The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Review

Rated 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

I doubt the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which spawned the phrase “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” would pass political muster in 2024. But the following question shouldn’t offend anyone: Is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card a consumer’s best friend?

Well, probably not, but it’s a pretty good product for consolidating credit card debt. Here, I’ll explore it and three similar cards to help you decide if any belong in your wallet. An informed choice is important because when credit goes wrong, nothing goes right.

Main Points:

    • Citi designed the card exclusively for consumers with good to excellent credit who want a long balance transfer offer and little else.
    • The card has no annual fee, but no rewards.
    • The card’s regular APR for purchases is 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable). It charges fees for foreign transactions, late and returned payments, cash advances, and balance transfers.
    • Citi Entertainment is a neat benefit, but one some cardholders may not use very often.

    How to Qualify and Apply

    You can apply for this balance transfer credit card over the phone or at a Citibank branch, but the easiest method is online. Click on the APPLY NOW link below to reach the online application page on Citi’s website:

    Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

    Advertiser Disclosure

    CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★

    4.5

    OVERALL RATING

    • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 18.24% - 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
    • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
    • No Annual Fee - our low intro rates and all the benefits don’t come with a yearly charge.
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    0% 12 months on Purchases
    0% 21 months on Balance Transfers
    18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)
    $0
    Excellent, Good

    Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

    To qualify for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, you must reside in the United States, be 18 or older, and have an email address, Social Security number, and sufficient income to afford your monthly minimum payments.

    The card requires a good FICO score, typically 670 or higher. Applicants with scores of 740 and above have the best approval odds.

    Citi performs a hard credit pull when you apply for the card, which may slightly affect your FICO score. You should receive an instant decision unless the bank requires time to resolve inconsistent or missing data.

    Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

    This card is basically a one-trick pony, and that trick is its 0% 21 months on Balance Transfers APR. It offers no rewards and precious few benefits. You can save a lot of money if you’re currently paying interest on credit card balances, and the card doesn’t dilute your savings because it has a $0 annual fee.

    Benefits

      • Intro 0% APR promotion: Enjoy a 0% 21 months on Balance Transfers APR, giving you breathing room to pay down your debt without accruing interest.

      • Annual fee: The card has a $0 annual fee to provide your credit limit with some breathing room.

      • Global acceptance: Enjoy the convenience of using this Mastercard® globally, as millions of merchants welcome it worldwide.

      • 24/7 customer service: Around-the-clock customer service stands ready to help whenever you need it.

      • Citi Quick Lock: You can instantly lock your card from the Citi Mobile app or the Citi Online portal, shielding you against unauthorized charges from a lost or stolen card.

    Drawbacks

      • No rewards program: The card does not offer a Citi rewards program, meaning you won’t earn points, miles, or cash back on your purchases.

      • Foreign transaction fees: There’s a fee for the transactions you make in a foreign currency or outside of the United States.

      • Balance transfer fee: Although the card offers a 0% 21 months on Balance Transfers APR, there is an above-average fee for each transfer. Additionally, the card imposes a four-month deadline on balance transfers eligible for the APR promotion.

      • No sign-up bonus: Unlike some other credit Citi credit cards, this one does not offer a sign-up bonus, which might make it less attractive to new cardmembers.

      • High requirements for approval: The card typically requires a good to excellent credit score for approval, limiting your access if you have a lower credit score.

      • Penalty APR: A penalty APR applies to late or returned payments, significantly increasing the interest rate on existing balances. In addition, you will forfeit the remainder of any non-expired introductory APR promotions and begin incurring interest on those balances.

      • Benefits primarily focused on financing: The card has few benefits since its primary feature is its introductory balance transfer offer.

      • Short promotion for purchases: The introductory APR on purchases expires earlier than the one for balance transfers.

    This card makes sense if you need to consolidate a significant amount of debt from other credit cards. Otherwise, it would be best to look at other cards that offer more value.

    Other Cards Worth a Look

    Exploring other credit cards is a sensible step, particularly if you seek features other than no-interest balance transfers. Many credit cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points, miles, or cash back on your purchases. Additionally, if you frequently travel abroad, finding a card that waives foreign transaction fees can save you a considerable amount of money.

    The following trio of cards provide balance transfer promotions but also offer other features you might like.

    Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

    at Discover Card'ssecure website

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★
    4.9

    OVERALL RATING

    • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
    • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
    • Your account may not always be eligible for balance transfers. Balance transfer eligibility is determined at Discover’s discretion.
    • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
    • No annual fee.
    • Terms and conditions apply.
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    0% Intro APR for 6 months
    0% Intro APR for 18 months
    17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR
    $0
    Excellent/Good

    The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers a somewhat shorter APR promotion on balance transfers and purchases. Still, you earn cash back rewards on every purchase. The top reward rate (up to the quarterly limit) applies to quarterly rotating merchant categories that require your activation. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back,

    New cardmembers get a one-time Cashback Match on the first year’s posted rewards, which you can collect at the end of the year. The card offers several security features that exceed those of the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. While both provide immediate account locking, the Discover® card also guards your personal information from people-search sites.

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★
    4.8

    OVERALL RATING

    • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
    • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
    • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
    • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
    • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    N/A
    0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
    19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
    $0
    Excellent, Good, Fair

    Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

    Another Citibank product, the Citi Double Cash® Card, also exchanges a slightly shorter balance transfer promotion in favor of cash back rewards. You earn 1% at purchase and another 1% when you pay the bill. The card also offers a bonus rate on selected bookings from Citi Travel.

    This card provides a signup bonus and omits the introductory promotion on purchases. It has a higher APR, a lower minimum credit score for approval, and a matching balance transfer fee after an initial discount for the first four months — the deadline period for participating in balance transfer transactions.

    BEST OVERALL RATING

    ★★★★★
    4.5

    OVERALL RATING

    • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
    • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • There is an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater for balances transfers completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock
    Intro (Purchases)
    Intro (Transfers)
    Regular APR
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
    0% Intro APR Period 12 months on Purchases
    0% Intro APR Period 21 months on Balance Transfers
    19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)
    $0
    Excellent, Good Credit

    Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

    The Citi Simplicity® Card is similar to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card in that both offer extended balance transfer promotions. This card waives late fees, and its balance transfer fee is lower. However, it charges a higher APR after the introductory promotion expires.

    The Citi Simplicity® Card does not have a penalty APR, so delinquent payments won’t raise your APR. Both cards provide Citi Quick Lock protection, offer access to Citi Entertainment, and impose a four-month deadline on balance transfers eligible for the introductory APR.

    Cardholder Reviews Around the Web/Reddit

    Reddit user onions-make-me-cry kept the card for a long time before upgrading:

    I had the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card for almost two decades, and all I used it for was balance transfers. They repeatedly asked me to convert to Double Cash, which I finally did. I don’t carry balances anymore, so I don’t need the balance transfer feature… I don’t see the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card as a useful card.”

    redditbullit612 echoes a common complaint about stingy credit limits:

    I regret that I applied for this card. I got only a $1,000 credit limit. The main point of this card is to transfer balances, but with that limit, I prefer just not using it at all.”

    Many Reddit contributors made similar remarks regarding the card’s low initial credit line, which limits its usefulness for balance transfers.

    FAQs: What Is the Average Credit Limit For the Card?

    The starting credit limit for the card is $500, but some cardowners may receive limits of $10,000 or more. Citi does not publicly disclose specific maximum credit limits for the card, and they can change over time.

    According to Intuit CreditKarma, the average credit limit for this and similar cards is $7,355.

    Credit card issuers frequently start cardholders with a modest limit and then adjust it over time based on your payment history, credit utilization ratio, and changes in your financial situation.

    If you want to use the card for debt consolidation, you need a credit limit high enough to accommodate the balances you want to transfer. Sometimes, you can negotiate a higher limit with a Citi customer representative if you explain your intent to transfer balances.

    Is It Hard to Get Approved?

    Approval for the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is reasonably easy to obtain if you meet the card’s requirements (described above). You may face tough sledding if your income is low or your credit score is below 670.

    It may help you to qualify for the card if you have an existing relationship with Citibank. If you are new to the world of credit cards and banking, it’s generally useful to have a checking or savings account at the issuing bank before applying for one of its cards, provided you maintain a clean banking record.

    How Do You Transfer Balances to the Card?

    You can request a balance transfer during or after the application process. Here are the key factors for applying online:

      • Provide the required information, including the account numbers you intend to transfer from and the amounts.

      • It will take the bank 14 days or longer after account opening to process any balance transfer payments. During this time, you may modify or cancel your balance transfer request by calling the number on the card.

      • After receiving your card, you can call Citi’s customer service number to transfer balances. The bank decides whether to approve transfers on a case-by-case basis.

      • Your transfer amount, including fees, can’t exceed your available credit. Avoid transferring disputed purchases or other charges because you may lose your dispute rights. You cannot transfer balances from other Citibank or affiliate accounts.

