The Citi Simplicity® Card really lives up to its name. This straight-shooting credit card has one of the longest introductory 0% APR promotions in the business, covering both purchases and balance transfers. Accordingly, it appeals to consumers who wish to transfer high-interest balances from existing credit card accounts or finance large purchases that they can pay off before the regular APR kicks in. Although it doesn’t have an unusually low APR once the introductory period ends, Citi Simplicity’s lack of penalty fees and interest charges is great for cardholders who occasionally slip up.
Citi Simplicity is comparable to other no-frills cards with favorable rates and terms, including Chase Slate, BankAmericard Credit Card, and U.S. Bank Visa Platinum. It’s also comparable to entry-level cash back credit cards with long intro APR deals, such as Capital One Quicksilver, Discover it and Discover it Chrome, BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Chase Freedom. However, it lacks the rewards programs and sign-up bonuses of those cards.
- Sign-up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus, but the introductory APR described below is the main appeal of this card.
- Introductory APR: Citi Simplicity has a 21-month 0% APR purchase and balance transfer promotion. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 4 months of account opening.
- Regular APR: Once the introductory periods expire, the purchase and balance transfer APRs range from 13.24% to 23.24%, depending on personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR falls within the same range from day one. There is no penalty APR.
- Important Fees: There is never an annual fee or late payment fee. The foreign transaction fee is a flat 3%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Returned payments cost $35.
- Additional Benefits: Citi Simplicity has an impressive lineup of value-added benefits. These include 24/7 concierge service for travel and event bookings, 120 days of purchase protection for stolen or damaged items (up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year), complimentary loss and damage coverage for car rentals charged in full on the card, and complimentary one-year warranty extensions on items with existing warranties set to expire in five years or less. Citi Simplicity also comes with Citi Private Pass benefits, which include VIP access to popular sporting events and concerts, plus exclusive access to special events, such as celebrity dinners.
- Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit. If you have any dings on your credit record, you likely won’t qualify.
- No Annual Fee. Citi Simplicity doesn’t have an annual fee, ensuring that cardholders attracted by this card’s super-long introductory promotion aren’t shortchanged by an ongoing assessment.
- Extremely Long 0% Intro APR Promotion. Citi Simplicity has one of the longest 0% APR purchase and balance transfer promotions around. That makes it hard to beat for consumers who wish to transfer high-interest balances or make large purchases that they intend to pay off before the regular APR kicks in. Even popular alternatives that sell themselves on introductory promotions, such as Chase Slate (15 months) and BankAmericard Credit Card (18 months), can’t match Simplicity’s 21-month 0% APR marathon.
- Low Balance Transfer Fee. This card’s balance transfer fee – the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount – is lower than many competing cards, which may charge up to 5% of the transferred amount. On large transfers, that difference can add up to hundreds of dollars. This is another argument in favor of using Citi Simplicity to pay down high-interest credit card debt accumulated elsewhere.
- No Penalty APR or Late Fees. Citi Simplicity never charges late payment fees or penalty interest. This is a huge benefit for cardholders who occasionally miss payments. According to Citi, Simplicity is “the only card with no late fees, no penalty rate, and no annual fee – ever.”
- Solid Fringe Benefits. For a no-frills credit card whose major selling point is an attractive introductory APR period, Citi Simplicity has some solid fringe benefits. Citi Private Pass, which offers VIP and exclusive access to a slew of sought-after events, is particularly valuable for cardholders who can take advantage. By contrast, BankAmericard Credit Card has few benefits beyond its low APR.
- High Regular APR Relative to Comparable Cards. Compared with many other low-interest cards, Citi Simplicity has a high regular APR. This is problematic for cardholders who don’t pay off their balances in full prior to the end of Simplicity’s introductory period. With a regular APR range that’s 2 points lower on both the high and low ends, BankAmericard Credit Card is a better choice for post-promotion balance carrying.
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus – a significant drawback next to fellow cards with attractive intro APR promotions, such as Chase Freedom (15-month 0% APR and $150 sign-up bonus) and Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard (12-month 0% APR and $100 sign-up bonus).
- No Rewards. Citi Simplicity doesn’t have a rewards program. If a great promotional APR deal is your primary motivator, that probably won’t be a deal-breaker. However, if you value both rewards and promotional rates, consider Chase Freedom or American Express Blue Cash Everyday instead.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card’s 3% foreign transaction fee increases the cost of venturing out of the United States – a cost that can really add up if you travel often. Alternatives such as Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it lack foreign transaction fees.
- Requires Excellent Credit. Citi Simplicity requires excellent credit. That’s a major drawback compared with BankAmericard Credit Card, which merely requires good credit. If you’re carrying high-interest balances on an existing credit card account, it’s entirely possible that your credit won’t be good enough to qualify for Simplicity.
The Citi Simplicity® Card holds applicants to pretty high credit standards. Those fortunate enough to qualify for this card are handed a rare opportunity: the ability to make large upfront purchases and transfer high-interest balances from other cards, and pay no interest for 21 months. If you’ve taken the trouble to research and apply for Citi Simplicity, chances are good that you already know how you’re going to use it.