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Citi Simplicity Card Offers 0% Interest, No Late Fees and No Penalty APR

Citi Simplicity Card Offers 0% Interest, No Late Fees and No Penalty APR

As the reigning king of low-interest credit cards, the Citi Simplicity® Card boasts an industry-leading 0% introductory APR period, as well as no late fees or penalty APR if you miss a payment. Whether you’re looking to get rid of existing debt or make a big purchase that you can take your time paying off, this card is a solid option.

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
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on Citibank's
secure website

At a glance
Annual fees $0*
Introductory APR 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
Balance transfer fee 3%
Rewards program None
Verdict: If you need to make a large purchase and need some time to pay it off, this is a great card
Good for:
  • Someone who wants a long APR on purchases or balance transfers
  • Someone who occasionally makes late payments
Bad for:
  • Someone who doesn’t want to pay a balance transfer fee
  • Someone who wants rewards

In this article:

Citi Simplicity® Card: The basics

Where the Citi Simplicity® Card shines

Where the Citi Simplicity® Card falls short

Should I get the Citi Simplicity® Card?

Citi Simplicity® Card: The basics

The Citi Simplicity® Card lives up to its name with a simple value proposition: An extra long 0% introductory APR and no fee or rate penalties on late payments, ever. You’ll enjoy an APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable), giving you time to pay off existing debt or new purchases. And if you accidentally miss a payment (or three), you won’t be hit with a late payment fee or a penalty APR increase.

Example image of Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity® Card

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Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • No late fee
  • No annual fee
  • 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

Cons

  • No rewards
  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

Annual Fee

$0*

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

APR

  • APR: 12.99% - 22.99%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - EVER
  • No penalty rate - EVER
  • No annual fee - EVER
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

Nerd note: While Citi won’t penalize you for late payments with fees or rate hikes, you should always aim to make payments on time. First, it’s a good habit to have, especially because most of your other lenders and creditors probably aren’t so forgiving. Also, your late payment may eventually be reported to the credit bureaus if you fail to pay within about 30 days.

Where the Citi Simplicity® Card shines

The Citi Simplicity® Card is ideal for two groups of people: Those who need a long time to pay off their initial purchases, and those who make late payments.

For the first group, the card’s industry-leading introductory APR period is an average of six to nine months longer than most cards with 0% introductory APRs.

For the second group, if you happen to make a payment late, you won’t see an increase in APR or a late payment fee. Many cards waive your first late payment fee and then charge you around $35 for each late payment after that. So if you frequently forget to make payments, the Citi Simplicity® Card could potentially save you a lot of money.

While the Nerds encourage you to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest, for people who do carry balances, a penalty APR could cost them.

Where the Citi Simplicity® Card falls short

The Citi Simplicity® Card is not a perfect card for everyone. Rewards junkies and folks with credit card debt should look elsewhere.

Better for balance transfers: Chase Slate®

Chase Slate Elite Credit Card
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on Chase's
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While the Citi Simplicity® Card does have a balance transfer option and a long 0% transfer APR, the Chase Slate® is a better card for this purpose. It boasts no balance transfer fee and an annual fee of $0, along with a long introductory APR: 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% (V) . Even if you keep your debt longer than the 15 months, you’ll likely come out on top with the Chase Slate®.

Nerd note: Let’s do the math on a debt of $5,000, assuming you make payments of $240 a month. With the Citi Simplicity® Card, you wouldn’t pay any interest, but you’d pay a transfer fee of $150. With the Chase Slate®, once the introductory rate expired, you’d accrue interest from $37.90 to $69.14, depending on APR. Even paying interest toward the end of a balance transfer is cheaper than the typical balance transfer fee.

Better for rewards: Citi®Double Cash Card

Citibank Citi® Double Cash Card Credit Card
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on Citibank's
secure website

When you’re using a credit card for a balance transfer or a long 0% APR, rewards shouldn’t be your main focus. Still, if you’re looking for a card with a respectable introductory APR period and high rewards, the Citi®Double Cash Card is a great choice. It offers 1% cash back when you make purchases and another 1% back when you pay them off.

The Citi®Double Cash Card has an annual fee of $0 and an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable). So this amounts to a trade-off between the length of your introductory APR period and rewards.

Should I get the Citi Simplicity® Card?

If you’re planning to make a big purchase and need time to pay it off,  the Citi Simplicity® Card is an excellent option. It’s also great if you think you might be late on a few payments. For affordable balance transfers or a rewards card, check out the alternative cards above.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.


Image via iStock.

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  • OutruntheWind

    I just got an promotion for this card in the mail offering 21 months of 0% interest, and only 11.99% thereafter! I don’t know if the 21 months are available to everyone, but I think this card just got a little better.

    • Michael Hendrickson

      Did you have a promo code or anything to get 21 months?

      • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

        Hi Michael,

        No promo code required! This 21-month deal is just a feature of the promotion — no smoke and mirrors here.

  • CN

    How did you get 21 months when the promotion states 18 months?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi CN,

      It was 21 months until recently — these super-great promotions tend to be transitory.

      Typically, the Simplicity will give you 18 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, which is still among the best in the business.

  • Paula Partridge Wilkerson Reci

    I have the 21 month to but it is a little different..rewards and late fees the 18 month has no rewards and no late fees ever…so I went with the 18 month…

  • LeAnna

    I just need some clarification. I am looking for a card with no interest for 18 months in order to have a “cushion” for paying my wedding off. I won’t have a balance to transfer to the card, I’m only looking to put new purchases on the card. Is this an option, or do I have to transfer a balance first? Thank you!

    • jennyct

      See if you can deposit the money in your checking account. Some credit cards will allow that… Then you can get the intro rate. The only difference is that some banks charge a higher rate on the balance left after the intro period.

  • glen pierce

    Slate sounded good but they have a limit of $15,000 transfer amount for the zero trf fee. I need $17,500. I don’t want to owe $2,500 on my personal line of credit. I want to trf all to the slate card. So i guess i will not do it.

  • Missy and Mike

    Question: I was approved instantly online for $13,000. We need the card to purchase airline tickets that are at all time low. How long did it take you guys to receive your credit card in the mail?? We need this card ASAP to purchase these tickets before the fare increases.

  • Amanda Owens

    i was approved for 18 mo and 17.99 there after but i see there was a promo for 21mo and 11.99 sooooo now i wanna cut my card up lol

  • Berneigh

    Spending limits are usually determined by your credit score and income