Citi® Double Cash Card Review: Earn 1% When You Buy + 1% As You Pay

citidouble200Citi has just launched an all-new cash back credit card and it is actually quite compelling. With the Citi® Double Cash Card, as the name suggests you earn cash back twice:

  • 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make
  • Plus 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 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 or statement credit (i.e. if you have $31.44, you can get a check for $31.44).

So is this a 2% cashback card? 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) 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, or 1.99% back.

  • If you ask for your cash rewards in the form if a statement credit, you’ll get 1.99% effective cash back.
  • If you ask for your cash rewards in the form of a check, you’ll get the full 2% total cash back.

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 flat 2% 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. Based on call with a Citi phone rep, you cannot convert an existing Citi card to this one at this time.

(Added 10/2014: According to various online reports, certain existing Citi cardholders can now convert their card to this Citi Double Cash card. Most success stories involve Citi Dividend and Citi ThankYou cards. Many Dividend holders got to keep their cash rewards balances; ThankYou cardholders must still have another linked ThankYou card or risk losing unused points. Some people got to keep their old number, but you may get a new number especially if your current card isn’t a Mastercard. Many rejection stories involve the Citi Forward or Citi Simplicity cards. While there is uncertainty, it does appear worth a shot if you are interested. Converted cards are not eligible for the 0% interest for 15 months mentioned below. Call the number on the back of your card.)

Obviously, you’ll want to pay in full every month (unless taking advantage of the 0% APR promo rate on purchases) as to not rack up interest charges which can quickly offset your cashback rewards.

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%, 15.99%, 18.99%, 20.99%, and 22.99%, 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 2% flat cashback on all purchases, 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, both for those who prefer simplicity and just want one card and for those who like optimizing multiple cards and can now establish a 2% minimum on everything. I don’t know of any other card that offers this combination of features.

Citi Double Cash Leaderboard

Comments

  1. Wow! I’d been using my Chase Freedom for everything, have never even used a MasterCard. I’d been considering just cruising with 1% and holding back on the churning, but 2% is very enticing…

  2. I have a Citi Dividend MasterCard, think they’ll let me convert to the Double Cash?

  3. Cool, but one question: in the past (or even currently for some customers) Citi runs a tiered point system in that it considers some of its cards (often those with annual fees) to be “premium” cards that give you the standard 1% cash redemption options at 1 pt = 1 cent, and other cards non-premium cards that only provide a devalued 1 pt = 0.625 cent. Does that tiered system apply here?

    • This is a cash back card Cody, not a rewards card; so you’ll earn the 1% cash immediately after the purchase posts, and another 1% after you make the payment on your statement.

      No ThankYou points of any kind.

  4. This card doesn’t give you thank you points. It is cashback, like the Dividend card.

  5. This beats the Fidelity AMEX and the hoops I’m jumping through for their 2%. As soon as I cancel this BarclayCard the week before the free year ends and the annual fee begins, this will be my card. Thanks for the info.

    • Which hoops? You mean the fee-free checking account it requires to redeem the full value of the points? I agree that this new Citi card is easier to use since it’s a MasterCard but on the flip side, Citi is known to categorize certain transactions as cash advance which no other card does…

  6. My priceline.com card gives me 2% back on all purchases but you can only do a statement credit or get giftcards with it. This one sounds a little easier to get your money back. However, I just wanted to put it out there that there are other options as well.

    • @Eric – The Priceline.com 2% cash back card is no longer available for new applicants/customers, and hasn’t been since early to mid 2013.

      • Oh really? I didn’t know that… I think this card might be easier to get your money anyway as that one you have to have so many points and a charge that it works with etc. – still a good card though. I might grab this one too since good cards are hard to come by. Thanks for the info though as I didn’t know that about the Priceline card.

  7. Rob Austin says:

    Where does it say Mastercard? It doesn’t say any thing Visa or any thing

    • I just converted a ThankYou Preferred card and the phone rep said it was MasterCard only. She initially offered Visa and Amex, but then corrected herself.

  8. This is why I come here. Great news!

  9. If you have a Chase Ink card, you can purchase Visa GC online and earn about 2.7% cash back on everything you spend.
    $200 VGC with $6.95 Fee but you get 206.95*5 = 1035 Chase UR points or $10.35 plus you get 1% back on every purchase $200 or more at Staples from signing up for Visa Savings Edge program.
    So $10.35 + $2.07 – $6.95 = $5.42
    $5.42/$200 = 2.71%

  10. My oldest credit line is with Citibank, but I rarely use it anymore. If I call to convert the card to this one would I keep the original opening date?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Applied and got approved. 4500 CL with 12.99% interest. I already have a grandfathered 5x Citi Forward card with 10k CL.

