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Citi Simplicity® Card review: Intro APR on balance transfers

One of the longest balance transfer offers available at 21 months.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

  • Consider this pick if you want a straightforward card that sports a lengthy period on balance transfers.
  • Go with something else if you value cash back or travel rewards in your credit card.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Please note: Citi is an advertising partner of finder.com

N/A

Rewards

$0

Annual fee

0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)

Purchase APR

670

Minimum Credit Score

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome offerN/A
RewardsN/A
Purchase APR0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR0% intro for the first 21 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
Minimum Credit Score670
IssuerMastercard
Avatar

Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

The Citi Simplicity® Card’s key feature is its terrific 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 21 months after account opening, then 14.74% to 24.74% variable.

On the downside, the card’s 0% intro APR on purchases isn’t as robust: It’s 12 months long, after which your APR will be 14.74% to 24.74% variable. This means the Citi Simplicity® Card isn’t as balanced as competitors that offer 18-month intro APRs on both purchases and balance transfers.

The Citi Simplicity® Card is also somewhat one-dimensional: the card lacks any sort of rewards on purchases and chooses to focus entirely on its introductory APR offers. Meanwhile, other cards on the market — including the Citi Double Cash — offer strong combinations of intro APRs on top of rewards. Sure, they offer shorter promotional interest periods, but you might find the kickback on purchases a worthy consolation, especially since cards with rewards will still be valuable after their intro APRs expire.

Ultimately, if you want a well-rounded card that does it all, you’ll want to look elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for a top of class intro APR on balance transfers, the Citi Simplicity® Card is more than worth considering among the competition.

Best of 2021
Finder experts pick Citi Simplicity® Card as a 2021 best product for credit cards.

How to apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card

Here’s how to apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card:

  1. Go to the provider's site and select Apply now.
  2. Complete the application form with information like your name, date of birth, Social Security number, total annual income and monthly mortgage or rent payment.
  3. Review your information. Then, select Agree and submit to complete your application.

Citi Simplicity® Card benefits

  • Introductory APR on balance transfers. Get 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months months after account opening, then 14.74% to 24.74% variable. Citi is consistently strong in balance transfer intro APRs, and the Citi Simplicity® Card is one reason why — the average good intro APR length is around 15 months. If you’re approved for the Citi Simplicity® Card, consider marking the last day to qualify for the balance transfer intro APR on your calendar: it’s four months after account opening. Allow for plenty of time for each transfer to process, keeping in mind this can easily take 14 days or more.
  • Introductory APR on purchases. Get 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months after account opening, then 14.74% to 24.74% variable. While it’s a shame this doesn’t match the length of the balance transfer offer, this is still a solid deal consider the upper period limit on a purchase APR is typically 18 months. If you manage to pay off your balance transfer quickly enough, you can take advantage of this intro offer to continue to save on interest.
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • No late fees. This is an uncommon benefit among card providers, and most providers are usually adamant about charging these fees — even Citi itself.

Citi Simplicity® Card drawbacks

  • No rewards. This card is strictly an intro APR credit card. You have no option to earn rewards like cash back, points or miles.
  • You’ll still pay balance transfer fees. For each balance transfer, you’ll pay the greater of $5 or 5%.

Balance transfer fees can cost you

The Citi Simplicity® Card has a $0 annual fee and a market-leading balance transfer intro APR. But there’s one thing you can’t get around: the balance transfer fee.

This will set you back the greater of $5 or 5% of each transfer. This percentage is on the high side, as some card providers charge just 3%.

Here are examples of the fees you’ll pay with the Citi Simplicity® Card versus other credit cards:

Fee to transfer $1,000:Fee to transfer $5,000:Fee to transfer $10,000:
Citi Simplicity® Card — 5% balance transfer fee$50$250$500
A credit card with a 3% balance transfer fee$30$150$300

If you’re trying to figure out whether you’d be better served with a card with a long intro APR or one with no balance transfer fees, use our balance transfer calculator to see how much you’ll save.

How does the Citi Simplicity® Card compare to other similar cards?

The Citi Simplicity® Card‘s closest competition are cards that offer at least 18-month intro APRs. Here’s a look at the Citi Simplicity and two competitors side-by-side.

Citi Simplicity® Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

Find out more

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0

Purchase APR

0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)

Balance transfer APR

0% intro for the first 21 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)

Rewards

N/A

Welcome offer

N/A

Chase Freedom Flex℠

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0

Purchase APR

0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)

Balance transfer APR

0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)

Rewards

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
5%cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer

$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months

While the Citi Simplicity® Card is the winner for balance transfer intro APR, its competitors offer much better intro APRs on purchases.

