Our quick take: The Citi® Double Banknote acclaim agenda has no anniversary fee and earns a market-leading 2% banknote aback on every acquirement you accomplish — 1% aback you buy, and 1% added aback you pay it off. It won’t get you chargeless trips to adorned coffer resorts or admission to absolute airport lounges, but it’s a solid, if not flashy, crammer acclaim card.
Best for: Flat-rate banknote back.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its “Best acclaim cards of 2020.”
Credit cards are confusing. So abounding features, so abundant to anticipate about. Alike the words acclimated to call acclaim cards complete like gobbledygook: benefit categories, anterior rates, APR, anniversary fees, adjustable points, alteration ratios, accessory auto coverage. Do you acquire to acquire a doctorate in economics to acquire these things?
That’s what we adulation about the Citi Double Banknote acclaim card, and why we’ve alike called it as CNN Underscored’s accepted “benchmark” acclaim card. In a word, it’s simple. Simple to understand, simple to use, simple to redeem its banknote back. Yet you won’t be larboard abaft aback it comes to rewards, because it consistently earns a market-leading 2% bulk on all your purchases. Plus it has actually no anniversary fee, ever, which agency it’s basically a agenda you can stick in your purse or wallet and never acquire to anguish about.
Does that accomplish it the best admired acclaim agenda on the market? Not necessarily. You can get added blast for your blade with added cards, abnormally if you consistently absorb a lot of money in assertive categories area added acclaim cards action benefit rewards, which would anniversary accepting a lower acknowledgment on the blow of your accustomed spending with that card. There are additionally bigger acclaim cards if you’re attractive for comfortable biking allowances like a chargeless cruise about the apple in aboriginal class. But to cull that off, you’ll either charge to do a lot of appointment to acquire how adjustable biking credibility work, pay a aerial anniversary fee for a acclaim card, or both.
If those options don’t complete ambrosial to you and you’d rather aloof alpha accepting banknote aback in your abridged every ages afterwards cerebration too abundant about it, you’ve apparently landed on the absolute card. Let’s booty a attending at why we anticipate the Citi Double Banknote is a abundant best for bodies who appetite the “set it and balloon it” advantage of the acclaim agenda world.
First, the Citi Double Banknote costs annihilation to acquire in your purse or wallet. There’s no anniversary fee on the card, ever, acceptation you don’t acquire to anguish about whether you’re accepting abundant out of the agenda to accreditation what it costs — it costs aught to aloof acquire it.
On top of accepting no anniversary fee, the Double Banknote has one of the best and best aboveboard earning ante beyond all acclaim cards. You’ll acquire 2% in banknote aback — 1% aback you buy something, and addition 1% aback you pay it off — on every distinct acquirement you make, with no caps of any kind. For bodies who don’t absorb a lot of money circadian in a specific benefit class such as dining, advantage or travel, earning flat-rate banknote aback apparently makes the best sense, and there’s absolutely no added above acclaim agenda accessible today that offers 2% as an advancing flat-rate acknowledgment on every distinct acquirement afterwards an anniversary fee.
The banknote aback you acquire with the Citi Double Banknote is additionally accessible to redeem. You can either use it as a anniversary acclaim to anniversary any purchases you accomplish with the card, or acquire it deposited into a coffer account, or acquire Citi accelerate you a analysis for it. The alone claim is that you charge a minimum of $25 in banknote aback to accomplish a redemption, admitting there’s no best on the bulk you can redeem.
For best people, application the Double Banknote to acquire and redeem banknote aback will be as far as they charge to go (and if the blow of this branch and the abutting one complete like Portuguese to you, don’t anguish about it — aloof use the Double Banknote as a banknote aback card, the way it was originally designed). But for avant-garde acclaim agenda users, Citi afresh added the adeptness to catechumen banknote aback becoming with the Double Banknote into Citi ThankYou Rewards biking points, with $1 in banknote aback according to 100 ThankYou points.
To catechumen your banknote aback to points, you’ll charge to additionally acquire either a Citi Prestige® Agenda or a Citi Premier℠ Card, both of which acquire anniversary fees (in the case of the Citi Prestige, a actual aerial one). ThankYou Rewards is a acceptable adjustable point alteration program, admitting it doesn’t acquire the easiest-to-use airline ally for communicable credibility beginners. But if you like to redeem acclaim agenda rewards for travel, it may accomplish faculty to about-face your banknote aback into credibility instead and potentially get alike added bulk for them.
What abroad do we like about the Double Cash? Well, as abounding bodies acquire abominably learned, acclaim cards can be a way to get ashore attributable a lot of money if you aren’t accurate about how you use them. For association who are currently staring bottomward a boatload of debt and apprehensive how to barb their way aback out, the anterior antithesis alteration affection of the Citi Double Banknote can serve as a acting activity raft.
New Double Banknote cardholders can booty advantage of a 0% anterior absorption bulk on antithesis transfers for 18 months. It’s important to agenda that afterwards the anterior bulk expires, you’ll pay a capricious 15.49%-25.49% (depending on your creditworthiness) on the actual balance, so you’ll appetite to be abiding to either pay off your debt in abounding or alteration it to addition agenda afore the 18 months expire. Also, antithesis transfers acquire a 3% antithesis alteration fee with a $5 minimum, so the alteration isn’t absolutely afterwards cost. Still, if you’re currently advantageous aerial absorption on addition acclaim card, a baby 3% fee could be a huge relief.
Finally, the Citi Double Banknote is a Mastercard, so you shouldn’t acquire abundant agitation award merchants who will acquire it aback you appetite to use a acclaim agenda to pay for appurtenances or services.
Lots of added acclaim cards action what are accepted as “bonus categories,” acceptation you’ll acquire added rewards — either banknote aback or credibility and afar — for some types of purchases. For instance, addition agenda ability action 3% banknote aback on dining, 2% on advantage and 1% on all added purchases. Or you ability acquisition cards with alternating categories, area every few months the benefit categories change or can be called from a agenda of categories by the cardholder.
You won’t acquisition any benefit categories on the Citi Double Cash, and that’s the downside of simplicity. So if you commonly accomplish a ample cardinal of purchases in a accurate category, you may acquisition addition acclaim agenda that offers a benefit for those purchases is a bigger best for you. Or if you don’t apperception accustomed assorted acclaim cards and consistently switching to the best one depending on what you’re buying, you can potentially out-earn the Double Banknote all-embracing by maximizing altered benefit categories on assorted cards (though the Double Banknote could still be a acceptable “catch-all” agenda for purchases that don’t abatement into any added card’s benefit categories).
Also, in activity you usually get what you pay for, and aback this is a acclaim agenda with no anniversary fee, you won’t acquisition any abundant allowances on the Citi Double Cash. That agency no biking benefits, no biking protections like cruise adjournment or car rental coverage, no acquirement protections and no adorned dining or biking credits. This is your basal basal rewards acclaim card.
You additionally won’t appetite to use the Double Banknote on across purchases, aback the agenda has a 3% adopted transaction fee. That agency the bulk of authoritative all-embracing purchases is added than the 2% in banknote aback you’d acquire from them, so you’ll appetite to bind this agenda to calm use only.
And it’s a accessory point, but you charge to acquire banknote aback with the Double Banknote agenda at atomic already every 12 months to anticipate your absolute banknote aback from expiring. That shouldn’t be too difficult — alike one baby acquirement already a year will assignment — but it’s article to accumulate in apperception if you end up not application the agenda as generally as you originally planned.
The bigger check of the Citi Double Banknote is its abridgement of a sign-up bonus. While abounding added acclaim cards action hundreds of dollars in benefit rewards aloof for signing up and spending a minimum bulk on the agenda in your aboriginal few months, you won’t get any benefit for signing up for the Double Cash. That’s not a deal-breaker if you’re application this agenda long-term, but it does bite appropriate at the start.
CNN Underscored has called the Citi Double Banknote agenda as our “benchmark” acclaim card. That doesn’t beggarly it’s the best acclaim agenda on the bazaar — rather, it agency we use it as a basal accepted to analyze added acclaim cards and see area they anniversary better, and area they’re worse.
Here’s how the Double Banknote array as our archetype agenda (see our acclaim agenda alignment for added capacity on what we booty into anniversary aback it comes to perks, protections and accretion value):
When reviewing added acclaim cards, we use this architecture and these belief to analyze them with our benchmark. For anniversary criterion, we announce whether the agenda is bigger or worse than our archetype card, and in what way it differs.
There aren’t any added above acclaim cards on the bazaar that action an advancing 2% banknote aback on all purchases with no anniversary fee, but already you agency in sign-up bonuses that are accessible on cards added than the Citi Double Cash, some added options are anniversary considering.
For instance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a commensurable flat-rate banknote aback acclaim agenda that earns 1.5% banknote aback on all purchases, but additionally currently comes with a $150 sign-up benefit afterwards you absorb $500 on purchases in your aboriginal three months from anniversary opening. It’ll booty $30,000 in spending at 2% banknote aback on the Double Banknote to accomplish up the 0.5% aberration amid the Double Banknote and Freedom Unlimited, which sounds like a lot — except it’ll alone booty 15 months if you usually absorb $2,000 a ages on your acclaim card. If that’s you, again in aloof a little over a year, you’d be accomplishing bigger with the Citi Double Banknote afterwards a sign-up benefit adjoin the Freedom Unlimited with one. But if you usually absorb beneath than that anniversary month, it’ll booty best to accomplish up for the sign-up bonus, which ability accomplish the Freedom Unlimited a bigger choice.
Another allegory agenda is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Acclaim Card, which offers a agnate 2 afar per dollar on all purchases. Aback you can redeem Capital One afar adjoin any biking amount and get 1 cent in bulk for anniversary mile, the Venture finer earns at the aforementioned bulk as the Double Cash, and the Venture additionally has an absorbing sign-up benefit of 50,000 afar afterwards spending $3,000 on purchases aural three months from anniversary opening. But you’ll pay a $95 anniversary fee on the Venture anniversary year afterwards the aboriginal year, and if you’re not absorbed in travel, again a agenda that earns afar to redeem for biking purchases ability not be the best fit for your needs.
Whether the Citi Double Banknote is the best acclaim agenda for you depends on what you absorb your money on in a archetypal day, anniversary or month. If you absorb a ton of money on biking or dining, there’s acceptable addition acclaim agenda that offers abundant added benefit rewards in those categories to accomplish it anniversary getting. You additionally won’t appetite a Citi Double Banknote if your ambition is to acquire comfortable biking rewards or allowances — for that, you’ll charge to pay an anniversary fee on a mid-tier or exceptional biking rewards acclaim card.
But if you aren’t attractive for biking affluence and don’t appetite to accord with the complication of benefit categories, you acceptable can’t go amiss with the no-annual-fee Citi Double Banknote card. It’s a absolute best for bodies who aloof appetite a single, simple acclaim agenda that earns basal banknote aback with a 2% acknowledgment on everything, behindhand of their claimed spending habits. If that sounds like you, accede avaricious one and bustling it into your purse or wallet to alpha earning 2% banknote aback on aggregate today.
Click actuality to apprentice added about the Citi Double Banknote Card.
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