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

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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 May 13, 2024
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We recommend the Citi Simplicity® Card if you want a balance transfer credit card that can help you pay off debt without any interest during a 0% APR introductory period. 

But if you want to take advantage of intro APR offers and earn valuable cash back, we prefer the Citi Double Cash® Card.

Here’s what you need to know about the Citi Simplicity vs. Double Cash.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • We prefer the Citi Double Cash over the Citi Simplicity because it has a long intro APR offer on balance transfers, a $0 annual fee, and provides valuable cashback rewards on eligible purchases.
  • But the Citi Simplicity makes sense if you want a longer intro APR offer on balance transfers, as well as the option to use an intro APR offer on purchases. However, the Citi Simplicity doesn’t earn any rewards.

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

4.5

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card(Rates and fees)

4.8

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
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
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
  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Shop with Points at Amazon
  • Convert into Citi ThankYou points
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
Foreign transaction fee 3% 3%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good, Fair
Learn More Apply now

Our verdict

We prefer the Citi Double Cash due to its rewards and long 0% APR balance transfer offer. It's rewards rate is very competitive, and it has several useful redemption options. That said, the Citi Simplicity makes sense if you're looking for a 0% intro APR purchase offer.

Citi Simplicity benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • Intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers
Cons
  • No rewards program
  • Has 3% foreign transaction fees

The Citi Simplicity has a $0 annual fee, charges 3% foreign transaction fees, and doesn’t earn rewards.

As a balance transfer card, the main benefit of the Citi Simplicity is taking advantage of its intro APR offers:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable))
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (then 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable))

Learn more in our Citi Simplicity review.

Citi Double Cash benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • Simple rewards rate
  • Intro APR offer on balance transfers
Cons
  • Has 3% foreign transaction fees
  • No intro APR offer on purchases

The Citi Double Cash has a $0 annual fee, 3% foreign transaction fees, and provides 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.

The Citi Double Cash doesn’t have an intro APR offer on purchases, but cardholders can use its intro APR offer on balance transfers. Receive 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)).

Apply now, or learn more in our Citi Double Cash review.

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.

Winner: Citi Double Cash because it provides cash back on eligible purchases.

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.

Winner: Citi Simplicity because it multiple intro APR offers.

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.

Winner: It's a tie because the fees are nearly identical on both cards.

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.

Winner: Citi Double Cash because you can access Citi Entertainment benefits.

Which credit card should you choose?

When you should choose Citi Simplicity

  • You want a long intro APR offer on balance transfers
  • You want an intro APR offer on purchases

When you should choose Citi Double Cash

  • You want a long intro APR offer on balance transfers
  • You want to earn cashback rewards

What factors to consider before choosing

The Citi Double Cash is a cash back card, while the Citi Simplicity is an intro APR card. They have a few overlapping features and benefits, but they’re mostly designed for different purposes.

If you want to earn cashback rewards with a simple rewards rate, consider the Citi Double Cash. That’s in addition to taking advantage of an intro APR offer on balance transfers and a $0 annual fee.

If you want multiple intro APR offers and a $0 annual fee, the Citi Simplicity is better. But keep in mind that you won’t have any opportunities to earn rewards with this card.

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® Card vs. Citi Double Cash® Card(Rates and fees), 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

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. 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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