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Citi Simplicity® Card review: A no-fuss balance transfer card

The Citi Simplicity, as the name suggests, is a simple-to-use card for transferring debt

 /  7 min
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Snapshot

4.2

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

Bottom line

Some of us need more time than others, especially when it comes to balance transfers. If you’re looking for a card that will give you time and flexibility to help you pay off your debt, the Citi Simplicity card may be a great fit for you.

Image of Citi Simplicity® Card
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On Citi's secure site

Best for balance transfers

Citi Simplicity® Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A
Info

Regular APR

18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Citi is an advertising partner.

Citi Simplicity® Card overview

If you have credit card debt to pay off, the Citi Simplicity Card is one of the best balance transfer credit cards available since it offers one of the longest zero percent intro APR periods on balance transfers available. You’ll receive a 21-month zero percent intro APR on balance transfers made within the first four months of owning the card and a shorter 0 percent intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening (18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable APR after that).

With this no annual fee card’s exceptionally long zero-interest offer comes an intro balance transfer fee of 3 percent of the amount of each transfer (minimum $5) for the first 4 months, after which the balance transfer fee will be $5 or 5 percent. Though a very small number of balance transfer cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee, the Citi Simplicity card’s fee is relatively low. The card is also unique in that it won’t charge late payment fees or subject you to a penalty APR.

There’s no rewards structure, but if getting one of the longest available intro APRs on the market provides you with the necessary breathing room to pay off your debt, the sacrifice may be worth it.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

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    The card does not have an annual fee, which is an excellent feature for a balance transfer card

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    The card offers one of the longest low-interest periods available on balance transfers: 21 months

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    You won’t pay any late fees or be subject to a penalty APR if you make a late payment

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    It has a relatively low balance transfer fee, which lowers the expense of moving debt to a new card

Cons

  • There is no rewards structure or welcome bonus

  • The intro APR for purchases only lasts 12 months — much lower than its counterpart balance transfer APR

  • There’s a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of the United States

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 21-month zero percent intro APR on balance transfers made within the first four months of owning the card
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening
  • Regular APR: 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent (variable)

Current welcome offer

The Citi Simplicity card does not have a welcome offer.

Rewards Rate

The Citi Simplicity card is a good option for those trying to tackle their debt over time. Unfortunately, the card does not come with reward options. Considering the Citi Simplicity isn’t a rewards card and doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, you may find its value diminished after your balance is paid off.

Other cardholder perks

For a credit card without a rewards rate, welcome bonus or fancy perks, the Citi Simplicity still offers several helpful protections and services.

Liability protection

The card comes with $0 liability protection on unauthorized charges made to your account through Mastercard. You will not be responsible for fraud charges made in store, online or over the phone. You can also report unauthorized charges through the Mastercard app for a quicker response.

Account activity alerts

You can rest even easier knowing your account is secure with automatic account alerts. Set alerts for withdrawals, password changes, balance transfers and payments.

Identity theft protection

Citi takes extra measures to keep your identity safe, including Citi Fraud Early Warning systems and the CitiManager feature. Accessible through both your web account and mobile app, these features include additional authentication methods, account encryption, and automatic notifications.

How much are the rewards worth?

Unfortunately, despite having other money-saving features, the Citi Simplicity card does not have a way to earn rewards. The main focus is for the cardholder to pay down their debt with 0 interest intro APR, no late fees and no annual fee.

Rates and fees

While this card does not charge an annual fee, there is a balance transfer fee. That said, the intro APR savings should outweigh the upfront cost of the intro balance transfer of a 3 percent ($5 minimum) fee within 4 months of account opening (after that balance transfer fee will be $5 or 5 percent).

Though some balance transfer cards don’t charge a balance transfer fee, the Citi Simplicity is unique in that it won’t charge late payment fees or subject you to a penalty APR. These might not save you as much money as waiving a transfer fee, but they can still provide a valuable safety net in case you occasionally forget your payment due date.

