bank rates

Simplicity Great For Balance Transfers

You'll pay 0% APR for 21 months.Citigroup has been advertising its Citi Simplicity credit card heavily on television.

The card’s main point of distinction is that you won’t pay any late or over-the-limit fees or a penalty interest rate if you’re ever late with a payment.

But probably the best thing about this card is the long 0% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers: 21 months, one of the longest periods we’ve seen.

Not only that, but the balance transfer fee is a low 3%.

So if you transfer a balance of $5,000, for example, you’d only pay $150. You’d pay way more than that in interest on other cards, even if you were offered a low rate.

Once the teaser period is over, however, the purchase and balance transfer variable APR adjusts to a relatively high 16.99% (that’s the prime rate of 3.25% plus 13.74%).

If that concerns you, Citi has other credit cards that offer the same long 21-month balance transfer period, but lower “go-to” rates.

For example, both the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard and the Citi Diamond Preferred Card carry rates as low as 11.99% if you have great credit, up to 20.99% if you don’t.

It’s likely you’ll need pretty good credit to qualify for any of these cards. None of these cards carry rewards, and none have annual fees.

As for the main selling point behind the Simplicity card — no late fees or penalty APRs — I don’t really see the benefit.

The card seems to be aimed at people with good credit, who are usually the same people who are never or rarely late.

If you’re a responsible borrower and never miss a payment, why would you need this card?

But if you are chronically late and really would benefit from this card, you probably won’t qualify.

The card also promises 24/7 customer service without waiting.

Does that mean that customers of other Citi credit cards don’t get that same treatment? I hope not. Otherwise it’s no special benefit.

If you’re looking for rewards, there are none, although you do earn “Extra Cash” on 10% of your purchases that you can use for discounts on travel, gift cards and merchandise.

If you do want rewards and a long 0% intro rate, you might be interested in the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.

You get 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable APR of 12.99% to 20.99% after that.

In addition, you earn one point per dollar in Citi’s ThankYou program, plus 10,000 bonus points if you spend at least $500 in the first three months. That’s enough for a $100 gift card.

Compare these cards with the best credit card offers in our extensive database.

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