Citi Simplicity Card Review 2014: Too Good To Be True?

This offer is no longer available. The following information is only for reference.

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…

Price Protection
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.

Extended Warranty
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.

 
Comments

The worst experience w/ a credit card ever!
Took several tries to even get connected to a rep. I didn’t even have the option to hold; all lines were “busy.”Rep insulted my intelligence when I disputed a charge.
I have no idea how to log in or redeem the rewards. The log in fields are literally unlabeled. And, of course, there’s a special department you have to get transferred to in order to figure out how to log in.
This card also seems to take way longer than others to process at the register. I feel like I’m always holding up the line.
There’s more, but those are my biggest gripes.

Applied for this car to transfer higher interest rates. Got instant approval with a credit line of $12,000, no interest for 18 month then after, 10.99% interest rate! Annual income $78K, FICO: 780, 800, 790 !! Thank you!

I have received both offers, the one for Visa and the one for Mastercard, I applied for the Visa and was approved 2 weeks ago. Today I received the offer for the Mastercard again, is it safe to apply for the MC too or should I pass?

marilyn stammen

I have received the card. Have not received my first bill yet. I did a bal. transfer. Do not want to be late making the first payment.

I got approved for this card this morning after I received an offer in the mail. 18 months no interest, thereafter 13.99% with a $10,000 limit. Credit scores between 700 and 750, with 11 inquires. Seemed like a decent offer, although my Nordstrom Visa has better terms.

I just got an promotion for this card in the mail offering 21 months of 0% interest, and only 11.99% thereafter! I’ve been tossing offers for 15 months for a while, and even some 18 months on cards that had a few other negatives against them, but I might have to bite on this one…

Unfortunately the 21 month is only a targeted mail offer sent to certain people. Not many people receive it. If you apply for it without that, the offer above is the best one you can currently get.

In addition, I asked Chase to lower my APR rate of 22.99% to 12.00% APR so I could keep the card open and try to pay the balance down so I could keep earning the rewards for the cash back and apply that money toward the balance also to help bring it down…they refused unless I canceled the card. I have other credit cards I pay monthly so I was having a hard time making the high payment for their card. I ended up closing the card. Some credit card companies will work with you on your APR rate if you have had the card for awhile….For example, my Delta American Express Gold Skymiles card brought my APR rate down from 14.50% to 13.50% after only 8 months. I got my Chase Freedom card at the same time as my American Express, but, they wouldn’t budge. Chase told me they automatically bring down the APR rate after a review of a customers account, but, they said mine was not at that time yet! I have not missed a payment on any of my credit cards so far, but, I have too many of them.

We ask for an APR rate decrease on each card every 6 to 9 months. Our very first card went from 18.99 down to 9.99 in about 4 years. Some of them have a bottom for that card. If that is the case ask to talk to a manager and see what you have to do to get a lower % rate card.
If you try to stay at 2 to 3 cards. Never go over 1/2 your available balance on any card.
Good Luck,
John

With a poor credit rating, this card doesn’t help! I applied and received a $3000 limit and 21.99% APR after the 18 mos. The limit doesn’t allow enough transfers to pay down my other cards. So again, stuck! Banks don’t want to allow you to pay down your debt!!!

This sounds amazing for trying to consolidate my debt, but I’m worried about my credit! I’ve had it ran too many times last year already and have 3 credit cards that I’d like to consolidate. I pay my payments on time, but after all the inquires and higher balances…I doubt I’ll get approved. :-(

You are right about too many inquiries! I tried to get a credit union card with an APR of 7.9% to do a balance transfer of my Chase Freedom card and they turned me down due to my credit report which had 5 reasons stated and one of them was too many inquiries in the last 12 months! I worked with Chase and went with their proactive solutions program, got my APR of 22.99% lowered to 6%, but, had to close the card. I now will be paying $60.00 a month for 60 months until the debt if $3,000.00 is paid off! This was a cash back card and I only earned $67.00 on a $3,000.00 balance. They advertise that you get $75.00 back on every $1,500.00 you spend, but, that is if you use the 5% category for all of the $1,500.00 spent!

The categories change every month. They offer 1%, 3%, and 5%. after the 0% of six months ended, they started charging me 1% of the $3,000.00 and the APR of 22.99% which came to $54.97 a month and that doesn’t include the minimum payment. With the minimum payment it was $85.00 a month! The cash back doesn’t help you if you get the balance too high…the interest just eats it up! It’s fine if you can pay off the balance every month, otherwise, it’s a disaster! Make sure you read the fine print on how these cash back cards work….it back fired on me. Hope this helps!