Some people dislike credit cards, but not me. I know that when I use my credit cards wisely, they come with several hard-to-beat benefits. Credit cards help me build and keep a solid credit rating. They offer me better fraud protection than cash or debit card spending. Throw in the fact that credit cards help me earn valuable rewards from my regular purchases, and it’s easy to understand why I’m such a fan.
Right now, I have a dozen credit cards, and the Citi® Double Cash Card is one of them. I opened the card in 2002 (originally a different Citi card but converted to the Double Cash several years ago) and, while the card doesn’t earn me the highest rewards in every spending category, I do get plenty of value from it.
I like my Citi Double Cash card so much that I don’t ever see myself closing the account. Here are four reasons why.
1. No Annual Fee
The first reason why I doubt I’ll ever close my Citi Double Cash card is that there’s no compelling reason to do so. Citi doesn’t charge me an annual fee to have the account open. So, closing the card wouldn’t save me any money.
Once upon a time, I used to hate annual-fee credit cards. For years, I didn’t carry a single credit card with an annual fee in my wallet. Now, I’m OK with annual fees, if the card offers me enough value in return.
If an annual-fee card ever stopped offering me enough value to offset its cost, I’d consider closing it. But keeping my no-annual-fee Citi Double Cash card open is a no-brainer.
2. 2% Cash-Back Rewards on Everything
I use my Citi Double Cash card frequently. The reason I pull it out of my wallet so often is because of the simple 2% cash back it offers: 1% when I make a purchase; 1% when I pay my bill. When I don’t have a card that offers higher rewards for a purchase (like 3% on dining with my Chase Sapphire Reserve), I use my Citi Double Cash.
Many of the other rewards cards in my wallet give me just 1% rewards on non-bonus-category spending. For example, I love the 5x Membership Rewards Points the Platinum Card from American Express gives me when I make qualified travel purchases (through an airline or AMEX Travel). But the Platinum Card only gives me 1x points on most other purchases. Citi Double Cash offers me, well, double those standard 1% rewards.
3. Closing a Credit Card Could Lower Credit Scores
The most important reason I’ll probably never close my Citi Double Cash Credit Card has to do with protecting my credit. Closing the account might harm my credit scores.
Credit scoring models pay close attention to a factor known as your credit utilization ratio. Credit utilization is calculated by looking at your credit report and comparing your credit card limits to your account balances. When your report shows that you’re utilizing a bigger percentage of your credit card limits, your credit scores might decline.
Credit utilization is calculated in two ways — per card and all total (also known as aggregate utilization). When you close a credit card, the limit from that account no longer counts in your total utilization ratio. So, closing an unused credit card might cause your overall credit utilization to spike. Unfortunately, this can be bad for your credit scores.
There’s a myth that closing a credit card will drop your scores because you lose credit for the age of the account. That’s untrue. Your average age of accounts (AAoA) does impact your credit scores (older is better). But closing an account doesn’t erase it from your reports.
A closed credit card still counts when your AAoA is calculated. However, it stops counting when the account eventually comes off your credit reports (10 years down the road, if the account was positive).
4. I Like Having Credit Cards From Different Issuing Banks
Credit cards aren’t like fixed-rate loans, where the terms of the account get set at the beginning, and that’s that. Instead, card issuers have the flexibility to modify the terms of your account while it’s open. Even if your account is in good standing, credit card issuers have the right to close it, raise your interest rate or lower the credit limit if they wish to do so. (Sometimes they have to give you notice first.)
Often, a card issuer will modify the terms of an account because of a negative action on your end, like late payments or a drop in your credit score. The negative action might take place on your credit card itself or some other account on your credit report. But that’s not always true. The terms of your account could change even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
But having multiple credit cards open from different issuing banks gives me some peace of mind.
