Citi Simplicity® Card
Citi Simplicity is a 0% credit card designed for customers who are looking to transfer a balance or make purchases with a long introductory APR. Among low interest cards, the Simplicity has one of the longest 0% offers at 18 months from account opening for both purchases and balance transfers.
For nearly two years, you won’t pay any interest as long as you make the minimum payment on time each month. This is a tremendous offer that can potentially save you a lot of money on interest charges.
While the card comes with this great rate, it does not earn any type of rewards. Like its competitors, Citibank offers this extended no-interest period with the tradeoff that you won’t earn cash back, points or travel rewards on your purchases.
That being said, this card also has no annual fee and no late fees, so you might save money compared to other cards you have based on the fees alone. Just remember, even though a lot of perks with this card may seem free, you still have to make regular minimum payments and manage your account responsibly so you don’t jeopardize your relationship with Citi.
Features and Benefits
The Citi Simplicity card is consumer friendly, offering benefits not commonly found with other credit cards. Once approved, all your purchases for the first 18 billing cycles will not accrue any interest charges. Additionally, if you make a balance transfer within the first four months of opening your account, that balance will also get up to 18 months of no interest. Both are amazing offers!
How does this work? Your interest rate for those 18 months is set at 0% as opposed to a low or standard credit card interest rate. Don’t get carried away, though, because you still have a credit limit, and after those 18 months are up, you have to start paying interest on any remaining balance.
Additionally, if you are late on a payment, this card won’t charge you a late fee nor apply a penalty APR, but your 0% rate can change if not managed properly. All these benefits cost you $0 as this card has no annual fee.
What You Get
- No annual fee
- No late fees and no penalty rates
- 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers and purchases
- Free FICO credit score
- Citi Price Rewind
- Choose your payment date
As we mentioned earlier, this card offers a 0% APR for the first 18 months after your card is approved. If you’re looking to make a big purchase (like a new TV, gifts for the holidays or home repairs), this card can help you do it.
Maybe you replaced the transmission on your car and charged it to another credit card with a high APR. You could transfer that balance to the Simplicity card and pay the purchase off over time with 0% financing. Instead of paying 10, 15 or even 20 percent on your balance, you could pay no interest and put that extra savings toward paying off your debt sooner.
Another great feature from Citi is the Price Rewind service. Once you make a purchase, you can request on Citi’s website for them to track the price you paid for your item, and they will compare that to what merchants are offering for the next 60 days. If the price on your purchase drops, Citi will refund the difference. They check hundreds of merchants automatically, so you can sit back knowing that if you didn’t get the best price, you’ll get a refund. Who wouldn’t benefit from that?
Saving on Purchases with Citi Simplicity® Card
With the 0% introductory APR, all purchases you make – whether big or small – won’t accrue any interest charges during the promotional interest period. This is especially convenient if you have an unexpected expense, or maybe your income is seasonal or varies from month to month. As long as you make the minimum payment each month, your 0% introductory period will continue.
But what happens after 18 months? At that point, your APR will increase to a standard rate based on your credit worthiness and the current interest rates. When that time comes, if you’ve paid off your balance and continue to pay on time in full each month, you will continue to avoid interest. However, if you choose to carry a balance, you’ll only pay interest on the new balance and not the balance you held during the intro period. This can add up to some serious savings.
Saving on Balance Transfers with Citi Simplicity® Card
The Simplicity card not only comes with a great intro APR for purchases, but it also extends to any balance transfer you complete within the first four months of being approved. Once you initiate your balance transfer, it can take Citi up to 14 days to complete the payment to your other bank, but then that transferred balance will also have a 0% interest rate.
If you transfer a balance from multiple credit cards, your 18-month 0% offer will begin once the first balance has transferred. Subsequent balance transfers may have fewer than 18 months to be paid off before interest starts accruing.
Regardless of when you transfer a balance, you’ll pay a fee of 5$ or 5% of the balance transferred, whichever is more. So the balance transfer isn’t totally free, but a one-time 5 percent charge will likely save you a ton of money compared to an annual APR of 18 percent, 25 percent or possibly more.
Be Aware: What You need to Know
While all this may sound too good to be true, there are a few things to be aware of. First, your Simplicity card will have a set credit line, so neither your purchases nor balance transfers can exceed that amount. If your credit line is only $5,000, you cannot transfer a $7,000 balance. The most you could transfer is about $4,854 since the 5 percent fee cannot take you over your limit.
Also, it’s good to know how using your credit line can affect your credit score. Even though you may be given a high limit that you can use as you wish, it’s generally not a good idea to max out your credit card. To a lender, it looks like you are carrying a lot of debt and not able to manage it. You want to try to avoid appearing as though you’re in bad financial shape when applying for new credit.
Additionally, part of your credit score is comprised of the percentage of your credit lines that you are using. If you have a $10,000 credit line and carry an $8,000 balance, you’re using 80 percent of your total available credit. In general, the lower your usage, the better.
Next, if you make a payment that’s less than the statement balance, it’s good to know how that payment is applied. The portion of your payment that is up to the minimum payment goes toward any balance with a lower APR (whether you have a 0% offer or another promotional offer). Then, payments above your minimum requirement will be applied to your higher APR balances.
Best Ways to Use Citi Simplicity® Card
These are the best uses for the Citi Simplicity card.
Short Term LoanYes
VacationYes, assuming you have a plan to pay off that expense
Free Hotel StaysNo
Should You Keep the Card?
As this card is geared toward consumers looking for a 0% introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers, you may be wondering if this card is worth keeping once the 0% period ends. We’ll cover a few considerations to help you make that decision.
First off, the Simplicity credit card never incurs an annual fee, so keeping the card won’t cost you anything. That’s an important consideration that you shouldn’t overlook because the number of credit accounts you have is key to your overall score. Additionally, after 18 months you will have had this card for nearly two years. How does that compare to other cards you have? If it’s among your oldest credit cards, that’s important too, as your average age of credit accounts is another credit score factor.
Another option could be to convert this card. Citi offers a wide selection of various cards, so it’s possible you could convert this card to one that earns rewards. Rewards cards typically come with higher APRs and fees, but if you no longer need a card that waives these charges, getting a rewards card might make sense. You could start earning cash back or points for your purchases. Be honest with yourself, however, because while travel points and cash are great, paying practically any amount of interest on a balance will negate the value of the rewards you may earn.
What if you still have a balance remaining on the card? You could look for another non-Citi credit card and do another balance transfer in order to keep your balance at a more reasonable interest rate.
Lastly, Citi is a bank that proactively has special ARP offers. It may be worth keeping this card because Citi may send you an email or snail mail down the road offering to do a balance transfer for a low interest rate for a limited time.
Citi Savings Calculators
If you’re still trying to decide if you should get the Citi Simplicity card, our interactive tools can help. Just input your current outstanding debt, estimated new purchases, APR and minimum monthly payments, and we’ll estimate the savings you’ll get for purchases and balance transfers made with the Citi Simplicity® card.
Let us know how you plan to use the card and we’ll figure out how much you’ll save.
Citi Simplicity® Card
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Balance Transfer Calculator
Do you have outstanding debt? Here’s how much you’ll save by transferring it to the Citi Simplicity® Card.
Citi Simplicity® Card
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Should You Get the Citi Simplicity Card?
If you carry balances on other credit cards with high APRs or think you may need an extended period of time to pay for upcoming expenses, this is absolutely a card you should consider. The Simplicity’s 0% intro APR for 18 months is among the best offers currently available on the market.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a $5,000 balance you’re carrying on a different credit card, and that card charges an APR of 20 percent. You’ll accrue $1,000 per year in interest charges if you’re not actively paying down your balance. Instead, you could transfer that $5,000, pay a fee of only $150, and then have 18 months to keep making payments to bring down that balance without any interest charges adding up. Think of the money you’ll save!
On the other hand, let’s say you’re not someone that’s currently carrying a balance. If you’re looking to earn credit card points and don’t typically carry a balance from month to month, this is not the card for you. The biggest downside to the Citi Simplicity card is the lack of rewards, points and bonuses. This product is purely designed for customers looking to take advantage of a low introductory APR. No matter how much you transfer or spend, you won’t earn a single point or mile.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Unfortunately not, and this is common across all banks. You could transfer a balance from a Citi card to another bank as much as you like, but no major banks allow you to perform a balance transfer between their own cards.Why? It all comes down to risk. Most credit cards are unsecured, revolving lines of credit, and they carry more risk than other loans (like mortgages that have collateral). It’s very rare for an institution to allow you to pay off unsecured credit with another form of unsecured credit.So why do they offer balance transfers from other banks’ credit cards? Isn’t that the same thing? Essentially yes, but it’s an outside debt, not one the bank currently holds. Banks are looking to attract your business and maybe collect interest down the road, so they offer special financing to get your credit card debt, hoping to make money from you in other ways.
- Every month your card has a balance, you’ll receive a bill. That bill shows you the full amount owed as well as the minimum amount due. That amount is a percentage of the overall balance you owe. Generally, you’re given three weeks to make the minimum payment to keep your credit line in good standing. And if your balance isn’t accruing new interest charges, your entire minimum payment is applied to your balance.As long as you make the minimum payment each month during your 0% period, you won’t pay any interest, and you’ll keep your low rate. However, if you’re late, the bank has the option to cancel your 0% bonus offer and raise you to a standard rate. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it’s always best to make your minimum payment on time.
- Yes. You’ll be considered a good customer as long as you pay your full minimum on time. If you pay more than the minimum, you’ll pay off your balance sooner. If you are paying interest, you’ll pay less over time.If you prefer to make multiple payments instead of one larger payment, it makes no difference to the bank as long as you make the total minimum payment before it’s due. Of course, if you pay your statement balance in full and on time every month, you’ll never have to worry about interest charges.
I have a lot of credit card debt and am worried I won’t be approved for a large credit line. Should I even bother?Absolutely. Many Americans hold or have held credit card debt at one point in their lives and responsibly working to pay off this debt is a great goal to have.If you have thousands of dollars of credit card debt spread across multiple cards, you might think you won’t get approved for a large credit line. We can’t tell you with certainty if you will get approved or how large a credit limit you could expect to receive. You won’t know unless you apply.Even if you get approved for a lesser credit line than you hoped, transferring any amount of a high-interest balance will help you save money with this special 0% rate. Sometimes you have to start small, and any balance that you can transfer that won’t incur any new interest is a tremendous way to effectively manage any debts.
- You might have heard about promotional marketing checks and wonder how they’re different than a balance transfer. While Citi probably won’t send you any of these offers in the mail initially, it’s quite possible a group of these checks will appear in your mailbox at some time or another.These letters contain real checks that you can use to deposit to your checking account or mail to other banks as payments. While they look and act like a check, in reality you’re performing a balance transfer. If you received one of these checks from Citi and wrote it to Chase for $1,000, they’ll get $1,000 and you’ll inherit a $1,000 balance to your credit card. These checks are just another way to perform a balance transfer, and the way you manage these balances is the same.
- Good question. While you can do a balance transfer any time with your Simplicity card, you must complete any and all transfers within 120 days to qualify for the 0% introductory offer. If you do a balance transfer any time after that, the balance will accrue interest at the higher standard APR instead of the low 0% offer. Regardless of when you do a balance transfer, the Simplicity card has a 3 percent or $5 fee, whichever is higher.
- Introductory 0% APR offers are attractive to a wide base of cardholders, and banks know this, which is why some popular points cards also come with a 0% intro period. Generally, these last only a few months and have higher APRs on purchases and balance transfers compared to non-rewards cards.If you have a small balance or are confident you can pay off your balance transfer in a shorter time frame, a 0% rewards card might work for you. Just remember, if you’re still carrying a balance while earning rewards, the high interest charges will build up faster than the value of the points, miles or cash back that you earn.
If I wanted to convert this card after I pay off my balance, do I have to wait the full 21 months? Which card could I get?If you pay off your card before 21 months have passed, you could change the card if you wish. Generally, banks require you to wait 12 months before converting a card, but there are exceptions. You can certainly call and ask any time.Unfortunately, we can’t tell you exactly which cards are eligible for product changes. Banks constantly update the terms and conditions of their cards, and buried in the fine print is if and when cards can be changed to a different type of product. Plus, the card you might want to convert to will have its own set of rules.In general, co-branded cards are usually not eligible, so you’ll probably have to stay away from hotel or airline cards. You might be able to get a ThankYou Rewards card or the Citi DoubleCash card, but it’s hard to say. More than likely, you’ll just have to inquire with Citibank.
- See above about converting cards, but the answer is likely yes, you can convert to the Simplicity. That being said, you won’t be eligible for 21 months of no interest. The 0% intro offer is similar to sign-up bonuses that come with rewards cards, and they’re only offered to new card members.If you were looking for a $0 annual fee card to convert to, the Simplicity may be your answer. But, if you need to transfer or carry a balance, you’re best off applying for a new Simplicity account.
- Definitely! Citi offers lots of credit cards and multiple 0% products, so if you don’t currently have the Simplicity, you could still apply and get the 0% APR bonus for 21 months. Just remember, if you carry a balance on any of your other Citi cards, you won’t be able to transfer that balance to a Simplicity card.That being said, if you really wanted to put forth the effort, you could transfer your Citi balance to another bank’s card, then to a new Simplicity card. However, the cost of balance transfer fees could end up being more than your savings, and this isn’t something banks generally like customers to do.
Simplicity isn’t the only card offered by Citi that comes with an extended 0% promotional APR period. Before you settle on Simplicity, take a closer look at the Citi Diamond Preferred card, too.
Other Citi cards
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card|
|Intro on Purchases||0% for 12 months||0% for 18 months|
|Intro on Balance Transfers||0% for 21 months||0% for 18 months|
|Ongoing APR||14.24% to 24.24% Variable±||15.24% to 25.24% Variable±|
|Balance Transfer Fee||5$ or 5%||5$ or 5%|
These cards are very similar. The Simplicity and Diamond Preferred do not offer rewards, and both cards come with good periods of 0% APR. However, their intro 0% APR preriods and standard APRs differ slightly. Additionally, the Diamond card does have late fees and a penalty APR if you become delinquent with your account.
Although a minor difference, the Diamond card also offers Citi’s concierge services if you need assistance with dinner reservations, hard-to-get items and more.
If you’re looking for a 0% APR card, the Diamond Preferred and Simplicity are very similar and tough to beat. You can’t go wrong with either. Neither card charges an annual fee.
Rewards Cards with 0% APR
Once you pay off your outstanding debt and the interest-free period has expired on the Simplicity card, you should consider getting a cashback card that will reward you for your spending. Here are some options from Citi and a few other issuers.
Best Cashback Card
Right now, Citi Double Cash is the best all-around cashback card on the market. That’s because you’ll earn 2.0 percent back on every purchase you make. You’ll get 1 percent when you make the purchase and another 1 percent when you pay off your bill. No other card currently offers that level of return on all purchases.
If you haven’t completely paid off your outstanding debt with the Simplicity card, you’ll get 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers with the Double Cash card. In fact, if you can pay off your debt in 18 months, you’d be better off just getting this card to start with.
The Citi Double Cash card has no annual fee.
Best Rotating Category Card
The Discover it card is a great companion to a cashback card that earns a fixed rate of return, like the Citi Double Cash. That’s because it offers an outstanding 5.0 percent back in quarterly rotating bonus categories. Those categories change every year, but typically include gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores, restaurants and more.
One of the best benefits of this card is that all of the rewards you earn in your first year as a cardholder will be doubled thanks to Discover’s Cashback Match. That means that you’ll effectively earn 10.0 percent back in bonus categories and 2.0 percent back for all other purchases during the first 12 months that you have the card. That’s hard to beat.
This card also comes with a 0% introductory APR offer for 14 months on both balance transfers and purchases. If you don’t need a full 18 months of interest-free financing, you should consider skipping Citi Simplicity and going for this card.
The Discover it card has no annual fee.
Get the Biggest Bonus
If you’re looking for a quick payoff, consider the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express. You’ll get $150 for spending just $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
This no-fee card also offer 3.0 percent back at grocery stores, 2.0 percent back at gas stations and select department stores and 1.0 percent back for everything else. If you spend a lot in those categories, this is a great card to add to your wallet.
Like the other cards, this one also has a 0% introductory APR period. You’ll get interest-free financing on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, making this card a great choice to earn rewards and pay off debt at the same time.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Excellent credit score
Card Terms and Conditions
There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the Citi Simplicity card. Will you transfer a balance, get a cash advance or make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this card.
- Intro APR:
- 0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of account opening
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- 0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening
- Ongoing APR:
- 15.24% to 25.24% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The Simplicity card extends the warranty of your big-ticket item in the event something goes wrong with your purchase.
- Price Protection:
- Citi’s Price Rewind will automatically track the price of your purchase at hundreds of stores and retailers and give you the difference. It’s a great benefit!
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 15.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Data breaches and identity theft are common occurrences these days, so it’s good to know your bank is looking out for you. Citi offers every cardholder certain security benefits, like account alerts and mobile banking options.
- Account alerts:
- Get free, customizable email alerts when certain activity or transactions occur on your card.
- Banking On the Go:
- Track your account with the Citi app available for iPhone and Android.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Use your card anywhere in the world with the latest EMV chip technology.
- Credit Score Reports:
- Every Citi card gives you free FICO scores for easy credit monitoring.
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions:
- Identity theft can happen to anyone, so it’s good to have your credit card on your side. Citi Identity Theft Solutions can identify compromised accounts, filepolice reports and help get your credit life back on track.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Simplicity card is offered as a MasterCard and is accepted by merchants worldwide. However, unlike some cards, this MasterCard does not offer the same benefits that are common with travel credit cards. In the event you’re looking to book travel with your Simplicity, as much as it’s good to know what comes with your card, it’s also worth knowing what you don’t get.