After decades of consumers being ripped of by sneaky fine print in credit card agreements, the industry trend over the past few years has been a move towards cards which are easier to understand and rules that are more fair. And the leader of the pack? Citi with their new Simplicity credit 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 operates differently.
- 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 – I really hate it when I have to press a gazillion buttons just to talk to get a human being on the phone. 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 a few 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’re at Best Buy and the salesman tries to peddle you a pricey extended warranty, you might be able to tell him “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
I actually just used this benefit 4 or 5 days ago to buy concert tickets. It’s a perk that gives you pre-sale ticket access to buying tickets for various concerts, sporting events, culinary events, night club VIP parties, etc. This is a totally free perk 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 talked about the pros but how about the cons? There is one negative thing about the Citi Simplicity credit card and that is the lack of a rewards program. So if you are someone that always pays your balance in full then this card is not for your lifestyle.
However if you are someone that carries a balance (whether that’s occasionally or regularly) and you want a no-nonsense credit card that won’t play games with you, 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’s currently the best promotion for 2013?
For the Citi Simplicity MasterCard you can get a darn 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 21.99% variable, depending on your credit.