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Citi Simplicity® Card Review

Citi Simplicity® CardCredit cards aren’t simple. Nothing having to do with money or banks is simple but the new Citi Simplicity® Card aims to change that.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you: One of the reasons that consumers end up paying a bunch of fees is because they don’t understand the rules. They aren’t going to read all of that fine print that comes with a credit card because not only is it so small that it makes their eyes cross trying to read it but the wording is so confusing that even if they could or wanted to read it, they don’t understand it.

You’re going to be amazed at how un-credit-card-like this credit actually is and for once, the rules work in your favor. If you’re rebuilding your credit, you’re tired all of the fees, or you want a card that allows you to pay down your debt for two years without charging you interest, the Citi Simplicity® Card offered by Citigroup may be worth a second look.

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Citi Simplicity® Credit Card Review

Citi Simplicity® CardOne of the latest credit cards to make a splash in the world of plastic transactions is the Citi Simplicity® card. With a long introductory period for the 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, and no over the limit fees or late payment fees, Citi Simplicity® offers something unique in the credit card universe.

While there are definite advantages to the Citi Simplicity® card, including no annual fee, it does not come with a rewards program. So, the card, while offering a lot to some individuals, is not the best choice for others. Here is a rundown of the new Citi Simplicity® credit card:

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 NEWS 
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Citi Credit Card Data Hacked

Last week, while I was away on vacation, I received a call from Citibank about my credit card. Since I wasn’t keeping up to date on the latest financial news and gossip, I wasn’t aware that Citi had been hacked. Normally, when systems get hacked like this, I’ve dodged the bullet. This time, I wasn’t so lucky because my Citi mtvU card was a victim, part of the lucky 1% of North American credit card holders. While on the phone with Citi, they agreed to ship out a new card to me as soon as possible, which is standard procedure.

What gets a little annoying is that replacing a card, especially one so intertwined in my financial network map is time better spent elsewhere. This does, however, force me to update my map to reflect it’s current state – something I’d been too lazy to do. Thankfully, due to my desire to simplify our finances, the updated map has fewer lines on it. :)

What’s not cool is how Citi allegedly knew about the hack for weeks before going public.


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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated May 2011)

As the economy improves, I expect to see a lot more activity in the balance transfer space. For the moment, there hasn’t been much change from April to May. Citi ended the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard’s promotion they launched last month (0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months and 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months) but extended the limited time offer that included $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This matches compares very favorably to the Chase Freedom offer, which offers the same bonus and similar introductory periods.

Here are this month’s best 0% balance transfer offers:

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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated March 2011)

The offers on this page are out dated, you can find the latest news when the April update is released.

If you thought the offers from last month were juicy, this month is going to surprise you as some issuers are really pulling out all the stops. I’ve been watching balance transfer offers for years and it’s been quite some time since someone offered a $100 in cashback as part of a new account promotion and tied it to a card with a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchases offer. I think the issuers are starting to really get aggressive in competing with one another and you, the consumer, benefit from it.

The story last month was longer promotional periods, this month we get to see a little bit of bonus action on the front end coupled with more standard balance transfer promotional rate periods.

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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (February 2011)

The offers on this page are out dated, you can find the latest news on the best zero balance transfers here.

Once a month, every month, I’ll be providing an update on the “state of the balance transfer” on the first Thursday of the month. With the credit crisis abated and the economy recovering, a lot of credit card companies are resuming their credit card offers, including the once prominent 0% balance transfer. In these monthly posts, I’ll keep you apprised on how the landscape has changed in the last month along with a look at some of the more prominent cards in each category.

In the last month, we’ve seen the introduction of a lot of cards with longer 0% APR periods. We’ve even seen Discover bring in a card with no balance transfer fee, a staple during the housing boom but something that has fallen out of favor as of late.

Your typical trade-offs are still there – longer 0% period or lower balance transfer fee? Discover has a 5% fee but a 24 month 0% APR period but Citi has a lower fee but only an 18 month 0% APR period. The right card for you depends on your balance and how quickly you think you can pay it off.

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Citi’s Student 2010 Holiday Promotion

This offer has expired.

Citi is starting a limited time promotional offer of a $50 statement credit after $50 in purchases on three of their student credit cards – the Citi mtvU Platinum Select Card, the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card, and the Citi Forward Card. This is a $50 statement credit on top of the features the cards already offer. I’m personally a fan of the Citi mtvU card because it gives me 5 reward points for ever $1 I spend at books (Amazon.com included) and restaurants. Before I had the Citi mtvU card I was using their Dividend Platinum Select (which is still in my drawer) because I was all about the cashback.

These offers expire 1/15/2011.

Here are some more offer details:
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 NEWS 
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Citi 2G Credit Cards

Back in September I wrote about Dynamics Inc’s Card 2.0 and their newest credit card technologies. It turns out that Citi will begin rolling out some of these cards in what they call Citi 2G credit cards. The cards will likely be using the MultiAccount technology, where you can have two credit cards on one physical card, and Citi will let users pick if they want to pay with reward points or credit at the point of sale.

The cards will be the same size as current cards and contain a battery with a four-year lifespan, a smart chip, and the fancy buttons to let you pick how you want to pay. According to the NY Times article, it took “nearly a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop.” A few select customers will be testing them and it’ll be launched more broadly in mid to late 2011. The 2G test cards will be available for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard and the Citi PremierPass Elite.


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