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Review

2020 Review of the Citi Simplicity® Card – Good for Paying Off Debt?

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Evan Zimmer By Evan Zimmer Feb 17, 2020 | Updated Jul 30, 2020
Our rating
Min. credit level: Good
Annual Fee: $0
Regular APR: 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever doesn’t come with many big surprises, offering a very simple experience for card users.

The main draw comes from the ability to transfer balances from other cards or loans. It has one of the longer 0% introductory periods for purchases and balance transfers out there, giving you plenty of extra time to help pay down any balances that are collecting interest.

You’ll get:

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable).
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable).

The Simplicity also has very few fees to bog you down. Keep reading to learn more, and to see if this card is worth it for you.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 18 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Citi Simplicity four out of five Stars. It provides a truly uncomplicated experience, focused on a great introductory APR deal. For the most part, what you see is what you get.

Why We Like It

  • A very long 0% introductory period for purchases and balance transfers
  • Few fees to keep track of — no annual fee, late fees, or penalty rate
  • Check one of your FICO credit scores for free whenever you’d like

Why It Could Be Better

  • Balance transfer fee: 3%, $5 minimum
  • No rewards program
  • Lackluster benefits
Insider tip

While having no late fees is a nice feature, on the surface, don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s OK to pay late. You may pay interest charges on your balance if you miss a payment, and could lose your 0% intro rate. If they’re late enough, late payments can hurt your credit scores as well.

 

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Take advantage of the long 0% intro purchase and balance transfer APR: This card’s best feature is the long 0% interest period on purchases and balance transfers. You can utilize the time it gives to make new, interest-free purchases, and if you have a balance elsewhere that’s accruing interest, you can save money by transferring it over (just take the transfer fee into account). Take note that you can’t transfer balances between cards from the same issuer.
  • Monitor one of your credit scores: One benefit you’ll get is access to your Equifax-based FICO Bankcard Score 8 credit score, so be sure to use that to know where your credit stands.

The Rewards

The Citi Simplicity doesn’t offer any rewards. The true value of the card comes from taking advantage of the long purchase and balance transfer period. The lack of fees, and the occasional promotion Citi offers, make it a bit more enticing.

Looking for a card with rewards? Best Rewards Credit Cards

The Benefits

With this card you’ll get access to a relatively minimal benefits package. While there may not be much, what the Citi Simplicity does have might help you out in some tight spots.

  • Free FICO Score: Check your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report, whenever you’d like.
  • Citi Easy Deals: Find discounts and special offers at nearby merchants; the more you spend with the card, the better the offers.
  • Automatic account alerts: Get notifications (by email or text) about your balance, payments due, and other account details.
  • $0 Liability on Unauthorized Charges: Citi’s got you covered. You won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges on your card — just be sure to let customer support know as soon as you spot any.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Citi can show you how to help prevent your identity from being stolen, and will help you recover if it does happen to you.
  • Choose your due date: You’ll be able to set your billing due date for the most convenient time to pay your bill.
  • Contactless payments: Tap your card on eligible checkout terminals to check out quickly and securely.
Insider tip

As a Citi cardholder, you may receive offers for either Citi Flex Pay or a Citi Flex Loan, the issuer’s proprietary flexible financing options. Citi will review your account periodically, and offers will typically be extended by email or a banner on your account page if you’re eligible.

Both options can be useful if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off a necessary purchase within the billing period, but look into the terms and any other applicable details to make sure you’re making the right decision for your situation.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 3%
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
3%, $5 minimum 5%; $10 minimum
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None None Up to $40

So you’ll get a lot of time to pay down a balance when you transfer it over, and and the same bit of time before your new purchases begin to accumulate interest. Just be sure to keep an eye on those term limits, because once those are up, you’ll be charged the regular rates shown above.

Take note that balance transfers must be completed in the first four months of getting the card to qualify for the intro rate. Your 0% period will begin at the date of your first transfer. You’ll want to keep the date of first transfer somewhere safe. That way, you can refer back to it when you need to check on those term limits.

It’s also worth noting that while there is no annual fee, late fee, or penalty APR, there still is a balance transfer fee (keep in mind some cards have no fee for balance transfers). That may give you pause, depending on the amount of each transfer you have planned. So before you transfer over a balance, especially a large balance, make sure you’re getting a deal that’s worth it.

A good way to make sure you have the correct monthly payment, to eliminate the balance by the end of the 0% period, is to divide the balance by the number of months in the period. That would be 18 months, in this case. A wise idea would be to divide by one fewer month to make sure you pay it off before your introductory period is over.

For example, if you transfer a $2,000 balance and have 21 months to pay it off: The total balance is $2,100 after the 5% fee. If you divide $2,100 by 21 months, you get a payment of $100 per month. To pay it off a month early: $2,100 divided by 20 months is $105 per month.

The Bottom Line

The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever is well liked among people who don’t much care for interest rates. You’ll get plenty of time to pay off your transferred balances, and without having to pay attention to interest on your purchases.

There are also very few fees to worry about, and you’ll even get a few handy perks.

So if you have another card with a balance that’s accumulating interest, you might want to transfer it over to the Simplicity. While you won’t earn any rewards, it still has its merits.

Although this card gives you plenty of cushion when it comes to carrying a balance, keep in mind that’s never something you want to get in the habit of doing as it can hurt your credit scores.

How to Apply for the Citi Simplicity

Simply click the Apply Now button below. It’ll direct you to the card issuer’s website where you can follow the prompts. You’ll need to fill in your personal and financial information, and Citi will perform a hard inquiry on your credit.

You should often hear back instantly if you’ve been approved or not, and Citi will issue your card. In some cases Citi may request more information.

What Credit Scores Do You Need for the Citi Simplicity?

