BankAmericard® vs. Citi Simplicity

June 6, 2016, Written By Jason Steele

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The credit card industry offers plenty of products that boast of spectacular rewards and benefits, but these cards aren’t for everyone. Many American credit card users are more interested in finding a simple card that offers a low interest rate, a few key benefits, and no annual fee. The BankAmericard® from Bank of America and the Citi Simplicity are two of the more basic cards that appeal to customers who aren’t in the market for cash reward cards or travel benefits.

Let’s examine these two competing cards, and see which one is right for you.

BankAmericard® Credit Card

bankamericardThe BankAmericard® credit card offers new applicants 18 billing cycles of 0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee. The rate you receive will depend on your creditworthiness at the time of your application, but this card offers the lowest standard interest rate of any BankAmericard® product. However, this card does have a penalty interest rate of up to 29.99% that will apply when you make a late payment. It also has a late payment fee of up to $37.

Other benefits include online banking, account alerts, and optional overdraft protection that helps prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America checking account to your credit card, although transfer fees may apply. Cardholders can also receive their monthly FICO credit score when they enroll in online banking. This card has no rewards program and there is no annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the United States.

Citi Simplicity®

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The name Citi Simplicity card pretty much says everything you need to know about what Citi designed this card for. New applicants receive 18 months of interest free promotional financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 5% balance transfer fee. After that, the standard rate of 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable) APR will apply, based on your creditworthiness. However, there are no late fees or penalty interest rate with this card.

Other benefits include Citi’s Price Rewind service, which will automatically search for a lower price on your eligible, registered purchases, and offer you a refund of the difference if it finds a lower price within 60 days of purchase. It also offers an extended warranty policy that adds a year to the manufacturer’s warranty for many purchases. And when traveling, this card offers worldwide rental car insurance, as well as a travel and emergency assistance hotline. Finally, Citi offers automatic account alerts, a customizable payment due date, and compatibility with the Apple Pay mobile payment system. This card has no rewards program and no annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, which applies to all payments processed outside of the United States.

Which card is right for you

The Citi Simplicity card has several key advantages over the BankAmericard®. First, it offers 21 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, as opposed to only 18 billing cycles offered by the BankAmericard® on balance transfers only. It’s also important to note that with the BankAmericard®, the minimum payment will first be applied to the lower interest balance first, but any additional payment will be applied to the higher interest balance.

Additionally, the Citi Simplicity lacks late payment fees and penalty interest rates, which can be extremely costly should you mistakenly make a late payment. In contrast, the BankAmericard® has a penalty interest rate of up to 29.99% and a late payment fee of up to $37. Finally, the Citi Simplicity features more valuable cardholder benefits including the Price Rewind service and the extended warranty coverage.

Nevertheless, the BankAmericard® still offers a few advantages, such as a potentially lower standard interest rate. It also allows customers to leverage their relationship with Bank of America, one of the largest retail banks in the country. For example, existing Bank of America account holders will find it easier to make a payment from their checking or savings accounts to their Bank of America credit cards, which is just a transfer of funds between accounts, rather than a payment from one institution to another.

Ultimately, the choice between these two closely matched cards can come down to which of these two large banks you prefer to do business with. The Citi Simplicity will offer lower fees and a longer promotional financing period, while the BankAmericard® will offer lower rates. For those who don’t worry about making a late payment, the BankAmericard® might be the more attractive offer since it can have a lower standard interest rate. But for those who are looking for the strongest promotional financing offer and the lowest fees, the Citi Simplicity may be the better choice. By closely examining the strengths and weaknesses of both cards, you can choose the one that meets your needs.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 6, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Jason Steele

Jason Steele is freelance journalist and an expert on the credit card industry. He contributes to several of the top personal finance sites, and his work is syndicated to mainstream outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.
View all posts by Jason Steele