Citi Double Cash or the Fidelity Visa: Which is the Cash Back King?

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Updated on Monday, March 28, 2016

Citi Double Cash or the Fidelity Visa

Both the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card cards are in the minority when it comes to offering maximum cash back. Right now these are the only two cards that offer up to 2% cash back for everyday spending with no revolving category limits. If you’re someone who prefers to collect cash back passively rather than adjusting your spending habits to accommodate changing bonus categories, these two cards are up your alley.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card Cash Back Rewards Program

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card card gives you unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. You must deposit the cash back into an eligible Fidelity account. Eligible Fidelity accounts include:

  • Brokerage accounts
  • Fidelity Cash Management Accounts
  • Fidelity-managed 529 College Savings plans
  • Retirement accounts like the Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA and SEP IRA

Fidelity uses a point system to keep track of cash back, $1 spent equals 2 points and your points never expire. Besides account deposits, you can cash in points for travel, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits. However, points you redeem for anything other than deposits into your Fidelity account won’t have the same value. To get the most from this rewards program you should intend to transfer cash back into a Fidelity account.
In order to redeem points for a cash deposit, your point balance has to reach 5,000 or $50. You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards or statement credit starting at 2,500 points. The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature does not have an annual fee.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Cash Back Rewards Program

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer program is simple. You Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases..

When your reward balance reaches $25, you can redeem cash back in a check, statement credit or gift card. You can also choose to transfer your cash back into a Citi savings or checking account.

There is a $0 annual fee for the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Pro: Double cash back on everything. With Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases..

Con: Cash back expires. Your cash back expires if your account goes inactive for 12 months.

Pro: Don’t have to redeem to Citi accounts. You also have the freedom to get cash back outside of your Citi accounts (via check) without impacting your point value.

Con: You may be able to get more than 2% with other cards. Although having no category restrictions is a pro, there could be a flip side depending on your spending habits. Cards with rotating categories give more cash back (3 to 5%) during each quarter. If you want to stock up on something during one quarter, you may benefit more from a card that rewards you with a higher amount of cash back in that category.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Pro: Unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. Just like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, the benefit with the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases.

Con: Restricted how on you receive rewards. The downside of the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is in comparison to the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer you’re restricted in how you can receive rewards from cash back. The Fidelity Cash Management account is like your average free checking or savings account, but if you don’t already have one open it may not make sense to do so just to collect cash back.

Pro: Simple to deposit cash back. If you have a Fidelity investment account you can easily transfer money to your account or even set up automatic deposits once your point balance reaches a certain amount.

Con: Points lose value. Fidelity offers the 2% back with a big bit of fine print: if you use points for a reward other than an account deposit you won’t actually get 2%.

Other Cash Back Card Options

Chase Freedom®

Since we talked briefly about how cards with rotating categories may benefit you, let’s take a look at the Chase Freedom® card. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

If you spend a significant amount in any of these categories, you may want to consider combining this card with others. Use the Chase Freedom® card during the quarter when you shop heavily in the category. Then for the rest of the year, use either the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or Unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. to get unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card gives an unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day with no category restrictions. You can get your cash back with a statement credit or check. There is a One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. This is less than Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Fidelity, but the one-time bonus does sweeten the pot.

Or you can consider a variety of other cash back credit cards here.

Combining Cards

If you don’t mind mixing-and-matching cards to get the best bang for your buck, then it may make sense to use Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer for Fidelity for almost all purchases but rotate in a card like the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back in order to earn 5% cash back* during a quarter that’s relevant to your spending habits. Limitations apply. Earning 5% cash back on gas or groceries could be a big win over just getting 2% back on the same purchases.

*The 5% is limited to $1500 spending per quarter, 1% after that. Activation is required.

Which Card Will Benefit You the Most

Since the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer will give you the same amount of cash back, choosing between them comes down to how you plan to use what you earn.

If you’re already a Fidelity account holder, it’s convenient to use the credit card rewards program to fund your investment accounts. If you’re not a Fidelity account holder, you can open a Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer account and hit the ground running earning cash back, less work involved.

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.