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Citi Diamond Preferred Card: Pay Down Credit Card Debt With a Balance Transfer

In lieu of rewards, the Citi Diamond Preferred offers a long window to lower credit card debt.

Citi is an advertising partner.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card features one of the longest introductory APR offers for balance transfers, but is marred by its higher-than-average balance transfer fee.

New cardholders will have 21 months to pay down a transferred balance at 0% introductory interest before the standard APR of 16.74% to 27.49% (variable) applies. And while the industry standard is a 3% balance transfer fee, the Citi Diamond Preferred asks for 5% ($5 minimum) of the transferred balance.

Like most balance transfer credit cards, there are no rewards to be earned with this card. Despite that, there is an intro 0% APR offer for new purchases for 12 months (16.74% to 27.49% variable APR thereafter) if you need to finance a planned, large purchase or finance an emergency expense.

In this article

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferFor a limited time earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
APR16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% for 12 months on Purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer APR16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)

Introductory APR

You can take advantage of the 21 months of 0% intro APR on transferred balances (and then the 16.74% to 27.49% variable APR), as long as you transfer your balance within four months of opening the account. We generally recommend initiating a balance transfer at least two weeks before the deadline to make sure it posts in time. 

Be sure to make all the minimum payments on time during intro APR period -- but you may want to pay more than that each month to cover the entire balance before the promotion ends. Keep in mind that you'll have that 5% balance transfer fee tacked onto your balance when you first make the transfer, with a $5 minimum fee. So, if you transfer $2,000 from another credit card, you'll ultimately need to repay $2,100. While this fee is higher than most, the trade-off is the long balance transfer period. Alternatively, there are cards that don't charge a balance transfer fee with shorter promotional periods.

If you aren't interested in the balance transfer component, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card also offers a 0% introductory APR period on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening. After this period, your purchase APR will jump up to a 16.74% to 27.49% variable APR. 

You'll want to avoid commingling purchases and balance transfers, however, so that interest doesn't accrue on your purchases after 12 months while the balance transfer offer is still active.

Other perks

While the power with this card mostly lies in the introductory APR, there are a few other novelties. For instance, you can personalize your due date for bills to better fit your financial schedule. 

From your Citi Diamond Preferred Card account, you may also be able to generate virtual account numbers -- or virtual credit cards -- so that you can shop online more securely. This feature generates credit card numbers for single use online so that you don't have to reveal your real credit card information to payees.

Comparable cards

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

The Wells Fargo Reflect Card has the potential to match the Diamond Preferred's balance transfer offer, with a potentially less expensive balance transfer fee.

You can utilize up to 21 months of an introductory 0% APR from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers alike -- then the APR jumps to 16.74% to 28.74% variable. The base offer is 18 months, then you can earn three more months by making your minimum payments on time during the intro period. The introductory balance transfer fee is a standard 3% of the transaction, with a $5 minimum, for the first 120 days from account opening. It becomes up to 5% with a $5 minimum beyond that timeframe. 

To find out how to enjoy a full 21-month balance transfer introductory offer with this card, check out our full review of the Wells Fargo Reflect Card.

Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card has a shorter intro APR period -- and only focuses on balance transfers -- but you can earn cash back on your purchases, unlike with most balance transfer cards.

You'll get 18 months of a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, which jumps to 17.74% to 27.74% variable after that. Balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening. On purchases, you can earn up to 2% cash back. You'll earn 1% upfront when you make the purchase, and then another 1% when you pay your balance.

For more details, check out our full review of the Citi Double Cash Card.

FAQs

How do balance transfer credit cards work?

Though balance transfer credit cards are technically credit cards, they're more like a debt-financing tool. They're better used to pay off existing credit card debt than as a payment method.

A balance transfer is when you take the debt, or balance, you owe on one card account and transfer it to another credit card account. Usually this is done with the goal of saving money by transferring debt from a high-interest account to one with lower or no interest. 

While many credit cards allow balance transfers, those primarily designed for the purpose all share one main feature: an introductory 0% APR period on balances transferred to that account, typically applicable to transfers made within the first 60 to 120 days of card ownership. The introductory APR period generally lasts between 12 months and 21 months, giving you a significant period of time to pay off your balance interest-free. 

While a few credit cards offer no-fee transfers, most balance transfer cards charge a fee to transfer your debt, usually between 3% and 5%. Broadly speaking, the longer the introductory 0% APR period, the higher the fee, and vice versa. So the best cards without a balance transfer fee have a shorter introductory APR period, and those with the longest introductory APR period have a 3% to 5% transfer fee.

If I still have a balance after the introductory APR period is over, can I just keep transferring my debt to a new balance transfer card?

Technically, yes. In some cases, transferring your balance two or three times might even be what's necessary to finally pay off your debt. But unless you have a firm understanding of how you got into debt in the first place and a plan for getting out of debt, you won't be working toward a solution. 

While transferring your remaining debt to a second balance transfer card may allow you to pay off your balance without monthly interest or a fee, it's important to note that there are too many variables for multiple balance transfers to be a failure-proof debt strategy. 

For example, your card application could be denied, your credit limit could be much lower than you anticipated or your transfer request could be denied. Credit card offers could also change, making it difficult to plan ahead. For this reason I recommend selecting a card that allows you to pay off the full balance after one cycle if possible.

How long will it take to complete a balance transfer?

It may take anywhere between 10 days and six weeks to complete a balance transfer, after receiving your new card and cardholder agreement. It's also important to note that some card issuers, such as Citi, make balance transfers available at their discretion, and could therefore decline a transfer request. And you should probably still pay the minimum on the old card's balance until you've confirmed that the transfer was completed, so you don't run the risk of fees or penalties.

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