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Card Comparisons

Citi Simplicity vs. Discover it Balance Transfer

While both cards offer a lengthy intro APR balance transfer period, they aren't created equal


If you’re looking for a balance transfer card, the Citi Simplicity Card and the Discover it Balance Transfer are both good options. Compare the two cards to determine which one is better for you.

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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

Citi Simplicity® Card

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer

0% intro APR balance transfer period18 months (transfers must be completed in the first 4 months)

18 months

Balance transfer fee$5 or 3% (whichever is higher)

3% intro fee, then up to 5% (see terms)

0% intro APR purchase period18 months6 months
Regular APR14.74%-24.74% (variable)11.99% to 22.99% (variable)
  • Fairly long introductory APR period for balance transfers
  • Equally long 0% introductory purchase period
  • No late fees or penalty fees
  • Fairly long introductory APR period for balance transfers
  • Generous rewards program, including a cash back match in your first year
  • No rewards program
  • Shorter introductory APR period on purchases
Who should get this card?
  • Cardholders who are prone to missing payment deadlines
  • Cardholders who want to finance a new purchase
  • Cardholders who want a lower ongoing APR
  • Cardholders who want a card with a good rewards program

Let’s compare the 3 most important features:

0% intro APR period

Advantage: Citi Simplicity Card

The Citi Simplicity and Discover it Balance Transfer are currently offering the same 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers, but the Discover it Balance Transfer falls short on its intro period for new purchases. While the Simplicity offers 18 months on both kinds of transactions, the Discover it Balance Transfer only offers six months with a 0% intro APR on new purchases. But it’s worth noting that the ongoing APR when that period ends is higher on the Citi Simplicity – 14.74% to 24.74% variable compared to 11.99% to 22.99% variable on the Discover it Balance Transfer.

Additionally, the Citi Simplicity requires that you transfer a balance within the first four months.

Balance transfer fee

Advantage: Citi Simplicity Card

The Discover it Balance Transfer card charges a low introductory balance transfer fee of just 3%, and up to 5% for future balance transfers (see terms). The average fee among similar cards is usually 4% to 5%. You could find balance transfer cards that don’t charge a transfer fee at all, but such cards don’t typically carry rewards like the Discover it Balance Transfer does.

Citi also charges a 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is higher). As we’ve mentioned, with either card, you’ll be better off completing a transfer as soon as you can because of Citi’s four-month requirement and higher balance transfer fees on the Discover it Balance Transfer after the 3% intro fee (up to 5% thereafter). Still, Citi wins this round as you won’t pay more than 3% (or $5) in balance transfer fees, when with Discover, you may potentially pay 5%.

Additional rewards/perks

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 its 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 Discover it Balance Transfer card allows you to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in rotating categories (then 1%; must enroll each quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. 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 a free FICO credit score, no penalty for first late payment (late payment fee up to $40 thereafter), instant account freeze and 100% U.S.-based service.

Choose Citi Simplicity if:

  • You’re looking for a simple balance transfer card that doesn’t penalize you for missing a payment deadline.
  • You want to finance a large purchase at 0% for 18 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 a balance transfer card with a lower ongoing APR.

Bottom line

If the 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.

See related: Citi balance transfer guide, Discover balance transfer guide

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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