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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.

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
Apply Now

on Citibank's
secure website

At a glance
Annual fees $0*
Introductory APR 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, 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% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, 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.

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card

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

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

  • Min APR: 12.99%, Variable
  • Max APR: 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 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 Elite Credit Card
Apply Now

on Chase's
secure website
Or call (855) 619-9842

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% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% 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: 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
Apply Now

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% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, 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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  • 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 :)