6 Credit Cards for New Homeowners

Like a new home, a credit card is a big commitment that can seriously pay off.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial events and someone with a new mortgage may primarily be focused on how they’ll afford their new mortgage payment. But it takes more than a mortgage to make a home, with additional expenses such as furniture, remodeling projects and other needs adding to the overall cost.

You may be wondering how you’ll afford all these costs on top of a mortgage payment. Credit cards with low intro APR offers and cash back rewards can help.

Here are six credit cards worth considering if you’re a new homeowner (or will be soon).

1. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: This card offers an extremely long intro 0% APR(Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your New Home: With 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, you’ll have nearly two years to make purchases or pay off a balance interest-free. That’s a long time to furnish your home or pay off a remodeling project.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards.

2. Blue Cash Preferred by American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $250 bonus cash when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: New homeowners have many ways to earn great cash back rates on purchases.
For Your New Home: The card earns 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else. That means you can earn big cash back rewards as you stock your fridge, pick up accessories and appliances at department stores and fill up your gas tank for all those shopping trips. Plus, you get 12 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee.

3. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Signup Bonus: $200 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 25.99%
Why We Picked It: Wells Fargo borrowers can put their cash back directly toward their mortgage.
For Your New Home: You’ll earn a solid 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, if your mortgage lender is Wells Fargo, you can redeem your cash back as a credit to your mortgage principal. You’ll also get 12 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: Some competitors offer stronger cash back rates.

4. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months, a $25 bonus when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: A solid cash back rate and a long intro 0% APR period make this card a contender.
For Your New Home: You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. Plus, you’ll get 15 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: There are higher cash back rates out there.

5. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% upon payment
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 15 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: You’ll earn a great cash back rate on all purchases with a strong incentive to pay them off quickly.
For Your New Home: With 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% upon payment, you’ll be motivated to pay off your home expenses. Plus, you’ll have 15 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: You won’t earn your full cash back until you pay your bills.

6. Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then variable 21.99% to 26.99%
Why We Picked It: This card can help fund your DIY remodel and repair projects.
For Your New Home: Home Depot purchases of $299 and up get six months with no interest. Home Depot also offers 0% financing promotions for up to 24 months on many different purchase types, including appliances, windows and roofing. Cardholders also get access to special discounts and a year of hassle-free returns.
Drawbacks: If you don’t shop at Home Depot, this card isn’t right for you.

Choosing a Card for Your New Home Expenses

There are two primary ways credit cards can help with home expenses: cash back and 0% intro APR offers. New homeowners should look closely at these policies when evaluating a credit card.

If your priority is cash back, you’ll want to choose a card that rewards the way you’ll be spending on your new home. For instance, if you’ll be entertaining a lot, you may want a credit card that offers special cash back rates on groceries. If you’ll be ordering a lot of gadgets and appliances online, you’ll want a card for online purchases. If you tend to spread your purchases around, you may want a card with a good, flat cash back rate on all purchase types.

Intro 0% APR periods are helpful because you can avoid interest for a predetermined amount of time. If you have a lot of upcoming purchases, you won’t have to worry about paying interest for a while. If your new home expenses have already contributed to a high credit card balance, you can get some relief by transferring that balance to a card with a 0% intro APR offer. When choosing a card, look for one that gives you enough time to pay off your balance transfer or make most of your initial home purchases interest-free.

What Credit is Required to Get a Card for New Home Expenses?

Cards with cash back and strong balance transfer offers usually require good to excellent credit. To increase your chances of approval, you should know your credit score before you apply. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity, Blue Cash Preferred by American Express, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: courtneyk

The post 6 Credit Cards for New Homeowners appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards to Help Pay Off Your Vacation Spending

Credit cards with strong balance transfer offers can help.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Vacations are expensive affairs, with costs including lodging, transportation and car rentals adding up to a large bill. But they can get even more expensive while you’re traveling, because the vacation mindset can lead you to spend on excursions, fancy dinners and gifts for your loved ones back home.

If your recent vacation splurge left you with a spending hangover and a big credit card balance, you may be worried about all the interest you’ll accrue as you pay off your trip. Credit cards with strong balance transfer offers can help, providing a way to transfer your balance to a new card and pay off your balance interest-free.