      • Once Citi approves a transfer, it will send funds directly to the other card’s issuer. To avoid late fees, continue to make payments on your other card accounts until Citi confirms a transfer is complete. The bank will reduce your available credit by the transferred amount.

    The bank imposes a fee for each balance transfer transaction. This fee is higher than on some competing cards.

    Are Personal Loans Better For Credit Card Consolidation?

    Another way to pay down your credit card debt is through a personal loan. You use the loan proceeds to eliminate your outstanding credit card balances and then repay the loan in a set number of fixed installments.

    The following chart compares the significant differences between a personal loan and balance transfers.

    FEATURE PERSONAL CONSOLIDATION LOAN BALANCE TRANSFER TO A CITI CARD
    Credit Impact Requires a loan application; can positively impact credit if it leads to lower credit utilization Requires a credit card application and impacts your credit utilization
    Credit Requirements Varies by a lender; some may accept lower credit scores with higher interest rates. Generally requires good to excellent credit for approval.
    Ease of Use Involves a separate loan application process Relatively easy to arrange if you already have the card
    Fees An origination fee may apply; it varies by lender A balance transfer fee applies for each transaction
    Flexibility You can use it to consolidate diverse types of debt Loan available mainly for balance transfers
    Interest Rates Fixed or variable APR, typically lower than standard credit card rates Offers an 0% APR on transfers for a specified introductory period
    Loan/Transfer Amount Based on your creditworthiness and the lender’s policies, potentially higher than a credit limit Limited by your credit limit on the card
    Repayment Term Fixed repayment term, often ranging from two to five years or more The introductory period lasts well over a year, and then a higher standard APR applies
    Speed of Debt Reduction Structured repayment plan can potentially lead to faster debt reduction It can be slower due to the potential for lower payments during the introductory period

    Personal loans are more versatile than balance transfers and easier to obtain if you have subprime credit. But if you only need to consolidate credit card debt, 0% APR balance transfers are much less expensive, provided you request transfers before the deadline and eliminate balances before the promotion ends.

    How Does the Card Compare to the Citi Simplicity® Card?

    Comparing this credit card with the Citi Simplicity® Card could be crucial for consumers aiming to match their financial tools to their spending habits. A side-by-side comparison shows the differences in terms of APR, fees, and promotional offers, helping you make an informed choice that could enhance your lifestyle.

    Understanding these key features can provide significant savings on interest and fees, especially if you plan to transfer balances or finance big-ticket purchases.

    The following chart compares the cards’ major features:

    FEATURE Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Citi Simplicity® Card
    Annual Fee $0 $0
    Regular APR 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable) 19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)
    APR for Balance Transfers 0% 21 months on Balance Transfers 0% Intro APR Period 21 months on Balance Transfers
    Balance Transfer Promotion Period 18 months, subject to change, with a four-month deadline to request transfers 21 months, subject to change, with a four-month deadline to request transfers
    Balance Transfer Fee Yes Yes
    APR for Purchases 0% 12 months on Purchases 0% Intro APR Period 12 months on Purchases
    Late Payment Fee Up to a certain amount None (the Citi Simplicity® Card is known for no late fees)
    Citi Rewards Not a Citi rewards card Not a Citi rewards card
    Special Features Free access to FICO score, Citi Entertainment No late fees, no penalty rate, and free access to your FICO score.

    The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card has a shorter balance transfer promotion but also a slightly lower APR range. The cards share the same promotion period for purchases, but the Citi Simplicity® Card has no late fees or penalty APR. You may prefer the Citi Simplicity® Card if you need the extra three months to pay off your transferred balances.

    How Many Citi Cards Can I Own?

    Citi restricts the number of its cards you can apply for within a given period. However, the issuer doesn’t limit the number of different Citi cards you can own.

    You must wait at least eight days between Citi card applications and apply no more than twice within a 65-day period.

    This Card May Be For You If…

    • You’re looking for a long introductory APR period on balance transfers to manage existing debt more effectively.
    • You prefer a credit card with a $0 annual fee, which helps to keep your costs down.
    • You value having access to your FICO score for free, allowing you to monitor your credit health without additional expense.

    Consider the three alternative cards reviewed above before applying for this card. For example, the Discover it® Balance Transfer card is similar to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card but also provides cash back rewards. But if you just care about the long introductory balance transfer promotion, this one may be your best choice.

    About the Author

    Eric Bank
    Eric Bank Finance Expert

    Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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