Citi Simplicity® Card review

Citi Simplicity® Card review

Updated: July 8, 2021

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Updated: July 8, 2021

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Introductory Offer:4.0
Net Value:3.9
Features:1.0
Issuer Customer Experience3.0

In a Nutshell:

The Citi Simplicity card offers a very long introductory period for balance transfers and carries minimal fees, making it a great option if you’re ready to put debt behind you once and for all.

Learn more about this card

0% Introductory Period For Balance Transfers
18 months (transfers must be completed in first 4 months)

Excellent

Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% (whichever is higher)

Excellent

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 18 months

Excellent

Regular APR
14.74% – 24.74% (variable)

Fair

Annual Fee
$0

Excellent

Citi Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 801 (50% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.7/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Average

Other Notable Features: No late fees, no penalty fees, EMV chip

It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you’re struggling with credit card debt, a new credit card may be exactly what you need to get back on track. With a balance transfer card, you can get a 0% introductory APR for year or more to help you chip away at your debt while avoiding interest.

The Citi Simplicity® Card is one of the most popular balance transfer cards available today, thanks to the length of its introductory APR offer and minimal fees. The card boasts one of the longest intro APR offers available on the market, a reasonable low-end APR, low balance transfer fee and no late fees, penalty APR or annual fee.

If you’re tired of paying high interest rates and are looking for some breathing room to help you consolidate and pay down debt faster, the Citi Simplicity Card is a terrific option. But it’s not your only choice. Read on to learn how the card could work in your situation, as well as alternatives to consider.

See related: How do balance transfers work?

Current intro APR offer

The Citi Simplicity Card offers a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.74% to 24.74%. This means you can use the card to transfer and pay down existing debt at a 0% APR and to finance new purchases while avoiding interest.

See related: How do intro APRs work?

While the intro APR offer for balance transfers on this card was once good for 21 months, the current 18-month intro APR period is still one of the longest available. Indeed, among major card issuers, only the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card carries an intro APR offer that beats the 18-month mark (0% APR for 20 billing cycles, after which a variable APR of 14.49%-24.49% applies). Meanwhile, the Simplicity’s intro APR period on new purchases has increased (it used to be just 12 months long).

Be sure to transfer your balance in a timely manner, however, as the Citi Simplicity card’s promotional rate only applies to balance transfers initiated within four months of account opening. Also keep in mind the card’s 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is higher), which will be added on top of your existing balance.

How much can you save if you take advantage of this Citi balance transfer offer?

Let’s say you owe $7,500 on a credit card with an APR of 21%, and that you’re currently paying $430 per month as you work to get out of debt. At this rate, it would take you 21 months to pay off your balance, and you’d fork over about $1,526 in interest payments over that time.

If you transferred your balance to the Citi Simplicity Card instead, you could be debt free in under a year and a half. To start, you’d pay a 3% balance transfer fee of $225, bringing your total balance to $7,725. If you then made the same $430 per month card payment, your balance would be paid off in just under 18 months. Accounting for the balance transfer fee, this would save you about $1,300 in interest charges.

If you’re curious about how much you could save with a balance transfer, check out our balance transfer calculator, which will not only show you your projected payoff time and total interest charges based on your monthly payment, balance and APR, but also suggest other card options that will help you pay off your balance sooner, at a lower cost.

Tip: According to Citi, it can take up to 14 days to process balance transfers you initiated in your application.

Card rates and fees

Though it’s not entirely fee-free, the Citi Simplicity Card carries a limited slate of fees, making it more forgiving than the typical credit card.

Like most balance transfer cards, the Citi Simplicity charges no annual fee, but it also charges no late fees (most cards charge a fee of up to $40 if you miss a payment) and no penalty APR (many cards will hike your APR if you consistently miss payments). This makes the card a choice smart choice if you sometimes struggle to meet payment deadlines.

The card’s other fees are also reasonable. The 3% (or $5, whichever is greater) balance transfer fee is on the low end for a balance transfer card, as many charge 5% instead. While a 2% lower balance transfer fee may not sound like much, it can make a big difference if you’re transferring a large balance.