Fortunately, I’ve never had a card issuer close my credit card account. I manage my credit cards and the rest of my credit carefully to try to avoid this problem. Yet around a decade ago (just before the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act was enacted), I did have several credit limits suddenly lowered. Although I’d done nothing wrong, my credit limits were reduced. (At the time, card issuers were nervous about how the new legislation would affect them.)
Ultimately, I can’t control whether a card issuer lowers my credit limit, increases my APR or decides to stop doing business with me altogether. Those are the bank’s rights. But having multiple credit cards open from different issuing banks gives me some peace of mind. I believe the odds of all of my credit cards being closed or all of my credit limits being suddenly reduced is less likely if I spread out my business among multiple card issuers.
Here’s another reason you might want credit cards with more than one issuing bank: If you ever need to transfer a balance from one card to another, you usually can’t move balances between cards from the same issuer.
Be Careful When You Close Credit Cards
Closing a credit card reduces your available credit limit and might lower your credit scores. You generally shouldn’t close a credit card unless there’s a good reason (like a divorce or an annual fee card you don’t get value from anymore).
Some credit card rewards enthusiasts periodically close accounts to make way for new ones. Tread carefully and do your homework if you decide to try this approach.
Cards with no annual fee and a decent reward offering, like the Citi Double Cash, are worth keeping around. Not only that, but you should use them (and pay them off) once in a while too. If you stick your credit card in a safe and forget about it, the card issuer might eventually close the account due to inactivity.
Best Citi Credit Cards
Citi has a suite of popular credit cards that can meet your financial needs. Look through the cards below and pursue our reviews of the Citi+ Rewards Credit Card and Citi+ Rewards Student Card, which is perfect for young people building credit (regardless of wether or not they’re a student).
Citi Rewards+ Card
If you make a lot of small purchases, like a morning cup of coffee, this could be the card for you. The reason is simple: This rewards credit card rounds up all purchases to the nearest 10 points. A $2 cup of coffee would get you 10 points, for example. The Citi Rewards Card also earns 2x points at grocery stores and gas stations, and offers 0% interests on all purchases made during the first 15 billing cycles.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Value: 2X points at grocery stores and gas stations (up to $6,000 annually)
- Sign-Up Offer: Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first three billing cycles
- Pro: card always rounds up to the nearest 10 points on all purchases
- Con: aside from rewards, this card doesn’t offer many benefits
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is among the best cards on the market for general spending. Forget the cards that offer 1% and 1.5% cash back, the Citi Double Cash Card offers you a whopping 2% cash back for all spending.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Value: Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase
- Sign-Up Offer: None
- Pro: No confusing spending categories to track
- Con: No sign-up bonus
Costco Anywhere Visa Card
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card is a must have for all Costco members. Not only do cardholders earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases, but they also earn 3% cash back on dining and travel, and 2% on all Costco in-store and online purchases.
- Annual Fee: No fee with paid Costco membership
- Value: 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases ($7,000 annual cap)
- Sign-Up Offer: None
- Pro: 3% cash back on eligible dining and travel purchases
- Con: No sign-up bonus
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
Small business owners who are frequent fliers of American Airlines will find plenty of value in the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. With two miles earned per dollar spent in specific categories and one mile for all other purchases, this card is also loaded with benefits like preferred boarding, discounts on inflight WiFi, and one free checked bag per American Airline flight.
- Annual Fee: $99 (fee waived for the first 12 months)
- Value: 2X miles per dollar spent on cable and satellite providers, car rentals, gas, and telecommunications purchases
- Sign-Up Offer: 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 during first four billing cycles
- Pro: Free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
- Con: There are several cards with more generous travel rewards in certain spending categories
How to Compare Rewards Credit Cards
Still not sure about which rewards cards is right for you? We get it. Choosing a credit card that meets your needs is important, which is why Slickdeals’ Credit Card Hub helps you compare the benefits of different cards, search credit cards by rewards categories, and explore cards by their issuers — all to find the best fit for your wallet. Read our review of the Citi Rewards+ Card