Americans have a love-hate relationship with their credit cards. They enjoy the convenience and security of these products, but despise the fees, penalties, and profuse terms and conditions. Many people just want basic cards with few frills.
In fact, so many people want simple credit cards that President Obama actually pleaded with banks to offer what he called a “plain vanilla card.” Though it has a different name, Citi answered this plea, and now offers its Simplicity® Card for customers who want to trade rewards for a product with no late fees and no penalty interest rates.
- Introductory Interest Rates. This card features a 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. There is a 3% balance transfer fee.
- Cash Advance Rates. The cash advance rate is the same as the standard purchase rate. There is a cash advance fee of 5%.
- Other Fees. There are no annual fees or over-the-limit fees. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3% on all purchases charged outside of the United States.
- Great Promotional Rates. This card offers 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, an industry leading offer.
- Reasonable Standard APR. The standard rate is competitive for a card with such a long promotional period.
- Low Fees. Citi does not charge late fees or an annual fee.
- No Penalty Rates. Other products offer low standard APRs, but charge their users extremely high penalty rates when customers make late payments. This card does not increase the APR if you make late payments or if you exceed your credit limit.
- Other Benefits. This card includes some perks such as purchase and price protection, as well as an extended warranty policy. Retail purchase protection covers you for 90 days in the event of accidental damage or theft. Price protection covers the difference between the price paid for an item and a lower price in a print advertisement within 60 days, up to $250. The extended warranty policy extends the manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year.
- No Rewards Program. This card offers benefits for people who carry a balance on their credit cards. Those who always pay their balance in full and on time should consider a card that offers cash back or rewards. For various options, see these lists of the best cash back credit cards and the best travel rewards credit cards.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. Foreign transaction fees make traveling abroad expensive. If you plan to travel internationally, look for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
- Not the Lowest Interest Rate. Competing credit cards may charge more fees, but they also offer lower standard interest rates after the promotional period expires.
- Your Credit Is Not Immune to Late Payments. Citi may not charge a late fee or impose a penalty interest rate, but you should still pay your bills on time. Balances incur interest until you make a payment, and your credit score will suffer if you have a past due account.
Credit cards frequently seem like complex financial instruments riddled with fees and penalties. However, the Citi Simplicity Card stands out, offering simple terms and conditions and streamlined fine print. Those who carry a balance on their credit cards every month can utilize the promotional financing to reduce their interest payments. Even people who have had trouble making on-time payments can use this card to eliminate the costs of late fees and penalty interest rates.
By realizing these savings, Citi Simplicity cardholders forgo the lowest interest rates as well as any chance of earning rewards. But for consumers who dislike convoluted credit card agreements and harsh penalties for missed payments, Citi Simplicity offers a way out.
Do you have a Citi Simplicity® Card? What, in your experience, are the biggest pros and cons of using the card?