That said, you may be able to find a card that carries no balance transfer fee at all. These offers are increasingly rare, but they could help you save even more. Though paying no balance transfer fee often means you’ll get a shorter intro APR period, the money you’d save on the fee typically outweighs the amount you’d save with a few more months’ worth of 0% APR.

Take the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card as an example. Though it only offers a 0% intro APR for 12 months (after which a variable APR of 5.99% to 18% applies), it’s $0 balance transfer fee would likely save you more than an extra six months of 0% APR with the Citi Simpliciy.

Here’s a look at how things shake out between these two according to the CreditCards.com balance transfer calculator, assuming you faced an ongoing variable APR of 11.99% on the NFCU Platinum card after your first 12 months, which lands in the middle of its 5.99% to 18% variable APR range:

Cost of transferring and paying down a balance over 18 months

Citi Simplicity Card
(3% balance transfer fee)
NFCU Platinum Card
(with an 11.99% variable APR)
$550 balance with $32 monthly payment$16.50$6
$2,200 balance with $127 monthly payment$66$23
$4,400 balance with $255 monthly payment$132$44

If you do wind up carrying a balance beyond 18 months, the Citi Simplicity card’s ongoing APR may cost you long term. While it’s on par with the rate you’ll find on many of the top balance transfer cards, the Citi Simplicity card’s low-end APR falls short of the rate you’ll find on some dedicated low-interest credit cards and is higher than the national average APR. If you don’t think you’ll make a significant dent in your debt within 18 months, it may be worth looking for a card that offers a lower ongoing APR, even if that means sacrificing a chunk of your intro APR period.

Unfortunately, the Citi Simplicity card also comes with a foreign transaction fee of 3%. Though this is the standard foreign transaction fee you’ll find on many cards, it limits the card’s value for frequent travelers. If you often travel abroad, it’s worth searching for a card that carries no foreign transaction fee. Despite Discover’s limited acceptance in certain parts of the world, the Discover it® Cash Back may be one of your best options, since it not only carries no foreign transaction fee, but also offers an intro APR on both balance transfers and new purchases.

Approval odds

The Citi Simplicity Card is geared toward consumers with good credit or excellent credit, so you may want to check your credit score before you apply. While a FICO credit score of at least 670 (“good” range) may be high enough, you’ll have an even better chance at approval if your FICO score is over 700, or even over 740, and in the “very good” range.

Unfortunately, preapproval for Citi cards is currently unavailable online through the issuer’s website. However, you can try out the CreditCards.com CardMatch tool to see if you are a fit for the card based on your credit profile. This has no impact on your credit score and should help you get a better sense of your odds of approval before you apply.

Keep in mind, though, that you can only transfer balances equal to your credit limit. You may be approved for a credit limit that is lower than the balances you want to transfer from other cards. Before you apply for the Citi Simplicity, make sure you have a decent history of on-time payments to boost your chances of getting a higher credit limit. Otherwise, you might end up having to apply for multiple balance transfer cards, which could hurt your credit score.

See related: What to do if your balance transfer is declined

Card perks

Like most dedicated balance transfer cards, the Citi Simplicity is light on perks. The card carries no rewards program and offers few noteworthy benefits.

  • Choose your payment due date: Citi lets you choose your payment due date so it aligns with payday or the day you pay your bills each month.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Citi can help you recover your identity if your personal information is stolen or compromised.
  • Contactless payments: You can use your card for contactless payments where this option is available.

While saving on interest and chipping away at debt should be your main focus when you’re searching for a balance transfer card, this is still a disappointing list of perks. A number of no annual fee rewards cards offer intro APRs on balance transfers, new purchases or both as well as a chance to earn cash back, points or miles on some or all of your purchases.

If you think you can make do with a slightly shorter intro APR period, opting for a balance transfer card that offers rewards could give you more long-term value. However, you should always go with the card that gives you the best chance of saving money and paying off debt, even if that means sacrificing rewards.

How does the Citi Simplicity compare to other balance transfer cards?

