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Citi Simplicity MasterCard Review

A credit card for the chronically late

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This card promises no late fees and no penalty APR if you're ever late with a payment or go over your credit limit.

Who the Citi Simplicity MasterCard Is For

  • People who want to avoid late payment or over-limit charges.

Credit Rating Required

  • Good to excellent (700+).

About the Citi Simplicity MasterCard

Pros

  • No late fees.
  • No penalty APR if you miss a payment or go over your credit limit.
  • Long 0% introductory period on purchases and balance transfers (15 months).
  • No wait time for customer service 24/7.

Cons

  • Weak rewards.

Rewards

  • Discounts on travel, gift cards and merchandise.

APRs

  • 0% for first 12 to 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then the purchase APR.
  • 15.99 to 18.99% after introductory period.

Fees

  • No annual fee.
  • Balance transfer fee: 4% of amount.
  • Late payment fee: None.
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $35.

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 rewards?

The card does have some good points. The best thing is the long 0% 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% 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% 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.

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.

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