While the Citi Simplicity card offers a long intro period to pay down a transferred balance, the Discover it card’s lower balance transfer fee and rewards may work out in your favor.
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With all of the benefits of credit card usage, it can be easy to let things like interest sneak up on you when paying your bill. If you’re struggling with high-interest debt, balance transfer cards are helpful when it comes to forming an attack plan. Two solid balance transfer card options are the Citi Simplicity® Card and the Discover it® Balance Transfer. Which one is better? It comes down to some key components. Let’s take a closer look:
Citi Simplicity vs. Discover it Balance Transfer
Citi Simplicity® Card
Discover it® Balance Transfer
|0% Balance Transfer Period||21 months|
|Balance Transfer Fee||$5 or 5% (whichever is higher)|
3% intro fee, then up to 5% (see terms)
|0% Purchase Period||12 months||6 months|
|Regular APR||16.49-26.49% (variable)||13.74-24.74% (variable)|
|Who Should Get This Card?|
Let’s compare the 3 most important features:
0 percent intro balance period
Advantage: Citi Simplicity
The Citi Simplicity boasts one of the longest introductory offers with 21 full months of 0 percent interest on balance transfers. That’s six months longer than what many of the other top balance transfer cards are offering. If you’re trying to pay down a large existing balance, this offer gives you almost two years to build savings.
This is key when you consider the Citi Simplicity’s regular APR at a variable 16.49 to 26.49 percent. Having one of the longest 0 percent intro periods will definitely help to balance one of the higher regular APRs.
By contrast, the Discover it offers an 18-month 0 percent intro balance period, which is still good. But being three months short of Citi’s offer while having a similar regular APR puts it at a slight disadvantage.
Balance transfer fee
Advantage: Discover it Balance Transfer
The Discover it card charges a low introductory balance transfer fee of just 3 percent. However, after the intro period, the fee will adjust to 5 percent. The average fee among similar cards is usually 4 to 5 percent. You could find balance transfer cards that don’t charge a transfer fee at all, such as the Chase Slate card. But such cards don’t typically carry rewards like the Discover it Balance Transfer does.
Citi’s balance transfer fee of 5 percent or a $5 minimum can add up quickly – especially if you end up transferring a large balance. For instance, if you want to make a balance transfer of $5,000, doing so with Discover will cost you $150, while Citi will charge $250.
It’s a draw
One big advantage that both of these cards share is that neither charges an annual fee. That helps you focus on knocking out your high-interest balance. But that’s not all. Each has their own list of benefits as well.
The Citi Simplicity card offers you some grace with late payments – meaning any number of missed payment deadlines won’t result in any penalty fees or a penalty APR. However, interest on late payments can get high, and you’ll see a ding on your credit report if a payment is made 30 days after it’s due. The card comes with some additional perks, such as car rental insurance, an extended warranty program and the shopping assistance program, Citi Price Rewind.
The Discover it Balance Transfer card allows you to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in rotating categories (must enroll each quarter), and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. This card can also be used to supplement other rewards cards during months when some categories aren’t earning 5 percent cash back. On top of that, Discover promises to match the rewards you earn at the end of your first year with the account. Additional perks include fraud protection, free FICO credit score, no penalty for first late payment, instant account freeze, 100 percent U.S.-based service and free social security number alerts.
Choose Citi Simplicity if:
- You’re looking for a simple balance transfer card that doesn’t penalize you for missing a payment deadline.
- The longer 0 percent balance intro period somehow outweighs the card’s 5 percent balance transfer fee for you (be sure to do the math first).
- You want to finance a large purchase at 0 percent for 12 months with no annual fee and additional perks.
Choose Discover it Balance Transfer if:
- You want to transfer a balance while earning cash back for everyday spending.
- You want the card that is likely to save you the most on a balance transfer.
- You want a balance transfer card with no annual fee and a large sign-up bonus.
If the 0 percent intro period is a balance transfer card’s bread and butter, both the Citi Simplicity and the Discover it Balance Transfer are generous. The main differences will come when you start strategizing for the regular APR periods and transfer fees. If those aren’t big determining factors for you, decide which card’s benefits might tip the scale.