Plenty of credit cards come with balance transfer offers, but the right card for you will depend largely on your goals. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives, which feature either a longer intro APR period, lower average ongoing APR or more long-term value via rewards on everyday spending:

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card*

BankAmericard
BankAmericard® credit card
Rewards rate

  • 1% cash back general purchases
  • 1% additional cash back as you pay for those purchases
Rewards rate

None

Rewards rate

None

Introductory period (balance transfers)

18 months

Introductory period (balance transfers)

20 billing cycles

Introductory period (balance transfers)

18 months (for balance transfers made within 60 days of opening account)

Introductory period (new purchases)

None

Introductory period (new purchases)

20 billing cycles

Introductory period (new purchases)

18 months

Regular APR

13.99-23.99% (variable)

Regular APR

14.49%-24.49% (variable)

Regular APR

12.99% to 22.99% (variable)

Other things to know

  • Balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is higher
  • Extended warranty
Other things to know

  • Balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is higher)
  • Includes cell phone protection coverage, auto rental insurance
Other things to know

  • Balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% (whichever is higher)
  • Can earn modest cash back via BankAmeriDeals card-linked offer program

Citi Double Cash Card

Not only is the Citi Double Cash one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, but it also carries a terrific balance transfer offer. Along with the up to 2% cash back you can earn on all eligible purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay off your purchase), you’ll get a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, matching the intro APR offer length on the Citi Simplicity card (a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR after that). While the card lacks an intro APR on new purchases, its high everyday cash back rate means it should offer better long-term value than the Citi Simplicity card.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card

If your focus is getting as much time as possible to chip away at debt or finance new purchases while avoiding interest, the U.S. Bank Platinum Card should be at the top of your list. The card offers one of the longest – if not the longest – intro APR periods available on the market today. You’ll get 20 billing cycles to pay down debt or stretch out payments on purchases while paying no interest, after which the card’s ongoing 14.49% to 24.49% variable APR is on par with the Citi Simplicity card’s rate. Though it doesn’t offer much in the way of rewards or perks, it should give you plenty of time to make a dent in your debt or put it behind you entirely.

BankAmericard credit card

The BankAmericard also offers an impressively long 18-month 0% intro APR period, as well as a more attractive ongoing APR of 12.99% to 22.99% (variable). That easily beats out the range offered by the Citi Simplicity card and could make a big difference if you end up needing more than 18 months to pay off your debt. Bank of America also offers a number of top-tier cash back and travel rewards cards, which could give you some options should you decide to product change to a card with better long-term value once you’ve paid off your debt or larger purchases.

Who should get the Citi Simplicity card?

  • Cardholders who are focused on paying down a large balance rather than earning rewards.
  • Cardholders looking for one of the intro APR periods on balance transfer available.
  • Cardholders who sometimes miss payment deadlines.
  • People who have debt with card issuers other than Citi (you cannot transfer debts from Citi to another Citi credit card).

How to use the Citi Simplicity card:

  • Transfer your high interest debts to the card within 4 months to be eligible for the intro APR for balance transfers.
  • Make a plan to pay off your balance in the first 18 months of card ownership to avoid hefty interest charges.
  • Make larger purchases on your Citi Simplicity card to take advantage of the long intro APR period on purchases.
  • Calculate how much you’ll save on interest and compare it to the cost of the balance transfer fee to make sure transferring a balance is best for you.
  • Sign up for Citi Easy Deals to earn special discounts on certain purchases.
  • Don’t use  your card for new purchases unless you’re sure can also pay them off within 18 months

Is the Citi Simplicity card worth it?

Despite having no rewards program, the Citi Simplicity card is still a great option for users who need time to pay off some debt. If you are carrying a large balance, you could be saving significant money on interest by taking advantage of an offer like this one.

Then again, there are some cards that give you a longer intro APR period, as well as those that come with an intro APR offer in addition to rewards or cardholder perks. Make sure to compare all the best credit cards on the market today before you decide.

*All information about the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions

All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com 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.

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