Cash-back card face-off: The Citi Double Cash versus the Chase Freedom Unlimited

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  • The Citi® Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® both earn cash back with no annual fee, but there are some key differences.
  • The Citi Double Cash card doesn't come with a welcome bonus, while you can get $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening with the Freedom Unlimited. 
  • You can also earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) in your first year with the Freedom Unlimited.
  • The Freedom Unlimited earns bonus cash back on select spending categories, while the Citi Double Cash earns 1% back when you buy and another 1% when you pay, no matter the purchase.
  • See Business Insider's list of the best cash-back credit cards »

The Citi® Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards are two cards with no annual fees and powerful benefits. Both of these cards offer an above average earning rate on all purchases. The earning rate on the Citi Double Cash is slightly higher (2% compared to 1.5%), but the Chase Freedom Unlimited makes up for that with even higher rates in some categories. Both of these cards also allow you to convert your cash back into transferable points for even more value. You can see why these two cards are some of our best credit cards with no annual fees.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Citi® Double Cash CardChase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual Fee
Regular APR
Credit Score
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  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating

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    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    14.99%–23.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to ExcellentA five pointed star

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  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account openingChevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
    Pros
    • Solid flat cash-back rate
    • You can combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible card
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • Some other cards offer a higher rate of cash back on certain types of purchases

    Which card is right for you?

    Whether the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card is right for you depends on how much of your spending is in the bonus categories for the Freedom Unlimited.

    If you plan on spending $10,000 on your credit card and none of the purchases would qualify you for bonus cash back on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the difference between 2% on the Double Cash and 1.5% on the Freedom Unlimited would be $50 ($200 to $150).

    Especially during the first year of having the card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®'s $200 welcome bonus and bonus categories would make sense for most people. After the first calendar year, it will depend on your specific spending patterns.

    Because there is no welcome bonus on the Citi Double Cash, it may make sense to do a product change from a different Citi credit card rather than signing up for the Double Cash as a new card. 

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    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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