You should have FICO credit scores in the good range (670–739) for the best chances of getting approved. While you don’t necessarily need that rating to get approved, the better your scores, the higher chance there is (obviously).

Aside from credit scores, credit card issuers take other factors into account when determining your creditworthiness, like income. So you may still get approved, even if you’re below that rating. In the end, it comes down to Citi’s discretion.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status, and potentially driver’s license number
  • Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
  • Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 18 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Alternatives to the Citi Simplicity

Is the Citi Simplicity not the right fit? A little too simple? Maybe one of these cards will suit you better.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 14.99%–24.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card provides another simple option for a balance transfer card.

While it doesn’t offer any rewards, it does have a 0% introductory APR for 20 billing cycles for both balance transfers and purchases, rather than having different intro period lengths for each. Following the intro period, your regular rate will be 14.99%–24.99% Variable.

There’s no annual fee, and you’ll get a few extra benefits, with cell phone insurance being the most notable. It also requires a lower balance transfer fee than the Simplicity.

So it’ll save you a little something at the cost of a few months. Does that difference sound enticing enough to you?

  • Free VantageScore credit score: View your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report, to help monitor your credit.
  • Travel protections: Get covered by rental car insurance, and access to travel and emergency assistance services.
  • Extended Warranty: You’ll get an extended manufacturer’s warranty on eligible products.
  • Cell Phone Protection: Pay your phone bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card to receive coverage for damage and theft claims up to $600, up to two claims per year, with a $25 deductible.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 20 billing cycles, then 14.99%–24.99% Variable (for transfers completed within the first 60 days)
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%, $5 minimum
  • Annual fee: $0
  • 0% introductory APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, then 14.99%–24.99% Variable
  • Savings at various retailers through Visa Discounts
  • Travel and shopping protections
  • Cell Phone Protection
  • Free VantageScore based on your TransUnion credit report
  • No annual fee

Wells Fargo Platinum card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 15.49%-24.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Wells Fargo Platinum card is yet another good option for balance transfers.

You’ll get 18 months of 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers, followed by a rate of 15.49%-24.99% Variable. There’s no annual fee, and with the same intro period as the Simplicity’s, it’s a great deal of time to pay off a balance. The transfer fee is the same as the Simplicity’s as well.

You’ll have access to Visa Platinum benefits, including cell phone insurance (similar to the U.S. Bank card above).

If you’re carrying a balance on a Citi or U.S. Bank card you won’t be able to use their other cards for balance transfers (because you can’t transfer balances between cards from the same issuer). So Wells Fargo might be a good option in those cases. Certainly something to think about.

  • Travel protections: Get covered by rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, access to roadside dispatch, and travel and emergency assistance services, among other benefits.
  • Cell phone protection: Get insured for up to $600 in damages or theft when you pay your monthly phone bill with the card; subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months, then 15.49%-24.99% Variable
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% for 120 days, then 5%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Pay down balances instead of interest with Wells Fargo’s longest intro APR
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Chase Freedom®

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Chase Freedom® (Review) provides cash back in rotating quarterly categories.

Every three months you’ll earn 5% cash back on select purchases, up to $1,500 spent per quarter (activation required). The categories can be pretty handy, often including gas stations and grocery stores.

This card also has a long 0% introductory APR for purchases: 15 months, before the regular rate of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable kicks in. While it doesn’t boast the 18 months of the Simplicity, you will earn far more rewards with the Freedom.

There’s also no annual fee, so your only worries should be watching those rotating categories and keeping an eye on the APR term limits.

If you’re looking for a more rewarding option that still gives you a solid amount of time to pay off a balance without accruing interest, this could be the one for you.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
    • Grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases; up to $12,000 spent in the first year)
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Quarter 2019 Categories 2020 Categories
January – March
  • Gas Stations
  • Tolls
  • Drugstores
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
April – June
  • Grocery Stores
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Streaming Services
  • Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
July – September
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
October – December
  • Department Stores
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay
TBA
  • Credit Journey: Access Chase’s Credit Journey credit monitoring tool, providing a way to keep track of your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report, from month to month.
  • DoorDash membership: Cardholders can subscribe to DoorDash’s DashPass membership for free for three months, and then get a 50% membership discount for the following nine months.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Get more cash back at select retailers with the Shop Through Chase marketplace, with other discounts via Chase Offers.
  • Shopping protections: Extended warranty for eligible products, and purchase protection (covers eligible purchases against damage and theft)
  • Travel protections: Get covered against theft and collision damage of rental vehicles, as long as you decline the rental company’s insurance, as well as access to trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance and other perks.
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it’s automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is one of the best credit cards available offering a flat cash back rate.

It earns 2% back on every purchase, with a slight catch. You’ll get 1% when you make the purchase, and the other 1% when you pay it off.

It also has no annual fee, and a long 0% introductory APR balance transfer offer which is the same as the Simplicity’s 18 months. After that your standard variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).

The Double Cash provides a straightforward, inexpensive option to earn some rewards while still giving you extra time to pay off a large balance.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time)
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase

The rewards you earn with this card can be redeemed normally as cash back, or they can be converted into ThankYou points. Then, you could transfer them to a partner airline or other Citi card where you might find a better value for them.

  • Free FICO credit score: See your Equifax-based FICO Bankcard Score 8 on statements, online, and by mobile app.
  • Citi Concierge: Get restaurant suggestions, reservations, travel arrangements, shopping research, and more.
  • Citi Entertainment: Get preferred access and pre-sale tickets to events and experiences, from music to movies.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Balance transfer fee: Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 18 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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At a glance

The Citi Simplicity card stays true to its name, offering a straightforward card experience focused on a very long 0% introductory APR period for both purchases and balance transfers.

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The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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