Review of the Citi Simplicity Rewards Card




The Citi Simplicity Rewards Card was last reviewed on 10th December 2005.

Summary - The Citi Simplicity Rewards Card is Citibank's latest reward credit card based on the Thank You Redemptions Network reward program. The unique feature about this card (and all Simplicity Cards) is that as long as you make a purchase or cash advance (excluding balance transfer) within the same billing period, you will not be charged a late fee if you make late payments. But as a reward credit card, you may want to explore other Citibank reward credit cards as well. Read on...

Reward Formula - With the Citi Simplicity Rewards Card, you earn one point for every dollar you spend on the card. You can earn up to 75,000 points in one calender year. However, for the first year, you can earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at standalone drugstores and gas stations. You also get 10,000 points if you make your first purchase within 3 months of getting the card.

No late fees? - The unique feature of the Citi Simplicity Card is that if you make a late payment, your fees will be waived if you have made a purchase or cash advance during the same billing period. Balance transfers do not apply.

Fees - The Citi Simplicity Rewards Card has no annual fee. You get an introductory apr of 0% for balance transfer for 12 months from the date of your first transfer. And you also have 12 months to make the first balance transfer. The apr is quite low at prime rate plus 5.49%. The average daily balance method (including new purchase) is used to calculate monthy balance.

Other Features - The Citi Simplicity Card has features that cardholders should be taking advantage of. You can set up automatic payments so that payments can be taken from your bank account automatically. If you do this, you do not have to worry about late fees. You can also choose to receive email alerts on your bills and set up online payments. Citi also offers a free Identity Theft Solutions benefit to all cardholders. This service involves monitoring your card activities for fraudulent uses and also working with the credit bureaus if you become a victim of identity theft.

Conclusion - The late fee waiver is an excellent and innovative feature. To avoid late fees, the best thing to do is to actually set up an automatic payment with Citibank so that your credit card payment is automatically deducted from your bank account each month. However, for those who insist on sending a check or to pay bills online manually, this is a very useful feature. (Note however, that late payments will still be reported to credit bureaus which will affect your credit scores).

But the real question is how does this card stack up against other reward credit cards without the late fee waiver feature? The answer is that as a standalone Citi reward credit card, the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card offers a better deal. You can earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at standalone supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations. The Citi Simplicity Rewards Card only allow you to earn 5 points for purchases at standalone drugstores and gas stations only and not at supermarkets. Furthermore, you can only earn 5 points for the first year.

Those looking for a low apr credit card may want to consider the Citi Simplicity(SM) Card without the reward program. The apr is lower (prime rate plus 2.99%) versus prime rate plus 5.49% for the Citi Simplicity with Rewards. You also get a 0% apr for purchases for 12 months with the basic Simplicity Card versus just getting a 0% apr offer for balance transfer on this card.

Hence, there are tradeoffs with this card compared to other Citibank cards. If the late fee waiver feature is very important to you and you want to earn rewards with your credit card, then the Citi Simplicity(SM) Rewards Card is made just for you. However, if you always pay your bills on time and do not consider the late fee waiver feature important, then either the basic Citi Simplicity Card (as a basic low apr credit card) or the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card (as a standalone reward credit card) would be better alternatives.

Positives
  • Late fee waiver
  • No annual fee
  • 0% apr for 12 months (balance transfer)


Negatives
  • Can only 5 points on purchases at standalone gas stations and drugstores, but not supermarkets
  • 5 points can only be earned during the first year



Citi Simplicity Rewards Card
Cost/Fees/Interest rates
Introductory rate 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months from date of transfer. Transfers can be made within 12 months.
Annual Fees No annual fee
Purchase APR Prime Rate plus 5.49%
Balance Transfer APR Prime Rate plus 5.49%
Cash Advance APR Prime Rate plus 14.99%, min 19.99%
Penalty/Default Rate Prime Rate plus 23.99%
Min Finance Charge $0.50
Grace Period 20 days
Balance Calculation Method Average Daily Balance (including new purchases)
Balance Transfer Fee 3%, min $5.00, max $75.00
No balance transfer fee for introductory offer
Cash Advance fee 3% ,min $5.00
Over-the-credit-limit fee $35.00
Late Payment fee No late fee if a purchase or cash advance is made within the same billing cycle. Balance transfers are not counted.
$15.00 - less than $100
$29.00 - $100 to $1000
$39.00 - $1000 and above



Apply for the Citi Simplicity(SM) Rewards Card

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