To do this effectively, you’ll want to check your budget and see how long you think you’ll need and then compare different cards offerings to find the one that could benefit you the most. To help you get started, here are five credit cards that can help you pay off that vacation splurge.

1. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for 21 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: Citi is currently offering one of the longest 0% intro APR periods in the business. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
To Pay Off Your Vacation: With 21 months with no interest, you’ll have nearly two years to pay off your vacation. Plus, there are travel protections, including car rental insurance and emergency assistance, for the next time you take a trip.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards programs with this card, and you’ll pay a balance transfer fee.

2. Discover it Card

Rewards: 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: Discover will match all cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount
APR: 0% intro APR for 14 months, then variable 11.99% to 23.99%
Why We Picked It: You can pay off your vacation balance over time and earn cash back on purchases.
To Pay Off Your Vacation: You’ll get 14 months to pay off your vacation with no interest. You’ll earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating spending categories and 1% cash back on everything else.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to keep track of spending categories for cash back, this card requires too much effort.

3. Barclaycard Ring Mastercard

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $0
APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 13.99%
Why We Picked It: Balance transfers cost nothing with this card.
To Pay Off Your Vacation: Balance transfers get 15 months interest-free. You’ll also save on fees, as this card has no balance transfer fee.
Drawbacks: There is a profit-sharing feature called the Giveback program, but you have no control over it and there are no binding obligations for the card issuer.

4. BankAmericard Credit Card

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $0 for balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. After that, the fee is $10 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater.
APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 12.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: This card is another strong choice for avoiding balance transfer fees.
To Pay Off Your Vacation: If you transfer your vacation balance over in the first 60 days, you’ll avoid all transfer fees. After that, you have 15 months to pay off your trip with no interest.
Drawbacks: If you don’t transfer your balance in 60 days, you may end up with a higher balance transfer fee than some competing cards.

5. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: There’s a strong interest-free intro period and you’ll earn cash back on all purchases.
To Pay Off Your Vacation: You’ll get 15 months to pay off your vacation balance without interest. And, you’ll get 1.5% cash back to help you save for a future trip.
Drawbacks: Depending on your balance, the balance transfer fee may be higher than some other options.

Choosing a Card To Pay Off Your Vacation

With any balance transfer card, you’ll need to check the APR that activates after the 0% intro period. If it’s greater than the interest on your current credit card, you’ll have to be careful. If you don’t pay off your vacation before the intro period expires, a card with a higher APR will hit you with worse interest than you already have.

You’ll also want to evaluate the balance transfer fee. Some cards don’t have balance transfer fees, while others will charge a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer amount, whichever is greater. Depending on the cost of your trip, these fees can get expensive. If the card only offers free balance transfers for a short time frame, you’ll want to make sure to transfer your balance immediately.

Paying off your entire vacation within the intro period is what is likely to save you the most money, so you may want to calculate the monthly payment needed to do that. Using your card for everyday spending will add to your balance, so if your priority is to pay off your vacation, you’ll want to limit purchases on your card until the trip is fully paid off.

What Credit Is Required For a Card To Pay Off a Vacation?

Cards with strong balance transfer offers may require good to excellent credit. You should know your credit score before you apply to get an idea of if you’ll qualify. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com so you have a better idea and don’t get hit with that inquiry just to get denied.

Image: mapodile

At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity, Discover it, Barclaycard Ring Mastercard and Chase Freedom Unlimited credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Credit Cards to Help Pay Off Your Vacation Spending appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards to Help Prepare for Your New Baby

There are several cards that can help you afford the various expenses that go along with parenthood.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Expecting parents have a lot to do in a short time frame. They’ve got to prepare their home for a new arrival, coordinate doctor’s visits, put together a birth plan and more.

If you’re expecting a child, you may want to add choosing a new credit card to your to-do list. Your current credit card may be not be enough to reward the types of purchases you’ll be making for the foreseeable future. There are several cards that can help you afford the various expenses that go along with parenthood.

Here are four cards for expecting parents.

1. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% back upon payment
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 14.24% to 24.24% for purchases, 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: Parents get extra motivation to pay off their baby-related purchases. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Benefits: All purchases earn 1% cash back and another 1% upon payment, for a total of 2% cash back on everything.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait until you pay to earn your full cash back.

2. Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back at on up to $6,000 in yearly spending supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: New parents may be spending a lot at supermarkets, department stores and gas stations. This card provides cash-back incentives for all three.
Benefits: You’ll earn 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else. Plus, there’s a nice $150 signup bonus and a 12-month 0% intro APR period.
Drawbacks: The card has a $95 annual fee.

3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first 90 days
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: If you plan to chauffeur your kid to and from daycare, and in a few years, team practices and sleepovers, this card can save on gas.
Benefits: With 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, you’ll get plenty of ways to put some money back in your wallet. Bank of America customers get an additional 10% redemption value when they deposit their cash back into a Bank of America account.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to be a Bank of America account holder to unlock this card’s full value.

4. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 21 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: If your current card’s interest is too high, you can use this card for 21 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Benefits: The 21-month intro 0% APR offer gives you a chance to pay down purchases and balance transfers. Whether you’re buying diapers or setting up your nursery, this card can help you avoid interest.
Drawbacks: Once the 21-month intro period expires, the card’s value tanks.

Choosing a Credit Card for Your Growing Family

Choosing a card for family expenses is a personal decision, and depends on your parental spending habits.

Cash-back card rates vary, so you’ll want to look at the cards that best reward the way you spend. If you’ll be spending at many different types of stores, a card with a flat cash-back rate on all purchases might be the best move. If your purchases will be concentrated at a few merchant types, you may want to find a card that best rewards those purchases.

However, a card with a strong balance transfer offer might be the best option if you’ve put a lot of upfront expenses on a high-interest card.

In short, the best credit card for your family will depend on your specific needs and goals.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card for Family Expenses?

Cards with cash back rewards or strong 0% APR offers often require good to excellent credit. You should know your credit score before you apply, because a hard credit inquiry can lower your credit score a few points. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: monkeybusinessimages

At publishing time, the Citi Double Cash, Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express and Citi Simplicity credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 4 Credit Cards to Help Prepare for Your New Baby appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills

The cost of pet supplies can add up, but these cards can help you save.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Your pets are more than just cute — they’re members of the family. Like any family member, you want to keep them happy and healthy. But the cost of pet food, veterinarian visits, medication and other supplies can add up.

Some credit cards make spending on your pet a walk in the park using cash back, rewards points or 0% interest offers.

The best cards for pet lovers make it easier to afford your animal friends. These credit cards do the trick.

1. American Kennel Club Visa

The Draw: Three points per dollar spent at pet stores, vets and the AKC, two points per dollar spent on gas and groceries and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 12.98%, 18.99% or 22.99%
Why We Picked It: This card rewards pet purchases, helps with gas and groceries and supports the AKC.
Benefits: All purchases made on this card earn rewards points, with special value put on pet, fuel and grocery expenses. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. Plus, a percentage of sales made on the card goes to benefit the AKC, an organization that supports dog breeders and canine health. You can get your card customized to include your pet’s photo.
Drawbacks: If you’re not a fan of dog breeding, keep looking.

2. Chase Freedom

The Draw: 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% unlimited cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating categories, but Shop through Chase can help you save on pet purchases.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories such as grocery stores and gas. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You’ll also get access to Shop through Chase, which offers 1% to 15% extra cash back rewards at select online retailers, including PetSmart. Plus, there’s a $150 signup bonus.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track and activate cash-back categories on a quarterly basis, this card will be a headache.

3. Amazon Rewards Visa Card

The Draw: 3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% if you have Amazon Prime), 2% cash back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: If you prefer to shop for your furry friends online, the Amazon card can help you earn back some money.
Benefits: Your earnings can be redeemed for cash back, Amazon purchases and more. With cash back ranging from 3% to 5% on Amazon.com purchases, you can save on those bulk bags of dog food.
Drawbacks: This card won’t deliver as much value if you prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations.

4. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Draw: 6% cash back at supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: This card is a no-brainer if you make pet purchases at the grocery store.
Benefits: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, this card can earn cash quick if you make pet purchases at the grocery store. Plus, that $150 bonus boosts the first-year value of the card.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $95.

5. Citi Simplicity

The Draw: A 0% intro APR period that’s perfect for big balances
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: For large vet bills, this card offers plenty of time to pay down your balance interest-free. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Benefits: The card’s greatest asset is the 21-month intro 0% APR offer. If you have a large vet bill coming due, charging it to this card (or initiating a balance transfer) would give you nearly two years to pay it off with no interest.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards points or cash-back offers, so the card isn’t as valuable for everyday spending.

