Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Pros

  • 0% intro APR
  • $0 annual fee
  • Free FICO® Score

Cons

  • No rewards
  • Balance-transfer fee

Updated 9/11/17

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is best for indebted cardholders wanting to pay down their debt balances faster by taking advantage of the card’s 0% intro APR offer, which is one of the longest we've come across. We consider it one of both the best balance-transfer credit cards and the best low APR credit cards.

What we like about Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 0% intro APR for 21 billing cycles– Purchases and balance transfers made within four months qualify for the promo 0% APR. The promo APR can help people manage debt smartly, and it may be the right precision tool for indebted cardholders taking advantage of balance transfer strategies.
  • $0 annual fee – Reducing interest costs and slashing fees should be top-of-mind for cardholders who want to pay down their costly balances faster. Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card delivers on both fronts, ditching an annual fee altogether.
  • Free FICO® Score – It’s become commonplace for card issuers to grant members free access to their FICO® Score, and we think cardholders should expect this perk, especially for a balance-transfer card, where helping you improve your financial well-being is a key goal.

What could be improved for Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Rewards - We believe Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is best viewed as a pure balance-transfer credit card. That said, these cards typically don't include rewards or a sign-up bonus, but we can always wish for the best features all in one card.
  • $0 balance-transfer fee – Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card charges a standard balance-transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. While this is standard across the credit card industry, nixing balance-transfer fees would amp up the cards value, especially when you consider that transferring a $5,000 balance would result in a $150 fee.

How to best use Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Transfer high-interest credit card debt to chip away at debt balances faster. We Fools always encourage smart use of debt, and transferring balances to a 0% intro APR card can help avoid costly interest charges. In fact, paying down a $5,000 balance over 21 billing cycles will cost a whopping $825 in interest charges at an 18% APR.
  • Leverage free access to your FICO® Score. We think this perk is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges upwards of $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.
  • Consider avoiding this card if the 0% purchase APR is enticing. Earning rewards on a cash-back credit card with a purchase APR promo may make more sense, especially knowing that some cash-back credit cards included 0% APR promos that span 15 billing cycles. The decision between the two purchase options may ultimately come down to whether you need 21 months to pay off a large purchase or not.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card vs. Citi Simplicity® Card: Which is best?

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card isn’t the only Citi-branded credit card around with a 0% intro APR. In fact, Citi Simplicity® Card is practically the same credit card from a features standpoint, and it includes the same 0% intro APR offer for 21 billing cycles and a $0 annual fee.

Then what’s the difference? It primarily comes down to late fees.

The Citi Simplicity® Card doesn't charge pesky late payment fees and doesn’t penalize for late payments by bumping up a cardholder’s APR, sometimes to as high as 29.99%. Save for minor differences, choosing between these cards mostly comes down to how much you value a longer leash when missing an occasional monthly payment. Learn more by reading our full Citi Simplicity® Card review.

How to avoid a balance-transfer fee

BankAmericard® is a popular balance-transfer credit card that doesn’t charge a balance-transfer fee for transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening (3%, $10 min. thereafter). Similar to Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, BankAmericard® has a $0 annual fee and it includes valuable perks such as free access to your FICO® Score. It’s worth noting, though, that BankAmericard®’s 0% intro APR window is shorter, lasting 15 billing cycles. The value of the card, when compared to Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, is clearly saving on the balance-transfer fee. If you plan to pay off your balance transfer within 15 billing cycles, BankAmericard® will reduce out-of-pocket costs, all else being equal. Read our full BankAmericard® review to learn why we picked it as one of the best credit cards of 2017.

Final take

No doubt Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is a great tool for indebted cardholders to pay down their debt balances faster. The promo APR offer is best-in-class. The card is no-frills and pulls no punches, and we value that for cardholders seeking to simply pay down existing debts in the fastest way possible. Cardholders looking for this type of credit card solution may find that Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is one of the top cards on the market for their needs. 


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