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Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
One offers better cash back, but the other comes with more features.
Updated . What changed?
The main 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 three categories — two of which are for a limited time — 3% back on two categories and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
Summary of card features
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and an impressive 1.5% on all other purchases.
- Get a signup bonus of $200 after you spend $500 within your first 3 months of account opening.
- You'll also earn 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year (then 1.5%).
- Don't pay an annual fee.
Citi® Double Cash Card
- Earn cash back. Earn cash back twice on everything you buy — 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your balance. Similar cards let you earn 1.5% back. That's up to a $100 difference if you spend $20,000 a year with your card.
- Intro APR on balance transfers. Enjoy 18 months of a 0% intro APR period for balance transfers. Compared to similar cards, this is one of the longest intro periods you can get. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
- Citi Entertainment℠. Get special access when buying presale tickets or VIP packages for concerts, sports events, dining and more.
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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.
Best signup bonus: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year. If you’re looking for an initial value with your cashback card pick, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® wins out here.
Best cash back: Chase Freedom Unlimited
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||$850 cash back||$470 cash back|
Best intro APR: Tie
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.
Best additional perks and features: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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.
Best annual fee: Tie
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.
The winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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 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.
Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a top pick for earning rewards on a variety of categories, including grocery purchases while the intro bonus lasts. It’s also an essential component for anyone looking to take advantage of the Chase trifecta.
Who should get the Citi® Double Cash Card?
The Citi® Double Cash Card is the go-to choice if you’re looking for a flat-rate cashback card. While it’s outshone 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.
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