How to Choose a Card for Pet Expenses

If you’re looking for a card solely for pet expenses, choose a card that most rewards your supplier of choice. For instance, if you buy all your pet supplies online, the Amazon.com credit card might be best. If you buy all your supplies at grocery stores, a card with a high grocery store cash-back rate would be appropriate. If you need to transfer a hefty vet bill from an existing card to a new one, a card with a long intro 0% APR period would be suitable.

However, if you also plan to use your card for everyday spending, you’ll probably want to look at your spending activity and choose a card that will reward your overall behavior. This way, you’ll get rewarded on everything you buy.

Consider your goals, spending habits and the needs of your animal companions before you choose a card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card for My Pet Spending?

Cards with cash back, spending rewards and other enticing offers usually require good to excellent credit. You should know where your credit stands before you apply for a credit card, as a hard inquiry into your credit can lower your score a few points. You can check your score for free on Credit.com before you apply to reduce the risk of a rejected application.

Image: bluecinema 

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom, Citi Simplicity and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills appeared first on Credit.com.

Citi Simplicity Review: Now 0% Balance Transfer for 21 Months

Citi Simplicity has one of the longest 0% balance transfer offers on the market. If you transfer credit card debt to Simplicity, you will get a 0% intro APR for an incredible 21 months. There is a 3% balance transfer fee. You should do the math (and we will help you later in this post) — but for most people the fee is worth paying. As the name implies, Citi has tried to make this card “simple.” That means no late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty APR. It also means no rewards. If you have credit card debt at a high interest rate, Simplicity can help you save a lot of money and become debt-free faster if you use it wisely.

Citi Simplicity® Card

APPLY NOW Secured

On Citibank’s Website

Citi Simplicity® Card

Intro Rate
0%
promotional rate
Fee
3%
APR
14.24%-24.24%
Transfer Period
21 months
Credit required
Good

Good

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER.
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.24% - 24.24% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period.
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month.

How the Card Works

The card gets its name, Citi Simplicity, from its effort to keep things simple. There is never an annual fee, late fee, or penalty rate. There is an introductory offer of 0% for 21 months which includes balance transfers made within the first four months of opening the card and all purchases made during the 21-month period. After 21 months your rate will depend on your creditworthiness. Additionally, after the introductory rate ends, you will see the same interest rate for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

The Introductory Offer

This is the longest 0% purchase offer that we have found on the market. If you need to finance a purchase, it will be hard to find a better deal. What we particularly like about this 0% APR is that the interest is waived, not deferred. Most store credit cards only defer the interest (and for far fewer than 21 months), and you would be hit with a big penalty if you don’t pay the balance in full before the promotional period is over. That is not the case with Citi Simplicity.

In addition to the 0% purchase offer, there is also a very strong 0% balance transfer offer. You will pay no interest for 21 months, but will need to pay a 3% balance transfer. If you think you can pay your debt in full within 6 months, a balance transfer is usually not worthwhile. However, if you think it will take longer than 6 months, the fee is usually worth it and you can use this calculator to see how much you can save.

Here is an example to help understand the math. If you are making a monthly payment of $300 on $10,000 of credit card debt at a current interest rate of 17% and you transfer it to the Citi Simplicity card, you will be charged a $300 upfront fee. However, during the 21-month promotional period you would save over $2,000 — making the $300 fee worthwhile.

What Happens After 21 Months

Even if you still have a balance at the end of the 21 months, interest will start to accrue on your remaining balance on a go-forward basis. There is no penalty, and no retroactive interest will be applied.

No Late Fee

Most credit cards charge a late fee of around $30 when you miss paying at least the minimum payment by the deadline. However, the Citi Simplicity does away with this fee and will let you choose your payment due date when you sign up.

However, just because Citi doesn’t charge a late fee doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for making a late payment. If your payment is more than 30 days late, Citi would report that information to the credit bureau. This can have a negative impact on your credit score that can result in higher interest rates when you later apply for new lines of credit.

No Penalty Rate

Most credit cards in addition to charging a late fee will penalize you with an increased interest rate when you are late with a payment. This rate could be somewhere in the 30% range for purchases moving forward. The Citi Simplicity Card promises no penalty rate, meaning even if you are late with a payment, after all mistakes happen, you won’t be gouged with your credit card interest rate. However, if you bounce a check for payment, then you can be charged $35.

