Citi Simplicity® Card vs. Citi Double Cash® Card: Balance Transfer, Cash Back, or Both?

CREDIT CARDS - CREDIT CARD BASICS
Trying to decide between the Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash? Find out which one would be a better fit for you. (Citi is a FinanceBuzz partner.)
Updated Nov. 30, 2023
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Credit cards often come with unique benefits, rewards earning potential, and perks. You may find one card can suit you more than another, depending on your situation and preferences.

Citibank is a credit card issuer that offers a wide variety of credit cards, from rewards cards to balance transfer cards. For example, the Citi Simplicity® Card is a balance transfer credit card that can help you pay off debt without any interest during a 0% APR introductory period. Citibank also offers the Citi Double Cash® Card, which allows you to earn valuable cash back on every purchase.

Although Citibank issues both of these cards, there are some key differences between them. Here’s what you need to know about the Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash.

In this article

Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Double Cash

With a quick side-by-side comparison, you can see how the Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash line up against each other. We’ll compare their fees, benefits, and unique perks below to see which of these Citi credit cards might suit you better.


Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus Long introductory APR period on balance transfers Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back
Earning rate 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24
Redemption methods N/A
  • Check
  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit
  • Convert into Citi ThankYou points
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)
0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)
0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Balance transfer fee 3% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum) within 4 months of account opening; then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) after the 4 month intro period ends 3% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum) within 4 months of account opening; then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) after the 4 month intro period ends
Travel perks N/A N/A
Other benefits
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions
  • Digital wallet technology
  • No late fees
  • Citi Entertainment
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions
  • Digital wallet technology
Payment network Mastercard Mastercard
Foreign transaction fee 3% 3%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good, Fair
Apply now Apply now

What both cards excel at

Both the Citi Simplicity and Citi Double Cash were created with a certain consumer in mind, so you aren’t going to see too much overlap in their strengths. Still, they do have a few shared benefits that offer value to cardholders.

The Citi Simplicity has a $0 annual fee and the Double Cash has a $0 annual fee, and they both come with introductory APR balance transfer offers. If you have debt that’s accruing interest, you might consider a balance transfer credit card with no annual fees to help you pay it off. Balance transfers can be a smart way to avoid high interest rate debt for a set period, which gives you an opportunity to get out of debt faster. For more information, check out our list of the best balance transfer cards.

Among other benefits, like the ability to choose your own payment due date, you also have Citi Identity Theft Solutions and digital wallet technology on both cards. Digital wallets allow you to get through the checkout process faster and help protect you from identity theft because you don’t physically use your credit card. If there is an issue with identity theft, Citi Identity Theft Solutions can help resolve the matter.

4 important differences between Citi Simplicity and Citi Double Cash

For the most part, each of these cards will appeal to different consumers. Take a close look at the differences between them to see which one might be more beneficial for you.

1. Earning rewards

The Citi Double Cash is a cashback rewards card, offering 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. You can redeem these rewards for statement credit, a direct deposit into an account of your choice, or as a check that’s mailed to you. You can also convert your cashback rewards into Citi ThankYou points.

Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed in multiple ways. You can use them to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. If you want to use your points to book a flight on an airline directly, consider booking with Citi’s transfer partners. You can transfer your ThankYou points to more than a dozen partners, including Air France, JetBlue, and Virgin Atlantic. You can also redeem them for gift cards. And, if you’re enrolled in a Citi checking account, you can use your points to pay certain bills.

The Citi Simplicity is not a rewards credit card, so the Citi Double Cash is a much better option if you’re interested in a card with a rewards program.

2. Intro APRs

Both the Citi Simplicity and Citi Double Cash have 0% intro APR benefits. The Citi Simplicity offers 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable) APR), and the Citi Double Cash offers 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR). The 0% intro APR period is lengthy on both cards, so if you need a credit card with a long balance transfer period, these two cards would be ideal options.

If you need a credit card with a 0% intro APR period on purchases, the Citi Simplicity might be the better option. The Citi Double Cash has no 0% intro APR offer on purchases. The Citi Simplicity offers 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable) APR). If you have upcoming purchases you want to avoid accruing interest on, the Citi Simplicity could be the card for you.

Apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card | Get more details at our Citi Simplicity Card review

3. Fees

When you compare the Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Double Cash, don’t forget about any fees that come attached. The Citi Simplicity has a $0 annual fee and the Double Cash has a $0 annual fee, and they both have foreign transaction fees:

  • Citi Simplicity® Card foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Citi Double Cash® Card foreign transaction fee: 3%

This means an additional fee will be added to any purchase made with either of these credit cards when traveling abroad.

They may not be the best travel credit cards, but they are among the best credit cards when it comes to balance transfers. Keep in mind that balance transfers will often have a fee attached, called a balance transfer fee. This fee can either be a flat amount or a percentage of the amount being transferred. In the case of the Citi Simplicity, the balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum) within 4 months of account opening; then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) after the 4 month intro period ends. For the Citi Double Cash, you'll also pay 3% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum) within 4 months of account opening; then 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) after the 4 month intro period ends.

The Citi Simplicity also offers an added benefit: no late fees and no penalty rates, so if you accidentally miss a payment, you don't need to worry about extra costs. This is a perk that the Citi Double Cash doesn't provide.

4. Other benefits

With the Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Double Cash, there aren’t too many additional benefits on either card. They both have digital wallet technology and Citi Identity Theft Solutions, but the Citi Double Cash also has Citi Entertainment benefits.

With Citi Entertainment, you can get special access to purchase tickets to premiere events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more. With this additional benefit, the Citi Double Cash wins in this category.

Apply for the Citi Double Cash® Card | Get more details at our Citi Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review

Which card should you choose?

Both the Citi Simplicity and the Citi Double Cash come with helpful benefits, but are ultimately different cards meant for specific things. Consider your situation before choosing which one is best for you.

Although both of these cards offer great 0% APR intro periods on balance transfers, it’s the Citi Simplicity that ends up being the better choice in this regard. With an introductory period of 21 months, it’s easily one of the longest 0% intro APR periods available (after that, the rate increases to 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)). Additionally, the Citi Simplicity also has a 0% intro APR period of 12 months on new purchases (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)). With both of these offers, you can avoid paying interest for a period of time and pay down your debt faster.

If you’re more interested in a cashback rewards card, the Citi Double Cash should be the clear choice. Considering the Citi Simplicity has no rewards earning potential, the Citi Double Cash is the obvious winner for earning cash back. With 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24, it’s one of the best cashback credit cards available. So if you’re looking for a low-stress credit card to use on everyday purchases, the Citi Double Cash could be a perfect choice.

Flat-rate cashback rewards credit cards aren’t the best way to maximize your rewards-earning potential, but they are simple and easy to use. If you want to earn more bonus rewards on specific categories, you might consider the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express instead.

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you can earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. 

With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. Cash back is received in the form of a statement credit.

Both the Freedom Flex and the Blue Cash Preferred come with welcome offers too, which you won't get with either of the Citi cards mentioned. The Freedom Flex offers a $200 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months of account opening. Blue Cash Preferred cardholders can earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash FAQs

What credit score do you need for Citi Simplicity?

To qualify for the Citi Simplicity, you’ll likely need a good or excellent credit score. FICO states that a good credit score starts off at 670. Your credit score and overall creditworthiness are affected by factors such as total debt, late payments, age of accounts, and more.

Is Citi Simplicity a good card?

It depends on your situation. If you need a balance transfer credit card with an intro APR offer, the Citi Simplicity is one of the best available. This card offers 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)). If you want a cashback rewards credit card, the Citi Double Cash could be a better option.

Is the Citi Double Cash hard to get?

To qualify for the Citi Double Cash, you’ll likely need an excellent credit score. FICO considers credit scores of 800 and above to be excellent, or exceptional. Your credit score and overall creditworthiness are affected by factors such as total debt, late payments, age of accounts, and more.

How does the Citi Double Cash work?

With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. There’s no limit on the cash back you can earn, and it can be redeemed for statement credits, a direct deposit into an account you choose, or as a check that’s mailed to you. You can also convert cashback rewards into Citi ThankYou points.

Bottom line

When deciding between the Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash, consider what you’ll be using each credit card for and whether they fit your needs. The Citi Simplicity is a balance transfer credit card; the Double Cash is both a cashback rewards credit card and balance transfer card.

If you need a longer 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, the Citi Simplicity could be right for you. If you’re more interested in earning cash back, the Double Cash is the way to go.

Earn Cash Back Twice

4.8

Citi Double Cash® Card

Current Offer

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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