CITI SIMPLICITY CREDIT CARD REVIEW [UPDATED 2019]
If you’re someone who likes to keep their finances uncomplicated, then you will love the Citi Simplicity credit card.
This is because the Citi Simplicity card comes with no complications. By that we mean that there is no late fee, no penalty interest rate and no annual fee – ever.
Plus, you get a 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases for 12 months and 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months on transfers completed in the first 4 months.
These are the ways the Citi Simplicity ‘simplifies’ the credit card experience. With this credit card, you won’t need to worry about fees or interest charges. It’s a credit card that has been designed to be truly hassle-free.
- No late fees
- No penalty interest rate
- No annual fee – ever
- No reward program attached to this card
- Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers expire after 12 months and 21 months respectively
- After the intro periods, you’ll be subject to an interest rate of 16.24% to 26.24%
NO SIGNUP BONUS, NO REWARDS
If you’re expecting a signup bonus or rewards with this credit card, you’ll be disappointed as there is no reward program attached to this card. No cash back and no travel rewards.
The benefits of this card come in the form of no fees or penalties. The only introductory incentive is the 0% interest charged on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 21 months on transfers completed in the first 4 months.
People who appreciate this credit card are those who take advantage of the low introductory APR and the fact that having this credit card in your back pocket is not likely to cost you anything in terms of fees. But if you’re hoping to travel south this coming winter on travel reward points, then this isn’t the card for you.
ANNUAL AND TRANSACTION FEES
As mentioned, there is no annual fee attached to the Citi Simplicity credit card. And that’s great news considering that most credit cards charge an annual fee that ranges between $100 and $500 per year.
You’ll also duck any penalty fees normally charged for late payments with this credit card. While all this is great, there are some other fees to be aware of:
Foreign transaction fees – equal to 3% of the US dollar amount of each purchase made outside the US
Cash advance fee – either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Balance transfer fee – $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is the greater amount
Be sure to keep these fees in mind with the Citi Simplicity credit card so as not to be surprised when you get your monthly statement.
Lastly, while there are no penalty fees charged for late payments to this credit card, Citi does charge a penalty fee of $39 for any and all returned payments. Make sure those payments don’t bounce!
You should also be aware of the terms surrounding the introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months. To qualify for the 0% introductory APR, any and all balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening.
So, if you’re looking to consolidate debt from other credit cards and loans onto the Citi Simplicity card, you’ll want to move quickly so as to get the full benefit of no interest charged on the balance transfers for almost two years.
While on the subject of interest rates, you should know that when the 0% APR on purchases expires after 12 months, you’ll be subject to an interest rate of 16.24% to 26.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
This means that if you have a good credit history and score you’ll be charged the lower interest rate, but you’ll be charged a higher interest rate if Citi deems that you have bad credit. Also, the interest rate charged is variable, which means it could change as the prime lending rate changes.
The interest charged on balance transfers after the introductory 21-month period ends is 16.24% to 26.24%. Same goes for the interest charged on cash advances taken off this credit card.
You’ll be charged APR of 16.24% to 26.24% depending on your credit rating for any and all cash advances. This is positive and another way that the Citi Simplicity card keeps things simple.
Many credit cards charge higher interest rates for balance transfers and cash advances than the interest charged on straight purchases. Charging the same interest rate no matter how the credit card is used means you don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about the interest, or APR, you’re paying.
True to its promise of simplicity, this credit card doesn’t offer a lot in the way of extra features. There are a few features with the Simplicity card that come standard on most Citi credit cards:
- identity theft prevention
- $0 liability on unauthorized charges
- Round-the-clock customer service
- Alerts to remind you of your current account balance and when payments are due
But that’s about it. Again, this credit card is all about keeping things as simple as possible and not overwhelming you with features and add-ons.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS CARD
If you’re someone who likes collecting rewards and isn’t overly worried about fees and penalties, then you’re not likely to appreciate the Citi Simplicity credit card.
It really is for people who like uncomplicated finances and to keep things as easy as possible or for those needing to do a balance transfer. If you want a more dramatic credit card, then you best look elsewhere.
ALTERNATIVE CARD: THE CITI DIAMOND PREFERRED CREDIT CARD
Probably the best credit card to compare the Citi Simplicity card to is the Citi Diamond Preferred card. As with the Citi Simplicity credit card, the Citi Diamond Preferred card offers no annual fee ever, plus a long and attractive introductory APR.
With the Citi Diamond Preferred credit card, you get 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 months from the date of account opening. These are attractive cost-effective features that make the Citi Diamond Preferred card worth considering.
Also, the interest charged after the intro period expires is a little lower on the Citi Diamond Preferred card at 15.24% to 25.24%. Though the interest charged on cash advances is higher at 27.49% and the penalty interest charged for late payments is assessed at 29.99%. With the Citi Simplicity card, you avoid late payment penalties altogether.
The Citi Simplicity is the credit card for people who are looking to keep their finances as easy as possible. If you’re a zen master who appreciates an uncomplicated world with no drama in the form of annual fees or penalty interest, as well as low interest rates, then you’re sure to love the Citi Simplicity credit card. It’s a hassle-free option in a world of reward redemptions and payment schedules.
The opinions provided in this article are those of the author and do not constitute investment advice. Readers should assume that the author and/or employees of Grizzle hold positions in the company or companies mentioned in the article. For more information, please see our Content Disclaimer.