The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card boasts one of the longest introductory APR offers around. But should you choose this card over other options?
Sifting through credit card options with a 0% APR period for both purchases and balance transfers means you’ve got a specific financial goal that requires one or both of these options.
If you are especially interested in a longer balance transfer period with a 0% APR, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card boasts one of the longest introductory 0% APR offers around. With 21 months of 0% interest for balance transfers completed within the first 4 months (14.49% to 24.49% variable APR thereafter), there’s plenty that you can accomplish.
But does this card hold long-term value once the 0% APR term is over? Let’s find out.
What does the Citi Diamond Preferred Card offer?
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0% for 12 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0% for 21 months
- Regular APR: 14.49% to 24.49% (variable)
As mentioned, the main attraction of this card is the uncommonly long 0% APR period of 21 months for balance transfer, which could help you save a substantial amount of money on interest fees. If you are carrying high-interest debt on other cards, a balance transfer could help you pay down your debt much faster.
If you decide to transfer a balance to this card, you must complete it within four months of opening your account. The balance transfer fee of 5% or $5 whichever is greater, is slightly higher than most cards that charge 3%, but you may be able to offset the higher fee with the longer balance transfer period.
The 0% APR period for purchases is 12 months, which provides the opportunity to pay down purchases over time. If you’ve got a large purchase on the horizon, this feature can also be incredibly helpful.
Should I get the Citi Diamond Preferred Card?
If you are going to suffer a hard inquiry to your credit profile for a new card application, it should definitely be for the right card. This means you want to choose the best one to apply for from the beginning. Ideally, the right card will satisfy both immediate and long-term financial needs.
The main reason you’d apply for this card is to realize some savings on interest. Sadly, because there isn’t really much in the way of card perks, rewards or credits, this card might fall in the category of meeting any short-term financial goals you might have for rapid debt repayment.
Say, for instance, you’ve got a higher interest rate of 16.99% on $8,000 of credit card debt. Using the Bankrate.com balance transfer calculator, you can see that you could potentially save thousands of dollars in interest and shave many years of your repayment timeline by transferring the balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred card.
Factoring in the 5% balance transfer fee, making the same minimum payment over 21 months and having the same 16.99% APR when the 0% period ends, you’ll end up paying $1,158.05 in interest and fees over 46 months. Without the balance transfer, you’d pay $9,012.46 in interest and fees over 318 months.
As you can see, you stand to save over $8,000 in interest if you take advantage of the balance transfer offer on the Diamond Preferred card. You’ll also shorten your debt repayment by many years, going from over 26 years to pay off the debt (assuming you are just making minimum payments) to a little over three and a half years with the balance transfer.
What are some alternatives to the Citi Diamond Preferred?
If you aren’t totally sold on the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you might compare this card to the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, which offers an 18-month 0% APR introductory period from account opening (13.74% – 25.74% variable APR thereafter). However, if you make on-time payments for the 18 months (and during the extension period), Wells Fargo will give you an additional three months on your 0% APR term. Although the Citi Diamond Preferred card offers a comparable term, the Well Fargo Reflect card offers a lower 3% intro balance transfer fee, $5 minimum, whichever is greater (up to 5% after the first 120 days, $5 minimum).
Another alternative would be to choose a rewards card with a shorter 0% APR introductory period. When it comes to choosing a rewards card versus a longer balance transfer period, the truth is you could get more value over the long term with a rewards card.
In this case, you could opt for another card in the Citi family. The Citi® Double Cash Card earns up to 2% flat-rate cash back. You’ll get 1% back when you buy, plus 1% when you make payments on your card. Also, the 18-month 0% APR introductory period on balance transfers (14.74% to 24.74% variable thereafter) is still long enough to make decent headway on your high-interest debt repayment.
Another option to consider could be the Chase Freedom Flex℠. This card provides a great rewards structure, welcome bonus and ongoing rewards. Also, there’s a 0% intro APR for both purchases and balance transfers for up to 15 months (then 15.24% – 23.99% variable APR). A balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater in the first 60 days, will apply. Plus, it can set a path for you to get into the Chase trifecta of credit cards which has some pretty neat earning and redemption value for travel spending.
The Citi Diamond Preferred is a decent option due to the longer introductory APR period on balance transfers, but there are better credit card alternatives out there that could put you in a better position for the long term.
If you need the lengthy introductory APR and are ok paying somewhat of a premium for it with the higher balance transfer fee, the Citi Diamond preferred is a reasonable option. If you’ve got some wiggle-room on your debt repayment timeline, consider a rewards card that offers a few more advantageous features and benefits.