A Balance Transfer Heavyweight
Credit Needed: Excellent
For many consumers, getting out of credit card debt is out of reach without the breathing room that a balance transfer to a card with a 0% intro APR provides. Once you’ve transferred your balances to a card with a 0% intro APR, you can put all your spare money into chipping away at the debt, without accruing new interest.
Typically the 0% introductory APR offers on credit cards will last 12 or 15 months. The Citi Diamond Preferred Card (a SmartAsset advertising partner) leads the pack with its 18-month 0% APR offer on balance transfers. If you only have a small amount of credit card debt you might not need this feature. But if you have more credit card debt than you could pay down in 12 or 15 months at a 0% intro APR, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is well worth your notice.
Once the introductory 0% APR has ended, your APR will be between 13.74% - 23.74% Variable depending on your credit.
0% introductory APR – The Citi Diamond Preferred Card comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 18 months after you get approved for the card and your account is opened. The 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers from the first date of transfer (must be completed within the first four months of account opening). 0% APR applies to new purchases and to old balances you transfer to the card.
Smart Tip: The start date for the 18 month intro on purchases is the date your account opens, not the date the card arrives in your mailbox. If you’re keeping track of the dates you have the 0% APR so you pay all your debt before the offer expires, be sure to use the date your account was opened as your starting point.
No annual fee – You won’t have to worry about an annual fee with the Citi Diamond Preferred Card.
Free FICO® Score – If you’re drawn to the 18-month 0% intro APR on the Citi Diamond Preferred Card we’re guessing it’s because you have credit card debt. If so, you’re probably working on raising your credit score. So you’ll be glad to learn that the Citi Diamond Preferred Card lets you access your FICO® score for free.
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Who It Benefits
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card is best for people who have credit card debt and need a balance transfer card with a 0% introductory APR. The more debt you have, the more you’ll appreciate the card’s 18-month balance transfer offer period.
If credit card debt isn’t a concern for you and you always pay your bill in full each month, you’ll probably want a card that offers cash back or points so you’re getting something for the money you’re spending.
How It Works
From the date your Citi Diamond Preferred Card account is opened, you’ll have 18 months at a 0% intro APR on your purchases. For balance transfers, the 0% intro APR for 18 months applies from the date of first transfer, when transfers are completed within four months from the account opening. A balance transfers fee equal to $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater will apply.
After the 0% intro offer ends your APR will be between 13.74% - 23.74% Variable, depending on your credit score.
If you miss a payment you’ll be bumped up to a penalty APR of up to 29.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. This APR is variable and will apply if you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned.
What’s the Catch
As a balance transfer card, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a solid choice. The card’s balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the balance is a bit of a catch, though. The penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable is another catch, as is the late payment fee of up to $40 and the returned payment fee of up to $40.
Just the Math Please
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card does not offer rewards like cash back, miles or perks.
If you transfer a balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, you’ll pay either $5 or 3% of each balance transferred, whichever is greater. Your introductory APR on any transferred balances will be 0% for 18 months from the date of first transfer, when transfers are completed within four months from the account opening. You may transfer any amount, but the total amount of your balance transfer plus your balance transfer fees must be less than your available credit limit.
Rates and Fees
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases
After your 18 months at the introductory APR of 0%, your APR will be 13.74% - 23.74% Variable, depending on your credit score. This APR is variable so can fluctuate with the Prime Rate.
APR for Balance Transfers
After 18 months at a 0% intro APR, your APR on any transferred balances will be the same as your regular APR. That means your APR will be 13.74% - 23.74% Variable, depending on your credit score. The APR for balance transfers is a variable rate. Balance transfers must be completed within four months after account opening to qualify for the introductory rate.
APR for Cash Advances
The APR for cash advances is 25.24% Variable.
Penalty APR and When It Applies
Up to 29.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The penalty APR is a variable rate and will apply if you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases
Your due date is at least 23 days after the close of each billing period. If you pay your entire balance by each month’s due date you will not accrue interest charges.
Balance Transfer $5 or 3% of your transferred balance(s), whichever is greater.
Cash Advance Either $10 or 5% of each cash advance, whichever is greater of the amount of each transaction.
Foreign Purchase Transaction 3% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Late Payment Up to $40
Returned Payment Up to $40
How It Stacks Up
If you’re looking for a balance transfer card and you think you’ll need plenty of time to pay down what you owe, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a good choice because its 18-month 0% intro APR period is as long as that of any card around.
However, there are balance transfer cards that offer a 0% APR but don’t charge fees. So if you’re OK with a 0% intro APR period of 12 or 15 months rather than 18 months, you might prefer a card that offers fee-free balance transfers – a card like the Chase Slate.
If late fees are a concern for you, you might prefer the Citi Simplicity Card. It’s a card that has an 18-month 0% APR offer, but doesn’t charge any late fees and doesn’t charge a penalty APR.
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers a generous 18 months at a 0% intro APR, which will be a boon for anyone who needs plenty of time to pay down credit card debt from other cards. Though the card has some less-ideal features such as balance transfer and late fees and a penalty APR, it offers some beneficial features like free FICO score and purchase protection. Overall, it’s a strong contender in the balance transfer card category.
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