Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Simplicity

Which card is best for you?

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Simplicity

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If you’re looking for a card to help you knock out a large credit card balance or finance a big purchase, the Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Simplicity cards are hard to beat. 

Both 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 you’re hit with additional interest.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card and the Citi Simplicity card offer very different benefits, though, so 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.

Which card is best for you?

The best card for you depends on how much debt you already carry and how likely you are to keep using your card for new expenses. For example, if you typically pay off your balance in full, but need help financing large purchases, then the Citi Simplicity card – with its 18-month 0 percent purchase APR offer – is likely your best bet. Or, if you have a lot of debt and need more time to pay it off, you’re better off with the Citi Diamond Preferred card, which gives cardholders nearly two years to pay off a transferred balance.

Here’s what else to consider when comparing the two cards:

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Simplicity

  Citi Diamond Preferred card
Citi Diamond Preferred card
Citi Simplicity card
Citi Simplicity card
Rewards rate
None None
Sing-up bonus
None None
Annual fee
$0 $0
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900) $0 $0
Pros
  • 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months
  • 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • Ability to choose your payment due date
  • 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 18 months
  • Doesn’t charge a penalty APR or a late fee
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer a rewards program
  • Interest-free period for purchases is shorter
  • Charges a penalty APR and late fee
  • Doesn’t offer a rewards program
  • Interest-free period for balance transfers is shorter
Who should get this card?
  • Someone with a large amount of debt
  • Someone who’s transferring a balance but has a limited budget
  • Someone who wants to finance a big purchase
  • Someone who plans to carry an ongoing balance
  • Someone who’s at risk of missing a bill

Best for someone with a lot of old debt: Citi Diamond Preferred card

One of the biggest differences between the Citi Diamond Preferred and the Citi Simplicity is the amount of time cardholders have to pay off an old balance interest free. The Citi Simplicity card offers cardholders a respectable 18 months to pay off their balances before their interest rate kicks in, which is a lot longer than what many competitors offer. However, the Citi Diamond Preferred card one-ups the Citi Simplicity card by offering an industry-leading 21 months to pay off a transferred balance. Depending on how much debt you owe, that extra three months could save you hundreds of dollars in extra interest.

Best for someone who’s transferring a balance, but has a limited budget: Citi Diamond Preferred card

The extra time the Citi Diamond Preferred card allows you to pay off a transferred balance can give you more breathing room to make smaller – and potentially more affordable – monthly payments. For example, if you owed $8,000, you’d need to pay at least $445 a month to your credit card to knock out your balance before the card’s standard interest rate kicked in. With the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you could lower that monthly payment to $381 – a $64 difference.

Monthly payments required to pay down an $8,000 balance interest-free

Citi Diamond Preferred card Citi Simplicity card
$381 x 21 months = $8,000 $445 x 18 months = $8,000

Similarly, if you could only afford to pay, say, $200 a month toward your credit card, you’d owe just $3,800 by the time the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s standard interest rate was applied to your balance. With the Citi Simplicity card, you’d still owe $4,400 – a $600 difference.

Best for someone who wants to finance a big purchase: Citi Simplicity card

If you’re looking for a card to finance new purchases, the Simplicity card is likely a better bet since it offers a more generous interest-free introductory period for purchases.

The Citi Simplicity card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 18 months, while the Citi Diamond Preferred card gives cardholders 12 months to carry a balance on purchases without paying interest. That extra six months can make a difference to your bottom-line – especially if you make a big purchase several months after opening the card and need extra time to pay it off.

Best for someone who plans to carry an ongoing balance: Citi Simplicity card

If you think you’ll need to carry a balance from new purchases for more than a year, you are almost certainly better off with the Simplicity card. For example, if you rack up $5,000 in new charges and can only afford to pay around $200 a month toward the balance, it will take you more than two years to pay off those charges in full. With the Simplicity card, you’d have just $1,400 remaining after the card’s standard interest rate kicked in (assuming you don’t also have a balance transfer you are trying to pay off). With the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you’d have $2,600 worth of debt that you would have to start paying interest on. The more debt you carry, the more money you’ll save with the Simplicity card.

By giving you more time to whittle down your balance, the Simplicity card will also allow you to make a lower monthly payment during the card’s promotional period, making it more affordable to own.  For example, if you racked up a $5,000 balance as soon as you opened your card, you’d need to pay around $417 a month to clear the balance before the card’s standard interest rate begins. With the Simplicity card, you’d be able to get away with spending around $278 a month – more than $100 less.

Monthly payments required to finance a $5,000 purchase interest-free

Citi Diamond Preferred card Citi Simplicity card
$417 x 12 months = $5,000 $278 x 18 months = $5,000

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

The Citi Simplicity card has one other 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 with a penalty rate as high as 29.99 percent. The Diamond Preferred card also charges up to $35 when you miss your payment due date.

Penalties for missing a bill

Citi Diamond Preferred card Citi Simplicity card
Up to $35 in late fees, plus the possibility of a 29.99 percent penalty rate None

Wrapping it up

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 card for you comes down to how you plan to use it. If you’re transferring a large credit card balance, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s industry-leading balance transfer offer. But if you’re looking for a way to finance new purchases, you’ll be better off with the Citi Simplicity card.

You may also want to consider applying for both Citi cards if you want to transfer a balance from a different card and finance new purchases. That way, you’ll be able to keep your monthly payments lower than you would if you relied on just one card with a shorter purchase offer or interest-free balance transfer period.

Be careful, though, 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.

See related: Capital One Quicksilver vs. Capital One Platinum: Which is best?, Citi Prestige vs. Platinum card from American Express: Which card is best?


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Updated: 06-20-2018