Citi® Diamond Preferred® review: Balance transfer card with no annual fee


Rating as of Jan. 18, 2023 based on a review of services January 18, 2023.

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  • Good/
  • Excellent
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850
Our Bottom Line:

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is one of the best intro APR cards on the market today. New cardholders will receive 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (from date of first transfer), and 12 months on purchases with no annual fee!

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers N/A
Regular APR N/A
Annual Fee N/A
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The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card doesn’t claim to be the best rewards card or travel card out there — and, in fact, it doesn’t earn rewards at all — but it does claim to be a great balance transfer credit card. This is a credit card with one of the longest 0% intro APR periods we’ve seen for balance transfers, making it a good option for saving money while getting out of debt.

Keep reading our full Citi® Diamond Preferred® review for our take on this stand-out card including who it’s meant for, who it’s not meant for, and how you should use it if you sign up.

Key facts

  • Best for – People looking to make a balance transfer, people with good credit
  • Intro offer/sign-up bonus – See intro APR
  • Rewards – None
  • Annual fee –$0
  • Intro APR – 0% intro APR on balance transfers for up to 21 months from the date of the first balance transfer and 0% intro APR on purchases within 12 months from account opening
  • Regular APR –17.49% - 28.24% (Variable)

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Long intro APR — As we'll mention more than a few times, this card has one of the longest introductory periods currently available where you can enjoy a 0% interest rate on balance transfers and a decent period for new purchases too.
  • No annual fee — You won't pay a fee each year you have this card.

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee — There is a 3% foreign transaction fee for all purchases made internationally and some purchases made online through internationally-based merchants.
  • Very few perks — You won't get benefits and freebies with this card like you might with others that require good to excellent credit, such as travel insurance, complimentary services, and more.
  • High balance transfer fee — While this card won't charge interest on balance transfers made within the promotional period, you will pay a high fee when making a transfer.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® card benefits

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card benefits program is cut and dry. You get an extended interest-free period with no annual fee, and that’s pretty much the gist. Here are the details of this offer and the few other perks you’ll get.

Intro APR offer

With the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card, all customers have the ability to make balance transfers without paying interest on them for 21 months as long as they initiate any transfers within four months of account opening. They’ll also have 12 interest-free months for new purchases after opening their account.

Making a balance transfer or transferring a balance can serve a few different purposes, but one of the main ones is to help you get control of your credit card debt. If you’re paying interest on one or more of your credit cards because you’ve been carrying a balance, you can transfer your balances to one card to consolidate your debt. This gives you one payment to keep track of instead of several. And because the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card gives you nearly two years to pay off debt without incurring more interest, you can save a ton in the long run.

Though we typically suggest opening credit cards that are going to offer you the most long-term benefits possible, with features to fit your spending habits and lifestyle, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card might be an exception. For some, this card could be worth applying for just for the initial debt repayment benefits.

So what do you do after you’ve made whatever balance transfers you’re going to make? Closing a credit card just because you don’t want it anymore isn’t usually a good idea. Canceling credit cards can bring down the overall age of your accounts in your credit history, potentially dinging your score. It can also have the effect of raising your credit utilization ratio by decreasing the total amount you’re allowed to borrow or your total credit limit. After paying off your balance, consider keeping this card around for emergencies and the added credit line.

While the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is excellent for transferring a balance, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only Citi credit card that’s good for this. We’ll cover a rewards card that might be a better fit for some soon.

Other perks

Because there aren’t a lot of perks to speak of for this card, we’re going to lump what’s left into one category.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card includes identity theft protection and zero liability on charges you don’t authorize. It also comes with access to Citi Entertainment® offers, which are available exclusively to Citi cardholders and can include a variety of different concerts and events. With these, you may get preferred seating when purchasing with your Citi® Diamond Preferred® card or even be able to purchase tickets before they are available to the general public.

Now, most of these benefits aren’t extraordinary. And in fact, things like identity theft protection and zero liability are standard these days. But these things are nice to have to help keep yourself safe.

Fees and interest

This card has no annual fee, but there are a few other fees to be aware of. 

Fees

Foreign transaction fee —3%

Balance transfer fee — $5 or 5% (whichever is greater). Even though the Citi® Diamond Preferred® is designed specifically for balance transfers, you’ll still pay a premium to actually do this. Many cards charge 3%. Hopefully, you save enough money in interest that this doesn’t matter much.

Cash advance fee – $10 or 5% (whichever is greater)

Late fee – To avoid the late fee and all the negative repercussions that can come with missing your due date, take advantage of this card’s flexible due date option. You’ll be able to choose your own Payment Due Date each statement period to make sure it works for you and can also automate your payments.

APR

After the introductory period for balance transfers and purchases, you’ll pay an APR of between 17.49% - 28.24% (Variable) depending on your credit history and score. This is fairly standard across the credit card space.

If you make a balance transfer within four months of account opening, you won’t pay interest on it for 21 months (unless charged the penalty APR). But if you make a balance transfer after that four-month window — say six months from account opening — you’ll miss out on the 0% intro APR and instead pay whatever regular variable APR you qualify for. 

And if you transfer a balance, make sure you do everything you can to pay it completely off by the time the 21 months are up. After 21 months from the first transfer, you’ll start paying interest on whatever balance you carry, new or old.

