If you’re looking to knock out a large credit card balance or finance a big purchase, both the Citi Diamond Preferred Card and the Citi Simplicity Card are hard to beat.
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Both Citi cards offer some of the longest interest-free balance transfer periods you’ll find on a credit card. They also both offer a temporary reprieve on new purchases, giving you time to save up your cash and whittle down your card balances before additional interest hits you.
Though very similar, the Citi Diamond Preferred and the Citi Simplicity cards offer slightly different benefits. You’ll want to think carefully about what kind of credit card user you are and what you’re hoping to get from a new card before signing up.
Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Simplicity
|Introductory APR (balance transfers)||21 months||21 months|
|Introductory APR (new purchases)||12 months||12 months|
|Regular APR||13.99% to 23.99% (variable)||14.99% to 24.99% (variable)|
|Transfer fee||$5 or 5% (whichever is higher)||$5 or 5% (whichever is higher)|
Both the Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Simplicity card offer one of the longest introductory APR periods for balance transfers available on the market – 0% for 21 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% and 14.99% to 24.99% variable, respectively. It’s important to remember: You must make your balance transfer within the first four months of account opening to qualify for either offer. You’ll also be charged a $5 or 5% balance transfer fee.
Twenty-one months is a lengthy, and generous, time for intro APR periods, compared to the typical 12 or 18 months. If you have quite a large balance to pay off – or plans to carry a balance again in the future – this deal can save you significantly on interest over time. No matter which card you are approved for, you can chip away at your balance without worrying about adding to your debt. These two cards are so similar on the balance transfer front that you couldn’t wrong with either of them if you see large balances in your future.
The Citi Simplicity card has one major benefit over the Citi Diamond Preferred card: It offers much more forgiving terms. Unlike many credit cards, the Citi Simplicity card doesn’t charge a penalty rate, nor does it charge any late fees. That’s a huge deal if you think you may run into financial trouble or forget to make a payment on time.
On the other hand, if you miss payments on the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you could wind up paying a late fee up to $40 and with a penalty rate as high as 29.99% variable. If you’re already struggling to make payments every month, these two fees will dig your debt hole even deeper than necessary, making it more difficult to climb your way out of credit card debt.
Citi Diamond Preferred: Best for expensive items
Perhaps you’ve gotten one too many “treat yourself” gifts or plan to purchase something costly, like a new car, soon. In that case, the Citi Diamond Preferred will carry you through well. With 21 months for balance transfers and 12 months for new purchases, you have a significant amount of time to pay off your big-ticket items before you being to accrue any interest on your carried balances.
However, since the Citi Diamond Preferred does charge a late fee and a high penalty rate on missed payments, we recommend this card for cardholders who habitually pay at least the minimum payment every month. You wouldn’t want those fees to pile up, causing your intro APR benefit to turn obsolete.
Citi Simplicity: Best for someone who may miss a bill
Life happens – you miss a payment. If you’ll use your card primarily as a balance transfer card to pay off old debts, the Citi Simplicity is the one for you. The intro APR offer of 21 months for balance transfers and 12 months for new purchases is the same as the Citi Diamond Preferred, but its lack of penalty fee, late fee and even annual fee put this card at an advantage over the Diamond Preferred for those focused on paying off older balances from other cards.
Be careful about how much new debt you take on. If you’re trying to clear an existing balance, you’ll have more overall success if you limit your charges as much as possible and focus on paying off as much debt as you can afford. For those still working on good healthy credit habits, the Citi Simplicity would be great addition to your wallet.
Since both the Simplicity and Diamond Preferred cards offer the same introductory periods on new purchases and balance transfers, the best card for you depends on your payment habits and how responsible you are with paying bills on time. Between the two cards, only the Citi Simplicity waives late fees – making it the better choice for cardholders who struggle to pay bills on time.
The Citi Diamond Preferred card and the Citi Simplicity card are both great options for cardholders who need help financing a purchase interest-free. However, the best credit card for you comes down to how you plan to use it.