Discover it Balance Transfer Card vs. Citi Double Cash Card: Both Good Options for Intro APR and Cash Back

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Good for New Purchase Intro APR
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Good for Flat Cash Back Rewards
Editor’s Score: (4.9/5)
Citi® Double Cash Card
Learn More externa link icon
Citi® Double Cash Card
Editor’s Score: (4.9/5)
Rewards rate:

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% for 18 months
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 25.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    16.99% – 26.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Earn up to 5 percent back in rotating quarterly categories
  • Double all rewards earned in your first year
  • Introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • Bonus rewards are capped after $1,500 spent each quarter
  • Many balance transfer cards offer longer 0% APR periods
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Great limited time welcome offer
  • Flat cash back on every purchase
  • 18-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers (16.99% to 26.99% variable APR thereafter)
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
  • Delayed cash back rewards if you carry a balance
Additional Card Details
Additional Card Details
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months and balance transfers for 18 months, after which a variable APR of 14.99% to 25.99% applies
  • Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories upon activation every three months (then 1% back) and 1% back on all other purchases
  • Discover will double all rewards earned after the first year through its Cashback Match program
  • Identity protections like Social Security number alerts and credit monitoring
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card through the mobile app
Additional Card Details
  • Extra incentive to pay down your balance in full: You’ll earn only 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and the other 1% when you pay it off
  • 18-month 0% intro period on balance transfers, 16.99% to 26.99% variable APR thereafter
  • Redeem cash back for statement credits, direct deposit, check, or convert cash back value to Citi ThankYou points
  • Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening and a 3% ($5 minimum) fee applies, After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
NextAdvisor’s Take

Both the Discover it Balance Transfer Card and Citi Double Cash Card offer and intro APR offer and cash rewards. Discover it Balance Transfer offers an intro APR for both new purchases and balance transfers, along with rotating bonus rewards categories, while Citi Double Cash has a long 0% APR period for balance transfers and flat cash back on every purchase. We like them both, but your individual goals can help you decide which is best for you.

A cash back card with a 0% APR introductory period for balance transfers can offer the best of both worlds when it comes to short-term debt payoff and long-term value. The Discover it® Balance Transfer Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card are two of our favorite card options with a combination of long intro periods and cash back rewards

But there are some big differences that can help you decide between these cards, including the intro offer details, welcome bonus, regular interest rates, and fees.  

After the balance transfer intro period, the cash back rewards structures differ, too. The Discover it Balance Transfer card has revolving quarterly bonus categories, while the Citi Double Cash offers flat-rate cash rewards on every purchase. 

Here’s what to know about both cards, so you can choose the best card for debt pay off and rewards most effectively. 

Side by Side Comparison

Discover it Balance TransferCiti Double Cash Card
Annual Fee$0$0
Welcome OfferCashback Match offer to match all cash back earned within the first yearFor a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening
Introductory Offer0% intro APR for 6 months for purchases and 18 months for balance transfers (14.99% to 25.99% variable APR thereafter)0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers (16.24% to 26.24% variable APR thereafter)
Cash Back RewardsEarn 5% on revolving bonus categories up to quarterly maximum after activation, then 1%Earn unlimited 2% cash back rewards — 1% as you spend, 1% as you pay down your balance

Bonus Comparison

Even though it’s not a typical cash welcome bonus, at the end of your first year, Discover will match all cash back earned so far. If you earn $200 cash back over the year, for example, you’ll get another $200 for a total $400 first-year cash back earn. The Citi Double Cash earns $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

Introductory Offer for Purchases

The Discover it Balance Transfer card has a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 6 months (regular APR of 14.99% to 25.99% thereafter). 

That makes the Discover card the clear winner in this category, since the Citi Double Cash doesn’t have an 0% intro APR offer for new purchases. Six months is relatively short compared to other 0% APR cards, but if you want to use your card to pay for a new purchase and make interest-free payments over time, Discover it Balance Transfer is the better option over the Citi Double Cash. 

Introductory Offer for Balance Transfers

Both cards have the same introductory period for balance transfers. 

Discover it Balance Transfer offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, there’s a regular APR between 14.99% and 25.99%. The Citi Double Cash also comes with an 18-month 0% intro APR introductory period. The regular APR is between 16.24% and 26.24% after that. 

