Citi Simplicity vs. Citi Diamond Preferred

July 28, 2015, Written By Jason Steele

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Just because you have credit card debt, it doesn’t mean you will be treated right by your credit card issuer. Citi has two cards with outstanding offers for interest-free financing on new purchases and balance transfers–the Citi Simplicity and the Diamond Preferred–yet each has a very different way of pleasing cardholders. Let’s take a look at both products, and see which one is right for you.

Citi Simplicity

citi simplicityCiti Simplicity is an excellent card for those who are trying to manage their credit card debt. It offers an incredible 21 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. In addition, it is one of the few cards available with no late fees or penalty interest rate. After the promotional financing period ends, the standard interest rate 12.99%-22.99% (depending on the cardholder’s creditworthiness) will apply to any remaining balance.

Simplicity also offers additional features and benefits such as worldwide rental car insurance, travel and emergency assistance, and extended warranty coverage. Cardholders can use Citi’s Price Rewind program, which provides cardholders automatic refunds whenever a qualifying purchase is advertised for less. Furthermore, Citi is now providing all cardholders a complimentary FICO credit scores each month, so they can monitor their credit and spot any problems early. Other services include automatic account alerts, your choice of payment due dates, and compatibility with Apple Pay. There is no annual fee for this card.

Citi Diamond Preferred

citi diamond preferred (1)The Citi Diamond Preferred card features an identical promotional financing offer, but takes a completely different direction when it comes to providing cardholder benefits. As with Simplicity, new applicants receive a full 21 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

And like Simplicity, it also comes with worldwide rental car insurance, travel and emergency assistance, and extended warranty coverage as well as the Price Rewind program, and a complimentary FICO credit score.

But instead of offering no late fees or penalty interest rates, the Diamond Preferred rewards cardholders with another level of perks. Citi Easy Deals offers savings when shopping online at brands such as Gap, CVS and Footlocker. The Citi Private Pass program offers exclusive offers to attend special events through cardholder’s statement and emails, as well as preferred seating. This card also comes with a personal concierge service that can help you with dining or travel reservations or assistance arranging for the purchase and delivery of the perfect gift.

This card also includes trip cancellation and trip interruption protection, which allows you to be reimbursed for non-refundable trip expenses, such as change fees, up to $1,500 per year. Another benefit is worldwide travel accident insurance, which includes $250,000 in compensation. Finally, purchases are covered against accidental damage and theft, up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per year. Coverage is valid for up to 120 days after purchase (90 days for New York residents).

Nevertheless, when Diamond Preferred cardholders make a payment after the due date, they will incur late payment fees of up to $35 and a penalty interest rate of 29.99% APR. The standard interest rate is 11.99%, 14.99%, 17.99%, 19.99%, or 21.99% based on the creditworthiness of the cardholder at the time of application. But as with Simplicity, there is no annual fee for this card.

Which Offer Makes Sense for Your Needs?

Although they both have the same promotional financing offers, Citi Simplicity is the card for those who live in fear of costly late payment fees and high penalty interest rates. With Simplicity, cardholders can do the best they can to pay off their balance and make payments on-time, but know that a small mistake will not result in huge penalties.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card is for someone who is normally interested in premium credit cards, but is more focused on paying off their debt rather than earning rewards. These are customers who can use the premium services offered such as Easy Deals, Private Pass, and the concierge services. This card is also great for those who frequently travel and would like the protection of trip cancellation and interruption coverage, and the peace of mind that comes with a purchase protection policy and travel accident coverage. Needless to say, these benefits come at the cost of potential late fees of up to $35 and a penalty interest rate of close to 30%. But fortunately, the interest rates for these two cards are very comparable, with the Diamond Preferred offering a slightly lower rate of 11.99% APR for the most qualified applicants, and 21.99% for the least qualified cardholders.

Since these two cards feature the longest period of promotional financing offered by any major card issuer, most applicants can’t go wrong when picking one of the two cards. The Simplicity is clearly the safe, conservative approach, while the Diamond Preferred is as much of a luxury card as anyone can expect with no annual fee and outstanding introductory financing.


The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 28, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.