Our partner Citi has an all-new cash back credit card and it is actually quite compelling. With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 Month BT Offer, as the name suggests you earn cash back twice:
- 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make
- An additional 1% unlimited cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time.
This all comes with no caps, no tiers, no category restrictions, no quarterly enrollment hoops, no rotating categories. All with no annual fee. The only way you don’t get your 1% + 1% total is if you default on your bill and don’t even make the minimum payments. You can redeem your cash rewards in full as soon as it totals $25 or more, via check, direct deposit, or statement credit (i.e. if you have $31.44, you can get a check for $31.44).
How exactly does earning cash back twice work? Imagine you put $100 on the charge, 1% is earned so you have $1. Then you redeem that $1 (ignore minimums for this example) for a statement credit (as opposed to paper check or direct deposit) which means Citi actually “paid” for $1 of the $100. So you pay the remaining $99 and get an additional 1% or $0.99 back. Final tally: $1.99 back on $100 in purchases. 1.99/100 = 1.99%.
Alternatively, imagine you put $100 on the charge, 1% is earned so you have $1. Then you redeem that $1 (ignore minimums for this example) for a paper check or direct deposit (not statement credit). You pay the $100 bill from your bank account, and get an additional 1% or $1 back. Final tally: $2.00 back on $100 in purchases. 2.00/100 = 2.00%. Note that you are only allowed to redeem cash rewards in the form of an electronic funds transfer into a linked bank account if it is a checking account from any bank from which you have paid a Citi Credit Card bill at least two times, or any Citi savings/checking account.
If you charged $1,000 per month, the difference between 1.99% and 2% per month would be a whopping 10 cents per month, or $1.20 per year.
There have been similar cards in the past (Fidelity MasterCard, Sallie Mae, Priceline) but they are all no longer open to new applicants. However, most existing cardholders were grandfathered in, so based on that precedent you may want to get this card while it is still offered. According to varying reports, certain cardholders can call in and try to convert their existing Citi cards over, but you may or may not be successful. Converted cards are not eligible for the 0% interest for 18 months mentioned below.
Obviously, you’ll want to pay in full every month as to not rack up interest charges which can quickly offset your cashback rewards.
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR on both purchases and balance transfers will be 13.99%, 16.99%, 19.99%, 21.99%, and 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Bottom line. Given the combination of the ability to get 1% when you buy, another 1% when you pay, no annual fee, and the fact that it is a MasterCard which has the widest acceptance, the Citi Double Cash is a great rewards card to keep in your wallet. I don’t know of any other card that offers this combination of features.
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