Same Interest Rate No Matter What You Use Your Card For

The Citi Simplicity card, keeping things simple, makes the interest rate for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances all the same. Many other credit cards will have different interest rates for each.

Price Protection

It’s already been mentioned that the Citi Simplicity card does not offer any rewards programs. However, they do offer some price protection. It’s called Citi Price Rewind. After you make a purchase with your card, you can register that purchase with Citi. Then Citi will search for lower prices across hundreds of online retailers. If Citi finds it at a lower price within 60 days, you will receive the difference between what you paid and the lower price found, up to $500 per purchase and $2,500 per year.

The only downside is this benefit only applies to certain purchases. For example, it doesn’t apply to purchasing a car, but can apply for tires purchased. You can view the full list of what qualifies here. If you find a lower price yourself, then you can submit a Price Rewind Benefit Request.

How to Qualify for the Card

You need to have good or excellent credit in order to be approved for the credit card.

In addition to a strong credit score, you will also need to demonstrate your ability to repay the debt. Citi will look at your total debt relative to your income to ensure that you are not too deep into debt. This product is not a way for people in trouble to get a lower rate — it is a way for Citi to get borrowers with a good profile who want a lower interest rate.

What We Like About the Card

A very long 0% period.

At a 3% balance transfer fee, this is the longest balance transfer on the market. Time is money — and every additional month at 0% can represent considerable savings.

Fewer “gotcha” fees.

Although we hope you never need to take advantage of these benefits, the card has no late fees and no penalty APR. In order to avoid even the risk of a late fee, we strongly recommend that you automate your monthly payments. However, mistakes can happen — and we do applaud Citi for removing some of the most annoying fees.

Price Rewind — it is actually a nice feature.

Price Rewind is a feature that is not used enough. Citi will look for a better deal — and give you the difference if you overpaid. This isn’t just a promise — we have spoken with people who have benefited from this feature.

What We Don’t Like About the Card

There is a balance transfer fee.

In most cases, and for most people, the fee will more than pay for itself. However, there are other balance transfer deals on the market that don’t have a fee. Just make sure you do the math to ensure that the fee is worth paying in your situation.

The rate after the 0% intro offer is not low.

After the intro period is over, the go-to purchase APR is not low. It ranges from the teens to the 20s, depending upon your credit risk. Hopefully, the 21-month period is long enough to eliminate your debt completely.

How to Complete a Balance Transfer

After receiving your card, you should call the number on the back of your card to initiate the balance transfer. You will need to give the credit card number of the credit card that has the debt. You cannot transfer debt from another Citi credit card (including its co-brand cards).

Although it can take less time, Citi warns that a balance transfer takes at least 14 days to complete. And you will remain responsible for making all payments on your card until the transfer is complete. We recommend paying close attention so that you do not end up with any late fees on your existing cards.

Alternatives to the Card

If You Want to Avoid a Balance Transfer Fee

There are two options if you want to avoid a balance transfer fee: Chase and Barclaycard. Both are good options.

Chase is the largest credit card issuer in America. It offers a great balance transfer on its Chase Slate credit card. You can get 0% interest (on transfers made within 60 days of opening the card) for 15 months. There is no intro balance transfer fee and no annual fee. Just remember that you cannot transfer debt from other Chase products — including co-brand credit cards for airlines (like United and Southwest) or hotels (like Marriott or Hyatt).

Barclaycard is the American credit card division of Barclays Bank. Barclays is a large British bank. With Barclaycard Ring, you can get 0% for 15 months on balance transfer and no balance transfer fee — so long as you complete the transfer within 45 days of opening the card. Just remember: Barclaycard only accepts people with excellent credit.

Who Benefits Most from the Card

If you have a lot of credit card debt that will take a long time (more than 15 months) to pay off, this card is a great option. Over 21 months, the savings can be incredible. Just make sure you take advantage of the 0% period to attack your debt as quickly as possible.

FAQs

No — you do not need excellent credit. Citi will approve anyone with good or excellent credit.

Once the introductory period is over, interest will start to accrue at the standard purchase interest rate on a go-forward basis. Interest during the introductory period is waived — so you do not need to worry about a retroactive interest charge.

