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When it comes to credit cards, you have any number of options to choose from, including cash back cards, travel cards and bad credit options, too. But if your goal is to find a no-frills card with a generous introductory 0 percent APR, the Citi Simplicity® Card* or U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card* could be a good fit for your wallet.
The main benefit of these balance transfer credit cards is that they allow you to pay down your current credit card debt while saving money on interest and fees. But if you’re hoping to earn credit card rewards or a welcome bonus, you may need to consider other card options.
To help you get started, here’s a look at how these cards, including their benefits and credit score requirements, compare, as well as some tips on which card may be best for you.
|Citi Simplicity Card
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
|Intro APR on purchases
|0% intro APR for 12 months
|0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles
|Intro APR on balance transfers
|0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers made within the first four months
|0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 60 days
|19.24% to 29.99% variable
|19.74% to 29.74% variable
|Balance transfer fee
|3% ($5 minimum)
|3% ($5 minimum)
Citi Simplicity vs. U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card highlights
Intro APR winner: U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum offers an 18-billing-cycle zero-interest period on both purchases and balance transfers (followed by a variable APR between 19.49 percent to 29.49 percent). It excels compared to the Citi Simplicity in this category because the Simplicity offers a much shorter time frame for new purchases. However, if you’re strictly interested in transferring a balance, the extra month offered by the Simplicity could tip the card in your favor.
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum’s ongoing variable APR is also slightly lower than the APR offered by the Simplicity card. Both cards require that you transfer your balance within a set period of time after account opening, though, so keep that in mind as you consider which option to apply for.
Balance transfer fee winner: U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum ties with the Citi Simplicity in this category. It charges a 3 percent balance transfer fee ($5 minimum), which is comparable to the Citi Simplicity’s 3 percent fee ($5 minimum).
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges an annual fee for card ownership, either, which makes them both good options if you’re looking to keep costs low.
Foreign transaction fee winner: U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
Both cards charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S., but the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum’s fees are slightly lower in specific circumstances. The card charges a 2 percent foreign transaction fee if the transaction abroad is in U.S. dollars, and a 3 percent fee otherwise. The Citi Simplicity charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee across the board.
Which card saves you more?
Here’s how much you’d pay every month to wipe out your debt during each card’s introductory window — taking into account balance transfer fees as well.
Balance transfer example
Let’s say you have $5,000 in outstanding credit card debt. If you transfer that balance to the Citi Simplicity, you’ll pay a $250 balance transfer fee, bringing your total balance to $5,250. With 21 months to pay off your balance, you’re looking at a $250 payment each month for 21 months, sans interest.
With the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, your balance transfer fee is only $150, bringing your total balance to $5,150. With 20 billing cycles to wipe out your debt free of interest charges, you’ll pay $257.50 each month for 20 months.
So, you’ll end up saving a bit more each month with the Citi Simplicity thanks to its extra month of no interest. But things change when it comes to paying off a large purchase over time.
Purchase intro offer example
If you have a $5,000 purchase on the horizon and plan to utilize either card’s intro APR offer on new purchases, here’s how things will shake out.
With the Citi Simplicity, you’ll pay just over $416 per month for 12 months to cover the purchase without additional interest tacked on. But with the U.S. Bank card, you’ll pay $250 per month for 20 billing cycles.
Why should you get the Citi Simplicity?
The Citi Simplicity is worth it if you’re looking to pay down debt, as it offers one of the longest zero-interest periods available on the market today — but it’s not necessarily the best fit if you’re looking to fund a large upcoming purchase.
- Minimal fees: The Simplicity doesn’t charge late fees, and there’s no penalty APR. However, you will have to pay foreign transaction fees and a balance transfer fee, as noted above.
- Flexible payment due date: Citi allows cardholders to pick their payment due date. Choose any date that works for you at the beginning, middle or end of the month.
- ID theft protection: The card comes with an ID theft protection program offered by Mastercard. You can enroll for free and receive alerts about any suspicious activity on your account.
Recommended credit score
Citi doesn’t publish a recommended credit score, but states that the APR is based on creditworthiness. Your approval odds will be higher if you have a credit score of 670 and above, otherwise known as a good credit score.
Why should you get the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum?
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is worth it if you’re interested in both paying off a large purchase and wiping out existing credit card debt (for a comparably smaller balance transfer fee).
- Choose your payments: U.S. Bank lets you pick the payment date that works for you, though the fine print states that some due dates may not be available.
- Cellphone protection: If you pay your monthly phone bill with the Visa Platinum, you’ll receive up to $1,200 in annual coverage for damages or theft.
- Credit monitoring: U.S. Bank offers free credit score monitoring through its app or online banking.
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Citi Simplicity, your approval odds for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum are greater if you have a good credit score or better (670 and up).
The bottom line
The Citi Simplicity and U.S. Bank Visa Platinum both come with a handful of stand-out benefits, including introductory APR periods and low fees. Before you make the decision to apply, be sure to read through Bankrate’s list of the best balance transfer credit cards to see if another option piques your interest — or better suits your needs.
*The information about the Citi Simplicity® Card and U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.