If you have a lot of credit card debt, you might save a good bit of money if you moved it to a credit card that doesn't charge any interest for several months. That way, all of every monthly payment would go toward paying down the balance.
In fact, CreditCards.com says it really wasn't close. The card won high marks not only for its promotional offer, but also its forgiving stance toward an occasional late payment.
“By offering a 21-month balance transfer period, nearly twice as long as the typical interest-free promotion, Citi has set the Simplicity card far apart from its competitors,” the judges said.
21 months at 0% interest
The card's 21-month introductory period at 0% interest is impressive. That means for nearly two years cardholders can make significant progress on paying down a balance.
The only drawback is the balance transfer fee. The card charges $5 or 3% of the transferred balance, whichever is greater, to move a balance from an existing card to a new Citi Simplicity card.
Suppose you transfer a balance of $10,000. That increases your balance to $10,300 immediately. Spread over 21 months, that adds about $14.28 in interest to each payment.
Perhaps a better use of the card is to make a large purchase to be paid off over 21 months, because the 0% introductory rate also applies to purchases. However, since it is not a balance transfer, there is no 3% fee.
If you needed a new HVAC system for your home, for example, you could charge it on a new Citi Simplicity card and spread the payments out over 21 months, interest-free.
Oddly, the Chase Slate card did not make CreditCards.com's final cut, but it might be the best choice for a consumer who wants to transfer a large balance from a high interest rate card to one with a no-interest introductory rate.
The Chase Slate's introductory period at 0% is shorter, just 15 months. However, for consumers who transfer a balance within the first 60 days of activating the account, there is no transfer fee. That saves someone transferring a $10,000 balance $300.