Reduce debt with a low introductory APR offer: Citi Simplicity credit card review
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Citi Simplicity® Card overview
The Citi Simplicity® Card is a straightforward card that offers an introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers when you open the card. However, the no-annual-fee card doesn’t offer rewards, its benefits are minimal and its variable APR rates are relatively high. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
As TPG’s Brian Kelly knows first hand, getting out of debt can be difficult. But, if you’re working to pay down credit card debt or are looking to pay off a large purchase over time, you may find the Citi Simplicity® Card’s low introductory APR rate for purchases and balance transfers useful. Let’s take a closer look at this no-annual-fee credit card so that you can decide whether it is right for you.
Who is this card for?
The Citi Simplicity is best suited for consumers who want to take advantage of the card’s 0% introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 12 months of account opening and for the first 21 months from the date of the first transfer on balance transfers (transfers must be completed within the first four months of account opening).
Note that the APR jumps to a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49% once the introductory period ends. So you’ll only want to use this card for its introductory APR offer if you’ll be able to pay down your balance before the introductory period ends.
The Citi Simplicity Card charges no late fees, no annual fee and no penalty rate. So it can be a good option if you occasionally struggle to pay the minimum amount due on your monthly credit card bill. But remember that you’ll still accrue interest on any balance you carry -- so it’s best to pay your statement balance in full each month if possible.
Sign-up offer: intro APR offer
The Citi Simplicity doesn’t offer a cash or rewards bonus when you sign up. Its main allure is two introductory APR offers to new cardholders.
0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months
You’ll automatically get 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from the date you open your Citi Simplicity Card. After that, your APR will be 15.49% to 25.49% variable based on your creditworthiness.
0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months
For balance transfers that you complete within four months of opening your Citi Simplicity, you’ll get 0% introductory APR for 21 months from the date of the first transfer. Once the introductory period is over, your APR will be 15.49% to 25.49% variable based on your creditworthiness.
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Note that once your introductory purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances -- including any transferred balances -- are paid in full.
Main benefits and perks
The Citi Simplicity doesn’t offer any rewards and only has minimal perks. Let’s quickly cover the benefits that you can expect from this card:
- Contactless-chip enabled card that will allow you to tap to pay
- 24/7 live customer service
- Automatic account alerts that you can set up to remind you about your balance levels, payments due or when you go over your credit limit
- $0 liability on unauthorized charges
- Choose your payment due date as any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions to help if you are a victim of identity theft
- No annual fee
Related: Paying off debt instead of taking a vacation? Here’s how to make the most of your summer
How to use this card
Again, the main reason to use the Citi Simplicity Card is its introductory APR offers for purchases and balance transfers. If you're not trying to pay down debt, you have little reason to open this card. If you opt to use these introductory offers, you’ll want to pay off your balance in full within the introductory period.
It’s imperative to understand what happens once your introductory purchase APR period ends if you are also using the introductory balance transfer APR offer. At this point, new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including transferred balances, are paid in full. To minimize the interest you pay at the variable APR rate, you’ll want to pay off your purchase balance in full and stop using the card for new purchases until you’ve paid off the entire balance on your card in full.
The Citi Simplicity card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you won’t want to use it for purchases outside the U.S.
Other cards to consider
Presumably, if you are considering the Citi Simplicity Card, you are interested in a straightforward, simple card that offers a low introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers. Here are a couple of other cards to consider.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express: Best for U.S. supermarkets, low intro APR and no balance transfer fees
The Amex EveryDay Credit Card earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x) and 1x on all other purchases. Plus, when you use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases. And you’ll pay no annual fee.
The card also offers 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months from the date of account opening on purchases. After that, your APR will be 12.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
You'll receive a welcome bonus of 10,000 bonus Amex points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. TPG values Amex points at 2 cents each, making this intro offer worth $200 in travel.
Related: Amex EveryDay credit card review
The information for the Amex EveryDay card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for everyday earning and low intro purchase APR
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on drugstore and dining purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases -- all without charging an annual fee.
Plus, the card currently offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months that your account is open. After that, the variable APR will be 17.99% - 26.74% Variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for everyday earning and low intro APR for balance transfers
The Citi Double Cash Card earns up to 2% cash back: 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay. You can convert that cash back into Citi ThankYou points if you also have the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card (not available to new applicants).
And, the card currently offers 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months, after that your variable APR will be 18.24% to 28.24% based on your creditworthiness. But, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) that needs to be completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Citi Double Cash card review
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for U.S. supermarkets and low intro APR
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases in each category (then 1%), and 1% cash back on other purchases. And, there’s no annual fee (see rates and fees). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
The card also offers 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from the account opening date (see rates and fees). After that, your variable APR will be 16.99% to 27.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
Related: Blue Cash Everyday card review
Frequently asked questions
What credit score is needed for the Citi Simplicity Card?
You’ll likely need a good or excellent credit score to be approved for this card. Because since this card offers a low introductory APR, Citi will consider your creditworthiness when deciding whether to approve your application and determining how much credit to extend.
Does the Citi Simplicity earn cash back?
The Citi Simplicity Card does not earn cash-back rewards or any other type of rewards.
Related: The best cash-back credit cards
Is the Citi Simplicity Card a Visa or Mastercard?
The Citi Simplicity Card is a Mastercard.
Is the Citi Simplicity a good card?
The Citi Simplicity Card is good if you are looking for a 0% introductory APR offer for purchases or if you want a card that doesn’t charge late fees or penalty interest.
Although Citi Simplicity’s 0% introductory APR offer for balance transfers is long at 21 months, you’ll need to pay a balance transfer fee. So, you may be better off with a different balance transfer credit card, as some cards offer lower balance transfer fees or even waive the balance transfer fee during an introductory period.
What credit limit will I get with the Citi Simplicity?
When you apply for the Citi Simplicity Card, your credit limit will be determined based on your annual salary and wages, any other annual income and a review of your debt. Citi will inform you of your credit limit when you receive your new credit card, but be aware that some consumers may be given a credit limit as low as $500.
Related: How to increase your credit limit
The Citi Simplicity Card can be a good option if you are looking for a card that offers an introductory APR on purchases or that doesn’t charge late fees or penalty interest. But, other cards offer lower variable APR and lower balance transfer fees, so you may want to consider a different card depending on your needs. And, especially since we are The Points Guy, it’s important to realize that the Citi Simplicity doesn’t earn any rewards.
Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, click here.