Citi Simplicity Card
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By : Mr Credit Card

Citi Simplicity Intro: Great 0% APR Deal For Purchases

The Citi Simplicity is an ideal card for those looking to make a large purchase with 0% financing. They offer 0% APR for 18 months for both purchases and balance transfers. Since they do charge a balance transfer fee, you have to compare it with other cards that do not charge any balance transfer fee but have a shorter intro period before deciding if doing a balance transfer with this card makes sense.


Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Intro Balance Transfer APR 0% Intro APR for 18 months from date of transfer when transfer is within 4 months of account opening
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 18 months
Regular APR 14.74% to 24.74%
Balance Transfer Fee Greater of $5 or 3% of balance transfer
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
Late Payment Fee $0
Chip and PIN Yes - but Signature Preferred


Fees - The Citi Simplicity Card has no annual fee. However, they do charge a balance transfer fee. It is the greater of $5 or 3% of the balance transfer. There is also a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

No Late Payment Fees - This is one of the rare credit cards that does not charge any late payment fees. Having said that, this should not be a selling point because you do not want to be late for paying your credit card bills.

0% Intro Deal - The intro 0% APR is for 18 months and applies to both purchases and balance transfers. For purchases, the 18 month clock starts ticking when the account is opened. For the intro balance transfer deal, you have up to 4 months to transfer your balance over. There is a balance transfer fee (greater of $5 or 3% of balance transfer).

Chip and PIN - Citi now issues Chip and PIN cards. These are not PIN priority but are instead Signature preferred. It is also online PIN and not offline PIN (note: offline PIN allows you to use your card at unmanned bus or train station terminals in Europe).

Free Equifax FICO Score - All citicards have this feature.


Competition

Card 0% APR Purchase 0% APR BT Regular APR Balance Transfer Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Citi Simplicity 18 Months 18 Months 14.74% to 24.74% Greater of $5 or 3% of transfer 3%
Citi Diamond Preferred 18 Months 18 Months 14.74% to 24.74% Greater of $5 or 3% of transfer 3%
Citi Double Cash N.A. 18 Months 13.99% to 23.99% Greater of $5 or 3% of transfer $0
US Bank Visa Platinum 20 Months 20 Months 13.99% to 23.99% Greater of $5 or 3% of transfer 3%
Wells Fargo Platinum 18 Months 18 Months 16.49% to 24.49% Greater of $5 or 3% of transfer 3%
Greater Metro Platinum Mastercard 12 Months 12 Months 8.9% $0 $0
Greater Metro Mastercard 12 Months 12 Months 11.9% $0 $0
BECU Visa 12 Months 12 Months 6.9% to 12.9% $0 $0
BECU Cash Back Visa Months 12 Months 9.9% to 15.9% $0 $0
Navy Federal 12 Months 12 Months 5.99% to 18% $0 $0


The table above shows credit cards that also offer 0% deals. I've included credit card from mainstream issuers as well some cards from credit unions with no balance transfer fee.

As you can see from the table above, the Citi Simplicity has the second longest intro period at 18 months. Citi also has a couple of other cards that offer similar deals. For example, the Diamond Preferred has identical 0% deal. The Citi Double Cash also offers 0% APR for balance transfer only for 18 months. However, the card that beats them all in this aspect is the US Bank Visa Platinum, which offers 0% APR for 20 months on both purchases and balance transfer.

I have also included credit cards that have no balance transfer fee. These card are from credit unions and only tend to have 0% deals for only 12 months. These card that I've listed from Greater Metro, BECU, Navy Federal all do not charge any balance transfer fee. Furthermore, they do not charge any foreign transaction fee and their ongoing APR is much lower than credit cards from mainstream issuers. One example is the BECU Cash Back Visa. The card has an intro 0% deal for both purchases and balance transfer for 12 months with no balance transfer fee. Furthermore, they do not charge any foreign transaction fee and their cards also come with Chip and PIN. In many ways, these credit cards from credit unions are much better than the Citi Simplicity and other mainstream 0% APR credit cards.


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Long Intro Period - The intro period of 18 months for both purchases and balance transfers is the second longest at the moment. It used to be the longest (at 21 months) but Citi has reduced it to 18 months. Only the US Bank Visa Platinum has a longer intro period (at 20 months).

  • 4 Months To Complete Balance Transfer - You are given a very generous 4 months to complete your balance transfer from date of account opening to activate the 0% balance transfer deal

  • No Late Fees and Over-the-limit Fees - The Citi Simplicity is one of the rare credit cards with no late fees or over-the-limit fees.

  • Chip and PIN - Citi does offer Chip and PIN with it's cards but it is still signature preferred.

  • Free FICO Score - You get free FICO score that is updated monthly from Equifax.

Cons

  • Charges Foreign Transaction Fee - Though this is not a travel credit card, I will still be picky about this because I think credit cards should do away with this. Because of this, this card should not be used when you travel abroad.

  • Regular APR is on average to high side - After the intro period ends, the regular APR is not particularly low. It is at best average and on the high side if you are given an APR at the upper range.

  • Charges Balance Transfer Fee - Citi Simplicity charges a balance transfer fee (greater of $5 or 3% of balance transfer).

  • No Rewards - There is no reward program for this card. While this may not be a big deal for some of you looking for 0% deals, Citi has other reward cards that also offers 0% deals.


Our Take: Take Advantage of 0% APR for Purchases...But Balance Transfer Fee offsets Long Intro

The Citi Simplicity is best for those of you looking for a credit card with 0% APR deal. Their introductory period of 18 months is the second longest on the market today. It used to be 21 months (the longest intro period in the market) but they reduced it during the Covid1-19 pandemic period. Only the US Bank Platinum Visa has a longer intro period at 20 months (for now).

0% APR for Purchases Is A Very Good Deal

If you plan to make a big purchase and take advantage of 0% financing (and the place that you are buying from does not give 0% financing), then the Citi Simplicity is a great card to get for this purpose because 18 months is a really long intro period.

Do Your Math for Balance Transfer

Though you can transfer a balance within 4 months and get 0% APR for 18 months, you are charged a balance transfer fee of (the greater of $5 or 3% of balance transfer). There are quite a few credit cards (mainly from credit unions) that have no balance transfer fee and you should compare and calculate whether a shorter intro period with no balance transfer fee is better for you or a longer intro period with a balance transfer fee.

And if you do the math and figure that 0% for 18 months on balance transfer is good for you, then you might also want to consider the Citi Double Cash because it also offers 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfer (but no purchases) and you get to earn 2% cash back.

Lacking Other Features

Aside from the 0% APR deal, I feel that the Citi Simplicity lacks other features which would have made it more attractive. For example, though Citi issues Chip and PIN cards (though it is signature preferred), this card charges a foreign transaction fee. This makes it an unattractive card to use when you are traveling abroad.

The ongoing APR after the intro period ends is also not attractive if you are looking for a low rate credit card. There are many credit cards available with ongoing APR below 10%.

There is also no reward program for the card. So once the intro period ends and you have paid off your balance, you probably want to call Citi and ask for a PC (product change) to a card like the Citi Double Cash where you can earn 2% cash back.

To Sum Up

So to sum up, if you are looking to make a large purchase and do 0% financing, the Citi Simplicity is a great card to get. If you are looking to do a balance transfer, you have to do the math and see if 0% for 18 months with the balance transfer fee saves you more money than a shorter (normally 12 months) intro period with no balance transfer fee. It is a card that you want to get solely for the 0% intro deal. Once the intro period is up or you have finished paying off your balance, you should PC to a better card like the Citi Double Cash.


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