Citi Simplicity MasterCard Review

A Credit Card for the Chronically Late Bill Payer?

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Credit: Citibank

The Citi Simplicity MasterCard promises no late fees and no penalty annual percentage rate (APR) if you're ever late with a payment or go over your credit limit. But is it the right credit card for you?

Citi Simplicity MasterCard Basics

This credit card was designed for people who want to avoid late payment or over-limit charges in mind. But not just anyone can get approved for this MasterCard. In fact, you need a good to excellent credit score (700+), which means that while you want to avoid late payment fees, you can't have a long history of missed or late payments that have significantly lowered your credit score.

 In addition to no late fees, the Citi Simplicity card also offers discounts on travel, gift cards, and merchandise.

This credit card offers 0 percent APR for first 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, then the purchase APR, which is 15.99 to 18.99 percent after the introductory period.

While this Citi MasterCard doesn't charge late payment fees, they are other fees to know about:

Citi Simplicity MasterCard Fees 
Annual FeeNone
Balance Transfer FeeEither $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater
Late Payment FeeNone
Returned Payment FeeUp to $35

Pros and Cons of the Citi Simplicity Card

As with all credit cards, Citi Simplicity comes with its pros and cons.

Pros

  • No late fees.
  • No penalty Annual Percentage Rate (APR) if you miss a payment or go over your credit limit.
  • Long 0 percent introductory period on purchases and balance transfers (21 months).
  • No wait time for customer service 24/7.

Cons

  • Weak rewards.

Citi Simplicity MasterCard Review

The thinking behind this card is that you never have to worry about paying a late fee or face a penalty interest rate for missing a payment or going over your credit limit. However, based on the advertised APR, which is relatively low, it seems to be aimed at people with good credit - who are the same people who are never or rarely late.

So I'm a bit puzzled about who this card is for. If you're a responsible borrower and are never late, why would you need this card, especially since there are no big rewards?

The card does have some good points. The best thing is the long 0 percent intro period on purchases and balance transfers - as long as 15 months. But the same can be said about several other Citi cards, which also pay rewards. The balance transfer fee is 4 percent of the balance, about average for the industry.

The card also promises 24/7 customer service without waiting. But don't all Citi credit card customers already get that?

Instead of rewards, you can earn "Extra Cash" on 10 percent of your purchases that you can use for discounts on travel, gift cards and merchandise. But you can't pay the full amount for the item with the money you earn.

Citi Simplicity MasterCard Recommendation

I just can't get really excited about this card. If you already have good credit to qualify for this card, why do you need to worry about late fees and over-limit fees?

The lack of rewards is a big problem. Citi has several other credit cards that offer the same long zero percent intro period, plus they have good rewards programs with no annual fee.

You're better off with the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard or the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.

You might also consider the Clear Card from American Express. Although Clear does charge a penalty APR if you're late, it doesn't charge late or over-limit fees. Plus it pays a one percent reward.