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Citi Simplicity® Card Review – Great Card for Balance Transfers

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At a Glance
Citi Simplicity Credit Card
4.4 / 5
Rating

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Citi Simplicity® Card

  • Sign-Up Bonus: None
  • Rewards: None
  • Benefits: $0 liability for unauthorized charges, streamlined customer service
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer (must be within 4 months of account opening); 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening; regular APR is 16.99% to 26.99%, depending on creditworthiness
  • Fees: 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Citi Simplicity® Card really lives up to its name. This straight-shooting credit card has one of the longest introductory 0% APR balance transfer promotions in the business (after which the regular APR ranges between 16.99% and 26.99%). Plus, while 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, along with entry-level cash back credit cards with long intro APR deals. However, with no rewards program, it’s not appropriate for consumers seeking active returns on spending.

Key Features

Introductory APR

Citi Simplicity has a 21-month 0% APR promotion for balance transfers, beginning from the date of first transfer. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 4 months of account opening.

Citi Simplicity also has a 12-month 0% APR promotion for purchases, beginning from your account opening date.

Following the end of the introductory promotional periods, the regular purchase and balance transfer APRs range between 16.99% and 26.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

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 5% of the transferred amount, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Returned payments cost up to $39.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit. If you have any notable dings on your credit record, you may not qualify.

Advantages

  1. 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.
  2. Extremely Long 0% APR Introductory Promotion for Balance Transfers. Citi Simplicity has one of the longest 0% APR balance transfer promotions around. That makes it hard to beat for consumers who wish to transfer high-interest balances and pay down debt faster. Following the end of the introductory promotional period, the regular balance transfer APR ranges between 16.99% and 26.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  3. Solid 0% APR Introductory Promotion for Purchases. Citi Simplicity’s 0% APR purchase promotion lasts 12 months from your account opening date. That may be enough time to pay off large purchases in full – which you’ll want to do to avoid interest charges. Following the end of the introductory promotional period, the regular purchase APR ranges between 16.99% and 26.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”

Disadvantages

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Fairly Strict Underwriting Requirements. Citi Simplicity requires good to excellent 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.

Final Word

The Citi Simplicity® Card holds applicants to pretty high credit standards. But those fortunate enough to qualify for this card are handed a rare opportunity: the ability to 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.

Verdict
Citi Simplicity Credit Card
4.4 / 5
Rating

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Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card is a fantastic credit card for consumers who wish to transfer existing high-interest credit card balances or finance large purchases – provided they have the discipline to pay for those activities before the respective introductory periods end. It’s not a great card for people with spotty credit, nor those who value rewards in any form.

This card’s industry-leading intro balance transfer APR promotion, low balance transfer fees, and lack of an annual fee, penalty APR, and late fees are all great benefits.

Its foreign transaction fee, credit requirements, and lack of a sign-up bonus or rewards count against it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent balance transfer vehicle (and a solid purchase financing tool to boot).

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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