The winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Up to 5%
- Up to 5% cashback and an impressive 1.5% base cashback rate
- 15 months of intro APR on purchases
- No annual fee
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The most important difference between the two cards is the cashback rate: The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% as you pay them off, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 5% back on travel through the Chase portal and Lyft rides (which is a limited time offer), 3% back on restaurants and drugstores and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a strong ongoing cashback rate as long as you pay off your purchases. As a result, the Citi® Double Cash Card is always going to be valuable, regardless of your spending habits.
However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® currently comes with a few ways for savvy cardholders to wring out more value, including a signup bonus, the 5% and 3% cashback categories, and the fact it earns Ultimate Rewards points.
If you’re already in the Chase ecosystem, you’ll want to spring for the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. And if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your points to one of the two and get either 25% or 50% higher value for your points when you redeem for travel purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a top pick for earning rewards on a variety of categories. It’s also an essential component for anyone looking to take advantage of the Chase trifecta.
The Citi® Double Cash Card is the go-to choice if you’re looking for a flat-rate cashback card. While it’s outshined by the Chase Freedom Unlimited®‘s cashback rates and limited time offers, the Citi® Double Cash Card pulls in a great earning rate on average. It can also help you consolidate your debt with a long balance transfer offer.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Citi® Double Cash Card
★★★★★4.7 / 5.0
★★★★★3.8 / 5.0
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
0% intro APR for 15 months, and then 14.99% to 23.74% variable
13.99% to 23.99% variable
|14.99% to 23.74% variable||
0% intro APR for 18 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable
APR: 24.99% variable
Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
APR: 25.24% variable
Fee: $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
|3% of each transaction||3% of each transaction|
|Up to $39||Up to $40|
|21 days||23 days|
To determine which of these two flat-rate cards deserves a spot in your wallet, compare their features. Here’s a look at how each card performs in a few major categories.
Between the two cards, only the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a signup bonus. You’ll earn $200 after spending $500 in your first 3 months of account opening. If you’re looking for an initial value with your cashback card pick, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® wins out here.
The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the best flat-rate cashback cards you can get. But with the September 2020 update, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has turned into a cashback behemoth, unmatched by many competitor cashback cards.
To illustrate the Chase Freedom Unlimited®‘s value, here’s a breakdown of how much you could earn with both cards:
|Annual spending||Chase Freedom Unlimited® cash back||Citi® Double Cash Card cash back|
|Dining (including takeout and delivery)||$6,000||$180||$120|
|Total||$23,500 spent||$570 cash back||$470 cash back|
Comparing the intro APRs on these cards is like comparing apples to oranges. Both cards offer a 0% intro APR, though for different purposes: the Citi® Double Cash Card offers a balance transfer intro APR and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® a purchase intro APR.
If an intro APR plays heavily into your ultimate decision, bear in mind that balance transfer payments don’t earn cash back. You also shouldn’t make purchases on the Citi® Double Cash Card until you’ve paid off the entirety of your balance transfer.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® currently has the edge here thanks to a few promotional features they’ve added, such as discounted DashPass membership and additional rewards on Lyft rides. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® also technically earns Ultimate Rewards points, rather than straight cash back. That means you can redeem these points on other items such as travel, or move them to a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for even bigger value on those points.
Aside from Citi Entertainment, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t currently offer any new promotional features. On the bright side, Citi Entertainment is a permanent feature of the Citi® Double Cash Card and isn’t subject to caps or limitations like the Chase features.
Both the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® have a $0 annual fee for use. This means any rewards you earn are pure profit.
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