Reduce debt with a low introductory APR offer: Citi Simplicity credit card review

Jul 22, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner. 


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.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

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 14.74% to 24.74% 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.

Related: Do balance transfers hurt your credit score?

Sign-up offer: intro APR offer

(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

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 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness.

Related: The top no-annual-fee credit cards with a 0% intro APR

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 14.74% to 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness.

Related: 5 tips to make a successful balance transfer

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.

Related: The best balance transfer credit cards

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:

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.

Related: Seven ways to improve your finances in 1 week

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

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

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

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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 for the first 15 months that your account is open. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% to 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.

Related: Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card review

Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for everyday earning and low intro APR for balance transfers

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

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 from the date of first transfer when transfers are completed within four months from date of account opening. After that, your APR will be 13.99% to 23.99% 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

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.)

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1%) as well as 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores 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 for the first 15 months from the account opening date (see rates and fees). After that, your APR will be 13.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.

Related: Blue Cash Everyday card review

Frequently asked questions

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: 6 things to do to improve your credit in 2021

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.

Related: The best Mastercard credit cards of 2021

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.

And, if you are looking to earn rewards or use your credit card outside the U.S., the Citi Simplicity Card isn’t the card for you.

Related: How to choose the right credit card for you

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

Bottom line

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.

Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.