How to upgrade or downgrade your card

If you’ve squeezed all you can out of your intro APR and you’re now thinking about closing your card, there may be another option available. Instead of closing your card and taking a hit to your average account age, consider asking Citi for a product change. Here’s what to request one.

  1. Take your time to browse Citi credit cards. Then pick the one that best aligns with your current needs.
  2. Call Citi support and request a product change to the card you’ve selected. You can ask the representative about annual fees and other features for the new card.

You won’t be able to transfer your existing Citi balance to your new Citi card. However, your new card can give you perks you couldn’t get with the Citi Simplicity® Card, such as rewards or travel credits. Importantly, while Citi is usually very accommodating with product changes, users have reported mixed results getting a product change from the Citi Simplicity® Card. Your mileage may vary.

Here’s when you should choose a different card

Citi has the longest intro APR period on balance transfers and is the go-to pick for anyone that needs plenty of time to pay off a debt. Still, there are a few reasons you might want to go with a different card.

  • You want rewards and an intro APR. The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a balance transfer intro APR that’s almost as good: 0% for 18 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable. The key difference is you’ll earn fantastic flat-rate rewards for a no-annual-fee card: 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% as you pay them off. Also, consider cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which offer the formidable combo of flat-rate cash back as well as an intro APR on purchases.
  • You don’t want to pay balance transfer fees. Some cards offer promotional $0 fees on balance transfers, along with intro APRs and $0 annual fees. Depending on how much you need to transfer, a balance transfer fee can carry a significant cost.
  • You don’t need 21 months on the offer. If you think you can pay off your debt in less than 21 months, a card with a shorter intro offer but other perks or features might prove more valuable.

Compare other balance transfer cards

If you’re interested in how the Citi Simplicity stacks up to the competition, select up to four cards and choose Compare to see their features side-by-side.

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Minimum Credit Score Filter values
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Citi Simplicity® Card customer reviews and complaints

Citi has been in business for more than 200 years, but it was never accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of October 2021, more than 200 customer complaints on the BBB site give the bank a score of 1 out of 5. And because Citi failed to resolve customer complaints on the site, BBB has rated the bank with the lowest F rating. Citi is rated slightly higher at 1.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot, where customers mostly complain about poor customer service.

While Citi receives its share of negative reviews, the Citi Simplicity® Card generally earns positive sentiment online from consumers and experts alike. Customers consistently give the Citi Simplicity® Card high marks as a balance transfer card — and with the card’s excellent intro APR on transfers, it’s easy to see why.

Many customers say Citi constantly sends them balance transfer checks, which can be annoying if you’re done with transfers. If you experience this and don’t want to receive checks, call Citi support and ask to opt out.

Bottom line

Though the Citi Simplicity® Card is valuable for only one feature, it’s hands-down one of the best balance transfer credit cards on the market. The reason is simple: It consistently possesses one of the longest intro APR on transfers on the market.

If you’re looking for more than just a balance transfer offer, consider looking for a card that offers rewards. With the extensive options out there, you’re sure to find one with the right mix of intro length and rewards to fit your needs.

Credit card ratings

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★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

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Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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6 Comments

    Default Gravatar
    Marlene
    March 28, 2019

    I know this is being picky. but, I just applied for a card and was accepted. my concern was when I call the number and give my information and security code they want me to say yes I am who I am. I have been warned not to say yes on the phone to anyone. I want to verify that this number 888 201 4523 is really your company . that I am really speaking to you. I never ever had to do a phone verification for any other card I have gotten. thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanes
      March 29, 2019

      Hi Marlene,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Though we are not Citibank, checking on the phone number you provided leads me to the website of Citibank directly. It is specific to credit card applications. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    Kara
    January 18, 2019

    Can I see how much I will get approved for before actually signing up for the credit card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Jeni
      January 18, 2019

      Hi Kara,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Please note that credit limit is determined by the information you provide when you send your application. There is no definite way to determine what your credit limit might be, as card providers often follow their own unique policies when deciding your credit limit.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    Michael
    June 4, 2017

    If I open an account so I can trader balances for my wife who has high interest rates on her cards is that possible. I have a high credit score and she does not. We would like to reconcile all her cards on a new one with you company in my name (she can be a cardholder) but she doesn’t qualify on her own. I understand I would be presonally responsible for the full debt. But I just wanted to verify before applying.

    Cordially michael

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Anndy
      June 18, 2017

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, Citi does not allow balance transfer between two people’s names. However, other credit card brands do. We do have a guide that talks about balance transfers that can be done jointly. Please read through that guide and check your options there too.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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