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

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

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

While this card can save you money on interest and penalties, you can earn rewards with other cards having similar balance transfer terms.

Jump to: Full Review
Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.24%-26.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period

Cons

  • No rewards

  • No new cardholder bonus offer

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: 0% intro APR period, plus rewards
Citi® Double Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

This card offers an intro 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49%-25.49% Variable APR. Plus, 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

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24%-26.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99%-25.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

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

Intro APR

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

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

The Citi Simplicity® Card can help you pay down debt or finance a large purchase, although it may not the best option for either.

Its standout feature is a lengthy 0% intro APR period for balance transfers. That could make it a good choice for tackling existing debt, but this card earns no rewards. Plus, the fee you’ll pay to transfer a balance onto the card will eat into the money you’ll save on interest.

Still, the Citi Simplicity® Card 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: Benefits

Card type: Balance transfer and low interest.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-26.24% Variable APR.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: None.

Balance transfer fee: 5% of the amount of each transfer, minimum $5.

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

A long 0% intro APR period for balance transfers: The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a 0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-26.24% Variable APR. While you might find a card with a slightly longer 0% intro period elsewhere, this is still a solid offer.

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: Drawbacks

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.

Fee takes a bite out of savings: While the card gives a lengthy 0% introductory APR period on balance transfers, that benefit comes with a price. You’ll pay a fee equal to 5% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5. That means if you transfer a $5,000 balance, you’ll pay a $250 fee. This is a higher fee than other cards in its class. If you transferred that same balance to a Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you’d pay 3% for a total of $150 in fees.

Citi Simplicity® Card: Alternatives

For rewards: Discover it® Balance Transfer

The Discover it® Balance Transfer has a shorter intro APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.74%-23.74% Variable APR. But in exchange, this card has ongoing value long after the intro APR ends. You'll earn 5% cash back on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (requires activation) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

For a low transfer fee and a lengthy 0% intro APR period: Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card  

The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card charges a 3% fee for transfers (minimum $5). New cardholders get a lengthy introductory APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases for up to 21 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR And 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, you won't earn rewards.

Is the Citi Simplicity® Card right for you?

The Citi Simplicity® Card 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 as with most balance transfer cards, 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 similar options, including some cards that also offer 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.

on Citibank's application

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.
Frequently asked questions
Does the Citi Simplicity offer rewards?

The Citi Simplicity® Card doesn't have rewards. Its value lies mostly in its long 0% introductory APR period for purchases and balance transfers, which make the card a good option for paying down debt. Additionally, as the card's promotional name makes clear, it never charges fees or penalty APRs for late payments.

Is the Citi Simplicity easy to get?

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Citi Simplicity® Card. That's typically defined as a credit score of 690 or better. Issuers will also consider other factors, such as your income and debts, when evaluating your application.

Is the Citi Simplicity a good credit card?

The Citi Simplicity® Card is a good option for paying down debt without interest, but beyond the 0% introductory APR period, it may not provide much long-term value. After that period, you could explore switching your account to a different Citi card. Or you could look for a zero-percent card or balance transfer card that also offers rewards.

How much is the Citi Simplicity balance transfer fee?

The Citi Simplicity® Card charges a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.

Does the Citi Simplicity have an annual fee?

No. The annual fee is $0.

Is the Citi Simplicity a Visa or a Mastercard?

The Citi Simplicity® Card is a Mastercard.