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

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

Citi Simplicity® Card Editor's Rating: 4.5 / 5

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.

Citi Simplicity® Card

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • No late fee
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 21 mos on transfers

Cons

  • No rewards
  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

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

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24% - 23.24% 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.

At a glance
Annual fees $0*
Introductory APR 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% 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% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% 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.

Nerd note: While the Citi Simplicity® Card 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®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Qualify with Good credit

Cons

  • No rewards

Bonus Offer

$0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 13.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" three years in a row by Money Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

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 charges no balance transfer fee during the first 60 days and has and an annual fee of $0, along with a long introductory APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable. Even if you keep your debt longer than the 15 months, you’ll likely come out on top with the Chase Slate®.

Nerd note: Say you’re going to transfer a debt of $5,000, and you plan to pay $240 a month, which will eliminate the debt within 21 months. 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 begin accruing interest — but the total amount of interest you’d pay over the remaining months would be considerably less than $150. 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

Citi®Double Cash Card

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 15 mos on transfers

Cons

  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months*

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24%-23.24%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with:
  • 1% cash back when you buy
  • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
  • No Annual Fee

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% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Mike

      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.

  • CN

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

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Brittany Rachelle Holman

    whats the spending limit, does anybody know? I want to fund some trade school classes. Ugh, so painful looking for a way to fund my education outside of an accredited college. </3

  • Brittany Rachelle Holman

    whats the spending limit, does anybody know? I want to fund some trade school classes. Ugh, so painful looking for a way to fund my education outside of an accredited college. </3

  • Brittany Rachelle Holman

    whats the spending limit, does anybody know? I want to fund some trade school classes. Ugh, so painful looking for a way to fund my education outside of an accredited college. </3

    • Berneigh

      Spending limits are usually determined by your credit score and income

  • Berneigh

    Spending limits are usually determined by your credit score and income

  • Berneigh

    Spending limits are usually determined by your credit score and income

  • Matt Johnson

    I would like the Citi Simplicity card to pay for wedding expenses interest free while keeping as much cash on hand as possible. However, I already have this card. Can I apply for a second one and receive the 21 month 0% apr offer?

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

      Hi Matt – Someone from the NerdWallet team will follow up with you directly. You’ll be hearing from us soon :)

  • Matt Johnson

    I would like the Citi Simplicity card to pay for wedding expenses interest free while keeping as much cash on hand as possible. However, I already have this card. Can I apply for a second one and receive the 21 month 0% apr offer?

  • Matt Johnson

    I would like the Citi Simplicity card to pay for wedding expenses interest free while keeping as much cash on hand as possible. However, I already have this card. Can I apply for a second one and receive the 21 month 0% apr offer?

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

      Hi Matt – Someone from the NerdWallet team will follow up with you directly. You’ll be hearing from us soon :)

  • Carolyn Landals

    I want to use the Citi Simplicity card to transfer the remaining credit card debt that I have of $5100 to 0 % interest and 21 months to pay it off vs the 16.75% interest I am paying with on the card I have it on now; I have already paid off $6400 recently with a 401K Loan. Do you thinks this would be a good card to do this?

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

      Hi Carolyn – thanks for reaching out! One of our Nerds will follow up with you directly :)

  • Carolyn Landals

    I want to use the Citi Simplicity card to transfer the remaining credit card debt that I have of $5100 to 0 % interest and 21 months to pay it off vs the 16.75% interest I am paying with on the card I have it on now; I have already paid off $6400 recently with a 401K Loan. Do you think this would be a good card to do this?

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

      Hi Carolyn – thanks for reaching out! One of our Nerds will follow up with you directly :)

  • John R.

    How do I know what the minimum monthly payment will be? That’s a big deal for me until my tax refund comes.

  • John R.

    How do I know what the minimum monthly payment will be? That’s a big deal for me until my tax refund comes.

  • JB

    I have this card already, though have not used it in a few years. I received a new offer for same card for 21 months 0%. Can I apply and expect to be issued a new card with the lastest offer? Or do I need to cancel my existing account first?