  12. I called to convert my divdend card to the new double cash. “Oh the product is too new, and our systems are not updated. Sorry, I cannot convert it now. Call us in a few months.” Really?

    • You can call to verify, but I believe everything stays the same except for the name change along with new terms and conditions, which include rewards/cash back.

  13. PepperPhd says:

    OK. 1% back on purchases and 1% back on payments. Could the statement credit option negatively affect your total cash back since you are reducing the amount of your payments toward the credit card bill?

    • Funny you should ask that, Citi just contacted me and said it shouldn’t be called a 2% cashback on everything because if you ask for your cash back by statement credit, you actually get 1.99% cash back. 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 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, or 1.99% back.

      If you ask for your cash rewards in the form if a statement credit, you’ll get 1.99% effective cash back.
      If you ask for your cash rewards in the form of a check, you’ll get the full 2% total cash back.

  14. Thank you! Wonderful tip. I have to currently carry not just the Fid 2% card but also the CapOne QuickSilver 1.5% card for the many times AmEx is not accepted. Now I can carry one fewer card and get 2% always. :-)

    Chip

  15. @ Danh & Jonathan Ping

    I have the ink and am aware of the 5% back at staples but not of the 1% extra for $200 purchase . Is that form Staples or chase ? Can you provide me a link.

  16. Sounds like a great card but I’ll wait until they come out with a signup bonus

  17. Jonathan, any thoughts/predictions on if/when there will be a sign up bonus for this card?

    • I don’t have any info on that, but my guess would be that (1) if there is a sign-up bonus, it won’t be for a least 6 months and (2) if there is one it will be on the order of $50 to $100. Usually these high cashback % cards with no annual fee offer smaller sign-up bonuses, like the Capital One Quicksilver with 1.5% cash back. The Fidelity American Express didn’t offer any sign-up bonus at all for years, then after a few years there was a brief $75 offer. So it could be a while (and it might never come) and you’ll be losing % back while you wait, so it depends on your patience, spending amounts, and what existing cards you have as backup.

  18. 783 credit score.. Got DENIED.. funny imagine that.

    • My recommendation would be to call the Citi reconsideration line at 800-695-5171 to see exactly why they denied you and see if you can do something to change their mind. Perhaps you already have more than 3 Citi cards, as they do have a limit on the number of simultaneously open Citi cards at a time. You may just have to close an old card and maybe reallocate some credit limits.

  19. I know people could get net 4% cash back with the old blue from Amex if buying $500 giftcards from groceries and drugstores (after spending 6.5k that year on them) and using them everywhere else. And then there is that ink card…

    Honestly, I would rather get only 2% and make things a lot more simple and secure -( I. E. What if someone snatches that gift card from you in the parking lot for example? ) . Also being able to track transaction details in mint (you can’t auto import transactions from GCs) is priceless.

  20. This is the only website to recognize that this is not a 2% cash back card. If you collect 1% on charges and 1% on payments for 11 months and then apply the 11 months of rewards to reduce your payment in the 12th month, the cash back return is 1.982% for the twelve month time period. A similar calculation over a 4 month time period yields 1.985% return. Interesting that the advertised card terms imply achieving the actual 2% return with a higher cost mailed check. It will be interesting to see the final details.

  21. If only it weren’t with Citi. I loathe their customer “service” reps…

  22. Hmm… Here’s the thing.

    I can almost always get 5% back on gas with one of the rotating cards. (Though good luck figuring out how much you spent on gas at the end of the year…)

    I also get 5% on Restaurants (Grandfathered Citi Forward) and I eat out A LOT.

    I have another card to get 3% back all the time on groceries from BBVA Compass. (They let you choose a few categories to get 3%).

    So my 3 main categories (Gas, Groceries, Restaurant) each require their own card. I also have to carry the CostCo Amex for when I go there, Target Red and Lowes card also give 5% back….

    I’m up to 6 cards! Adding this card to get an extra 1% on other purchases is a bit cumbersome.

    That said, it would be nice to scrap it all and just have one 2% card for everything… I’d be leaving some money on the table, but tracking spending would then finally be possible. (I’m not even attempting to track spending with so many rotating categories on different cards..) I’d still probably use Costco, Red card, Lowe’s etc for the added benefits they provide.

    Oh for a simple solution… Alas it doesn’t look like my “coin” card will get here anytime soon. (And even then it might not work for long with chip and pin around the corner.)

