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Citi Simplicity® Card Review

Our Editor's take

Looking for a long zero-percent balance transfer or purchase introductory period? Then this might be the card for you.
Curtis Arnold Curtis Arnold
Editor-in-chief

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief
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One of the longest zero-percent introductory APRs in our database of 500+ cards. No late fees, no penalty rate, no annual fee ever. One of the most consumer friendly, transparent cards on the market we have found.

Ready to start tackling a substantial credit card balance? Citi Simplicity® Card (Citi is a CardRatings.com advertiser), offers a zero-percent introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, with no annual fee and for each balance transfer a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer. Once the intro APR period ends, the variable APR will be 12.99-22.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness. To take advantage of the zero-percent introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months, balance transfers must be completed within the first four months of account opening (according to the fine print), which gives you a larger-than-usual window to take advantage of this deal.

Like many of its no-frills competitors, Citi Simplicity® Card showed up on the market right after 2009's Credit CARD Act changed many long-standing rules in the credit card industry. As legislators forced banks to tighten up their policies around late fees and penalty APRs, Citi Simplicity eliminated them altogether. A wave of television commercials and print ads announcing the new brand emphasized that if you're responsible enough to have qualified for a credit card in the first place, you shouldn't have to pay huge fines if you forget a bill or make a mistake.

How this card compares to other balance-transfer cards

Other top balance transfer cards include Chase Slate®, Discover it®, Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, BarclayCard® Ring MasterCard® and the PenFed Promise Visa®. Although all of these cards are great offers, your specific needs can make one offer a better choice for you.

At 21 months, Citi Simplicity® and Citi® Diamond Preferred® have the longest zero-percent balance-transfer offers currently available. So, if you need some extra time to pay off your transfer, but can finish within 21 months, these cards are tough to beat. However, if you are able to pay off your balance well before Citi’s 21-month intro period ends (or if you know it’ll take you longer than that 21-month intro period), another card might offer you more value. One perk the Citi Simplicity® comes with that the Preferred Card lacks is no late fees or penalty rates – ever. However, Citi Diamond Preferred comes with Citi Easy Deals(SM), which allows cardholders to earn points on purchases made with their card which can be redeemed for online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.

Chase Slate® is currently offering a zero-percent Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. What sets this card apart from the pack is the lack of balance-transfer fee – this $0 introductory balance-transfer fee applies to transfers made in the first 60 days. After that, the fee is either $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. It is the only card on the market with both a long zero-percent introductory balance-transfer rate and a $0 introductory balance transfer fee offer. On the other hand, if you lack the ability to pay off your balance within 15 months, the interest may more than offset the balance-transfer fee, so the Citi Simplicity® may be a better choice for you.

Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® and PenFed Promise Visa® are both suited for those who need more time to pay on their balance transfer. Each card offers a low ongoing rate, based upon your creditworthiness, and no balance transfer fee. However, neither have a zero-percent intro APR balance-transfer offer at this time.

Should you get this card?

Just because this card features no late fees and no penalty rate doesn't mean you can let your bill-paying routine fall apart. Like any credit card, you'll get your privileges revoked if you fail to make more than a few monthly minimum payments over the course of the year. However, if you're on a payroll cycle that doesn't always match your monthly due date, Citi's flexibility can keep you from racking up extra finance charges and service fees.

Therefore, if you're committed to knocking down your credit card balances over the course of the next 21 months, it's hard to find a better deal on the market right now. In fact, even after the introductory offer expires, this card features relatively low variable interest rates for cardholders based on creditworthiness, with excellent credit and other factors.

Disagree with our editor? Let us know by submitting a review of your own below.

Citi Simplicity® Card details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
0%*
Balance Transfer Intro Period
21 months on Balance Transfers*
Purchase Intro
APR:
0%*
Period:
21 months on Purchases*
Purchase APR
12.99 - 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0*

What Citi says about this card

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - EVER
  • No penalty rate - EVER
  • No annual fee - EVER
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

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