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The Truly Simple® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank really lives up to its name. You certainly won’t find it on our list of the best cash back credit cards. Nor will it ever grace the virtual pages of our best travel rewards credit cards. And, despite its relatively low minimum APR, you won’t find it on our best low APR interest credit cards guide either.
So why are we talking about the Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank at all? Because it’s truly simple – no surprises allowed.
This card has no annual fee, a generous 0% APR introductory promotion, a predictable interest rate, relatively laid-back underwriting requirements, and a lineup of value-added benefits offered through Mastercard. It’s perfect for cardholders seeking to finance large upfront purchases or balance transfers and build or rebuild their credit while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with free perks such as cell phone protection, extended warranties, and white-glove travel services.
On the other hand, “truly simple” also means “no frills.” The Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank doesn’t have a rewards program and offers no sign-up or ongoing bonuses. Though the lack of an annual fee means there’s no automatic cost of keeping this card in your wallet, there’s also no way to earn a return on spending here.
Still interested in a no-frills credit card that supports and enriches your lifestyle? Here’s what you need to know about this “truly simple” spending aid.
Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank has a 15-month, 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers. During the promotional period, neither type of transaction accrues interest.
Once the introductory period ends, the purchase and balance transfer APR rises to range between 13.49% and 24.49%, depending on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness at the time of the transition. Going forward, this rate is variable with prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is set at 26.49% from the day you open your account. After that, it’s also variable. There is no penalty APR.
This card has no annual fee. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%. The foreign transaction fee is 3% of the transaction amount. Late payments cost as much as $35.
Cell Phone Protection Plan
This card comes with a cell phone protection plan that “protect[s] against damage to, or theft of, your eligible cell phone, as well as the first two additional phones listed on your wireless billing statement” when you pay your cell phone bill in full with your Truly Simple card. The plan is subject to a $50 deductible per claim, a maximum benefit of $200 per claim, and a maximum annual benefit of $400.
Mastercard Priceless Cities
Priceless Cities is a Mastercard-exclusive opportunity that lets you “take advantage of special treatment offers like behind-the-scenes access, private event invitations, and tickets to the most coveted events” at no additional cost (beyond admission, food, and the like). Learn more at the Priceless Cities portal.
Mastercard-Backed Cardholder Benefits
Aside from Priceless Cities and the cell phone protection plan, this card comes with a slew of Mastercard-backed benefits that can potentially save you tens or hundreds of dollars per year. The most noteworthy include:
- Extended warranties (up to 2 years) on items with existing manufacturers’ warranties
- Price protection (reimbursement of the difference if you find a lower price on an item purchased with the card)
- Access to an airport concierge who can guide you through unfamiliar airports faster and more smoothly
Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank is designed for consumers with good credit. Serious credit issues (such as recent personal bankruptcy) could disqualify your application, but minor blemishes probably won’t.
- No Annual Fee. Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank has no annual fee. This is a nice consolation prize, as this card doesn’t earn rewards or account bonuses.
- Excellent 0% APR Promotion. This card’s 0% APR introductory promotion is probably its most distinctive feature. It applies to purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from your sign-up date, allowing you to finance large upfront purchases or transfer crushing balances from other cards without accruing interest. On major purchases and transfers, this can easily save you hundreds of dollars during your first year and three months as a cardholder.
- Low Ongoing Interest Rate for Qualified Cardholders. If you have excellent credit, you’ll likely qualify for this card’s minimum APR: 13.49%. That’s better than many consumer credit cards, and a great incentive for folks who want the flexibility to carry balances from month to month.
- Mastercard-Backed Benefits. This card offsets its disappointing lack of a rewards program with a trove of Mastercard-backed benefits. The most noteworthy include extended warranties (up to two years) on products purchased with the card, price protection for certain items purchased in full with the card, Mastercard Priceless cities, and some attractive travel benefits (such as airport concierge access). Aside from Priceless Cities, you have to pay out of pocket to use them.
- No Penalty APR. Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank doesn’t charge penalty interest. If you’ve missed statement due dates in the past due to liquidity issues or other problems, this is an important consideration that could save you a boatload on interest charges. Some competing cards impose penalty interest rates as high as 29.99% APR.
- No Rewards. Unlike its stablemate, the generous TRIO Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank, Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank doesn’t have a rewards program. If you’re looking for a return on spending via cash back rewards, travel rewards, or any other loyalty scheme, you’re out of luck here.
- No Sign-up or Ongoing Bonuses. Another downside: this card lacks a sign-up bonus or ongoing annual bonus scheme. Better options include the Chase Freedom Unlimited (up to $150 bonus for new cardholders) or the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (up to $100 bonus). Both also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back.
- No Overdraft Protection for Fifth Third Deposit Accountholders. This card doesn’t offer opt-in overdraft protection for Fifth Third Bank deposit account holders. If you’re a loyal Fifth Third customer who occasionally overdrafts your account due to cash flow issues or unexpected expenses, this is a potential drawback relative to other regional bank-backed competitors. For instance, all of Flagstar Bank’s consumer credit cards offer low-cost, opt-in overdraft protection transfers for checking account customers.
- Ongoing APR Can Be High for Less Qualified Cardholders. Though the headline minimum APR is a relatively low 13.49%, the maximum APR is a troubling 24.49%. If you have less-than-perfect credit, you may find yourself locked into the higher rate. If you then choose to carry a balance from month to month, you’ll pay a hefty price to do so. For a lower APR option, check out Citi Simplicity or Chase Slate.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. Truly Simple Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank has a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you regularly travel overseas, or even to Mexico or Canada, this is likely to be a problem. It’s made even worse by the fact that there’s no rewards program to soften the fee’s blow. The good news is that lots of competing cards waive foreign transaction fees – the Discover it family (including Discover it Chrome) is a good place to start.
The Truly Simple® Credit Card isn’t the simplest credit card on the market. Plenty of off-brand credit cards share Truly Simple’s aversion to rewards or bonuses, but lack consumer-friendly perks like a long 0% APR introductory promotion, extended warranties, or cell phone protection plans.
Still, this is a pretty bare-bones credit card. Its primary use cases involve interest-free purchase financing and balance transfers. It’s not for anyone seeking a return on spending or luxurious perks such as airport lounge access.
That’s just fine by many cardholders. And you can always decide down the road, perhaps after the 15-month introductory period expires, that you’d like a more interesting credit card. If and when that day comes, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.