Citi Simplicity® Card Review: One of the Longest 0% APR Periods of Any Card
Citi Simplicity® Card
The Citi Simplicity® Card is one of the best credit cards for balance transfers, offering an introductory APR period of 0% for 12 months on purchases and 21 months on balance transfers, then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable for new customers. While the long intro period is great, the card chargers a higher balance transfer fee than a lot of cards with a 0% APR period. Additionally, it doesn’t offer any rewards. If you need the full 21 months to pay back your debt, it can be a useful tool. Read our full review to see if it’s right for you—and a few more options in case it’s not.
Citi Simplicity® Card Quick Review
Here’s a high-level look at the Citi Simplicity® Card:
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and 21 months on balance transfers, then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable
Sign-Up Bonus: None
- No late fees
- No penalty APRs
- Choose your payment due date
- Identity theft resolution assistance
- $5 or 5% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater
- $10 or 5% cash advance fee, whichever is greater
- 3% foreign transaction fees
- Up to $39 returned payment fee
Why Apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card
There are several reasons to give the Citi Simplicity® Card a chance:
It has a generous 0% introductory APR period
The Citi Simplicity® Card offers an introductory APR period of 0% for 12 months on purchases and 21 months on balance transfers, then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable. This applies for balance transfers completed within the first four months of account opening. That’s one of the most generous timeframes of any card if you need to pay down a large credit card balance. After that, however, the card will begin accruing interest at the standard rate of 15.99% to 25.99%, depending on your credit score. There’s also a 0% APR period for new purchases, but this only lasts for 12 months.
There aren’t penalties for late payments
The Citi Simplicity® Card doesn’t charge an extra fee if your payment is late, nor does it bump you up to a higher penalty APR. This is a nice option if you occasionally miss a payment, but you keep in mind you’ll still pay a penalty of sorts because your higher balance will continue to accrue interest.
Citi Simplicity® Card: Drawbacks and Downsides
The Citi Simplicity® Card is an appealing choice for balance transfers, but there are a few downsides to be aware of:
You can’t earn rewards
Citi offers several rewards credit cards, but the Citi Simplicity® Card isn’t one of them. This card is designed to help people pay down credit card debt, and that’s it. Once the 0% introductory APR period is finished, the card doesn’t have much else to offer. Unless you plan to take advantage of the 0% APR period, you’re better off going with a credit card that earns rewards.
The balance transfer fee is high
When you transfer a balance to the Citi Simplicity® Card, you must pay the greater of $5 or 5% of your balance. This is higher than most balance transfer cards, which only charge the greater of $5 or 3% of your balance. While 2% might not sound like a lot, on $5,000, that’s $100 extra you’d pay. If you don’t believe you’ll need the full 21 months to pay back your debt, you may find another card with a 12- or 18-month 0% APR to be more affordable. A handful of cards even offer 0% APR and $0 balance transfer fees during their introductory periods, which could save you hundreds of dollars.
Citi Simplicity® Card Alternatives
Try one of these cards instead if the Citi Simplicity® Card isn’t right for you:
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card offers an introductory APR of 15.49% – 25.49% Variable for balance transfers. There’s no similar 0% APR period for new purchases, but you’ll still be able to earn rewards: You get 1% cash back when you buy, and an additional 1% back when you pay for your purchase.
The Citi Double Cash Card has a balance transfer fee, but it’s only $5 or 3% of your balance, whichever is greater. This will likely be the better option than the Citi Simplicity® Card, unless you really need those three extra months to pay off what you owe.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card
The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card has an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months, then 13.49% to 26.99% Variable for purchases and balance transfers. This makes it appealing to pay down debt and to finance a large purchase. There’s no annual fee, and the standard APR is pretty reasonable. The card has a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of your balance, whichever is greater, for the first 18 months. After that, it charges you the greater of $5 or 5% of your balance.
This card doesn’t earn any rewards, so there’s little reason to apply for it unless you plan to take advantage of that 0% APR period. However, it does offer other perks, like $600 of cell phone protection that you won’t find with many other cards.
Citi Simplicity® Card FAQs
Here are answers to some common questions about the Citi Simplicity® Card.
What credit score do you need to get approved for the Citi Simplicity® Card?
Citi doesn’t publish exact credit score requirements for its cards, but it’s safe to assume you need good to excellent credit for approval. The exact definition of good credit varies, but most people put this at about 700 or above.
What kind of credit limit will I get with the Citi Simplicity® Card?
Your Citi Simplicity® Card credit limit will vary depending on your income and credit score. At a minimum you’ll get at least $500, and possibly much more.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card?
The Citi Simplicity® Card is worth considering if you need the full 21-month 0% APR period to pay off a large transfer balance. Otherwise, you can get more bang for your balance out of a card with a shorter 0% APR period and cash back rewards.