Citi Simplicity Review

Score the Longest Balance Transfer Offer Available

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The Citi Simplicity credit card features one of the most generous balance transfer offers on the market. (The Citi Diamond Preferred offers the same term.) While its balance transfer fee may be higher than you’ll find among other cards, additional perks like no late fee or penalty APR make it one of the best debt repayment tools available.

Citi Simplicity®

overall rating
3.3
Citi Simplicity®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 18 Months
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
3.7
for Fees
3.2
for Rewards
2.3
for Credit
2.2

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Debt Warrior Persona
    Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debt See more cards
    Debt Warrior
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
    Credit Builder

The Citi Simplicity is ideal for anyone who wants to consolidate credit card debt, especially a high amount that you need lots of time to pay off. You won’t find many cards that give you more than 18 months to pay down debt at 0% APR

Some balance transfer cards don't charge balance transfer (this one does). Those could be a better bet if you don’t need the long timeline the Citi Simplicity offers.

Pros
  • Generous 0% APR offers

  • Long period for making promotional transfers

  • No annual fee

Cons
  • High ongoing APR

Pros Explained

  • Generous 0% APR offers: 18 months is a long time to pay off a balance transfer compared to competing card offers. This card also comes with a 0% APR for new purchases for 18 months, too, but make sure to pay off your purchases or transferred balances before the promotional periods end to avoid ballooning interest charges after that.
  • Long period for making promotional transfers: Open this card and you’ll have four months to make balance transfers that qualify for the 0% APR offer. That’s a generous window compared to what comparable balance transfer cards are offering right now. Four months gives you time to make a debt repayment plan for your desired transfers. 
  • No annual fee: Most balance transfer cards come with no annual fee, so this isn’t a unique feature for the Citi Simplicity. But it’s still a win that a fee won’t cut into your interest savings.

Cons Explained

  • High ongoing APR: You’ll pay an APR of 14.74% - 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness once your introductory offers ends, which is a bit higher than the rate some competing balance transfer cards charge. 

No Rewards, No Problem

The fact that the Citi Simplicity Card doesn’t have a rewards program is a pro, not a con. This card’s goal is to help you get out of debt interest-free. Your focus should be on paying off your balance—not adding to it to get rewards. 

Customer Experience

J.D. Power rated Citi sixth out of 11 credit card issuers in its 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, based on responses from more than 28,000 credit card customers. Citi scored 799 out of a possible 1,000 points, behind the industry average of 806. 

However, Citi does offer 24/7 customer service and a mobile app that provides free access to your FICO credit score. 

Citi offers standard customer service features, but one noteworthy option is the ability to set your own payment date at any time of the month. This lets you plan your due date around payday or your other monthly bills. 

Security Features

Most of Citi Simplicity’s security features are standard for the industry. But one that stands out is access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions, which provides assistance in the event your identity has been compromised. Citi may help out with police reports; placing a fraud alert on your TransUnion credit report, which will also be sent to the other two credit bureaus; and identifying additional compromised accounts.

Citi Simplicity’s Fees

Citi Simplicity’s balance transfer fee is on the high side. It’s also not ideal for travel abroad, since you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee each time you use the card outside the U.S.

But unlike many other cards, this one doesn’t charge a fee for any late payments or a penalty APR if you fall behind. That’s a plus if you lose track of your due date one month, but your goal should be to pay on time without fail to protect your credit score.

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CURRENT CARD
Citi Simplicity®
overall rating
3.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Citi. "Keep it Simple with No Annual Fee & a Low Intro APR on Balance Transfers." Accessed April 20, 2020. 

  2. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed April 21, 2020. 

  3. Citi. "Smart Shortcuts and Easy Navigation." Accessed April 20, 2020. 

  4. IC: Citi. "Citi Identity Theft Solutions." Accessed April 20, 2020.