If you have high-interest debt that you want to transfer to a credit card with more favorable terms, the Citi Simplicity Card is a great option. It offers 21 months with no interest charged on balance transfers made within the first four months of opening the account.
The 0% interest gives you ample time to pay what you owe without racking up additional charges. After that, you get a competitive variable rate between 16.24% and 26.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
Another key advantage of the Citi Simplicity Card is its low fees, plus all the benefits you’d expect from a top-tier credit card, such as round-the-clock customer service, zero-liability fraud protection, identity theft monitoring, and contactless payments.
However, the card also has its disadvantages. It is lacking in the rewards department, as it doesn’t offer any kickbacks for your spending and also doesn’t have a welcome bonus. Further, you will have to pay a $5 or 5% balance transfer fee (whichever is greater), even during the introductory period. Thanks to its 21-month, no-interest introductory offer on balance transfers, it’s still a good fit for some.
Citi Simplicity Card Overview
Rewards Rate: N/A
Sign-Up Bonus: N/A
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 16.24% to 26.24% variable (0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months and balance transfers for 21 months—if transfers are made within the first four months)
- Balance Transfer Fee: 5% or $5, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Recommended credit score: N/A
- No late fees or penalty rates
- Flexible payment schedule
- Long intro APR on balance transfers: 21-month, 0% APR intro rate on balance transfers made within the first four months
- Minimal fees: No late-fee charges, no annual fees, and no penalty rates
- Payment flexibility: Choose a payment due date that works for your budget
- No rewards: No rewards or welcome bonuses
- Balance transfer fee: The 5% balance transfer fee is on the high side
- Short intro APR on purchases: The intro APR on purchases only lasts for 12 months
Who Should Get a Citi Simplicity Card?
Best for: This card is a great option for you if your main priority is paying off debt. You pay no interest on balance transfers for 21 months, as long as you complete transfers within the first four months of opening the account.
Not for: If you’re more focused on making new purchases and racking up rewards than paying off past debts, then this isn’t the card for you. Other cards may suit your financial needs better, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which offers cash back and a longer interest-free window on purchases.
Long intro APR on balance transfers
The Citi Simplicity Card offers a long intro APR on balance transfers that gives you enough time to pay off old debts and get your finances back on track.
No late fees or penalty rates
Although you should aim to pay your bill on time each month, if you have a habit of forgetting or occasionally falling behind, this is the card you want in your wallet. It has no late fees and no penalty APR, so your interest rate won’t go up if you miss a payment.
This card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus or a rewards program. However, if your concern is paying off your debt, this won’t necessarily be a drawback. In fact, it may work in your favor.
Rewards programs encourage you to charge everyday purchases to your credit card to rack up points and cash back. But if you have trouble using credit responsibly, you may not want an incentive to use the card over cash.
High balance transfer fee
The Citi Simplicity credit card doesn’t incur many fees. However, the primary fee it does have, a balance transfer fee of 5%, is on the high side. For every $1,000 you transfer, you’ll pay a $50 fee. If you’re transferring thousands of dollars worth of debt, that 5% fee can add up to hundreds of dollars.
Further, this fee applies to balance transfers made in the introductory window. So if you have a lot of debt to consolidate, it’s worth looking into other cards with lower transfer fees.
All information accurate as of Feb. 10, 2020.
Citi Simplicity Card Compared to BankAmericard Credit Card
The BankAmericard® edges out the Citi Simplicity Card in a few areas. It offers a longer interest-free window on purchases, a lower variable APR, and lower fees on balance transfers.
For 15 billing cycles, you enjoy a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, you get a competitive APR of 14.49% to 24.49%, which is slightly lower than Citi Simplicity’s rates.
The BankAmericard also offers lower fees on balance transfers. For the first 60 days after you open your account, you pay nothing in balance transfer fees. Then, the charge is 3%—two percentage points lower than Citi Simplicity’s fee.
While that may not seem like a big difference, if you’re transferring thousands of dollars worth of debt, BankAmericard’s lower fee could save you hundreds.
However, the Citi Simplicity Card offers a longer intro APR period on balance transfers (by six months), and 120 days to make the transfer and reap the promotional APR, compared to BankAmericard’s 60 days.
The Bottom Line
The Citi Simplicity Card offers one of the longest interest-free periods on balance transfers, but it also has a few significant drawbacks.
It doesn’t offer rewards or a sign-up bonus. Additionally, it comes with high balance transfer fees, which also apply during the introductory period, and a relatively short intro APR on purchases.
If your primary objective is to pay off debt, this card is one of the best options on the market. However, if you want to use your card to make new purchases while paying down your balance, other cards may be better for you, like the BankAmericard. It offers a decent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers, so you don’t have to choose between buying the things you want and paying off your existing debt.