I just realized that I’ve mentioned the Citi Simplicity Card in several posts, but I’ve never done a formal review. Well, this violates my sense of order, so here we go.
The Citi Simplicity Card is true to its name. It really is a simple, straightforward card and it’s easy to understand the fine print. But I also think this card can make it way too easy to think you don’t have to worry about on-time payments.
Remember that Citi Simplicity commercial where a young woman is a makeup artist for a movie that’s filming on location? She’s on a faraway island and can’t pay her credit card bill on time. She’s so relieved she doesn’t have to worry about a late fee or getting whacked with a 29 percent penalty APR.
If only life were that simple. You may not have to worry about a late fee or a penalty rate, but this doesn’t mean your tardiness won’t be reported to the credit bureaus. If that happens, your credit score could drop.
Just wanted to make this clear because while it’s nice to avoid a fee, it’s not exactly smooth sailing. So I just want you to think of this feature as a safety net that you hope you never need. And if you have a job where you travel, like the makeup artist, then be sure you set up an automatic payment system so you still pay your bills on time.
Okay, let’s get down to business. We can skip the rewards section because there aren’t any.
Rates and fees
The Citi Simplicity Card has a terrific intro rate offer on both purchases and on balance transfers. You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this card. Now, I do know some consumers who got approved with FICO scores between 700 and 749, which is in the “good” range. But there’s no way to know if there were other factors in their credit reports that made them appear to be a good risk.
APR for purchases: You get a zero percent intro APR for 18 months. After that, you get a variable rate of 12.99 percent, 17.99 percent or 21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance transfers: You get a zero percent intro APR for 18 months. After that, you get a variable rate of 12.99 percent, 17.99 percent or 21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness. The transfer fee is 3 percent.
APR for cash advances: You get a variable rate of 12.99 percent, 17.99 percent or 21.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness. There’s a 5 percent transaction fee. Interest on a cash advance starts ticking right away. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again: Just say no to cash advances!
Annual fee: None.
Foreign transaction fees: It’s 3 percent.
The bottom line
The Citi Simplicity Card is one of the best cards out there for a balance transfer. Be aware that you have to complete the transfer within four months of opening your account. An 18-month zero percent intro rate gives you an opportunity to pay off credit card debt without paying interest on the balance. If this interests you (pun intended), I explain this strategy in more detail in a story I wrote for InvestingAnswers.com: 6 Secrets To Saving Money On Your Credit Card Balance Transfer.
You also get that great intro rate for purchases. So if there’s something big you need to buy, you can use the Citi Simplicity Card and make interest-free payments on it for up to 18 months. Just make sure you know you can pay the balance off during the intro period.
Have you heard of Citi Price Rewind? Although the Citi Simplicity Card has no rewards, you can still get some money back in your pocket by signing up for this free service. Here’s how it works: If within 30 days of your original purchase, Citi Price Rewind finds a lower price of at least $25 on retailers’ sites for an item you purchased with your Citi card, you get a refund for the price difference.
Check out my post, Save Money With Citi Price Rewind, to get more details.
Note: Credit card agreements change frequently. So my review is based on the information that was in effect today. Be sure you read all the disclosure statements carefully.