Citi Simplicity® Card review

 in  Balance Transfer
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Best for balance transfers

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

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Citi Simplicity® Card: Details and benefits

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 (14.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable APR after that).

With this no annual fee card’s exceptionally long low-interest offer comes a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. 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 would, but they can still provide a valuable safety net in case you occasionally forget your payment due date.

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

Advantages

  • No annual fee
  • The card offers one of the longest low-interest periods available on balance transfers: 21 months
  • You won’t pay any payment late fees or be subject to a penalty APR if you pay late

Disadvantages

  • 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
  • The balance transfer fee is $5 or 5 percent, whichever is greater
  • There’s a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of the United States

Is the Citi Simplicity Card worth it for you?

The Citi Simplicity is a great option for those who need a longer introductory period for balance transfers, but the comparatively steep balance transfer fee may be enough to sway you in the direction of another card. It isn’t the biggest deal since the intro APR savings may outweigh the upfront cost of the balance transfer, but the 5 percent ($5 minimum) fee is on the higher end of the typical rate range (usually 3 percent to 5 percent)—which is disappointing since it was 3 percent before the Simplicity’s latest update. Indeed, you might be better off with a card that offers an upfront statement credit bonus like the Chase Slate Edge℠ or the BankAmericard® credit card if your transfer fee would outweigh the interest on a smaller balance.

Considering the Citi Simplicity isn’t a rewards card and doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, it probably won’t offer much value after your balance is paid off. If earning rewards for your purchases is a top priority for you, a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card offers both an 18-month 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers (then 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR) and the opportunity to earn up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase (1 percent as you buy and an additional 1 percent as you pay for your purchase). If you want more long-term value from a balance transfer credit card, this is one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, so it’s definitely worth hanging onto.

If you’re forgetful or have a history of occasionally missing credit card payments, the Citi Simplicity’s lack of late fees or a penalty APR may make it a fitting option for you. You 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.

The card also serves as a tool to pay off large purchases with a 12-month 0 percent introductory APR on new purchases, and the 14.74 percent to 24.74 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. 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 to shield from interest.

Get the most value from the Citi Simplicity Card

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

The card comes with $0 liability protection on unauthorized charges made to your account, as well as Citi® Identity Theft Solutions. You can rest even easier knowing your account is secure with automatic account alerts and 24/7 customer service for any questions related to your account.

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 (14.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable APR thereafter). You will owe a balance transfer fee of $250, though.

Though this fee is high, it 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.

The information about the Chase Slate has been collected independently by Bankrate.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

about the author
Claire Dickey is a product editor for Bankrate, CreditCards.com and To Her Credit. Before joining Bankrate, Claire worked as a copywriter for brands within the telecommunications industry as well as a hybrid marketing and content writer. ...
about the editor
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit ...