We compare and review Citibank’s balance transfer credit cards. These cards have 18 month zero percent intro rates.
Although it seems like many of our current cards have higher interest rates than they used to, it’s still possible to find new credit cards with low introductory rates and no annual fees. These cards are most beneficial and useful to someone who may be carrying an existing balance on a higher rate card. There are a number of Citibank credit cards you can consider for this goal, all sharing similar features but sporting a few distinctive characteristics as well. Let’s check them out.
Comparison of Citi’s Platinum Select, Diamond Preferred & Simplicity Cards
If you have high balances on other cards, move them over to one of these “cheaper” cards, which present a great opportunity to save money on your existing debt.
||The Citi Platinum Select Visa is considered one of Citi’s flagship cards. Citi actually calls it one of its most popular offerings. It’s a no annual fee card with an 18 month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers* (the “*” references caveats in the card terms). Its regular APR ranges from 11.99% to 21.99%* (variable), based on the applicant’s credit history.|
||The Citi Simplicity Card is a card with an 18 month 0% intro APR deal for both balance transfer and purchase transactions*. You have 4 months to transfer a balance in order to qualify for the special rate. It also does not charge an annual fee*. The difference between this card and the Platinum Select and Diamond Preferred is that its regular rate range starts out slightly higher, at 12.99%*. Like the other cards, the regular rate is dependent on your credit status.|
Comparing Card Terms For These Citi Balance Transfer Cards
So let’s get into some of the details. As you can see, all these cards have excellent rate offers, with one of the longest running introductory terms we’ve seen. With the bar set, customers are required to have good to excellent credit in order to qualify. Most credit card companies are now stricter about approving new cardholders for their balance transfer credit cards, and this card line up is no exception.
Here are some comparison points: The Platinum Select and Diamond Preferred cards have identical rate structures (based on credit history) and rather steep, yet standard cash advance penalty APRs and a higher than usual cash advance interest rate. Any missteps here are penalized aggressively. But as long as you’re diligent about managing your account, you should be able to avoid the stratospheric rates.
The Simplicity Card also has similar rate tiers, but it is true to its name in this regard: compared to the other cards, Citi Simplicity has NO annual fee*, NO late fees and NO penalty rates. This is what’s unique about this card — if you happen to skip a payment, you won’t get charged for it. This card is more forgiving. Most cards will jump at the chance to slap you with extra fees when you miss a payment, but this card will let you off the hook. If you go over your credit limit, you won’t get penalized either. Think about the savings here: if you’ve ever paid $35 in late payment fees on another card, then you might want to switch to this card. You won’t see your rate suddenly go up to 30% for a late payment, either. However, be careful about abusing these benefits only because you’re still responsible for interest charges you incur. And based on the track record of credit card companies, we wouldn’t put it past them to change their terms in the future or to make exceptions to their terms for certain cases. But certainly, the Simplicity Card is a great pick if you’re tired of bank fees.
If you’re a customer with outstanding credit, you may actually get a slightly better long term APR with Platinum Select or Diamond Preferred. Cash advance APRs for these cards are similar to their regular rates for standard transactions. In general though, remember that cash advances are expensive to use. Since cash advances don’t benefit from the special introductory APR, you should plan ahead before withdrawing money from an ATM with any of these cards.
Comparing and Reviewing Citi Card Fees
For all the cards, the balance transfer fees are identical, as well as the fees for cash advances and foreign transactions. There are returned payment fees for all the cards, but only Simplicity has NO late payment fee, as we mentioned earlier. The other cards do have a late payment fee that maxes out at $35.
Take note that Simplicity emphasizes lower costs and fees. You’ll find that this card is all about addressing one big concern that card users have: credit card and bank charges. This card is a great fit for anyone who desires lower costs in lieu of benefits and rewards.
Comparing Card Features: From Extra Cash To Citi Private Pass
All these cards come with additional benefits, but you’ll find that Simplicity tends to be a more basic card, with somewhat fewer benefits (the tradeoff for being the lower cost card of the bunch). But here’s what they all have available: they’re all part of the free Extra Cash program, which grants great discounts on a variety of merchandise, entertainment items, and even travel. And you earn 10% Extra Cash on those purchases, plus you’re covered by a low price guarantee if you find a better price elsewhere online. Don’t forget to sign up for this program (there’s no fee).
More deals and discounts are waiting with Citi Specials. If you’re looking for concerts, would like to dine out, or you’re ready for other adventures, consider what’s available through Citi Private Pass. Don’t forget to sign up for these services separately.
What kind of consumer protection do any of these cards offer? Like other Citi-branded credit cards, you can benefit from identity theft protection. If you find purchases that you didn’t make on your account, you don’t have to worry about paying for them because there’s a $0 liability for unauthorized charges. You can take advantage of Retail Purchase Protection, too. This covers your purchases on the card against damage or theft for 90 days. And many of your purchases will have the benefit of an extended warranty as well.
For those times when you need to travel, you’ll have access to travel and emergency assistance services, car rental insurance, and automatic travel accident insurance. There’s lost luggage coverage plus trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage. If trouble arises on your trip, call on travel and emergency assistance if you need it. Rent a car from Hertz and you’ll get a discount.
A few optional services are offered to cardholders. One of them is Citi IdentityMonitor, which can help you ward off identity theft. Another optional service is PaymentAid, which can give you a statement credit if you lose your job. And you no longer have to rush to a neighborhood bank before it closes, thanks to online account management tools. There are also helpful Citi tools that provide automatic account alerts and automatic spend alerts. Look up items on your statement, sign up for paperless statements, pay your bill, or contact customer service online at your own pace and on your own schedule.
Extra Benefits. Both Citi Platinum Select Visa and Citi Diamond Preferred have some additional services. For instance, they both work with Google Wallet. With Platinum Select, there are benefits to shoppers: if you like to shop online, you’ll be able to use Virtual Account Numbers to protect your real credit card number. Gain more protection with your card by opting for the Citi Photocard. That way, your picture will be on the card as a form of identification. And there’s the convenience of using the card’s Payment Tag with PayPass which lets you tap the tag reader at a store instead of waiting on a card reader or clerk. On the other hand, Citi Diamond Preferred offers special concierge services. You’ll get more details once you become a card member.
While some other Citi cards have broader rewards programs, you’re trading these off for a stress free, low cost set up. These cards can give you the opportunity to chip away at your card debt and get to a more comfortable position with your finances. Any of these cards can offer you a way to break out of the debt cycle, if it’s used responsibly.
Created December 27, 2010. Updated October 18, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.