Citi Simplicity vs. Chase Freedom

Citi Simplicity vs. Chase Freedom

July 23, 2015         Written By Jason Steele

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Credit cards with no annual fees are favorites with many cardholders. While some don’t find any value in these fees, others simply refuse to pay for the privilege of using a credit card when there are so many cards offered at no cost.

Two of the top no-fee cards on the market are the Citi Simplicity and the Chase Freedom, yet both of them are designed to appeal to a different type of cardholder. So let’s take a look at these two cards, and find out which one makes the most sense for your needs.

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Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever

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The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever has one of the industry’s best introductory offers in terms of APR. The Citi Simplicity card has a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases, and for 21 months on balance transfers that are made in the first four months of being a cardholder. Subsequently, there will be an ongoing APR between 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable). There is a 5% balance transfer fee. This card is rather unique in the industry in that it has no annual fee, no late fee and no penalty rate.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card takes a different path in appealing to lovers of cards with no annual fee. In this case, Freedom is a rewards card that offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter on purchases from featured retailers. For example, in the third quarter of 2015 (July-September), the eligible retailers include both gas stations and Kohl’s stores. 1% cash back is earned on all other purchases, with no limits and no expiration.

In addition to offering rewards, Freedom also comes with both a sign-up bonus and a promotional financing offer. New cardholders receive $150 cash back after spending just $500 within their first three months of card membership. Finally, new cardholders receive 0% APR financing for 15 months on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. After that rate expires, the standard rate is 17.24%-25.99%, depending on creditworthiness.

How These Cards Compare

The Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever is a great card for those who are struggling with credit card debt, and need to take a break from interest charges for as long as possible by transferring a balance from one card to another. Receiving 21 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases is significantly longer than the financing offer provided to Chase Freedom cardholders. Simplicity is also the card for those who may have been burned in the past by late payment fees and penalty interest rates. We all make mistakes, but being late on a single payment should not be extremely costly.

On the other hand, Chase Freedom excels at offering cash back rewards at the exceptional level of 5%. And even though its financing offer is not as generous, it makes up for it by giving new customers $150 in cash back. In fact, Freedom’s Blueprint program makes it a good card for those who would like to save money on interest when they occasionally need to finance a particular purchase.

So in the end, Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever is the choice for those trying to control their debt, interest charges, and fees, while Chase Freedom is an outstanding pick when you are more focused on earning cash back rewards.

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The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The product details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the bank advertiser.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 23, 2015. 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 a journalist that covers credit cards, travel and consumer credit. As one of the nation's leading experts in credit cards, Jason has contributed to dozens of travel and personal finance outlets including NerdWallet, Credit Karma and the Points Guy, where he serves as the Senior Points and Miles Contributor. Jason has also been widely quoted in mainstream media in outlets such as the Washington Post, the USA Today and Bloomberg Business Week. Jason is also the founder and producer of CardCon, which is the annual Conference for Credit and Credit Card Media.
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