Citi Simplicity® vs Citi Diamond Preferred® Credit Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card are both a part of the Mastercard network and have exceptionally long introductory 0% APR periods.

Those 0% interest periods for both balance transfers and purchases are their primary selling points. For the Simplicity, you’ll get 0% interest for 18 months before the normal APR of 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) takes effect.

And again, for the Diamond Preferred, you’ll have 0% interest for 18 months before the usual APR of 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) kicks in.

With these cards, you can transfer a balance from another card and it’ll accrue no interest for a set period of time. They can be used to avoid paying needless interest charges on other credit cards.

The intro APR for purchases works the same way. The things you buy won’t accrue any interest, so you’d be able to pick up expensive items and pay them down over time.

The determining factors of which card you should choose will likely be found within their fees and benefits. Because the Simplicity lacks some of the fees that the Diamond Preferred has, it’ll likely be the better choice if you’re worried about paying late. But if you’re not concerned with being penalized for missing a payment, the Diamond Preferred may be more beneficial because of its concierge benefit.

What Are the Differences Between the Citi Simplicity and the Citi Diamond Preferred?

As stated above, these cards are very similar. However, the Simplicity has the upper hand when it comes to its terms. It doesn’t have any late fees or a penalty APR should you miss a payment, as the Diamond Preferred does.

The Diamond Preferred features a concierge benefit, meaning you can call 1-800-508-8930 to get help with non-emergency tasks. That could prove pretty handy in the right situations. If you’re not the type to miss a payment, the extra help from the concierge might be a more attractive feature to you.

Neither card features any rewards. Therefore, it would be a good idea to pair one of them with a points rewards card or a cash back card.

Comparing the Terms & Fees

Card Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 25.24% (Variable)
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 25.24% (Variable)
Card Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever $0 3%
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card $0 3%
Card Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever 3%, $5 minimum 5%; $10 minimum
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card 3%, $5 minimum 5%, $10 minimum
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever None None Up to $40
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $40 Up to $40

The Simplicity has the nice feature of (as the name suggests) a simplified fee table. It has no late fee or penalty APR if you miss a payment. Most cards, the Diamond Preferred included, have fees set up to deter you from not meeting your monthly required payment, and a penalty APR ready to punish you even more. The penalty APR replaces your card’s current APR with a higher rate, costing you even more money if you carry a balance.

So if you’re late with a payment (not that you would be) you won’t be reprimanded as severely with the Simplicity as you would with the Diamond Preferred. This is where the Simplicity outshines the Diamond Preferred, and what could make it the better choice.

However, just because you won’t be penalized with fees for paying late doesn’t mean you should. Despite the lack of fees, there are still consequences to missing a payment with the Simplicity. If you don’t pay on time, you could lose your introductory APR offers.

Additionally, missing payments can be detrimental to your credit scores. Having lower scores will make it harder for you to be approved for future cards, housing options, and loans, and will prevent you from getting the best rates.

The other important fee to be aware of for both cards is the balance transfer fee.

While it’s true the 0% APRs for purchases and balance transfers are the highlight of these cards, you’ll still have to pay a fee if you choose to transfer a balance to either of them.

If the fee is 3%, for example, and you want to transfer a balance of $5,000, you’d be responsible for a fee of $150. That might seem steep, but in some cases, the fee doesn’t compare to what you’d be paying from interest charges if you left that balance on another card. It’ll depend on both the terms and the size of the balance.

It’s important to note that you must transfer a balance within the first four months of having either card in order to take advantage of the 0% APR offer.

The 0% APR for purchases could be just as helpful when trying to avoid interest charges. Let’s say there’s a purchase you’ve been wanting to make for a while now, but you were worried you wouldn’t be able to pay it off before interest started to rear its ugly head.

With both of these cards, you can buy that new stove or washer and dryer combo, and then pay it down over quite a while as it accrues no interest. Utilizing either of these intro APR periods can help mitigate or get rid of debt and save you money you might’ve had to spend on interest.

Read more
2021’s Best Credit Cards With No Balance Transfer Fees and 0% APR

How Do the Benefits Compare?

These cards have practically the same exact benefits, so there isn’t much here that will determine which card would be better than the other. The only difference is that the Diamond Preferred card offers a concierge service.