    • Why not just track your expenses with mint.com?

      • Mint always puts things in weird categories. I’ll spend hundreds of dollars on a medical bill and then get worried when mint emails me saying my spending on “shopping” is unusually high.

  23. You can apply for Fidelity 2% card still right? I see their AD all the time when I login to my 401k account at Fidelity…

    • Fidelity used to have a Mastercard that offered 2% flat cash back with no tiers. That card is not longer available, but existing users have been grandfathered in for many years, not sure how long that will last though.

      The current Fidelity AmEx is still 2% as they have higher merchant fees, but the current Fidelity Visa is 1.5% until you reach $15,000 in purchases for the year and then 2% on purchases over $15,000.

  24. This is unrelated but its the first time I saw the Math regarding statement credit. Very interesting!

    For this card its clear that you get 1.99 as opposed to 2%, but what about other cards like Spark Business and Barclay that also let you redeem for statement credit. I would think they are still fine and would net you full 2% as those cards flat out earn 2% and NOT 1% + 1% (for what you pay which is already reduced by 1%).

    Am I right in assuming that? I have never really paid attention to redeeming for a check vs statement credit cuz its always easier to get a credit than go to bank or use banking app to deposit the check, until NOW.

    Thanks,

  25. @ Prince Barclay Card when redeemed for cash or statement credit is only worth 1/2 of the reward value, ie 5000 points is worth on 25$ unless redeemed for travel.

    @ Sconi my wife also denied the card with score in the 780′s also, the letter said information provided could not be verified, whatever that means. We have been using the same info for 20 years. We could call as Jonathon suggests and I am sure get approved but with no bonus I dont think we feel like the effort, I might apply

  26. Just called and converted my ThankYou card into this one, so I guess they’ve gotten their act together since KD tried a couple of weeks ago.

    • Mary Anna,

      Were they able to retain your original Thank You opening date? I have a Citi card that I’d like to convert, but it’s my oldest credit line and I need to retain that date.

      • Mary Anna says:

        Ethan,

        It appears so. It’s actually the same card number, and I just checked and it still appears as the same item on my credit report, with the same opening date. I think it’s just an internal change of type, doesn’t change the way it reports.

  27. Thanks for the updates. I’ve also read other reports from outside blogs and forums and edited my review to include that information.

  28. This is my experience. I have been a 10+ years customer for Citi cards. I called and asked to convert, and the lady was cordial. Since mine was Dividend visa card, she said number will change. She suggested that if I convert my dividend mastercard, number will stay the same. I wasn’t interested in 0% so I did not check. But, I asked about any incentives or cash for spending $X in Y months and she said that any promotions are not available for conversion. I was assured that my cash rewards pending balance would transfer over.

    • Cooper's Dad says:

      @Saagar, you’re not able to keep your existing Dividend Visa account number because the first four digits indicate what type of card it is (VISA or MC) and you’ll be changing interchange companies to Mastercard for this account. I called a couple days ago to convert my Citi Dividends MC to DoubleCash MC and no problem. Changeover was instantaneous, but new card will take 10-14 days to arrive.

  29. My Citi AAdvantage card was due for annual fee/renewal and I wasn’t interested in renewing so I converted it to a Double Cash card end of Sept or beginning of Oct.

  30. I just converted my Citi Dividend American Express card (which has been collecting dust) to the Citi Double Cash card over the phone.

  31. Just converted my Citi Dividend Mastercard to the Double Cash. No credit check required, will get a new card and number, and can keep my unredeemed rewards dollars. I have to wait for the new card to arrive to start getting the benefits. Super easy!

  32. just called Citi to convert my Mastercard Platinum Dividend card. Unfortunately my credit card number will change. Looking forward to the 1.99% (or 2%) cash back though, from the flat 1% (I rarely use the rotating categories)

  33. Quick question, do you still get the 1% back on the payment if you pay down a portion of your balance before the statement is generated?

  34. @Ross, I just called to convert my Citi Dividend MasterCard to Double Cash and they said it could not be done and a new account would be necessary. What did I do wrong?

    • You probably didn’t do anything wrong, I just called and the guy checked if I could convert. Not sure why they wouldn’t let you convert. How long have you had the card? I would call back, sometimes getting a different CSR helps you get what you want…

      • I’ve had my card since 2005. You would think they would want to get me into a new, shiny card so I start actually using it again. But I long ago stopped trying to reason with Citi using business logic. I’ll call again here shortly and see if I have better success.

      • Well, I’m not sure if it was who I talked to or something I said that made the difference, but my call today got the card converted no problem. Good to go now!

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