In the short term, your credit score will probably take a small hit (5-10 points) because you applied for new credit. However, over time, a balance transfer can increase your credit score with proper practices. This is because while new credit makes up 10% of your credit score, the amount you owe accounts for 30%. By using a balance transfer, you will reduce your interest rate. That should help you get out of debt a lot faster.

The post Citi Simplicity Review: Now 0% Balance Transfer for 21 Months appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

These Balance Transfer Credit Cards Can Help You Pay Down Debt

When considering a balance transfer card, be sure to check the introductory APR and any transfer fees.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

If you’re trying to pay down a large credit card balance and you feel like you’re getting nowhere, one potential solution is to move your debts to a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards often offer introductory periods of 0% interest, giving you time to pay down your balance without accruing additional debt.

If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card, you should be examining the introductory period, transfer fees and any additional benefits the cards provide to help you decide which one is right for you. To help you get started, check out these cards, which all offer solid intro periods for you to pay down your balances interest-free. (Paying your debt down means you’ll be on the path to improving your credit utilization and, in turn, your credit scores. You can see two of your scores free on Credit.com.)

Chase Slate

Balance Transfer Fee: $0 for 60 days, then $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%

Annual Fee: None

Why We Picked It: This card has a lengthy 0% intro period and cardholders can avoid balance transfer fees for 60 days.

Benefits: Fifteen months is a solid intro period, and you can save further by completing your balance transfers within 60 days to avoid transfer fees. There’s also no penalty APR if you make a late payment.

Drawbacks: After the initial 60-day window, balance transfers incur a $5 or 5% transfer fee, which is higher than many competing cards.

Citi Simplicity

Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater

APR: 0% intro APR for 21 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%

Annual Fee: None

Why We Picked It: Citi’s 21 months of interest-free financing is impressive. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

Benefits: With 21 months interest free, Citi Simplicity sets the bar high for balance transfer cards. That’s almost two years to pay down your balance. There are no late fees or penalty APRs.

Drawbacks: There are no rewards policies.

Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Card

Balance Transfer Fee: None

APR: 0% to 5.99% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 23.99%

Annual Fee: None

Why We Picked It: Alliant Credit Union’s rewards card offers no balance transfer fees and a year with no interest. Plus, cardholders earn rewards points for valuable redemptions.

Benefits: Qualifying cardholders get a year of 0% APR and no balance transfer fees. They’ll also earn two points for every dollar spent in purchases and 5,000 bonus points when spending $500 in the first three months. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, cash back and more.

Drawbacks: You’ll have to be an Alliant Credit Union member to access this card, although a simple $10 donation to Foster Care to Success can make you eligible. Beyond that, you need the right credit to qualify for the 0% intro APR offer. If you don’t, Alliant may impose an intro APR up to 5.99%.

Discover it

Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount

APR: 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (6 months on purchases), then variable 11.74% to 23.74%

Annual Fee: None

Why We Picked It: Discover it offers 18 months of 0% APR on balance transers and earns cash back with a nice bonus the first year.

Benefits: Eighteen interest-free months is a solid time frame to catch up on debt. Cardholders also earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases for quarterly rotating spending categories such as gas, dining and home improvement. All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back. Discover matches all earned cash back for the first year of the card.

Drawbacks: Earning cash back requires spending on the card, which may be counterproductive if you’re trying to pay down debt.

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard

Balance Transfer Fee: $0

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 13.74%

Annual Fee: None

Why We Picked It: This card has 15 months with no interest, no balance transfer fees and a decent APR once interest kicks in.

Benefits: For 15 months, cardholders can pay down their balances with no interest. They’ll also pay nothing for balance transfer fees. Once the interest kicks in, it’s a decent rate.

Drawbacks: The card’s Giveback rewards program is a profit-sharing feature that offers cardholders little control.

Choosing & Using a Balance Transfer Card

Assuming you intend to use your balance transfer card to pay down large balances, there are some things you should know about selecting and using these cards.

Before you apply for any card, you’ll want to check the APR that kicks in after the 0% intro period. If it’s higher than the APR on your current cards, think twice about applying. If you don’t manage to pay off your balance transfers before the intro period runs out, a card with a higher APR will slap you with a worse interest rate than you currently have.