If you have the Diamond Preferred, you can call 1-800-508-8930 to contact Citi’s Concierge. They can help find entertainment tickets, make dinner reservations, and with other non-emergency tasks.

Both of these cards offer the ability to monitor one of your credit scores. You should be automatically enrolled in Citi Online once you’re approved for your card, but if not, you’ll need to do so in order to see your credit score. Once you are, you can log in on Citi’s site and check your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.

If you don’t think you’ll miss a payment, you may get more out of the concierge benefit, meaning the Diamond Preferred would be the better choice for you.

The other benefits these cards share are:

  • Citi Entertainment: Access tickets to a wide variety of events, like concerts and sporting events, occasionally including presales and exclusive experiences.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Receive aid from Citi’s identity theft specialists, who will help you apply fraud alerts, monitor your credit reports, provide advice for completing police reports, and more.
  • Automatic account alerts: Alerts concerning your balance, payments due, and other key account factors are delivered via email or text.
  • Choose your payment due date: Pick from the beginning, middle, or end of the month.
  • $0 Liability on unauthorized charges: Get comprehensive protection from unauthorized purchases on your account.
  • Contactless payments: Tap your card on eligible checkout terminals to check out quickly and securely.

What if I Want Both the Simplicity and the Diamond Preferred?

If you decide you’d rather not choose, you could apply for both. But it wouldn’t necessarily be the right move.

What both cards could accomplish together is the same as what one card could do alone, and we don’t recommend getting more credit cards than necessary.

You could get one, and then the other if you need another 0% APR down the road. But otherwise, you wouldn’t really get any more benefit out of two cards than you would with one. If you still want another payment option, you could consider pairing whichever one you choose with a cash back card or a general rewards card.

The Verdict

Taking both cards at face value, they’re very similar with only a few slight differences. Because the Simplicity features no late fees or penalty APR, if you’re worried about paying late the Simplicity would be the better choice.

However, if you’re not worried about missing a payment, the concierge benefit the Diamond Preferred provides may be more attractive to you. If that’s the case, you might want to go with the Diamond Preferred.

As of February 2021, both cards have intro 0% APR periods of the same lengths, so there isn’t a very strong reason to get one over the other. The Simplicity just has a leg up when it comes to the fees, and the Diamond Preferred has the edge on benefits.

Alternative Cards

There are a number of other cards that feature 0% APR offers if the Citi Simplicity or Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t appeal to you.

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card (Review) offers one of the longest 0% APR periods of any credit card. You’ll have 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, after which the normal APR of 14.49% – 24.49%* Variable applies.

Like the Diamond Preferred and the Simplicity, there are no rewards to be earned here. Its only purpose is to avoid interest charges with its APR offers. It’s a great card to use for debt management, and it gives you a little more time than either the Citi Simplicity or the Citi Diamond Preferred. It does have both a late fee and penalty APR, however.

If you have outstanding debt with Citi, you might want to choose this card. In most cases, you can’t transfer debt you have with a bank to one of its own credit cards.

The Wells Fargo Platinum card (Review) is also very similar to both the Citi Simplicity and the Citi Diamond Preferred.

There are no rewards and, at the time of publication, the 0% intro APR periods are the same length as those of the Simplicity and the Diamond Preferred (for both purchases and balance transfers).

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is a pretty rewarding credit card that also features a long intro 0% APR offer for balance transfers.

Unlike both the Simplicity and the Diamond Preferred, the Double Cash will earn rewards for every purchase you make. And you’ll get 0% interest for 18 months on Balance Transfers (normally 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). However, there isn’t a 0% APR offer for purchases like the other two Citi cards have.

The Double Cash is a good card to pair with others. If you wanted the Simplicity or the Diamond Preferred for its long 0% intro period, you could pair it with the Double Cash to earn rewards. And, with the Double Cash’s grace period, your purchases won’t accrue any interest as long as you pay your statement balance in full each month. However, if you use the Double Cash for a balance transfer, you won’t have a grace period unless you pay off the full balance.

Want to learn more about balance transfers? Check out our guide for an in-depth look.
How Credit Card Balance Transfers Work

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