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Chase Slate® credit card vs. Citi Simplicity® Card: Which is best for you?

Summary

While the Citi Simplicity card offers the longer interest-free promotion, the Chase Slate card may save you more on a balance transfer — learn why.

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If you’re shopping for an interest-free credit card, your first instinct may be to look for a card with an extra-long promotional period. That way, you can save money on interest for several more months – or avoid paying interest altogether.

But if you’re planning to transfer a large balance, the smarter move may be to pick a card that doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee – even if its promotional period is a little shorter than the competition. A few cards now let you transfer your balance to another card for free, including the Chase Slate card. Depending on how much debt you owe, a card without a balance transfer fee could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in extra charges.

For most new cardholders, the Chase Slate card is, by far, the best option for transferring a large balance. However, the Citi Simplicity® Card is a good option for cardholders who have trouble remembering to pay their bills on time.

Still trying to decide between the two? Here’s what else to consider when comparing the two cards:

Chase Slate vs. Citi Simplicity

Chase Slate
Chase Slate
City Simplicity Card
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% Balance Transfer Period15 months

21 months

Balance Transfer Fee0% for the first 60 days, $5 or 5% thereafter (whichever is greater)

$5 or 5% (whichever is greater)

0% Purchase Period15 months12 months
Regular APR16.99-25.74% (variable)16.24-26.24% (variable)
Pros
  • No balance transfer fee on balances transferred within 60 days of account opening
  • Better-than-average interest-free period for new purchases
  • Doesn’t charge a penalty APR
  • Unusually long interest-free balance transfer period
  • Doesn’t charge a penalty APR or a late fee
Cons
  • Its APR is high for a basic card that doesn’t offer any rewards
  • It doesn’t offer as long a balance transfer period as the Simplicity card
  • Its balance transfer fee is extremely high
  • It’s interest-free period for new purchases is on the short side
Who Should Get This Card?
  • Someone who wants to transfer a balance right away
  • Someone with a large balance
  • Someone who wants to finance a new purchase
  • Someone who’s trying to build a better credit score
  • Someone who wants to stretch their credit card payments
  • Someone who’s at risk of missing a bill

Best card for someone who wants to save on a balance transfer: Chase Slate

The Citi Simplicity card offers a longer balance transfer period than the Slate card, giving cardholders 21 months to carry a transferred balance for free – with a variable APR of 16.24 percent – 26.24 percent thereafter. The Slate card, by contrast, gives cardholders just 15 months to pay off their balance before the card’s standard rate kicks in – with a variable APR of 16.99 percent- 25.74 percent thereafter. But the interest you’ll save for those six extra months is unlikely to be large enough to overtake the Simplicity card’s balance transfer fee.

To show you what we mean, we’ve offered some sample balances below with the payments split evenly over 21 months, along with the resulting interest and fees for each card. Even with the highest APR in the Chase Slate’s APR range (25.74 percent), a cardholder would save by making interest payments over six months with the Chase Slate card rather than paying the Citi Simplicity card’s 5 percent balance transfer fee.

The larger the balance, the more significant the savings. If you transferred $8,000 to the Slate card with a 25.74 percent APR, and you paid around $400 every month for 21 months, you’d owe roughly $136 in interest – $264 less than the amount you’d pay in fees if you transferred the same amount to the Citi Simplicity card.

Cost of transferring and paying down a balance over 21 months

Chase Slate (with a 25.74% APR) Citi Simplicity
$500 balance with $25 monthly payment$9 in interest$25 balance transfer fee
$2,000 balance with $98 monthly payment$40 in interest$100 balance transfer fee
$4,000 balance with $195 monthly payment$81 in interest$200 balance transfer fee
$8,000 balance with $400 monthly payment$139 in interest$400 balance transfer fee

Best card for someone who wants to finance a new purchase: Chase Slate

The Chase Slate card also surpasses the Citi Simplicity card with its 0 percent purchase APR. While the Citi Simplicity card only offers an interest-free period of 12 months for new purchases, Chase Slate cardholders are given 15 months before they have to pay interest on new charges. (Once the promotional period ends, Chase Slate has a variable APR of  16.99 percent-25.74 percent, whereas the Citi Simplicity card has a variable APR of 16.24 percent-26.24 percent.) As a result, you could make a big purchase soon after getting the card and then take a slow, steady 15 months to pay it down, without worrying about a growing balance.

If you’re planning to make an extra-large purchase in the next few months and don’t plan on paying it off for a while, then using a card like the Chase Slate card to pay for it could be a money saver. It could also make it easier for you to pay your bills since a longer promotional period will lower your monthly payments.

Best card for someone who’s at risk of forgetting a bill: Citi Simplicity

The Citi Simplicity card is the better pick for cardholders who occasionally forget to pay their bills on time. Unlike the Chase Slate card, the Citi Simplicity card doesn’t charge any late fees. So if you repeatedly slip up and pay your bill several days after it’s due, you won’t have to pay additional charges.

Chase Slate card, by contrast, is less forgiving: Like the Citi Simplicity card, Chase waives the Slate card’s penalty APR. However, it charges up to $39 if you miss a bill.

Penalty charges 

 Chase Slate

Citi Simplicity card

  • Late fee: Up to $39
  • Penalty rate: None
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $39
  • Over-the-credit limit fee: None
  • Late fee: None
  • Penalty rate: None
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $39
  • Over-the-credit limit fee: None

Bottom line

The Chase Slate card and the Citi Simplicity card offer some of the best interest-free promotions around. But despite their similarities, these are very different cards. The Citi Simplicity card’s fees are too steep to make it the best balance transfer card. The Chase Slate card, by contrast, doesn’t offer as many free months of carrying a balance. But its fee waiver makes it one of the best balance transfer cards around.

See related: Chase balance transfer guide, Citi balance transfer guide, What to do when your balance transfer is denied

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: December 4th, 2019
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