Is the Citi Simplicity worth it?
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If you’re carrying a debt balance, a balance transfer credit card can help you pay down your principal while you avoid interest for a limited time. These offers typically range between 12 and 18 months interest-free, but you’ll find one of the longest introductory periods today from Citi.
We’re putting the spotlight on the Citi Simplicity® Card and taking a closer look at its perks and potential drawbacks.
What does Citi Simplicity offer?
Citi Simplicity is primarily a 0 percent APR card. While you won’t get high-value long-term rewards or points, this card is a great tool for building credit and paying down debt.
Quick card details
- Intro APR on purchases: 0 percent for purchases made within 12 months of account opening
- Intro APR on balance transfers: 0 percent for 21 months on transfers made within 4 months of account opening
- Regular APR: 18.49 to 29.24 percent variable
- Rewards: None
- Welcome bonus: None
- Annual fee: $0
- Other perks: No late fees or penalty APR for missed payments
When is the Citi Simplicity worth it?
Here are a few specific cases in which this card can be useful:
Your main goal is paying off credit card debt
The Citi Simplicity will certainly be worth it if you have high-interest credit card debt that you want to pay off.
When you take advantage of the 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers, you’ll have nearly two years to get rid of that debt while saving a tidy sum in interest (followed by a variable APR between 18.49 and 29.24 percent). Note, you must transfer your balance within the first four months of owning the card or else you’ll lose access to this introductory zero-interest offer.
Let’s say you open your account and transfer $5,000 from a card charging 24.99 percent interest to the Citi Simplicity. You can completely pay off your balance before the introductory balance transfer APR expires by making 21 monthly payments of $238.10.
With that same monthly payment, it would have taken you 28 months to pay off your $5,000 balance with your old card. Plus, you would pay $1,643 in interest, for a total payment of $6,643. That means you’ll save $1643 in interest over what you would’ve paid with your original card. Keep in mind, though, you’ll pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee of $150. This means your total savings will be equal to $1,493. Plus, you’ll get out of debt seven months sooner.
What’s more, if you keep your original card and only make the minimum monthly payment of $153.08, it’ll take you 56 months to pay off the balance.
You need to pay off a large, upcoming purchase
The Citi Simplicity may also be worth it if you want to finance a big-ticket item and avoid paying interest. For example, let’s say you purchase $3,000 worth of kitchen appliances using your new Citi Simplicity Card. If you pay $250 a month for 12 months, you’ll pay it down in full without paying a penny in interest.
Now, let’s assume you made the same $3,000 purchase using a different credit card charging 25 percent interest. If you make the same $250 monthly payment, it will take you 14 months to pay off the balance and cost you $488 in interest.
Note, though, if paying off a large purchase is your main goal (over a balance transfer), there are cards that offer long intro APR periods on new purchases. For example, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0 percent introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, a 17.49 percent to 27.49 percent variable APR will apply. A 3 percent fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
Information about the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card was last updated on March 1, 2023.
When is the Citi Simplicity not worth it?
Since its primary benefit is the introductory APR you’ll get on balance transfers and new purchases, this card isn’t for every type of user. Here are a few examples of cardholders who may want to look elsewhere:
Paying off debt isn’t on your radar
The Citi Simplicity Card isn’t worth owning if you don’t need a 0 percent intro APR. There’s no rewards program, so you won’t rack up points, cash back or miles when you use it for purchases, and there’s also no welcome bonus.
While you also won’t take on an annual fee or late fees, the card doesn’t boast too many other benefits. If you’re curious about everything the card does offer in terms of perks, you can read through our Citi Simplicity Card benefits guide.
You’re looking for long-term value
Though you’ll be hard-pressed to find a lengthier introductory offer than that offered by the Citi Simplicity, you may not find as much value once you’ve paid off your debt or large purchase. There are plenty of other balance transfer cards that feature both zero-interest offers and ongoing rewards on your spending, so it’s worth taking a look at some of the best balance transfer credit cards on the market to determine if the Citi Simplicity is truly your best option.
The Citi® Double Cash Card, for example, offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases (an unlimited 1 percent as you buy, plus another 1 percent when you pay for your purchases) and a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (18.49 to 28.49 percent variable APR after). If you can bear to pay off your debt in 18 months rather than 21, this no-annual-fee Citi card is a solid option in terms of ongoing value.
Should you get the Citi Simplicity Card?
You should really only consider getting the Citi Simplicity if you want to take advantage of the 0 percent introductory APR and do a balance transfer with Citi.
However, if you’re looking to earn rewards on your purchases, there are better options to consider. A variety of cards offer both ongoing rewards and introductory 0 percent APR periods, and there’s no sense sacrificing additional card benefits if you can swing paying off debt in a slightly shorter period of time.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for more info about how Citi Simplicity can help you pay down an existing debt balance, check out our Citi Simplicity Card review for further information on rates, fees, comparable cards and more.
Note, you’ll need a good to excellent credit score (typically between 670 and 850) to qualify. Not sure where you stand? There are several ways to get preapproved for a Citi card.