The balance transfer fees are relatively similar too, but make sure you read the terms before you apply and remember when any fees are scheduled to change. With the Discover it Balance Transfer, you’ll pay a 3% balance transfer fee through October 10th, 2022 and the fee goes up to 5% after that. The Citi Double Cash, on the other hand, has a 3% ($5 minimum) balance transfer fee for any debt you transfer within the first 4 months of account opening. Then, the fee increases to 5% ($5 minimum).

Cash Back Rewards 

When it comes to long-term cash rewards, the best card for you comes down to how you already spend. 

The Discover it Balance transfer earns 5% cash back on revolving bonus categories (after activation), up to $1,500 in quarterly spending. You’ll also earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Discover announces its upcoming categories in advance — for 2022, you’ll save on everything from gas stations to restaurants to digital wallet spending. If you spend a lot in rotating bonus categories, you may prefer the Discover it Balance Transfer.

But if If you don’t spend in those categories often, or much of your spending is over a broader range of categories, a flat-rate cash back card like the Citi Double Cash may be best. It comes with unlimited 2% cash back rewards. You’ll get 1% when you make purchases, and 1% when you pay them off. 

APRs

Both cards charge ongoing interest after the introductory periods. The Discover it Balance Transfer card has a regular variable APR between 14.99% and 25.99%. 

The Citi Double Cash charges a higher regular variable interest rate of 16.24% – 26.24% after the intro period. To avoid paying interest and incurring debt, it’s best to practice good credit habits like paying your balance in full and on-time each month. 

Fees

Neither card has an annual fee, but there are a few other fees to keep in mind. 

The Discover it Balance Transfer card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee — which could be a deciding factor for frequent international travelers. Your first late payment is waived with Discover, but after that, you may incur a late fee of up to $41. Fortunately, the Discover it card also doesn’t have a penalty APR.

The Citi Double Cash card has a fee of up to $41 for late or returned payments, and you may incur a penalty APR up to 29.99%. There’s also a 3% foreign transaction fee. 

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% for 18 months
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 25.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Learn More externa link icon
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Editor’s Score: (4.9/5)
  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    16.99% – 26.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Introductory balance transfer rate:
    0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.24% – 25.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Deciding Between Discover it Balance Transfer and Citi Double Cash

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

Both the Discover it Balance Transfer and the Citi Double Cash are great options for paying off debt and earning cash back over time. But before you decide, it’s best to think about what card details are most important to you before applying — whether it’s fees, perks, or the introductory period.

If you’re looking to save and earn rewards on an upcoming large purchase, choose the Discover it Balance Transfer. You’ll get 0% APR on new purchases for 6 months, and spending during that intro period will also count towards the first-year Cashback Match, and help you score added cash back. 

If you’re more interested in paying down debt, though, both the Citi Double Cash Card and Discover it Balance Transfer offer a lengthy 18-month 0% intro APR. But the Discover card’s Cashback Match is another detail to consider here, too. In general, it’s best practice to avoid spending while using a balance transfer offer, so you don’t take on more debt before the intro period ends. As a result, if you don’t make any new purchases during the intro period while paying down debt, you’ll forfeit any value you would have earned with the Cashback Match bonus. 

On the other hand, you may find the cash rewards you’ll earn over time to be your most important factor.  Choose the Discover it Balance Transfer if the rotating categories align with your purchases, especially if you don’t spend much beyond the $1,500 quarterly spending cap to earn 5%. For instance, you can earn up to $75 in cash back rewards when you spend $1,500 in quarterly bonus categories with Discover it Balance Transfer, but you’ll have to spend $3,750 to earn $75 cash back with the Citi Double Cash.

But if you spend beyond the $1,500 cap quarterly, which is equal to about $500 per month, or your spending doesn’t always fit within Discover’s bonus categories,  you may benefit from the Citi Double Cash as an everyday card to guarantee you’re earning 2% cash back on everything you buy (1% when you make purchases, and 1% when you pay them off). With this card, you won’t have to keep track of rotating categories and there’s no spending cap to earn the maximum cash back.

At the end of the day, both cards are solid options for balance transfers and cash back rewards. Follow good credit habits to maximize rewards and avoid carrying a balance, and both cards can be a great choice for paying off debt and making everyday purchases. But before you apply, don’t forget to also consider other cash back cards with 0% APR intro offers that can help you save money on your regular spending.