Citi Simplicity Credit Card Review 2020

Rating:
4.2/5
4.2 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The Citi Simplicity Card markets itself as the premier choice for the occasionally forgetful customer who still maintains good credit (660 or above). The card never charges late fees for any late payment, ever.

Although you should always strive to pay your bills on time, this card can take you a long way if you’re prone to slip up every now and then. 

While most cards waive the fee on just the first late payment, the Citi Simplicity Card waives fees on all late payments. It also provides the freedom to choose payment due dates in order to accommodate any kind of financial situation.

Despite its exceptional forgiveness policy, the card has no kind of rewards program enticing customers to swipe. There’s also a sizable difference in duration for the card’s intro 0% APR periods on purchases and balance transfers, which, as you’ll see, can come into conflict with the card’s seemingly generous interest policy.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Citi Simplicity Card.

Citi Simplicity Card

On Citi’s Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

Credit Rating Requirements

PROS

CONS

Highlights

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

Citi Simplicity Card – Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Citi simplicity Card – and whether or not it’s right for your wallet.

As with most other Citi options, this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which means you don’t have to worry about swiping enough to cover a fixed yearly payment. No annual fee is a highly competitive perk since the average annual credit card fee is around $147.

The Citi Simplicity Card’s other attractive perks are the exceptionally long interest-free periods for purchases. New customers enjoy 0% interest on all purchases for the first 12 months.

However, the two lengthy zero-interest periods can backfire on your credit if you’re not diligent with your payments…

No fee on balance transfers for 21 months from the date of first transfer, followed by an ongoing variable APR between 14.74% and 24.74% in addition to a 5% balance transfer fee.

The Citi Simplicity Card is the only card on the market that doesn’t charge penalties on any late payments or raise interest as a result. 

This is the card’s most appealing benefit, as all lenders can charge fees as high as $27 on the first late payment and $38 on all subsequent late payments. 

The generous forgiveness policy also beats out dozens of competitors that only forgive the first late payment, such as the Citi Double Cash Card.

Citi Simplicity Card – Drawbacks

Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply to the Citi simplicity card:

The card doesn’t offer any rewards on purchases, leaving customers with little incentive to actually use it. Most credit cards, on the other hand, typically offer rewards for either specific spending categories 

(e.g. the Capital One Savor Card, which offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment) or general spending (e.g. the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which provides 1.5% rewards on all purchases).

Customers can actually be charged interest earlier than expected since the intro 0% period on balance transfers is 9 months longer than the period for purchases.

For instance, let’s say you transfer a $3,000 balance over to your new Citi Simplicity Card and pay it down over the 21-month interest-free period. Once the 12-month interest-free period on purchases expires, you’ll still be carrying some of that transferred $3,000 balance. That means your card’s grace period becomes worthless and you’ll start accruing interest on every purchase as soon as you make them.

If you plan to transfer a balance to this card, be sure to pay it off entirely within 12 months to avoid interest on all of your purchases. Or, alternatively, don’t swipe the card for any purchases after the first 12 months.

The Citi Simplicity Card’s high APR range between 14.74% and 24.74% leaves little incentive for customers to swipe after the intro 0% APR periods. 

The range is above the national average near 15.96%, not to mention it’s extremely high for the majority of American customers who carry a balance from month to month.

The card has a balance transfer fee of 5%, which rests at the high end of the average range of 3% to 5% for most credit cards. 

Many other general-use credit cards boast much lower transfer fees. For example, the Citi Double Cash Card’s fee is 3%, the low end of the average range

Alternatives to Citi Simplicity Card

Though the Citi Simplicity Card stands alone when it comes to exceptional late-payment forgiveness, many other cards still boast either strong forgiveness policies or generous intro 0% APR periods.

CitiBank Double Cash card is a comparable cashback card.

The CitiBank Double Cash card offers 1% cash on all purchases and 1% cash back after paying for those purchases. You could make 2% back on all purchases as long as you pay your credit card bill. 

The card boasts a lengthy 18-month period of 0% fees on all balance transfers. After this period each transfer requires paying a variable APR between 13.99% to 23.99%.

CitiBank Double Cash rewards does not have an annual fee.

This card’s cash back is on all purchases just like Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card. But to earn the ½ of the cash back, you need to pay your bill. If you plan on carrying a balance you will not unlock the full 2% initially.

Though it doesn’t offer any late-payment forgiveness, this option counters it with a long 20-month intro 0% APR period on both purchases and balance transfers.  Those matching periods ensure you’re not left with a gap that could result in accidental interest accruement on purchases.

In addition, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum does not have an annual fee.

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card has a variable APR range between 13.99% and 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is a straightforward cashback card. This card offers a simple 1.5% back on all purchases with no limit or special categories. If you are looking to save money on interest, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card offers a 0% introductory rate for 15 months on balance transfers. 

This card offers many benefits to those wanting a simple straightforward card. It does not come with an annual fee and has a decent sign-up bonus  of $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. 

The APR for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is a 13.99% to 25.99% variable rate, which is high for a card that requires borrowers with good to excellent credit histories. Also, There is  %3-5 balance transfer fee required if you want to take advantage of the introductory 0% APR rate.

Is the Citi Simplicity Card Right for You?

The card may seem a good option for the type of customer privy to slip up on payments from time to time. 

But with a high interest range, mismatched intro 0% APR periods, and a dearth of rewards, the Citi Simplicity Card leaves much to be desired by the average payment-conscious customer.