Chase Slate Vs. Citi Simplicity

May 23, 2013

Choosing the right credit card can be a tricky game. Banks seem to enjoy highlighting their cards’ best features, and burying terms that penalize cardholders. But as consumers and regulators have caught on to this game, the banks have started to compete for new customers by offering simpler cards with fewer fees. The Chase Slate and Citi Simplicity are two of the most simple products on the market. But in addition, both cards feature leading promotional financing offers for new applicants.

Lets take a look at how these two cards compare:

Chase Slate

Chase SlateIn an industry that loves to copy each others’ products, the Slate card stands alone as the only 0% APR balance transfer offer with no balance transfer fee. And since most other cards with similar offers charge a 3% balance transfer fee, this is a great way eliminate interest costs while paying down debt. With the Slate offer, new applicants receive interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 60 days of opening an account.

Once the promotional financing offer expires, cardholders with any remaining balance will be subject to a standard interest rate of 11.99%, 16.99%, or 21.99%, depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness when they originally applied for the card. The penalty interest rate is 23.99%, which isn’t as bad as some other cards that go up to 30% or higher when cardholders miss payments.

Chase also offers Slate cardholders the opportunity to enroll in its innovative Blueprint program. This no-cost feature allows cardholders to save money on interest by paying some charges in full while carrying a balance on others. It also includes powerful budgeting and goal setting features that makes it easy for customers to pay off debt on their schedule.

But beyond the outstanding promotional financing terms and the novel Blueprint program, this card is about as simple as it gets. There are no rewards, and this card doesn’t even include common benefits such as rental car insurance. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee added to all charges processed outside of the United States.

Insider tip: There is nothing wrong with using this card for its outstanding balance transfer offer, but still using another card when you need purchase protection or rental car insurance. Also, be aware that no balance transfer offer will allow you to pay off another card from the same bank. This is especially important to know with this card, as Chase is such a major player in the credit card world.

Citi Simplicity

Simplicity can’t match Slate’s no-fee balance transfer offer, but it does feature longer promotional financing terms. New cardholders receive industry leading interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, but there is a balance transfer fee. New cardholders also have four months to transfer a balance and still receive the 0% APR rate. After the promotional financing period is over, a standard interest rate will apply, based on your creditworthiness when you applied.

Simplicity still has a lot to offer customers beyond its promotional financing terms. For those who have trouble making on time payments, this card has no late fees and no penalty interest rate. It also features a comprehensive array of ancillary benefits. For example, purchases are automatically protected by extended warranty and retail purchases protection policies. Cardholders can also utilize Citi’s Price Rewind service that automatically issues refunds if a purchased product becomes available for at least $25 less.

Like Chase Slate, there is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee added to all charges processed outside of the United States.

Insider tip: Cardholders should not interpret Citi’s policy of no late fees and no penalty interest rates as a reason not to make timely payments. Those who pay late will still incur interest and may even damage their credit.

The Verdict

I’d love to pick a winner here, but it really isn’t that simple. Those with credit card debt (with a bank other than Chase), can’t do any better than getting the Slate card and performing a no-fee balance transfer. And with Blueprint, Slate is a great product to help control debt over the long haul.

But at the same time, those with less debt will probably be happier with the full range of features offered by the Simplicity card, including 18 months of interest-free financing.

Therefore, I am going to have to call this one a draw as the beauty of these offers will be in the eyes of the beholder. Those looking to get out of crushing debt need the Chase Slate card, while others looking for a simple card will find themselves attracted to the Citi Simplicity.

Which credit card is right for you? Leave a comment!


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Jason Steele has been dissecting credit card bonuses and loyalty travel programs for years. Digging into the details of credit card offers has enabled his family to vacation in cool places around the world. Pay attention to the details he digs up about which card is best for you.

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One Response to Chase Slate Vs. Citi Simplicity

  • Free Money Minute

    Whatever you do, if you have a credit card, use just one so all the bonuses are maximized.