The balance transfer fee also requires close attention. Some balance transfer cards won’t charge a fee on transfers, while others will charge $5 or 3% to 5% of the transfer amount. Depending on your current balances, this could wind up costing hundreds of dollars.

When you open a card, transferring your balances immediately will pay off. That’s because you’ll get the full intro period to pay down your balance interest-free. Also, if your card only offers free balance transfers for a limited time, you’ll want to take advantage while you can.

Finally, you’ll want to use the card in the most fiscally responsible way. Paying off your entire balance within the intro period will save you the most money, so you may want to figure out the minimum monthly payment required to accomplish that. Using the card for everyday spending will add to that balance, and if your focus is reducing debt, you’ll probably want to limit or completely avoid using the card for purchases until the balance reaches zero.

Image: Geber86

At publishing time, the Chase Slate, Citi Simplicity, Discover it and Barclaycard Ring MasterCard credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post These Balance Transfer Credit Cards Can Help You Pay Down Debt appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards That Could Help You Get Out of Debt Faster

0% credit cards

Are you struggling under the weight of credit card debt? As unsecured debt, credit cards can have much higher interest rates than loans secured by your home or your car. And unlike a home mortgage or a student loan, credit card interest charges are never tax deductible.

When you have credit card debt, you continue to incur interest charges each day on your balance, and it can consume a substantial proportion of your monthly payments. Thankfully, there are some credit cards that can actually help you to get out of debt sooner than staying with your current credit card.

Many credit cards offer interest-free promotional financing on balance transfers. When you open an account with one of these cards, you can transfer your existing balance to your new card and enjoy 0% APR financing for more than a year. However, nearly all credit cards with interest-free promotional financing on balance transfers will charge a fee of 3% or 5% of the balance you want to carry over to the new card.

During this promotional financing period, 100% of each payment you make goes directly towards paying down the principal. As a result, you can pay off your credit card debt sooner without making larger payments each month. Better yet, you can use the end of the promotional financing offer as a goal for paying off your entire debt. When you have an added incentive to pay off your debt before interest begins to accrue, you can work even harder towards avoiding all interest charges.

Here are some of the best credit cards that can help you to get out of debt faster.

1. Chase Slate

This is the only credit card from a major bank that offers 0% APR balance transfers with no balance transfer fee or annual fee. New applicants receive 15 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. 

In addition to its outstanding balance transfer offer, this card also features Chase’s Blueprint program at no additional cost. Blueprint allows you to set a date for paying off your debt and it provides you with the amount you have to pay each month to reach that goal. Or, you can input the amount you are able to pay each month, and it will tell you how much time it will take for you to pay off your debt. Blueprint also allows you to avoid interest on some charges by paying them in full while carrying a balance on others. There is no annual fee for this card, and it has no penalty interest rate.

2. Citi Simplicity

Citi’s Simplicity card offers the longest promotional financing offer available from a major bank. It features 21 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Simplicity also has no late fees and no penalty interest rate. Other benefits include extended warranty coverage and access to Citi’s Price Rewind service. There is no annual fee for this card. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

3. BankAmericard From Bank of America

This card offers 18 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee. And since it’s issued by one of the nation’s largest banks, those who have an existing checking or savings account with Bank of America can have the convenience of making transfers between accounts rather than payments between institutions. This card is also compatible with mobile payment systems including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. There’s no annual fee for this card.

4. JetBlue Plus Card From Barclaycard

This card allows you to pay down your balance faster, while also offering travel rewards and benefits. New cardholders receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening. You also earn 6x points for JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on all other purchases. Travel benefits include a 50% savings on in-flight purchases, 10% of your redeemed points back and a free checked bag on JetBlue flights. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

A Note on Balance Transfers

Once you transfer your balances to a 0% APR card, it can be tempting to spend again on the clean, debt-free card, but it’s important to try to keep your balances as low as possible on both cards. Card balances and a heavy amount of debt influence your credit scores in a negative way, and a low credit score can limit your options in the future. Mortgage rates, car loan rates and even cellphone down payments are influenced by your credit score. If you’re curious to see how your debts are influencing your credit scores, you can see two of them for free, updated every 14 days on Credit.com. 

At publishing time, the Chase Slate, Citi Simplicity and the JetBlue Plus card from Barclaycard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: LuminaStock

The post 4 Credit Cards That Could Help You Get Out of Debt Faster appeared first on Credit.com.