The card mainly serves as a tool to pay off large purchases with a 12-month 0 percent introductory APR on new purchases, and the 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent (variable) ongoing APR is below the current average interest rate to boot. Unfortunately, this 12-month intro APR length is much lower than the card’s previous 18-month intro purchase APR period before the card’s latest update.

There’s no rewards structure, but if getting one of the longest available intro APRs on the market provides you with the necessary breathing room to pay off your debt, the sacrifice may be worth it.

Balance transfer example

Say you have $5,000 in credit card debt and transfer your balance to the Citi Simplicity. With the 21-month zero-percent intro APR balance transfer offer, Bankrate’s credit card balance transfer calculator shows that you’ll pay around $239 a month for 21 months without owing additional fees in interest (18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable APR thereafter). You will owe a balance transfer fee of $150, though.

However, this fee may be significantly lower compared to the interest you’ll pay without the card. If you attempt to chip away at your debt on a card with a variable 16 percent interest rate at the same $239 monthly payment, according to Bankrate’s credit card payoff calculator, it’ll take 25 months to pay off and you’ll take on an extra $901 of interest.

How the Citi Simplicity Card compares to other balance transfer cards

The Simplicity card is now once again one of the leading options if you need a long balance transfer APR, but another card may offer a more balanced choice if you have big purchases coming up or need to shield yourself from interest.

Image of Citi Simplicity® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Citi's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Bank of America's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1.5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Citi® Double Cash Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Citi's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Citi Simplicity vs. BankAmericard® credit card

The BankAmericard credit card certainly comes out on top compared to the Citi Simplicity card. While the Citi Simplicity offers 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers made within the four months of account opening and only 12 months for purchases (then 18.24% – 28.99%), the BankAmericard offers a 21-billing cycle 0% interest APR period for both balance transfers made in the first 60 days and purchases (then 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR). If you need a serious break from interest to both pay off debt and finance larger purchases, especially during rising interest rates, then the BankAmericard comes out on top. Not only does it offer a longer intro period for purchases, but its ongoing interest rate is lower than the Citi Simplicity’s.

Citi Simplicity vs. Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Again, the Wells Fargo Reflect edges out the Citi Simplicity in its intro APR offer on purchases, rather than on balance transfers. Both the Simplicity and the Reflect have similar balance transfer intro APR periods (then 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable and 17.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable, respectively) but the Reflect has that same 21-month offer on purchases, as well. 

Where the Wells Fargo Reflect may fall slightly short is its catch: the Reflect has 18 months of zero interest, with a three-month extension when you make on-time payments throughout the intro period.

Furthermore, the Simplicity card charges no late fees or penalty APRs for late payments, making it more forgiving than the Reflect.

Best cards to pair with the Citi Simplicity

To get the most out of the Citi Simplicity card, it’s best to pair it with a card that earns rewards while not charging an annual fee. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card lets cardholders earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. In addition, there is no annual fee, and if you spend $500 in the first three months of opening the account, you will receive a $200 welcome bonus.

If you want a higher rewards rate and don’t mind a spending cap, the Citi Custom Cash can be a good fit. With this card, you earn 5 percent cash back on your top eligible spend category every billing cycle for up to $500, then 1 percent cash back after. Plus, you earn 1 percent on all other purchases. You can also earn the $200 welcome bonus when you spend $1,500 within six months of account opening. However, this will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points, which you can then redeem as a $200 cash back.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Citi Simplicity Card worth it?

The Citi Simplicity is a great option for those who need a longer introductory period for balance transfers. And though the lack of rewards may not make this a card to keep in your wallet forever, it will help build your credit history and lower debt.

If you’re forgetful or have a history of occasionally missing credit card payments, the Citi Simplicity’s lack of late fees and penalty APR may make it a fitting option for you. You also have the option to choose your payment due date as well, which can be helpful for those who are more dependent on their paycheck schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker

Re’Dreyona Walker is an Associate Editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.