2019 Citi Simplicity Review – WalletHub Editors
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
The Verdict: The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is a very good 0% credit card for people with good credit. Citi Simplicity offers 0% for 21 months* on balance transfers, 0% for 12 months* on new purchases and has a $0* annual fee. The interest-free period that the Simplicity Card provides for balance transfers is nine months longer than average (Citi is a WalletHub partner). That gives you plenty of time to pay off credit card debt without it getting more and more expensive along the way.
The downside is that Citi Simplicity charges a balance transfer fee of 5% (min $5). Plus, its regular APR is pretty high, at 16.74% to 26.74%* (V), depending on your creditworthiness. Simplicity might still be the best balance transfer credit card for you. It all depends on how big your balance is and how much you can afford to pay per month.
Finally, it’s important to note what Citi Simplicity most is not: a rewards card. It does not offer points, miles or cash back on purchases, so you shouldn’t use it to buy things you can pay for in full by the due date. We therefore recommend it as part of an Island Approach to credit-card use.
You can find more details about what Citi Simplicity does and does not bring to the table below.
- 0% for 21 months* on Balance Transfers: If you want as long as possible to pay off a balance transfer without interest, Citi Simplicity is the answer. Its interest-free period dwarfs the 0% for 12 months offered by the average balance transfer credit card.
- 0% for 12 months* on New Purchases: This intro rate is about a month and a half longer than average for a 0% credit card. So it could help you save, but it’s not what makes Citi Simplicity elite.
No Annual Fee: Having to pay an annual fee would at least partially defeat the purpose of using a 0% credit card. It would be like prepaying the interest you’d accrue under normal circumstances. So Citi Simplicity’s $0 annual fee is one of its most important features.
Not having to pay an annual fee allows you to keep your account open indefinitely, even if you don’t use your card beyond the 0% introductory period, which will benefit your credit standing by increasing the average age of the accounts listed on your credit report.
- Above-Average Regular APR: Everyone who gets approved for this card has good credit. However, everyone who gets approved will also be assigned a regular APR that is above the market average for good and excellent credit. It could be anywhere from 16.74% to 26.74%* (V), depending on just how good your credit is. It seems that’s the tradeoff for such an extensive 0% term. It’s also why you should always use this card with an eye on the clock.
5% Balance Transfer Fee: This is a cost that must be taken into account when contemplating such a transaction. In the context of the $8,000 owed by the average household with credit card debt, this fee would amount to $400 in added debt to pay.
Paying that fee could make sense in certain situations, especially since Citi allows you to transfer most major types of consumer debt – including auto loan, mortgage and private student loan balances, according to WalletHub’s Balance Transfer Study. But it’s worse than nothing and must be factored into all calculations.
- No Card Rewards: Rewards certainly shouldn’t be a high priority when you’re searching for a card to lighten your financing load, especially in the case of balance transfers. But the fact that Citi Simplicity® does not offer rewards of any kind might make new-purchase financing a bit less appealing, and definitely detracts from the card’s ongoing usability.
Other Things To Consider
- No Late Fees Or Penalty Rate: The average credit card has a maximum late fee of $32.94 and a penalty APR of 26.25%, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report. Not having to worry about such costs should provide some peace of mind, but it doesn’t mean that you should be any less vigilant about paying on time. Failing to make payments on schedule can lead to significant credit score damage, ultimately costing you a lot of money and serving as a major penalty in its own right.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee: Getting charged to spend money is always a bummer, and while you may not have any international travel planned, Simplicity’s 3% foreign transaction fee could enter the equation if you make a purchase from a merchant that is based abroad. It certainly isn’t the simplest policy for cardholders in a global economy, especially when other issuers – namely, Capital One and Discover – have eliminated foreign fees from their credit cards altogether.
Compared To The Competition
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Wells Fargo Platinum card
BankAmericard® credit card
|Purchase Intro APR||0% for 12 months*||0% for 18 months||0% for 15 months||0% for 18 billing cycles|
|Transfer Intro APR||0% for 21 months*|
Transfer Fee: 5% (min $5)
|0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers|
Transfer Fee: 3% for 120 days, then 5%
|0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: $0
|0% for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $10)
|Regular APR||16.74% - 26.74%* (V)||17.49% - 26.99% Variable||16.99% - 25.74% (V)||14.99% - 24.99% Variable|
|Editors’ Rating||3.7 / 5||4.6 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
|Learn More||Learn More|
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