere. There are now several cards fitting that description, which has taken some of the shine off the Citi Double Cash® Card.

A few people complained that this isn't a real 2% back card because of how it splits up your rewards. It's a valid point, although others responded that it's close enough if you always pay your credit card bill on time.

Citi Double Cash features and benefits

An easy-to-use cash back card that earns up to an unlimited 2% back

The best perk of the Citi Double Cash® Card is right there in the name: Up to 2% cash back on purchases. You don't get it all at once, though. You receive 1% back when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off. If you pay late, you lose the second half of your cash back.

This used to be a bigger deal back when 2% back cards were a rarity. That's no longer the case. You can find other cash back cards that earn a legitimate 2% when you make a purchase, instead of splitting it up into two parts.

Regardless, you can save a lot of money with this Citi card. If you spend $30,000 per year on it, you could earn $600 in cash back. It's also easy to use, which is always a plus. You don't need to worry about activating or keeping track of bonus categories.

Save on credit card debt with a long 0% intro APR on balance transfers

Credit card debt is notoriously hard to pay off, in large part because of the interest charges. Many cards have interest rates of over 20%. So your payments aren't just going to your debt every month. They're going to all the interest that keeps getting added to your balance.

The Citi Double Cash® Card can help with that, as it's also one of the top balance transfer cards. It has a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. The go-to 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR applies after the intro period. There's a balance transfer fee of 3% ($5 min.) on transfers in the first four months, 5% ($5 min.) thereafter.

If you have any large credit card balances, you could transfer them over to this Citi card. Once they're transferred, you'll have a year and a half to pay off what you owe, interest free. On large amounts of debt, balance transfer cards like this one can save you over $1,000.

One of few top rewards cards that you can get without good credit

Most of the really good rewards cards require an equally good credit score to get approved. For example, it generally takes a credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for those other 2% back cards.

This Citi credit card is the rare exception. It's possible to qualify for the Citi Double Cash® Card with a credit score of 580 or higher -- significantly less than what you'd need for its competitors.

If your credit is still a work in progress, this is likely one of the best credit cards available to you. You'll also be able to keep an eye on your credit with a free FICO® Score tool online, a perk available with Citi credit cards. This allows you to stay up to date on the most widely used type of credit score by lenders and see what you can do to improve yours.

A $200 welcome offer gives this card extra upfront value

The Citi Double Cash® Card didn't always have a welcome offer. But as other 2% cards launched with bonuses for new cardholders, Citi followed suit. Thank you, peer pressure.

You earn 20,000 ThankYou® Points when you spend $1,500 on this card in the first 6 months. The fact that this welcome offer is fulfilled as points might be a bit confusing, but you can redeem those points for $200 cash back.

One minor criticism I have is that the spending requirement is a bit high. Most people will have no problem spending $1,500 in 6 months, as that's only $250 per month. But other cash back credit cards have welcome offers that are just as valuable and only require $500 to $1,000 in spending.

Combine with a Citi travel card for more ways to redeem rewards

When you're ready to redeem your rewards, you'll have several options. Technically, this card earns Citi ThankYou® Points. As mentioned above, you can redeem points for cash back at a rate of $0.01 per point. You have your pick of getting cash back as a statement credit on your credit card bill, a deposit to your bank account, or even a check in the mail.

Citi also lets you transfer your points to a few of its travel partners: JetBlue, Wyndham, and Choice Privileges. If you want to book travel with any of those partners, you could transfer over your points, essentially turning them into points in that partner's loyalty program. Then, you could make an award booking.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, you may want to consider also getting a Citi travel card, such as the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card. This will allow you to move all your points from your Citi Double Cash® Card to your travel card. Instead of being able to transfer points to three companies, you'll be able to transfer them to all of Citi's more than 15 travel partners.

What could be improved

The 0% intro APR doesn't apply to purchases

Balances you transfer over to the Citi Double Cash® Card will qualify for the 0% intro APR. Purchases you make won't. Those start accumulating interest at your card's go-to APR if you don't pay them off in full every month.

Whether this is an issue depends on what you want to do with your credit card. If your only focus is earning cash back, then an intro APR offer isn't necessary. Pay your credit card bill in full every month, and you can earn rewards without getting charged interest.

It's a different story if you have some big expenses coming up, and you'll need time to pay them off. In that situation, a credit card with a 0% intro APR on purchases is a better choice.

A foreign transaction fee makes traveling abroad more expensive

This Citi card isn't a great travel companion, at least on international trips. It charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you pay an extra $30 in fees for every $1,000 you spend.

The whole point of a cash back card is to earn money back on your spending. With fees like this one, you're going in the wrong direction. If you ever travel abroad, make sure you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

You can still get plenty of mileage out of the Citi Double Cash® Card in the United States. Just leave it at home for any trip that requires a passport.

Find the best credit card for your needs

Compare credit card rewards, fees, APRs, and more using our side-by-side comparison tool.

What to know before applying

Citi Double Cash credit score

A FICO® Score of at least 580 is recommended when applying for the Citi Double Cash® Card. While this card was originally intended for consumers with good or excellent credit, Citi has gotten more lenient with approvals. Even with fair credit, it's possible to qualify.

Pre-approval process

Citi has an online prequalification tool. It doesn't affect your credit score, and it checks whether you're pre-qualified for any Citi credit cards, including the Citi Double Cash® Card.

Intro APR

The Citi Double Cash® Card has a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers completed within four months of account opening. That period starts from the date of the first transfer.

Fees

Here are the fees charged by the Citi Double Cash® Card:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% ($5 min.) on transfers in the first four months, 5% ($5 min.) thereafter
  • Cash advance fee: 5% ($10 min.)
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each purchase
  • Late payment fee: Up to $41
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $41

Credit limit

The Citi Double Cash® Card has a minimum credit limit of $500. Many cardholders get approved for larger amounts, and on the high end, there have been reported credit limits of over $25,000.

Alternatives to consider

If you want a 0% intro APR on purchases: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has a 0% intro APR 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. After the intro period, the go-to 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR applies. This card also earns an unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

If you want a card with no foreign transaction fees: You can take the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card abroad without paying extra, as it doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. It also has a fantastic cash back program with bonuses on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, grocery stores, and more.

Our credit card methodology

At The Motley Fool Ascent, we rate credit cards on a five-star scale (1 = poor, 5 = best). Our rating criteria includes rewards rates, welcome bonuses, fees, and perks like travel credits and 0% intro APR offers to evaluate our ratings.

We combine these factors with an evaluation of brand reputation and customer satisfaction to ensure you're getting the best card recommendations. Learn more about how The Ascent rates credit cards.

FAQs

  • The Citi Double Cash® Card earns 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you make purchases and another 1% when those purchases are paid off. It's a different earning structure than most credit cards, since you need to pay your card's balance to earn the full cash back rate. If you pay late, you lose the second half of your cash back.

  • Credit limits for the Citi Double Cash® Card range from $500 to over $25,000. Citi determines your credit limit based on several factors, including your income, debt, and credit score.

  • The Citi Double Cash® Card is marketed to people with fair to excellent credit, meaning those with a credit score of at least 580.

  • The Citi Double Cash® Card is a Mastercard.