The Best of Citi’s No-Annual Fee Cards: Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Double Cash
Citi offers a ton of great credit cards like the Citi ThankYou Premier with its juicy 50,000 point signup bonus and the Citi Prestige card that gives you your fourth night in a hotel completely free. Both of these credit cards come with an annual fee though, and for some cardholders, that’s not something they’re willing to pay. If you’re looking for some great Citi credit card benefits without the annual fees, turn your attention to the Citi Simplicity or the Citi Double Cash cards. Both of these cards give you access to some of the best Citi benefits including EMV chip technology, Theft Protection, and purchase protection. You’ll also get top quality, 24/7 customer service, mobile phone alerts, and the ability to choose your own payment due date. With so much going for them, is there a difference between the Simplicity and the Double Cash cards? In a word, yes! Here’s how these two stellar Citi credit cards differ and which one is best for which types of spenders.
|Citi Simplicity Card||Citi Double Cash Card|
|Rewards Program||None||2% cashback on all purchases|
1% at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay for the purchase
|Introductory Offer on Balance Transfers||0% introductory APR for the first 18 months||0% introductory APR for the first 18 months|
|Introductory Offer on New Purchases||0% introductory APR for the first 18 months||None|
Citi Simplicity Card
- 0% introductory APR 18 months balance transfers and purchases (transfer within four months)
- No late fees
- No penalty fees
- No annual fee
- Travel benefits like car rental, travel and emergency assistance, extended warranty
- No rewards program
- 5% balance transfer fee
- Anyone looking to make a large purchase without having to worry about heavy interest payments weighing them down
- Anyone who likes to carry over a balance
- People who are late making payments
The Citi Simplicity card is an attractive card for so many reasons. For one thing, there’s no annual fee. So, whatever benefits you reap from the card are totally free, and it costs you nothing to keep the Citi Simplicity card in your wallet. Another extremely important benefit to this credit card is the no fees policy. You won't be charged any late fee or late payment penalty fee. Those are two HUGE money-savers that you’ll be hard-pressed to find from other credit cards. It’s Citi’s way of saying ‘Life happens. Yeah, we get it.’
Of course, the biggest perk that people look towards is the 0% APR introductory offer. While you can find 0% APR offers on other cards, the Citi Simplicity card blows most of them out of the water by offering you 18 months scot-free. There are few cards out there that’ll extend this kind of promotional period for that long. Even the Citi ThankYou Preferred card only offers 15 months of the promotion. Plus, the 0% APR offer covers both balance transfers and purchases. So, you can make new purchases or bring over your balance from other cards without worrying about interest for a year and a half. That’s amazing!
Note: While the 0% APR is extended across the entire first 18 months after opening your Citi Simplicity card, the balance transfer itself needs to be made within the first four months. This isn’t too difficult since if you are signing up for this benefit, you already know you want to make the transfer. Just make sure that all of your papers are in order so you can make the transfer right away and be eligible for this colossal deal. While the 0% APR applies to balance transfers as well as new purchases, people would be better off using the Citi Double Cash card for balance transfers. Why? Because while both offer 18 months of 0% APR, the Simplicity will charge you 5% for the transfer while the Double Cash will only charge you 3%. So, if that’s your end goal, opt for the Double Cash to process that transaction.
What’s more, unlike a lot of other credit cards featuring 0% APR introductory offers, the Citi Simplicity card accepts applications with good credit, not just excellent, so more people have a chance to be approved for this card.
Citi Double Cash Card
- 2% cashback rewards program
- No annual fee
- 18-month introductory APR on balance transfers
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, purchase protection, travel accident insurance
- Redeem for checks or statement credits
- Citi Private Pass
- One time late payment fee waiver
- No signup bonus
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- People looking to earn cashback twice on the same purchase
- Cardholders who like getting rewards points without worrying about categories
The Citi Double Cash card is another really great option, but it appeals to a different kind of crowd than the Simplicity. As the name implies, the Citi Double Cash card offers you a fabulous rewards program that pays double cashback points for every purchase. Here’s what that means:
- You’ll earn 1% cashback when you make a purchase
- You’ll earn an additional 1% cashback when you actually pay for the purchase (i.e., pay off your monthly balance on your Citi Double Cash card)
That amounts to 2% cashback. Aside from the fact that that’s double rewards points, a generous offer, the Citi Double Cash card gives you this flat rate 2% cashback on all purchases. There are no categories, no earning caps, and no rules. You just keep earning as long as you spend. This is the only rewards credit card that offers such an awesome earn rate across the board, so it’s not surprising that so many people love the card.
For the mathophobic among us, it’s pretty simple to calculate how much you earn. Just multiply 2% by however much you spend. So, if you spent $1,000 this month, you’ll earn 2% x $1000 = $20. That’s $20 in your pocket. Nice! Since there are no categories to worry about, it’s an easy calculation across the board.
So, you get a great rewards program and no annual fee, but that’s not all. The Citi Double Cash card also has an 18 month 0% APR introductory rate on balance transfers. And like I said earlier, the balance transfer fee for this card is lower than the one for the Simplicity, so take advantage of that.
You also get fun travel benefits like I mentioned earlier and the security features we all love. One other feature of the Citi Double Cash card I want to mention is the Citi Private Pass membership. This VIP status allows you to purchase tickets to exclusive events, concerts, restaurants, and more. You’ll even get backstage passes to private movie screenings and other perks like that. It’s a really cool feature that makes you feel like a VIP wherever you go.
Which is Best?
To sum things up, the Citi Simplicity card is an amazing card if you are looking to make a big purchase and don’t want to pay interest for a long time. It’s also your best option if you aren’t that great with keeping track of your monthly payments and know you’re going to miss a few now and then (of course, there’s no reason to miss a payment when Citi cards come with built-in reminders and the option to choose the best payment date each month).
On the other hand, the Citi Double Cash credit card is the best credit card for those who like earning rewards points for their purchases. With two times the earnings, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, the Double Cash balance transfer offer is more economical because the balance transfer fee is lower than that of the Simplicity.
So, consider your motives for getting a Citi card, choose the one that fits best with your needs, and enjoy the benefits that come along with these top of the line credit cards. Or, rather, since they both have no annual fee, get one of each and enjoy the best of both worlds!