A balance transfer credit card is a great way to tackle high-interest debt if you are having trouble paying it down. A balance transfer card usually offers no-to-low interest on a transferred balance for a set period of time. Of course, the longer you have to pay your balance with one of these offers, the better.
This is why the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is often a top choice for cardholders seeking out balance transfers—because of the uncommonly long introductory APR period. Most 0 percent APR periods start at 12 months and, on the higher end, stop around 18 months. However, the Citi Diamond Preferred has a 21-month 0 percent APR period (13.99 percent to 23.99 percent thereafter), which means you have almost two years to pay down any debt you transfer to the card.
Although this seems like an enticing offer, should you get it when there are other options out there? If you can get a decent rewards credit card or travel credit card with some type of 0 percent APR period for balance transfers, then it’s worth exploring the pros and cons of this card before getting it.
What does the Citi Diamond Preferred offer?
- Rewards rate: None
- Welcome offer: None
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 21 months
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent (variable)
At first glance, we can see that this card has no bells and whistles that you might get with, say, a cash back credit card. The main draw here is the option to spend on the card without paying interest on purchases for 12 months and balance transfers for 21 months. After the 21 months are over, you’ll pay between 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent (variable) on your balance.
In addition to the potential of saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on interest fees, this is a no-annual fee card. As a result, you can get quite a bit of value out of the card without the continual carrying cost.
There is one fee to watch out for, however. The balance transfer fee is a tad higher than most cards at 5 percent. Also, balance transfers must be done within the first four months of opening your account.
Additional card benefits
Though there aren’t any rewards, credits or particularly outstanding card perks to speak of, there are some other standard features to note:
- Access to Citi Entertainment for exclusive events and unique experiences
- Access to Citi Easy Deals for discounts and local offers from restaurants and retailers
Why should I use the Citi Diamond Preferred for balance transfers?
You have high-interest debt to pay off
If you’ve got a lot of debt with a high-interest rate, you are probably watching the interest steadily pile up while payments barely make a dent in the principal balance of what you owe. This can be discouraging, but a 0 percent APR balance transfer offer, especially a long one, can slow down the interest payments and help you pay down your balance quicker.
You are disciplined with your debt repayment plans
It’s entirely possible that applying for a balance transfer card can cause you to go into even more debt. You could clear the balance on your old, higher-interest card, and then start spending on it again! Now, you’ve got payments on both your balance transfer card, in this case, the Citi Diamond Preferred card, and your old credit card!
As long as you’ve got the discipline to avoid this situation, the Citi Diamond Preferred card could be a great help to you. If you don’t have a plan or real intentions to pay down your debt, this, or any balance transfer card, could end up being a double-edged sword in your debt repayment journey.
You’ve got good to excellent credit
Your credit score should be in the good to excellent (670 to 850) range for this card. Though, there’s no guarantee that you will be approved for this card, having a higher credit score can be a huge help for your approval odds.
You don’t mind forgoing rewards for a longer balance transfer period
The crux of this card is the longer-than-average 0 percent APR period, which could be a definite money saver. However, as we’ll discuss below, there are some rewards credit cards that also offer a somewhat lengthy balance transfer period, plus a lower balance transfer fee.
This could mean you may come out ahead with a shorter introductory APR period plus ongoing rewards. In some cases, you may even score a generous welcome bonus on one or more of the rewards cards you are considering.
Why shouldn’t I use the Citi Diamond Preferred for a balance transfer?
You don’t need 21 months to pay down debt
This will come down to your financial circumstances. For instance, it’s quite possible that you won’t need 21 months to pay down your high-interest debt. If that’s the case, you might go for a cash back credit card with a slightly shorter APR.
Here are some examples of credit cards that offer rewards plus an 0 percent balance transfer APR:
|0 Percent APR term for balance transfers||Balance transfer fee||Regular APR|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||18 months||3% of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater||14.24% to 24.24% variable APR|
|Discover it® Balance Transfer Credit Card||18 months||3% (up to 5%, see terms)||12.24% to 23.24% variable APR thereafter|
|Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card||15 billing cycles||3% (or $10, whichever is greater)||14.24% to 24.24% variable APR|
As you can see here, there are plenty of rewards cards that still offer a decent 0 percent APR period. Plus, there’s ongoing value in the form of cash back after your introductory APR term ends.
So, if you don’t mind shaving a few months off your 0 percent APR term, there are many balance transfer cards offering a shorter, but respectable 0 percent APR period and with a lower balance transfer fee to boot.
You’ve got too much high-interest credit card debt
If you’ve got a lot of high-interest debt, there’s a chance that the Citi Diamond Preferred will not work for you. Although balance transfer cards can be helpful, they have their limits.
It’s not likely that you’ll get a credit limit to cover larger balance transfers. If you’re looking at a transfer of $5,000, $10,000 or more, not only will your balance transfer fee be high, but your new Citi Diamond Preferred credit card limit may not accommodate that much debt.
In this case, you may be better off applying for a personal loan or another balance transfer card to pick up what your Citi Diamond Preferred card can’t cover. The good news is that Citi does offer alternative options for paying down high-interest debt.
Citi Flex Loans allow you to borrow money against your Citi card credit limit at a fixed rate and pay it back over a set period of time, with no additional fees, application or credit inquiry required. However, you must be targeted by Citi for this product, so don’t bank on it as a sure solution.
Your credit score is too low or you owe too much debt across your accounts
Even if you have a high credit score, if your credit utilization ratio is high, meaning you are using too much of your available credit, then your approval odds for this card will be lower. Do your best to pay down your debt so that it doesn’t affect your ability to get a good balance transfer card.
The bottom line
Whether or not the Citi Diamond Preferred card is for you will really come down to the exact numbers for the amount of debt you have and the balance transfer cards you are considering. On one hand, you could save a lot on interest fees over the generous intro APR period, but then you could get a shorter intro APR period, ongoing rewards like cash back, a welcome bonus and a lower balance transfer fee—all of which could level out the playing field when comparing your balance transfer options.
To help you understand the best balance transfer options, consider using our balance transfer calculator to crunch the numbers relevant to your specific situation. In the end, if you are able to choose a balance transfer card that helps you eliminate your higher-interest debt, whether it’s the Citi Diamond Preferred or not, you will still make progress towards your financial goals.
Information about the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on April 9th, 2022