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While the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card won’t be worth it if you’re hoping to earn rewards on your spending, it can be a good deal if you need to consolidate debt from other cards. This is due to its incredible 0 percent intro APR offer on balance transfers for 21 months (15.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR thereafter), which is one of the longest offers in the business. A shorter zero-interest offer on purchases is also featured on the card, and the Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t have an annual fee.
If you’re hoping to transfer high-interest balances and consolidate debt, or if you want a card that lets you save on interest when you make new purchases for a limited time, this balance transfer credit card should be at the top of your list.
But, is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it? Or, would you be better off with another 0 percent APR credit card?
When is the Citi Diamond Preferred card worth it?
Before you decide if the Citi Diamond Preferred is worth signing up for, you need to think over all of its benefits and how they might apply to your situation. Here are a few scenarios where this card can be well worth it, either in the short term or over the long run.
You have plenty of high-interest debt to consolidate
When you apply for the Citi Diamond Preferred, you’ll get an introductory 0 percent APR on balance transfers for 21 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.99 percent to 26.74 percent. This offer makes it easy to consolidate high-interest credit card debt, which you can pay off faster without any interest during the introductory time period.
So, how much can you save with the Citi Diamond Preferred? For the most part, this depends on how you plan to use it. Consider the following example, keeping in mind that the card charges a balance transfer fee of 5 percent (or $5, whichever is higher):
Imagine you have $8,000 in credit card debt at a 21 percent APR, and you just created a budget that will allow you to pay $450 per month toward your balance. At this rate, you could pay off this debt in 22 months, although you would fork over $1,667 in interest in the process.
Now imagine you transferred that debt to the Citi Diamond Preferred to get an introductory 0 percent APR for 21 months (15.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR thereafter). Doing so would require a balance transfer fee of $400, so you would start the process owing $8,400. However, the same $450 monthly payment would leave you debt-free in 19 months and you would pay $0 in interest along the way.
This means the Citi Diamond Preferred could help you save more than $1,200.
You want to make a large purchase and pay it off over 12 months
The Citi Diamond Preferred also comes with a 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases for 12 months (followed by a variable APR of 15.99 percent to 26.74 percent), so it can be useful if you want to buy something expensive and pay it down slowly over the first year.
You could use the card to buy new furniture or even electronics like a new computer or gaming system. You could also use the card to pay for holiday spending and then pay down your balance over 12 months, interest-free.
Avoiding an annual fee is important to you
Other Citi Diamond Preferred benefits include no annual fee, so it’s a card you can plan to keep for the long haul. While you may not want to use it after the intro APR period ends, keeping a card for a long time can help increase your credit score by lengthening the average age of your credit history. If you keep the card’s balance at $0 after you pay down debt, that will also help reduce your credit utilization ratio, which is another important determinant of your credit score.
When is the Citi Diamond Preferred card not worth it?
While the Citi Diamond Preferred is definitely worth it in some scenarios, there are a few areas where it comes up short. Consider these instances where you may actually be better off with a different credit card altogether.
You want to minimize fees
We mentioned how the Citi Diamond Preferred charges a 5 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) upfront, but you should know this fee is on the higher end. The fact is, there are other balance transfer cards that charge lower balance transfer fees (typically 3 percent), and the difference in fees can be in the hundreds of dollars depending on how much debt you have to consolidate.
As an example, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card gives you a 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 16.74% to 28.74% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5. However, the upfront fee to consolidate $8,000 in debt we shared in the example above would only be $240 instead of $400 if completed during the intro period.
Rewards are important to you
Remember that the Citi Diamond Preferred does not offer any rewards for spending, whereas many other cards with a 0 percent APR on purchases or balance transfers do. If you’re willing to settle for an intro APR offer of up to 15 months instead of 21, you’ll find a range of popular cash back credit cards that let you earn rewards for spending and generous sign-up bonuses — many of which are featured on our list of the best 0 percent interest credit cards.
You don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees
It’s also worth noting that the Citi Diamond Preferred charges a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent. So, if you plan on traveling abroad, you should consider using a different card.
Should you get the Citi Diamond Preferred card?
Getting the Citi Diamond Preferred makes the most sense if you want to consolidate and pay down high-interest debt, or if you want access to an intro APR on purchases for some time.
With that said, there are other 0 percent interest credit cards to consider, including ones that let you earn rewards on your purchases. If you want to earn cash back or travel rewards, consider options with an introductory interest rate offer and a rewards program. Some popular cards to consider in this niche include the Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
If you decide to get the Citi Diamond Preferred because you want a long time to pay down debt you consolidate, you should have a plan in place beforehand.
As you transfer high-interest balances over, keep in mind how much you’ll need to pay each month to ditch your debt before the introductory rate ends. Do the math and figure out how much you’ll need to pay during the 21-month timeline, then get serious about sticking to your plan. After all, any remaining balances will be charged the regular variable APR rate of 15.99 percent to 26.74 percent after 21 months are up.
For example, say you have a credit card balance of $5,000, which comes out to $5,250 after adding in the balance transfer fee of 5 percent. You would then need to pay $250 per month to become debt-free before your offer is over ($5,250 divided by 21 months = $250 per month).
This same plan drafting applies to any large purchases you’re looking to pay off over time, but keep in mind that the Citi Diamond Preferred offers its intro APR rate for purchases for a shorter time period of 12 months.
The bottom line
The Citi Diamond Preferred is best for a specific type of consumer — someone who plans to carry a balance and hopes to pay as little as possible to do so. This can apply to big-ticket items charged to a card or debt consolidated from other credit cards.
Keep in mind that this card is geared toward consumers with good or excellent credit. If your credit score needs work and you know you can’t qualify, you may want to look at credit cards for fair credit or bad credit.
There are numerous reasons to fall in love with the Citi Diamond Preferred — but it’s important to consider all angles and compare the card against other options before submitting your application.