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Citi Simplicity® Card Review

PROS / The Citi Simplicity® Card is interest free for up to 18 months and does not require an annual fee, even after the first year.

CONS / The APR, depending on your credit worthiness, is a few percentage points higher than other credit cards' interest rates, and the transaction fee for foreign purchase is 3%, which is one percent higher than most.

 VERDICT / The 18-month zero-percent introductory rate is generous and well worth taking advantage of, especially if you want to transfer a high-interest balance from another card.

Citi Simplicity® Card provides easy-to-understand terms and few penalty fees. In fact, with this card, you never have to pay a late fee or penalty rate. However, this card's best feature is the generous 18 months with no interest for new accounts and balance transfers. This is a longer introductory rate than the other credit cards we reviewed, making it the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner. After 18 months, the APR varies depending on your credit worthiness.

Although this Visa card is not a rewards card and does not offer sky miles or cash back, it does come with a few valuable extras such as travel assistance, lost luggage protection and Hertz car rental discounts. The card also comes with extensive security and antifraud protection. Citi employs numerous methods to protect your identity, and even offers photocards – credit cards with the cardholder's picture on them – to help prevent other people from making unauthorized purchases with your card.

Your Citi Simplicity® Card account information is easy to access from anywhere. You can login to your account online via a web-enabled device. Citi also provides free apps for the iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android devices. If you need direct support, you can contact Citi representatives 24hours per day, every day of the year – and even toll-free from outside the U.S.

APR For Purchase

Although this credit card does not offer the lowest APR available, it does offer the longest introductory interest-free period. New accounts and account transfers can take advantage of a 0% introductory annual percentage rate for 18 months. After 18 months, you can expect a 12.99 - 21.99% (variable) interest rate. (Your APR may fluctuate based on the prime rate). The grace period for this Citi Simplicity® Card is a bit shorter than other cards, at 23 days. However, the company does not charge an annual fee, even after the first year.

Essential Features

The Citi Simplicity® Card includes the essential features you would expect with a good credit card, including zero liability for unauthorized transactions, online account access and account alerts. The credit limit is based on your credit worthiness and your ability to repay the balance. Card limits may be as low as $500; however, Citi does not publish the maximum credit limit allowed. If you choose to transfer the balance from another card to your new Citi Simplicity® Card, the transaction fee is $5 or 3% of the balance, whichever is greater.

Additional Features

Though this Citi Simplicity® Card is not a "rewards" card, it does come with valuable benefits such as price protection, travel assistance and lost luggage coverage. Citi even offers Warranty Manager Service coverage and trip cancellation protection (terms and conditions apply). When you receive your card, Citi will give you the full details regarding these features.

Citi takes your account security and identity protection seriously. The Citi Simplicity® Card includes identity theft defenses, secure online accounts and virtual account numbers. It also gives you the option to obtain a photocard to help prevent others from making unauthorized purchases with your card.

Fees/Charges

It may seem too good to be true, but we double-checked – Citi does not charge a late-payment fee or penalty APR for late payments. Conditions apply, but this is an excellent reward for your good credit. The rate for foreign transactions is higher than a few other credit cards, at 3%; however, if you don't make foreign purchases, this is inconsequential. The interest rate for cash advances is 12.99 - 21.99% (variable).

Help/Support

Citi is there for you 24 hours per day, every day. You can call a customer service representative via the phone number located on the back of the card to help you with your account questions. Citibank also offers phone support in Spanish, and you can call the support team toll free from outside the U.S. You can access your account online and with a web-enabled mobile phone. Citi also has apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire and Android devices. When we reviewed this card, we contacted Citi through Twitter and received a response within minutes.

Summary

If you have a bit of credit card debt, the Citi Simplicity® Card can provide you with an interest-free period of 18 months to pay off your debt. On the other hand, if you have a large purchase coming up, you can spread the payment out over 18 months, interest free. Both are great ways to take advantage of the long-term 0% interest rate that Citi offers with this card.