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Updated December 30, 2014

Citi Simplicity Review: 0% Intro APR for 18 Months

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By not charging for late payments, the Citi Simplicity Card gives cardholders some breathing room when it comes to managing their credit. Plus, with an 18-month introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, this card is a smart pick for people who carry a balance. In exchange for this flexibility, the Citi Simplicity Card does not have a rewards program.

12/30/2014 Update: We're sorry, Citi Simplicity® Card is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

Overall Score

4.5

Fees

5.0

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 0% intro APR for 18 months
  • No late fees
  • No penalty interest rate
  • No annual fee
  • No rewards

Bottom Line

Excellent card for people who carry a balance

Savvy credit card users pay off their balance each month and never miss a payment. But in reality, that ideal is not always possible. If you’re the type of person who sometimes forgets to pay on time or needs to carry a balance for a variety of reasons, you may benefit from signing up for the Citi Simplicity Card.

No Late Fees and No Penalty Rate

This card has no annual fee and avoids many of the other pesky fees that other credit cards are quick to impose if you don’t meet their payment deadline. Some card issuers may raise your monthly interest rate to an APR penalty rate of 29.99% if you are late with a payment. Cards can also charge you a fee and the penalty interest rate if you spend over the credit limit on your card.

The Citi Simplicity does not charge any of those fees. You can use this card without worrying about excess fees on your account (you will, of course, rack up interest charges whenever you can’t pay off the balance, after the intro period ends). However, be aware that consistent late payments will still be reported to the credit bureaus and affect your credit score. So even though you will not be charged any additional fees, it's important to be timely with your payments or it will have a negative impact in the long run. Learn more from CreditDonkey about keeping your credit in good standing.

Balance Transfer: 0% Introductory APR

© Matthew Grapengieser (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

The Citi Simplicity Credit Card also offers a generous introductory APR. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months. This applies to both purchases and to balance transfers from other cards.

Balance Transfer Fee: The card does charge a one-time 3% fee on balance transfers, with a minimum charge of $5. In other words, if you transfer over $1,000, you will owe an additional $30. While transfers are not free, the fee is significantly lower than paying interest on a big balance for almost two years. If you can pay off your balance within the 18-month intro period, you will have saved yourself a ton in interest charges. It’s a great way to make a serious dent in your debt.

After the first 18 months, this card charges a variable APR of 12.99% to 22.99% based on your creditworthiness. This APR is the same for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. Typically, cards charge a much higher cash advance APR.

No Rewards

The downside of the Citi Simplicity Credit Card is that it does not offer any sort of rewards program. Your purchases on this card do not generate any points for cash back, hotel visits or travel tickets. The lack of a rewards program means that Citi can keep the fees on this card low. If you tend to or plan to always pay off your balance in full every month, you are probably better off using a rewards card.

Foreign Transaction Fee

International travelers should keep in mind, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you do not plan to use this card overseas, then this has no impact on you. Otherwise, travelers should consider bringing a no foreign transaction fee credit card oversea instead.

Price Protection

Ever feel like you’ve paid too much for something? With Citi Simplicity, you can register eligible purchases you make with the card at citi.com/pricerewind, and the issuer will search hundreds of sites for 60 days after your purchase to see it’s being sold at a lower price. You’ll get a refund if there’s a difference of $25 or more.

No Liability on Unauthorized Charges

Like other major credit cards, Citi Simplicity offers protection against fraudulent charges. If someone you have not authorized gets a hold of your account number or card itself, you won't have to pay a cent for charges that person makes. In addition, you have access to Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, which will help you resolve your issues if you're the victim of identity theft. Learn more about credit card fraud from CreditDonkey.

Payment Due Date Option

To make it easier on your finances, you can choose what day of the month you'd like to remit payment. This is helpful if you're consistently deluged with bills in the beginning of the month, or if you're paid bi-monthly and you won't have the funds to pay your credit card bill until your paycheck arrives.

Pros

  • No penalty charge on late payments or purchases over the credit line
  • No penalty APR for late payments or purchases over the credit line
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months
  • Low 3% fee on balance transfers
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • No rewards program
  • Only balance transfers made in the first 4 months of the account qualify for the 0% introductory APR
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

The lack of most common fees (annual fees, late fees, and penalty rates) and a long introductory APR make this a fantastic card for consumers who carry a balance and are occasionally late with a payment. Cardholders who pay off their balance every billing cycle are better off with a rewards card.

12/30/2014 Update: We're sorry, Citi Simplicity® Card is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

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Follow @CreditDonkey or write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com
David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: This content was first published on January 7, 2012. This content may have been updated on December 30, 2014. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the issuer's website for updated information.

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