Citi Double Cash Rewards Card Review

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For savvy spenders, finding the right rewards credit card can be a big task. There is a seemingly endless number of credit cards available to credit worthy borrowers these days, each with different perks, rewards programs and of course, costs. One of the most notable rewards cards to enter the market in the last two years is the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card, as it is the first of its kind to reward card holders on both the front (spending) and back (repaying) ends. Here’s how it works.

 

Citi Doulbe Cash Rewards

 

Card Basics

The Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card is considered a flat rate rewards card in that it provides a steady 1% cash back on all purchases made. No maximums are placed on the amount of rewards that can be earned as long as the card remains in good standing with the issuer. What makes the rewards program different is that card holders also earn points when making timely payments. An additional 1% cash back is earned when at least the minimum payment is made, regardless of the size or the remaining balance held over from month to month. The Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card is truly the first of its kind.

Rewards points earned with purchases or payment through the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card work similarly to other rewards programs, meaning that a single point equals $0.01. So, a card holder who accumulates a balance of 5,000 points has effectively earned $50 to use toward statement credits, cash back in the form of a check or a multitude of gift cards offered through Citi’s rewards program site. Rewards points do not expire, as long as the card remains open and active, and there is no cap on cash back earnings for either purchases or payments.

Additional Card Benefits

Currently, new applicants have the potential to consolidate higher interest rate credit card balance or other debts on the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card through a promotional balance transfer offer. For well-qualified borrowers, the balance transfer offer allows for up to 18 months of zero interest repayment. It is important to understand that there are fees associated with a balance transfer, and that no rewards are earned on the transaction.

In addition to the attractive balance transfer promotion, the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card offers additional perks to card members. First and foremost, the nature of the flat rate card means that there are no pesky categories to track and no need to complete activation each month or quarter. Instead, all purchases and payments earn cash back effortlessly. Card holders also have the benefit of waiving the late fee on the first payment that is made past the due date. That added peace of mind is a nice feature not offered by all rewards credit cards.

Card members of the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card also enjoy a unique benefit known as the Citi Price Rewind. Under this program, card holders receive a refund on eligible purchases when a lower price is found. The Price Rewind feature must be used within 60 days of the initial purchase. On top of price matching, Citi Double Cash Rewards card holders have the peace of mind that comes with damage and theft protection, as well as extended warranty coverage on some eligible purchases. Card members also have protection for common travel mishaps, including worldwide car rental insurance and trip cancellation coverage. These additional perks do not cost card holders any extra, and can add up to substantial savings over the course of the card’s lifetime.

The Fees

One might expect that a rewards credit card that earns cash back on both purchases and repayment would charge a fee for this unique feature. Fortunately, no annual fee is assessed for carrying the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card. There are, however, fees associated with certain transactions. First, card members are assessed a 3% fee for all purchases made outside the United States, making it a less than ideal choice for card users with heavy or consistently spending overseas.

In addition to the foreign transaction fee, card members who take advantage of the balance transfer offer currently available through Citi pay a greater of $5 or 3% of the total amount transferred, and no cash back is earned on these transactions to help offset the fee. Cash advances also tack on charges, at a rate of either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater. Card member utilizing the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card should be aware of and fully understand how these additional charges may increase the cost of carrying the card over time.

For well qualified applicants, the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card has a standard purchase APR starting at 13.24%. However, for less qualified applicants, the purchase APR may be as high as 23.24%. After the promotional period ends, balance transfers receive the same APR as purchases. Cash advances have a standard APR of 25.49%, and a penalty APR of 29.99% may apply if payments are consistently late or charges over the credit limit are placed. All interest rates with the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card are variable and may fluctuate based on prevailing interest rates.

The Verdict

The Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card is truly a unique player in the rewards credit card market in that it offers cash back on purchases as well as payments. Card members may appreciate the simplicity of the card, as no categories need to be tracked for bonus cash back earnings, and no additional activation is necessary to earn rewards. The ability to earn unlimited rewards is also attractive, as is the balance transfer offer currently available to credit worthy borrowers.

While the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card is by and far the best choice for some card holders, it may not be the most appropriate for those who travel outside the U.S. on a consistent basis. Also, card members who utilize cash advances regularly, or those who carry a high balance from month to month may find a better fit with other rewards cards that come with lower interest rates. All in all, the Citi Double Cash Rewards credit card is a smart choice for individuals who like earning on both sides of the credit card coin.

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