Are credit card rewards important to you or would you prefer a basic credit card? You’ll need to ask yourself this question as you’re scoping out your options.
Both the Citi Double Cash and Citi Simplicity are credit cards with no frills. But one offers a cash back rewards program while the other one doesn’t offer a rewards program at all. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each:
Citi Double Cash Card
- Double cash-back rewards program
- No caps or category restrictions
- First late payment fee waived
- Security, travel and purchase protections
- Promotional APR on balance transfers
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- 5% balance transfer fee
- Rewards can’t be redeemed for travel
Bottom Line: This card is best for individuals who are looking for a balance transfer card. It also offers a flexible rewards program that makes it easy earn cash back.
- Cardholders can set their own due date
- No penalty APR
- No late payment fees
- Purchase, security and travel protections
- No rewards program
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- 3% balance transfer fee
Bottom Line: This card is best for individuals who aren’t interested in earning rewards, but want an extended promotional APR period to save interest on large purchases.
How the Citi Double Cash Card and Citi Simplicity are similar
Both cards boast no annual fee, along with purchase security and travel protections. If you travel abroad, you should also be mindful of the foreign transaction fee that comes with both cards. Cardholders also enjoy an extended grace period on balance transfers. But a balance transfer fee applies.
The Citi Double Cash Card advantage
1. Earn double cash back
Unlike the Citi Simplicity card, the Citi Double Cash offers double cash back. That means you’ll be 1% rewarded when you spend and 1% when you make payments.
2. Simple rewards structure
Regardless of your spending habits, you can can earn cash back because there are no category restrictions. Plus, your earning potential is unlimited because there is no rule on the maximum amount of cash back you can earn.
3. Great for balance transfers
You can enjoy an extended grace period of 18 months on balance transfers. However, a 5% balance transfer fee applies.
4. First late payment fee waived
Another major plus is the late payment forgiveness. Citi Double Cash waives the first late payment fee.
The Citi Simplicity advantage
1. Flexible due dates
If you want a straightforward card that allows you to set your own due date, the Citi Simplicity card is worth considering. Late payment fees on most credit cards are around $35, so this is a great perk for those who struggle to pay bills on-time.
2. More generous balance transfer offer
This card tacks on an additional three months than the Citi Double Cash Card to the balance transfer offer. That means you’ll have 21 months instead of 18 to take advantage of no APR on balance transfers.
3. Introductory APR
The interest-free period of 21 months also applies to purchases. This is ideal if you’re looking to make a large purchase in the near future and would rather not pay interest.
4. No penalty APR
This means the APR won’t shoot up to an exorbitant interest rate if life happens and you forget to make a payment by the scheduled due date.
5. Low purchase APR for borrowers with excellent credit
Once the promotional APR period is has ended, the standard APR applies. Fortunately, the Citi Simplicity card offers those with excellent credit an APR as low as 14.24%.
6. No late payment fee, ever
Citi Simplicity cardholders are never assessed a late payment fee. Word of caution: if the account reaches 30 days past due, it may be reported to the credit bureaus. And one late payment can tank your credit score.
Which card is the best option?
Beyond the flexible due date options and a promotional APR on balance transfers, the Citi Simplicity card doesn’t have a ton of perks to offer. However, flexible due dates may be appealing to individuals who often forget to pay bills on time.
But if you’re looking to earn cash back and don’t have a problem keeping up with due dates, the Citi Double Cash Card may be the better option. The cash-back rewards program is quite unique, and there are no caps on the amount that you can earn.
Allison Martin is an accomplished finance writer who has written for publications including The Wall Street Journal, MoneyTalksNews, The Simple Dollar, and Credit.com. Her work has been featured on Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and ABC News. She enjoys writing about personal development, entrepreneurship, personal finance and is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI).