Citi Simplicity Card Review - MasterCard Version - No Late Fee Penalty

Picture of Item Reviewed

Editor's Rating:
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Credit Needed
N.A. 18 Months* $0* Excellent
Feature Summary
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - EVER
  • No penalty rate - EVER
  • No annual fee - EVER
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.
Executive Summary - This card distinguishes itself from the pack by not charging any late payment fees if you miss a payment by its due date. Otherwise, it's strong points are it's 0% Intro APR for balance transfers and purchases (presently 18 months) and this card should appeal to those looking for 0% deals.

Another Low Rate Card From Citi? - If you have been surfing our site for a while (or Citi's site), you will have come to realize that they have a few cards that offer a really great 0% deal. These cards share something in common: they are plain cards with no rewards but come with great rates and introductory deals. Well, the Citi Simplicity® Card is one of these cards but it comes with a unique twist. This card will waive any late fees if a purchases or cash advance is made within the same billing period. Aside from this unique feature, it has an excellent 0% introductory apr offer for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfer.

No late fees? - The unique features of the Citi Simplicity Card is that if you make a late payment, your fees will be waived if you have made a purchase or cash advance during the same billing period. Balance transfers do not apply. (Note that late payment is often reported to the credit bureaus after 60 days and hence you do not ever want to be late if you can avoid it). This feature goes beyond the scope of the CARD Act of 2009, which merely limits fees for late payments.

Fees - Like the majority of cards out there, the Citi Simplicity Card has no annual fee. You get an introductory apr of 0% for both purchases and balance transfer for 18 months. For purchases, 0% apr applies from the date of account opening. However, for the 0% apr on balance transfers, it applies from the date of the transfer. And you also have 12 months to make the first balance transfer.

Other Features - The Citi Simplicity Card has features that cardholders should be taking advantage of. You can set up automatic payments so that payments can be taken from your bank account automatically. If you do this, you do not have to worry about late fees. You can also choose to receive email alerts on your bills and set up online payments. Citi also offers a free Identity Theft Solutions benefit to all cardholders. This service involves monitoring your card activities for fraudulent uses and also working with the credit bureaus if you become a victim of identity theft.

Citi Simplicity Card Comparisons (Mainly in the Realm of Balance Transfers)

To be honest, the Citi Simplicity is an exact replica of their own vanilla cards, the Citi Platinum Select Card and the Citi Diamond Preferred Card. But let's still look into it.

Versus Citi Platinum Select - Like I said earlier, for all intends an purposes, these are identical cards. The Citi® Platinum Select® Visa® has the same 18 month 0% balance transfer deal that this card has. But perhaps this card is slightly better in that you could get late payment fees waived.

Against Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards - The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card also has identical features with both the Citi Platinum Select Card and the Citi Simplicity Card. But the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has a concierge service which is very rare for a no annual fee credit card. But if you are looking for a card to transfer your balance, then both these cards have identical 18 month introductory deals.

Versus Chase Slate - Chases' vanilla card is now called Slate from Chase (the officially name). It is different from the Simplicity Card because they have a feature called the BluePrint. BluePrint is a feature which allows you to define an expense category which you want "technically" to be paid off. So even if you carry a balance, you will not be charged any interest on that category of expense that you chose to "pay in full". At this moment, the Chase Slate is waiving any balance transfer fee on their 0% 12 month deal.

We can go on and on with comparisons with other vanilla cards. But the main point is that for the most parts, this card beats most others because of their 0% deals. And it appears that it is Citi's policy to have the longest introductory deal in the market. As a result, this card (along with other ones from Citi) simply come up on top when you compare them with other plain cards from other banks.

Citi Simplicity - Too Good To Be True?

No - There is really no late fee - The late fee waiver is an excellent feature. But that does not mean that you should pay late occasionally! To avoid late fees, the best thing to do is to actually set up an automatic payment with Citibank so that your credit card payment is automatically deducted from your bank account each month (you can never be accused to late payment). However, for those who insist on sending a check or to pay bills online manually, this is a very useful feature. (Please note however, that a late payment will still be reported to the credit bureaus if you are late for 60 days).

However, even without the late fee waiver feature, we would recommend the Citi Simplicity® Card to those looking for a low interest rate credit card. It is a low apr, a very good 0% apr introductory offer for 18 months for both purchases and balance transfer. Please also check our balance transfer deals page for the best 0% deals.