After years of sometimes sneaky or downright deceptive fine print in credit card agreements, the industry trend over the past few years has been a move towards credit card terms and conditions are easier to understand and rules that are more transparent to the consumer. And which major credit card issuer is leading this effort? Believe it or not it’s Citibank with their Citi Simplicity® card. It’s not too good to be true… this is the real deal.
You’ve never seen a card like this…
No one likes being nickel and dimed to death with frivolous fees. Well guess what? The Citi Simplicity card takes an opposite approach.
- No late fees! As you know most cards charge a fee of up to $35.00 every time you’re late with a payment. This is especially frustrating if you are late by just a day or two! However with the Simplicity card you won’t ever pay a late fee!
- No rate hikes for late payments! Even with the credit card reform in place, banks still have the right to raise your rate if you have 2 late payments within a 180 day period (and that especially sucks if you are carrying debt using a 0% offer and then they jack your rate up to the stratosphere!). With the Simplicity from Citi you won’t have to worry about that happening.
- Instant phone support – It can be really frustrating to have to navigate through a long, automated customer service recording just to talk to get a human being. With this card all you have to do is enter your account number and say “representative” and you will be instantly be connected to live help.
This card also comes with several cardmember benefits which you normally don’t find on no annual fee cards, such as…
This is a rare perk found on very few cards. Not even American Express offers it on their high end cards. Basically it covers you if the advertised price of an eligible item you bought drops in price within 60 days. Citi will refund you the difference in price, up to $250.
As expected, there are a few exclusions and rules with this. For example, internet purchases don’t qualify. But the bottom line is this is a free benefit on the Citi Simplicity card and even though it won’t be applicable to 100% of your purchases, there’s a good chance at one time or another it will come in handy and you will be able to use it.
Retail Purchase Protection
In a nutshell, you can think of this as an insurance-like benefit for your purchases. If you buy something and it is damaged or stolen within the first 90 days, then Citi has your back if it’s a covered item under eligible circumstances. There’s up to $1,000 in protection per claim.
Next time you buy a TV or computer and the retailer tries to sell you an extended warranty, you can tell them “no thanks” because of this Citi Simplicity benefit. On qualified purchases made with this credit card, the manufacturer’s or store warranty will essentially be duplicated up to 12 months extra. For example, if the regular warranty was for 12 months then with the card, you would get an additional 12 months of coverage through Citi.
As expected, this isn’t an open-ended benefit that covers everything you buy (don’t expect them to pick up the tab for that dying houseplant) but overall I think it’s a pretty fair policy. When you apply and are approved, the benefits guide detailing the conditions of coverage will be mailed to you.
Citi Private Pass
This is a perk that gives you pre-sale ticket access to buying tickets for various concerts, sporting events, culinary events, night club VIP parties, etc. It’s a totally free benefit so next time a hot concert is about to go on sale, check to see if it’s featured in Private Pass first so you can get access to a pre-sale with better seats.
What are the drawbacks?
Okay so we’ve discussed the benefits of the Simplicity Card but what are the drawbacks? There is one negative thing about the Citi Simplicity credit card and that is the lack of a rewards program. This could be a deal breaker if you always pay your balance in full and could benefit from leveraging your everyday spending to earn rewards.
However if you are someone that just doesn’t care about rewards or one that carries a balance (whether that’s occasionally or regularly) and you want a no-nonsense credit card that won’t burn you for occasionally paying a few days late, then the Simplicity is the way to go. For someone in this situation, it’s far wiser to save money with a low interest rate and no late payment fees rather than worry about getting 1% in rewards.
What is the best Simplicity promotion for 2014?
For the Citi Simplicity MasterCard you can get a very good deal right now. The limited-time sponsored promo gives you all of the following:
- 0% on your purchases for 18 months
- 0% on your balance transfers for 18 months
- After the 18 month promo period, the APR is a reasonable 12.99% to 22.99% variable, depending on your credit.