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The Citi Simplicity® and Citi® Diamond Preferred® may not offer rewards or a a suite of enticing perks, but they are two of the top balance transfer cards on the market thanks to their exceptionally-long zero-interest offers.

While the Simplicity and Diamond Preferred are very similar, there are a few differences to note. Here’s what you need to know when comparing the Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred for your debt payoff needs.

Main details

Features Citi Simplicity Card Citi Diamond Preferred Card
Welcome bonus None None
Rewards rate None None
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers (made within the first 4 months) for 21 months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers (made within the first 4 months) for 21 months
Variable APR 18.99% to 29.74% 17.99% to 28.74%
Balance transfer fee 3% ($5 min.) for transfers made in the first 4 months; 5% ($5 min.) after 5% ($5 min.)

Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Diamond Preferred highlights

The Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred are incredibly similar balance transfer credit cards. Not much differentiates these two cards except their ongoing variable APRs, recommended credit score for qualification and attached card benefits.

To start, here’s a look at how the two cards compare when it comes to intro APRs, fees and more.

Intro APR winner: Tie

Considering both cards offer identical zero-interest purchase and balance transfer offers, they tie in this category. Note, though, balance transfers must be made in the first four months of card ownership with the Citi Diamond Preferred, or else you lose the offer and will pay the 17.99 percent to 28.74 percent variable APR. This catch might be enough to push the Citi Simplicity in your favor.

On the other hand, the Diamond Preferred offers a lower variable APR compared to the Citi Simplicity (18.99 percent to 29.74 percent), which might make a difference if you anticipate taking longer than 21 months to pay off your balance.

Balance transfer fee winner: Citi Simplicity

The Citi Simplicity offers a lower introductory balance transfer fee: 3 percent ($5 minimum) for the first four months. After four months, the fee rises to 5 percent ($5 minimum), matching that of the Citi Diamond Preferred.

As long as you transfer your balance within that time period, the Citi Simplicity comes out on top in this category.

Welcome bonus and rewards rate winner: Tied

The Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred do not offer welcome bonuses or ongoing rewards. The main appeal of these cards is their industry-leading, zero-interest balance transfers offers.

Annual fee winner: Tied

Both the Citi Simplicity and Diamond Preferred boast no annual fee. This is a key perk for cardholders looking to manage debt with a balance transfer card without worrying about an added yearly fee.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Tied

It’s not recommended to take either card abroad for spending as they both charge a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. If you plan to travel or study abroad and want to use a credit card, we recommend a card with no foreign transaction fees.

Which card is best for balance transfers?

Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Diamond Preferred balance transfer example

Both cards offer the same lengthy, 21-month balance transfer APR offer (18.99 percent to 29.74 percent variable APR after for the Simplicity and 17.99 percent 28.74 percent variable APR after for the Diamond Preferred). Here’s how much you’ll pay for a $4,000 balance transfer to either of these cards, including their balance transfer fees, if completed in the first four months:

  • With the Citi Simplicity, you’ll pay $4,120 over 21 months, or about $196 per month.
  • With Citi Diamond Preferred, you’ll pay $4,200 over 21 months, or about $200 per month.

Now, let’s say life gets in the way, and you miss a payment. Here’s what you’ll pay:

If you have the Citi Simplicity, you won’t pay any late payment fees or be hit with a penalty APR. Your monthly payments will increase slightly if you still want to pay off the balance by the end of the 0 percent APR period.

With the Citi Diamond Preferred, Citi may apply up to a $41 late fee and a penalty APR of up to 29.99 percent. Let’s say you missed a payment after three months. Using Bankrate’s credit card payoff calculator, the remaining $3,600 will be assessed at a rate of 29.99 percent. It’ll take you 25 months to clear that balance (at the same $200 monthly payment) while paying $1,242 extra in interest.

Why should you get the Citi Simplicity?

Additional benefits

The main benefits of the Citi Simplicity is its lack of late fees and a penalty APR when you miss a payment. That’s a significant divergence from most balance transfer credit cards. Furthermore, Simplicity cardholders have access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions, zero liability protection and account activity alerts.

Recommended credit score

Citi doesn’t publish recommended credit scores to qualify for any of its credit card products. However, the balance transfer offer period and lower-than-average minimum ongoing variable APR leads us to recommend applying with at least a good credit score (670 and up).

Why should you get Citi Diamond Preferred?

Additional benefits

Citi Diamond Preferred cardholders have access to Citi Entertainment, the issuer’s experience portal that offers exclusive access to VIP tickets, dining, concerts, sporting events and more. Additionally, with the Diamond Preferred, you can use the Citi Easy Deals program for online deal shopping with retailers. It also comes with zero liability protection and free FICO score access.

Recommended credit score

Similar to the Citi Simplicity, we recommend that you have a good credit score (670 and up) before applying.

The bottom line

The Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred are extremely similar, but their differences may be enough to push one card in your favor.

If you want access to shopping deals and social experiences with your balance transfer card, the Diamond Preferred is the card for you. But if you want to avoid penalty APRs and late fees no matter what, go with the Simplicity.

Before you make a decision and apply, though, consider Bankrate’s list of the best balance transfer credit cards on the market today. You never know if another option will better suit your needs.