Editorial Review

Citi Simplicity Review: 21 Months of 0% to Whittle Down Debt

The card's defining features include a super-lengthy 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, plus a forgiving nature when it comes to late payments.

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Our Take

3.6

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This card doesn't earn rewards, and while it can save you money on interest and penalties, you can do better than its steep 5% balance transfer fee.

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.74% - 26.74%* Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No late fee

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons
  • No rewards

Alternate Pick: 0% intro APR period, plus rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

This card offers an intro 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR. Plus, there's a lower balance transfer fee: 3% or $5, whichever is greater. It also gives you 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. The annual fee is $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.74% - 26.74%* Variable APR

Regular APR

14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months

Intro APR

0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever can help you pay down debt or finance a large purchase, although it may not the best option for either.

Its standout feature is an extra-long 0% intro APR period for balance transfers, a window of time approaching two years. That could make it a good choice for tackling existing debt, but the card’s steep balance transfer fee puts a bit of a damper on it. Its 0% intro APR period for purchases, meanwhile, is shorter than you can get on many rewards cards — and this card earns no rewards.

Still, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever may be a fit for the chronically forgetful. If you miss a payment, there is no late fee or penalty APR. (NerdWallet recommends always paying on time, however, as late payments can still affect your credit scores.)

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever: Benefits

Card type: Balance transfer and low interest.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.74% - 26.74% Variable APR.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: None.

Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign transaction fee: 3% per transaction.

Other perks:

  • No late fees.

  • No penalty APR for late payments.

  • The option to choose your payment due date.

Why you might want the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

A super-long 0% intro APR period for balance transfers: The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever offers an intro 0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.74% - 26.74% Variable APR. That's an industry-leading length of time to pay down transferred debt without interest.

No penalties for late payments: With this card, you'll never be charged a late fee, and your interest won't go up because of late payments. Yes, you should always strive to pay your bills on time every month, and yes, paying late is a terrible habit: Most accounts aren't as forgiving as this card, and your credit scores can still suffer if you pay too late. But sometimes you may forget or get overwhelmed; if you do, this card can save your bacon.

You can choose your due date: If money is tight, being able to pick exactly when your payment is due can help you avoid overdrafts.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever: Drawbacks

A high balance transfer fee: Most (but not all) cards charge you some kind of fee to transfer a balance. A 5% fee is at the high end of the typical range. It means that for every $1,000 you transfer, $50 will be added to your total. Some cards charge 3% or less, and a handful of cards charge no balance transfer fee at all.

Mismatched 0% periods: The 0% intro APR period for transfers is longer than that for purchases — and that can be a problem. With a typical credit card, you can avoid interest charges on your purchases if you pay your balance in full every month. This is a result of your card's grace period. If you don't pay in full, though, you don't get a grace period, and interest starts accruing on your purchases as soon as you make them. Now, say you transfer $5,000 in debt to the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever and pay it down over 21 months. Once the 0% intro APR period for purchases runs out, you might still be carrying some of that transferred balance. Therefore, you'll get no grace period, and you'll be charged interest on your purchases. In other words, if you plan to transfer debt to this card and don't want interest charges, either pay off that debt within 12 months, or don't use the card for purchases after 12 months.

No rewards or sign-up bonus: This card's value lies in its 0% introductory APR period and its forgiving nature. If you want rewards, look elsewhere.

Limited long-term value: Once the 0% intro APR period ends, there isn't much incentive to keep using this card. The ongoing APR range is about average and, again, the card offers no rewards.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever: Alternatives

For no balance transfer fee, Plus Rewards: Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has all of the ideal features for a balance transfer card: a $0 annual fee, no balance transfer fee within the promotional period and a 0% intro APR period: You'll get 0% Intro on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR. The card also earns decent rewards, which may make it worth keeping around after the intro APR period expires. You'll snag 2X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X back). All other purchases earn 1X back. Terms apply.

For a lower transfer fee and a lengthy 0% intro APR period: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card  

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card charges a 3% fee for transfers, and it gives you an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 20 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR. The annual fee is $0. It doesn't feature late-payment forgiveness, but if you're the type who always pays on time, you won't miss it. However, as with the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, you won't earn rewards.

Is the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever right for you?

The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is palatable if you need a long time to pay off existing debt or if you sometimes struggle to remember your bill's due date. It can save you money on interest and penalties, but you’ll have to weigh the true cost to you, including the 5% balance transfer fee.

And if you're looking for a card to help you finance a large expense upfront, you have plenty of better options, including some cards that offer both a longer 0% intro APR on purchases as well as rewards — and occasionally even a sign-up bonus.

Looking for other options? NerdWallet can help you compare and determine the best credit card to get based on your needs.

To view rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, please visit this page.