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The Citi Simplicity® Card is a good card that’s great for paying down debt or financing a large purchase. While it’s a reputable card, there are likely better options out there for both.
One of the best features for this card is the extra-long 0% intro APR period for balance transfers, a window of time that’s nearly 2 years long. With such a lengthy period, it makes it a solid choice for using it on existing debt. The downfall, it has a high balance transfer fee, higher than most equal cards on the market. When you consider the zero percent interest intro APR period for purchases and the fact that it has no rewards, you have to wonder if anyone could benefit from such a credit card.
Someone that is always forgetting to pay on time may find the Citi Simplicity® Card offer worthy. If you miss a payment, there is no late fee or penalty APR, which is a good feature. Late fees and penalties can cost you a lot, so it’s nice to not have to worry about them for a change.
Let’s take a look at the overview of the Citi Simplicity® Card.
Citi Simplicity® Card Overview
Credit Card Type: Low Interest, Balance Transfer
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months and 0% on Purchases for 12 months. Variable APR.
Sign-Up Bonus: N/A
Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% per transaction.
- No late fees.
- No penalty APR for late payments.
- The opportunity to choose when you’ll make payments.
When Citi Simplicity® Card Benefits
Love The Transfer Period Length – It’s true, the 0% intro APR period for balance transfers is very long: The Citi Simplicity® Card offers an intro 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months and 0% on Purchases for 12 months. Variable APR. That’s an industry-leading length of time to pay down transferred debt without interest, you can’t beat that.
No Fees Or Penalties – The other big feature for this credit card is the fact that there are no penalties for late payments. With this credit card, you won’t be charged a late fee, and your interest doesn’t go up because of late payments.
The Card is Forgiving – Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay your bills on time, you should and better. However, things happen and at some point, all of us have missed payment dates. There’s no question about it, most card accounts are nowhere close to this forgiving, not to mention the fact that your credit can suffer from late payments. Just one late payment can hurt your credit score, so this is a nice feature to have on a card.
Choose Your Due Date – You also have the opportunity to choose your due date. If you’re low on cash at the time you pick up the card, you can choose a due date that’s best for your current scenario.
Citi Simplicity® Card: Drawbacks
While the features we’ve discussed are good, there’s a lot of negatives for this particular card. Let’s dive into them.
No Rewards Or Sign-Up Bonus – We all love a great rewards card, especially one that offers a nice sign-up bonus. Unfortunately, this card offers neither. The high value of this card is 0% introductory APR period and its forgiving nature. If you’re looking for rewards and sign-up bonuses, go with another credit card.
No Extended Value – Another downfall with this card is the extended value. As soon as your 0% intro APR period ends, you lose the main benefit for owning the card. Since the ongoing APR range is average at best and it offers no other rewards, there are no other perks for owning it.
That High Balance Transfer Fee – While many cards charge some type of fee to transfer a balance, this card charges a 5% fee, which is really high. If you do the math, It means that for every $1,000 you transfer, $50 would be added to the total. If you transfer $10,000, that’s a $500 fee. Some cards do charge 3% but you rarely see them charge 5%. Plus, there are a few cards out there that don’t charge any fee at all.
Your 0% Periods – The 0% intro APR period for transfers (21 months) is longer than that for purchases (12 months). With most credit cards, you can avoid interest charges on your purchases if you pay your balance in full every month. This is due to your card’s grace period. If you don’t pay in full, you don’t get a grace period, and interest starts accruing on your purchases as soon as you make them.
For example, if you transfer $8,000 in debt over to your Citi Simplicity® Card and pay it down over 21 months. Once the 0% intro APR period for purchases runs out, you might still be carrying some of that transferred balance. Due to this, you’ll get no grace period, and you’ll be charged interest on your purchases. In other words, if you plan to transfer the debt to this card and don’t want interest charges, either pay off that debt within 12 months or don’t use the card for purchases after 12 months.
Anything Better Than The Citi Simplicity® Card?
Yes, there are better options out there for you depending on the exact reasons you need a card like this. While the transfer period of 21 months is going to be tough to beat, there are better options out there for the type of features this card lacks.
Better Transfer Credit Card – If you need a solid balance transfer credit card, you should consider The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. This card has a $0 annual fee, no balance transfer fee within the promotional period and a 0% intro APR period: You’ll get 0% Intro on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months. Variable APR.
Now, this card earns rewards, which may make it worth keeping around after the intro APR period has ended. You can get X2 Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases and you can earn X1 back on all purchases. Terms may apply.
Better Long Period/Low Fee Credit Card – The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card charges a 3% fee for transfers, and it gives you an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles. Variable APR. The annual fee is $0. It doesn’t feature late-payment forgiveness, but if you’re the type who always pays on time, you won’t miss it. However, as with the Citi Simplicity® Card, you wouldn’t earn rewards.
Is Citi Simplicity® Card – In Closing
The Citi Simplicity® Card is palatable if you need a long time to pay off existing debt or if you sometimes struggle to remember your bill’s due date. It can save you money on interest and penalties, but you’ll have to weigh the true cost to you, including the 5% balance transfer fee.
And if you’re looking for a card to help you finance a large expense up front, you have plenty of better options, including some cards that offer both a longer 0% intro APR on purchases as well as rewards — and occasionally even a sign-up bonus.