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The most merciful card on the market just got more forgiving. Citi recently increased its introductory period on the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, an industry-leading credit card for penalty-free debt management. The card now gives you 0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.99% - 26.99% Variable APR. That’s up from the previous 0% period of 18 months.
This means that among cards with indulgent penalty policies, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever offers the longest 0% intro APR periods for balance transfers and purchases on NerdWallet. If you’re wrestling with debt and are occasionally late with payments, but still have excellent credit, the generous $0 annual fee Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever may be a perfect fit for you.
Here’s why you might want to sign up:
You’re getting rid of debt
The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever’s lengthy introductory APR applies to balance transfers as well as purchases, so this offer can help you consolidate your existing credit card debt at a relatively low cost. If you have high balances on multiple cards, transferring these balances to a single card could streamline your payments and help you save on interest, too. The card charges a balance transfer fee of 5% (or $5, whichever is greater), but the interest savings from the long 0% period can offset some or all of this expense.
Keep in mind that while the introductory period starts the day you transfer the funds, you get the full 21 months only if you transfer funds within four months of opening the account. Start transferring your balances shortly after opening your account to get the 0% rate.
(For more options, check out our favorite No Balance Transfer Fee Cards.)
You’re about to make several large purchases
Suppose you’re remodeling your house and don’t know how to finance it. If it’s going to take over a year to complete all your DIY projects, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever’s long introductory APR period could help you pay these off without spending a penny on interest. This would be much more affordable than getting a personal loan, which could potentially cost you hundreds of dollars in interest.
The extra three months of 0% APR this card offers over its previous deal also gives you more time to spread out purchases and payments. If you needed to make 10 major purchases for your home renovation, for instance, and spaced these apart evenly, you’d have about 63 days to pay off each item interest-free with Citi’s current deal, compared with about 54 days if you did the same thing over 18 months with the old offer. This increased flexibility can help you use less of your available credit, potentially boosting your score.
You’re not perfect
Even the most credit-conscious consumers might miss due dates every once in a while. But with the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, if you’re late by a couple days, you won’t get slapped with a late fee. And if you fall behind in a more serious way – say, you’re 60 days late with a payment – your APR won’t get bumped up to a penalty APR rate, because this card doesn’t have one. In this way, the card outshines its No. 1 no-interest competitor, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer, which imposes a penalty APR and charges late fees of up to $35.
It’s still best to steer clear of late payments for credit reasons. But if you’re going through a rough patch, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever will cut you some slack when you need it most.
Even though the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is topping NerdWallet’s charts with its impressive extended introductory APR, the improvement isn’t a major game-changer for this excellent debt-tackling card. Even with a high balance, not paying interest for three months likely won’t save you a huge amount of money, and as before, you won’t earn rewards. But if you’re looking for lenient terms with the longest 0% APR period possible, this improved interest-free offer may just be one more reason to apply.
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