Citi® Double Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Which is best for you?

Citi® Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® are cash back credit cards that let you earn extra cash for every purchase made. While both are no-fee cards with average APR rates and limited-time introductory offers, each card offers its own version of a sign-up bonus offer and approaches the cash back process differently. So which one is right for you?

Let’s start with a top-level overview of each card, then dive into key features that make these cards unique. Finally, we’ll look at how your credit and spending habits line up with what Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited bring to the table — and help you decide which one deserves a spot in your wallet.

At a glance comparison

Here’s a quick look at the key characteristics of each cash back card.

Citi Double CashChase Freedom Unlimited
Annual FeeNo annual feeNo annual fee
Reward Rates1% unlimited cash back on all purchases, and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases.1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
Sign Up BonusNoneGet $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account
Introductory APR0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by variable APR on purchase and balance transfers between 15.49% and 25.49%.0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 16.49-25.24% variable APR that varies with the prime rate.

Standout features

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s a look at some standout features of the Citi Double Cash credit card:

  • Get cash twice — Earn 1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% when you pay down these purchases on your credit card. To access this additional 1%, cardholders must pay at least the minimum balance due on time. This extra cash back provides incentive to both make your minimum payment and — wherever possible — pay down the card in full. It’s a win-win for your wallet and your credit rating.
  • Entertainment access — With Citi Entertainment, you get special access to presale tickets and exclusive experiences for thousands of shows, concerts and sporting events nationwide. Even better? When you purchase exclusive entertainment access with your Citi Double Cash card, you’re earning cash back.
  • Digital wallets — Like shopping online, but worried that your card could be compromised? With Citi’s digital wallets program, you get easy access to online checkouts without risking your credit card data. The result is a double benefit — you get more cash back as you spend online combined with peace of mind that your card details are secure.
  • Lost Wallet Service — Citi’s Lost Wallet service will replace your card — usually within 24 hours — and provide access to emergency cash to help bridge the gap. While it’s always frustrating to have your wallet lost or stolen, Citi makes it easier to get back on track.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card also comes with great features, including:

  • Earn extra cash back with referrals — You can earn up to $500 in cash back per year — $100 for each friend referred and approved for a Chase credit card. If you’re enjoying your Chase Freedom Unlimited experience enough to tell your friends, you can earn extra cash while they get their own cash back card.
  • Do more with cash back — You can choose to redeem your cash back as statement credit or a direct deposit into your checking or savings account, but you also have other options. Redeem your cash back for gift certificates from popular restaurants and retailers, link your Amazon.com account and spend cash back directly on the site or book your travel experience with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Contactless payments — Secure chip cards from Chase let you pay whenever, wherever by simply tapping your card — no signature or PIN required. This is a great feature if you’re constantly on the go and want to streamline trips to the grocery store, gas station or pharmacy. 
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection — Enjoy 120-day protection on new purchases up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account along with extended warranty protection on eligible purchases that carry U.S. manufacturer warranties of three years or less.

The case for Citi Double Cash

Why choose Citi Double Cash? This card is all about earning cash back twice — once when you purchase and again when you pay. It’s a great fit if you’re consistent with monthly payments or regularly pay down your balance in full, letting you earn more cash more quickly with no upper limits to worry about or categories to manage. Combined with early entertainment access and online purchase security, the Citi Double Cash card is designed to make spending secure and straightforward, helping you maximize your total cash back earned.

The case for Chase Freedom Unlimited

While the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer double cash back, its 1.5% back on all purchases means you don’t need to worry about payments — in part or full — affecting the amount of cash back you earn each year. Chase also lets you convert earned cash back into almost anything you want — from online Amazon purchases to gift cards, travel rewards and cash deposited directly into your account. Contactless payment backed by fraud and zero liability protection means you can confidently tap your card, earn your cash and make the most of your Chase Freedom Unlimited account.

In a nutshell

Both the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards help you earn more cash back faster. But which is best for you? If you’re someone who regularly pays more than the minimum balance or pays their card off in full each month, consider the Citi Double Cash card. If you prefer the simplicity of 1.5% cash back everywhere combined with cash back bonus and referral offers, choose Chase.

Doug Bonderud

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement