Citi Simplicity® Card review

Citi Simplicity® Card review

Updated: November 15, 2021

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When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Updated: November 15, 2021

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 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
21 months (transfers must be completed in first 4 months)

Excellent

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

Excellent

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 12 months

Fair

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 on balance transfers for a year or more to help you chip away at your debt while avoiding interest, potentially fast-tracking your debt repayment efforts.

The Citi Simplicity® Card is one of the most popular balance transfer cards available today, thanks in large part to the length of its introductory APR. The card boasts one of the longest intro APR offers on balance transfers on the market, as well as a reasonable low-end APR and limited fees, including no late fees, penalty APR or annual fee, making it a terrific option if debt repayment is your top priority.

But if you’re looking for a card that will earn its keep even after you’ve finished paying off debt, the Simplicity card is sure to disappoint. The card offers no rewards program, few noteworthy perks and its intro APR period on new purchases is relatively short compared to the offers you’ll find on competing low interest cards. If you don’t mind sacrificing a few months’ worth of intro APR, you can both tackle debt and enjoy better ongoing value with the right rewards card.

See related: Can you earn rewards with a balance transfer card?

Why you might want the Citi Simplicity Card

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 good option thanks to its long intro APR period. The card’s few fees also set it apart as a good fit if you’ve struggled with missing payment due dates.

See related: How do balance transfers work?

Impressive intro APR period on balance transfers

The Citi Simplicity Card offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 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 while avoiding interest.

The current intro APR offer for balance transfers is one of the longest available. Indeed, among major card issuers, only the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card,the Wells Fargo Reflect Card and another Citi balance transfer card, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card carry intro APR offers that come close to the Simplicity card’s. The U.S Bank Visa Platinum offers a 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles, after which a variable APR of 14.49%-24.49% applies and the Wells Fargo Reflect Card offers a 0% APR for up to 21 months on qualifying balance transfers, after which a variable APR of 12.99%-24.99% applies. Meanwhile, the Diamond Preferred matches the Simplicity card’s offer almost exactly, but features a slightly lower ongoing APR range of 13.74%-23.74% (variable). Since, the typical balance transfer period offered by most issuers is 12 to 18 months,the Citi Simplicity Card earns big points.

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. 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 you pay a 3% balance transfer fee of $225 bringing that balance to a total $7,725. You’re currently paying $368 per month as you work to get out of debt. At this rate, it would take you 26 months to pay off your balance, and you’d fork over about $1,857 in interest payments over that time.

If you transferred your balance to the Citi Simplicity Card instead, you could be debt free in under 21 months with no debt, making the same monthly payment. You’d pay the 3% balance transfer fee of $225, bringing your total balance to $7,725. Making the same $368 per month card payment, your balance would be paid off in full in those 21 months of 0% intro APR (14.74%-24.74% variable after), while also accounting for the balance transfer fee. The Citi Simplicity Card saves you an impressive 5 months and $1,633 of interest charges with their balance transfer offer.

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.

No annual fee, late fees or penalty APR

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.

Why you might want a different card

Unfortunately, previous offerings of the Citi Simplicity Card gave new cardholders more time to pay off new purchases. And if traveling or earning rewards are important to you, the Citi Simplicity card’s limited benefits may fit your lifestyle. It’s worth looking into other options before deciding if the Citi Simplicity Card is the right fit for you.

Short intro APR purchase period

Something worth considering if you make a large purchase in your first few months as a Citi Simplicity cardhodler is how much time you’ll need to pay it off. The new offer from Citi gets you just 12 months of 0% intro APR on new purchases, with a variable 14.74%-24.74% APR after that. This ranks on the lower end of among intro APR offers on new purchaes, which typically range from 12 to 18 months.

If you need more than a year to pay off your debt, opting for another card with could be the best choice. Both the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card or the Bank Americard credit card carry longer intro APR purchase periods that give you more breathing room to pay off your balance.

Limited card benefits

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

  • 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.

Foreign transaction fee breaks low-fee trend

Unfortunately, the Citi Simplicity card 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.

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 competitive 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 billing cycles (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 billing cycles

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 (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 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-billing-cycle 0% intro APR period, as well as a more attractive ongoing APR of 12.99% to 22.99% (variable). That APR easily beats out the range offered by the Citi Simplicity card. 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.

How to use the Citi Simplicity card:

  • Transfer your high interest debts to the card within the first 4 months to be eligible for the intro APR for balance transfers.
  • Make a plan to pay off your balance in the first 21 months of card ownership to avoid hefty interest charges.
  • Make larger purchases on your Citi Simplicity card to take advantage of the 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 you can also pay them off within 12 months

Is the Citi Simplicity card right for you?

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 similar intro APR period on balance transfers, 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.

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.

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.

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
Apply now