Citi Double Cash® Card
vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Updated: June 21, 2024

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When it comes to maximizing cash back rewards, the Citi Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited are both appealing cards. They share having no annual fees and generous cash back programs. Comparing Citi Double Cash Card and. Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Citi Double Cash edges ahead with its straightforward 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% as you pay for those purchases.

However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 0% intro APR offer and the potential for a high cash back rate in specific categories. Both cards cater to the same credit score range, so accessibility is a draw. Ultimately, the best card for you hinges on whether you value simplicity in earning rewards or the flexibility to earn more in certain categories.

Credit Card logo for Citi Double Cash® Card
Citi Double Cash® Card
Credit Card logo for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
MoneyGeek Rating
4.4/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
4.4/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    19.24% - 29.24% variable
    20.49%–29.24% variable
    0% APR Offer
    -
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    Intro Offer
    Earn $200 Cash Back
    Earn an additional 1.5% cash back
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1%–5% cash back
    Earn 1.5% – 6.5% cash back
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% for 18 months on balance transfers
    0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
    Balance Transfer Fee
    5% of each transfer ($5 minimum)
    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    Up to 29.99% (Variable)
    Up to 29.99% (variable)
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Freedom Unlimited if you dine out frequently or spend on drugstore items and travel, as you'll benefit from higher cash back rates in these categories. Additionally, if you're planning significant purchases or need to transfer a balance, the 0% intro APR for 15 months could provide valuable savings. The introductory offer also rewards higher spending in the first year, maximizing cash back for those who use their card extensively.

You might prefer the Citi Double Cash if you value simplicity in your rewards program, with a consistent 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% as you pay off those purchases. This card is also beneficial if you're looking for a longer balance transfer option, offering 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, which can help manage existing debt more effectively over a longer period.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards and other features side by side clarifies which card aligns with your financial habits. For instance, if you plan to carry a balance, the Freedom Unlimited's introductory APR offer might be appealing, whereas the Citi Double Cash's higher cash back rate could be more beneficial for those who pay in full each month.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: Citi Double Cash

    The Citi Double Cash Card is slightly better, offering a lower starting APR of 19.24% compared to the Freedom Unlimited's 20.49%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Citi Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited have the advantage of a $0 annual fee.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: Tie

    Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Citi Double Cash offer valuable introductory 0% APR deals, but for different uses. The Freedom Unlimited provides a 0% intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, with an intro fee for transfers. The Citi Double Cash does not offer an intro APR on purchases but extends a 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, albeit with a higher transfer fee.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Citi Double Cash

    The Citi Double Cash Card edges out the Chase Freedom Unlimited in rewards, offering a straightforward 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases). While Freedom Unlimited provides varied rewards rates on dining, drugstore purchases and travel through Chase Travel℠, Citi Double Cash maintains a consistent reward structure across all purchases. With its effective reward rate rated at 5 compared to Freedom Unlimited's 4.5, Citi Double Cash is the superior choice for rewards.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Freedom Unlimited

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a better welcome bonus, with an opportunity to earn up to $300 cash back in the first year, compared to the Citi Double Cash's $200 cash back offer. This is based on the additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Freedom Unlimited

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited accepts a broader range of credit scores, as indicated by its lower recommended credit rating. Both cards cater to users with good to excellent credit, but the Freedom Unlimited's rating suggests it may be slightly more accommodating.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Tie

    Both the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards have similar penalties and fees, with late fees up to $41 and $40 respectively, penalty APRs up to 29.99%, cash advance fees of either $10 or 5% of the transaction, and foreign transaction fees of 3%.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Tie

    Both Citibank and JP Morgan Chase have identical issuer satisfaction ratings of 4.1. This results in a tie for issuer satisfaction, indicating that both cards are equally regarded.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Citi Double Cash provides 5% cash back on travel booked through the Citi Travel portal until December 31, 2024. Chase Freedom Unlimited offers free credit score monitoring through Chase Credit Journey.

Rewards Comparison

The Citi Double Cash Card simplifies earning with a flat 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% as you pay. This is helpful for those who value a straightforward rewards structure without having to track bonus categories.

The Freedom Unlimited has higher rewards rates in specific categories. It offers 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases and an impressive 5% on travel booked through Chase, which can be particularly lucrative for frequent diners and travelers. While both cards have no annual fee, the Freedom Unlimited's bonus categories may provide more value for targeted spending, despite its lower 1.5% rate on non-bonus purchases.

Following this section, you'll find a detailed table of bonus categories to help you compare the rewards programs of both cards.

Category
Freedom Unlimited
Citi Double Cash

Dining

3%

1%

Drugstores

3%

1%

Travel

5% if purchased through Chase Travel℠

1%/5% if booked through Citi Travel portal

All Other

1.5%

1%/2%

Redeeming Rewards

Moving from how you earn rewards to how you can use them, both the Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash offer flexible redemption options and no expiration on rewards. Freedom Unlimited allows redemption for cash back, travel, and more, with no minimums. Citi Double Cash provides cash back or ThankYou Points for various rewards, ensuring your spending pays back in a way that suits your needs.

Methodology

MoneyGeek evaluates credit cards like the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited based on their performance. For this comparison, both cards are assessed in the 'cash back' category, where they have shown the highest scores.

The evaluation includes factors such as the effective reward rate, which carries the most weight and the return on investment for offers. Other considerations include annual fees, introductory purchase rates and issuer satisfaction. For a detailed understanding of our ranking process, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Citi Double Cash vs. Freedom Unlimited Card

What are the cash back rewards for each card?
Do either of the cards offer a 0% intro APR on purchases?
Are there any annual fees for these cards?
Which card offers better rewards for dining and travel?
What are the balance transfer fees for each card?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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