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Citi Simplicity Card review

Published: February 5, 2019

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Published: February 5, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.6
Net Value: 3.9
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 2.7

In a Nutshell:

The Citi Simplicity card offers an exceptionally long introductory period for balance transfers, but unfortunately also includes a larger balance transfer fee that can make transferring a balance expensive.

Learn more about this card

0% Introductory Period
21 months

Transfer Fee
$5 or 5% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR

Regular APR
16.24% – 26.24% (variable)

Annual Fee

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: No late fees, no penalty fees, EMV chip, low interest rate on cash advances

The Citi Simplicity card ranks near the top of our balance transfer category primarily because of its valuable balance transfer offer. But that’s not the only thing that grabs our attention. In a sea of perplexing card offers that frequently ensnare consumers with fees, penalties and complicated payment terms, the Citi Simplicity card is one of the few products on the market that strives to provide more consumer-friendly terms. The potential savings on penalties can be especially valuable to consumers struggling to pay off a large balance.

Longest introductory period

The card surpasses other balance transfer cards with the length of its introductory offer. Citi offers 0 percent interest on balance transfers for a full 21 months (16.24 – 26.24 percent variable APR thereafter) – that’s six months longer than the other top balance transfer cards. This could potentially translate to a large savings for customers who are trying to pay down a large existing balance.

However, before you spring for the offer, you’ll need to consider the balance transfer fee. The card charges a 5 percent fee for balance transfers (with a $5 minimum charge), which is 2 percent higher than the average fee for a balance transfer card. That larger fee could end up costing you a lot of extra cash if you transfer a large balance. A $5,000 balance, for instance, would incur a $250 balance transfer fee.

Late payments are less costly

The Citi Simplicity card is also one of the few cards that offers unlimited leeway on late payments. You can miss any number of payment deadlines and you won’t get hit with a late-payment fee or a penalty APR – ever. This doesn’t mean it’s completely cost-free. You will have to pay a hefty amount of interest on those late payments and you’ll get a costly ding on your credit report if you are more than 30 days late. And we can’t say it’s completely penalty-free: there is a $39 penalty fee on returned payments. Still, it’s less costly than other cards. And there are other savings, too: the Citi Simplicity card offers the same rate on cash advances as it does on regular purchases.

A lot of other perks

On top of the introductory offer, the Citi Simplicity card comes with some valuable perks. The card offers travel benefits, such as car rental insurance. It also offers some useful purchase features, including an extended warranty program and Citi Price Rewind, which refunds the difference when you locate a lower price on a recent purchase.

The card could cost you in other ways

The main downside of this card is the variable APR. It ranges up to 26.24 percent, which is pretty high. If you are struggling with credit card payments, you need to weigh the cost of carrying a balance on the Citi Simplicity card against the costs of your current card. This is also not the ideal card if you charge a large amount each month and pay off the entire balance in a timely manner. There are several no-fee cards on the market that will enable you to cash in on some valuable rewards. There are even balance transfer cards that include a rewards program, in case you plan to pay off your balance and earn rewards in the future. However, if you are a cardholder primarily interested in borrowing money at a really great rate, the Citi Simplicity card has one of the best introductory offers out there, along with a slew of other valuable perks.

Why get the Citi Simplicity card?

  • You’re looking for a simple, no-fee credit card that doesn’t penalize you for missing a payment deadline.
  • You want to transfer a large balance that requires a long period to pay off.
  • You want to use the 0 percent offer to finance a large purchase, and you have the discipline to pay it off in time.

How to use the Citi Simplicity card:

  • Even with no penalty fee, you should still pay your bill on time. You will rack up hefty amounts of interest if you don’t, plus you will get a hit on your credit report if you are more than 30 days late.
  • You also can lose your promotional rate.
  • Make sure you can pay off your balance before the introductory period expires. The regular APR, once it kicks in, is on the high side.
  • For additional advice, check out our complete guide to transferring a balance to your Citi card.

Our reviews and best card recommendations are based on an objective rating process and are not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

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