Are you more interested in interest than rewards? Does a credit card that asks you to keep track of points, miles or cash back percentages leave you uninterested, but you are very interested in the interest rate of a credit card? Are you interested in how many times I can say interest in one paragraph? Well, if you have any interest, let me tell you about an interesting card from Citi – or maybe I should say an UN-interesting card. Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers an entire year and a half with zero interest on purchases and balance transfers – now are you interested?
For folks who want to transfer a balance or make a big purchase (or a few) and pay it off over the course of 18 months26 instead of right away, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a great choice. Not many cards give you a longer interest-free period than this – many cards offer six months, or twelve, or even fifteen months with no interest, but this one gives you a whole year and a half. That means if you buy holiday gifts in December of 2012, you can take until June of 2014 to finish paying for them, without paying a penny of interest.
HERE ARE THE SPECS ON THIS CARD:
- Purchase APR: Zero percent for the first 18 months26, and then 11.99% - 21.99%26 (Variable), based on your creditworthiness. This card is recommended for people with good to excellent credit, with a minimum credit score of 691.
- Balance transfer APR: Zero percent for the first 18 months26 from the date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 18 months26 from the date the account was opened. After that, the APR will be 11.99% - 21.99%26 (Variable), again based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance transfer fee: 3% ($5 min).
- Transaction fee on foreign purchases: 3%.
- Cash Advance Fee: 5% ($10 min).
- No annual fee.
This card is on the simple side – it doesn’t offer a rewards program like many cards do. No cash back, no reward points, no bonus miles. However, it does have some perks for card holders, including the following:
- Unlimited 24/7 access to personal concierge service that will provide card holders with help booking hotels and flights, making restaurant reservations, and other great services.
- Exclusive access to concert tickets and presale event tickets
- Special access to VIP package, preferred seating, and exclusive live entertainment through Citi Private Pass
- Trip cancellation insurance on tickets purchases with Citi card
- Zero liability for fraud, identity theft, and unauthorized purchases
Like many cards that offer a long introductory period on purchases and balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has a slightly higher APR than average, depending on your credit history: 11.99% - 21.99%26 (Variable)
However, there is an easy solution to this. If you pay off your balance in full every month after the promotional period is over, you’ll never pay interest. Easier said than done, perhaps, but it’s always best to stay on a budget and not spend more than you can afford in any case.
For that first 18 months26, decide what your goal is – are you going to transfer a balance and try to get the whole thing paid off before the promotional zero percent offer ends? Or are you going to make some purchases that you need time to pay off? In either case, write out a budget and decide how much you’ll pay each month. By the end of the 18 month period, you’ll want to have your balance down to zero so you’re not charged any interest. As with any card, always make sure you make your minimum payment on time. This is particularly important with a zero-interest promotional offer because if you pay late, your zero percent rate will end, and the ongoing APR will go into effect. So make sure you know your payment due date, and pay in time! Setting up automatic payments is a great way to make sure you don’t lose your zero percent rate.
PRIZE FOR MOST-POPULAR
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is one of the most popular cards around, so that must tell you something. People like it – maybe for the low interest, maybe for the simplicity of no rewards program. We recommend this card for people who have a specific purpose for using it; if you want to pay down a balance or make a big purchase, it’s great. If you hate paying interest, it’s great for 18 months26. After that, you may want to look into a rewards card that will pay you back for spending money – or maybe you won’t. If you aren’t interested in keeping track of a rewards program, you don’t carry a balance after the introductory period, and you always make payments on time, this could be the card for you.