The penalty APR can be up to 29.99%, which is average for credit cards. Remember that if you’re not making payments, you can be charged the penalty APR even within the intro APR window, so be careful to get those bills paid on time. 

Who is it for?

Should you apply for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card? If any of the following describe you, you might be a good fit.

People making a balance transfer

Balance transfers can make a lot of sense for people with significant credit card debt. Interest rates on credit cards are always high, no matter how good your credit, and this can make getting out of debt even more difficult. Transferring your balance to a credit card that won’t charge interest for a while as you’re paying it down is a smart long-term debt payoff strategy.

If you already know you’re going to make a balance transfer and feel confident you can pull it off within 21 months, think about signing up for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card.

But if you’re not ready to make a balance transfer right now or very soon, you should probably hold off on applying for this card. You could miss the boat on the 21-month 0% interest offer and then you’ll be stuck with a lackluster card.

Read more: Balance transfer calculator: How much can you save?

People with a lot of credit card debt

Even if you’re not planning on making a balance transfer at this point, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is a solid choice for anyone with a lot of credit card debt who wants to avoid taking on even more interest.

That 12-month 0% intro APR on new purchases is nothing to scoff at, and you could use this card as a way to get your spending in check and your budget figured out. If you use this card for your everyday purchases for a while and focus on paying down debt on your others, you can save on interest with some wiggle room for the occasional late payment (we’re human).

People with good credit

Citi recommends that you have a credit score in the good to excellent range if you’re going to apply for this card. Good credit is defined as a FICO score of at least 670 and excellent is defined as a FICO score of 740 or more. Depending on your income and borrowing history, you may be approved with a lower credit score or may need a score in the 700s.

If your credit is in good shape but you have debt you want to make serious progress on, you’re a good candidate for this card.

Who is it not ideal for?

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card serves a pretty specific purpose. If you identify with any of these descriptions, you should probably keep searching for your next credit card.

New borrowers

If you’re brand new to credit cards and looking for your first one, chances are you don’t need a balance transfer card. For beginners and young adults, we recommend a starter credit card with more savings and credit-building features as well as lower thresholds for approval. Click the link below to check out some great first cards.

Read more: Best credit cards for beginners

People with poor credit

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card isn’t the card for you if you have average or below-average credit, not only because you aren’t likely to qualify but because it doesn’t offer any credit-building advantages.

Unfortunately, this card isn’t going to be a realistic solution for borrowers with poor credit who are working on getting out of debt.

Read more: How to improve your credit score, step by step

People who want to earn rewards

If it’s a rewards credit card you’re after, you’ve stumbled across the wrong article. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card does not earn rewards such as cash back or miles and has very few perks besides. 

If you have the credit to qualify for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card and making a balance transfer isn’t your top priority, go for a rewards card that has the benefits you’re looking for. Many don’t charge an annual fee but those that do are packed with even more perks.

Read more: Best rewards credit cards 2023

Citi® Diamond Preferred® card vs. competitors

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card isn’t the only credit card out there created with balance transfers in mind. In fact, it’s not even the only Citi credit card with a generous intro APR period. Let’s talk about how the Citi® Diamond Preferred® compares to the Wells Fargo Reflect®  and Citi® Double Cash cards.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Wells Fargo Reflect card How does the popular Wells Fargo Reflect® Card compare to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card? Overall, these credit cards are similar. They both offer a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for up to 21 months, but Citi® Diamond Preferred® cardholders get this automatically while Wells Fargo Reflect® Card customers start at 18 months. To unlock the full 21 months, you need to make at least your minimum payment on time during these 18 months. Then, you’ll get a three-month extension. For both, balance transfers must be made within four months of account opening.

Beyond that, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card offers more perks including up to $600 worth of cell phone protection and 24/7 roadside dispatch. Neither card charges an annual fee and the interest rates and credit score requirements are almost identical, so the decision will probably come down to what kind of perks you’re looking for.

Read our full review.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Another Citi card with an appealing introductory period, the Citi® Double Cash Card isn’t just a good credit card for balance transfers but a good card for everyday use. It offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers (but not purchases) for 18 months from account opening. On average, we see a lot of cards offering 12 or 15 months, so this is still longer than most.

Plus, the Citi® Double Cash Card pays up to 2% cash back on everything with a unique rewards structure and no caps. First, you get 1% cash back when you spend. Then, you get another 1% when you pay off your balance. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee and we like that it motivates you to make your bill payments on time to earn that other 1% cash back.

If you think the extra three months that come with the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card would make a big difference for you, go for that card. Otherwise, the Citi® Double Cash is a more well-rounded option.

Read our full review.

Summary

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is a good card to reach for if you have a lot of high-interest credit card debt you want to pay down. While we normally like credit cards that serve a variety of purposes — such as rewards earning, purchase protection, and travel perks — there’s no denying that the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is perfect for balance transfers.

But as good as this card is for paying off credit card debt, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. One is that it requires at least good credit, so it isn’t going to be helpful to the people with poor scores and a lot of debt. This card also doesn’t have a rewards program and its list of benefits is lean, so it wouldn’t be our top pick for people prioritizing cash back and free stuff.

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About the author

Total Articles: 17
Lauren Graves is a personal finance writer specializing in honest brand and product reviews. She wants to help people feel less stressed when they spend their hard-earned cash and do her part to make money make sense.