Balance Transfers With Citi: An In-Depth Guide

Carrying out a Citi balance transfer is fairly easy and may lead to savings in interest charges, but your balance transfer request is subject to approval.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 11/18/2022
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Last Updated: 11/18/2022

Citi balance transfer cards deserve your attention because they offer some of the longest intro 0% APR offers. If you don't have an existing Citi balance transfer card, you may submit your request for a balance transfer along with your application for a new card. While Citi lets you transfer balances from credit cards issued by other creditors, you may also be able to transfer other types of debt.

If you carry out a credit card balance transfer using a 0% APR offer from Citi, you pay no interest on the transferred balance until the promo period ends. The larger the amount you transfer, the more you may be able to save in interest charges, provided you pay off the entire amount in a timely manner.

Bear in mind that Citi considers different factors when reviewing your balance transfer request. If it rejects your request, there are other options you can explore.

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MoneyGeek’s Takeaways

balanceTransfer

Citi lets you transfer balances from credit cards and may allow you to transfer other types of debt.

money

You will need to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% or 5% each time you transfer a balance.

noAnnualFee

Citi’s 0% APR offers apply to balances transferred in the first four months.

How Does a Citi Balance Transfer Work?

While Citi offers some of the best balance transfer credit cards, you will still want to consider your specific requirements before choosing a card. Remember that the maximum amount you may transfer (plus the balance transfer fees) cannot exceed the available credit limit of your Citi card.

Submitting your balance transfer request requires that you provide details about the debt you wish to transfer. In the case of credit cards, you'll need to provide credit card numbers, names of their issuers and the amount you want to transfer from each card. Transferring balances from other forms of debt will likely require that you provide similar information, although it’s best to ask a Citi customer service representative for specifics.

Depending on your case and the banks involved, Citi may take anywhere from two to 21 days to process your balance transfer request, although it may take even longer.

Know How Much You Owe

Before carrying out a balance transfer, know how much you owe to different creditors and the APRs that come with your various cards or other forms of debt. That way, you can prioritize your debt appropriately. If you have a mix of high-balance credit cards with low APRs and cards with low balances but high APRs, you should ideally try to pay off those that fall into the latter category first.

If you need to transfer more than the limit made available through Citi cards, you may also want to look at what high-limit cards from other issuers have to offer. No matter which card you select, take the balance transfer fee into account because it will add to your starting balance.

Choose a Balance Transfer Credit Card

There is more to selecting a Citi balance transfer card than looking at the intro APR offers on balance transfers. For instance, how long a 0% APR offer may last can vary based on the card you choose.

  • This is an icon

    0% introductory APR

    When you get a 0% APR balance transfer card from Citi, you pay no interest on transferred balances for a given period of time. This helps you save money in the form of interest charges. If there is any outstanding balance at the end of the promo period, you need to start paying interest at the card's regular balance transfer APR.

  • This is an icon

    Long introductory APR

    Depending on the Citi balance transfer card you get, the duration of the 0% APR offer may extend from 15 to 21 months. This is where Citi scores over most of its competitors, because offers where you get 21 months interest-free on balance transfers are among the best in the business. Bear in mind that the longer the 0% APR offer lasts, the more time you get to repay your debt without incurring interest charges.

  • This is an icon

    Low ongoing APR

    People who need more than 21 months to repay their debt may also want to consider applying for a Citi credit card that comes with low ongoing APRs on balance transfers. In this case, the same APR applies to your transferred balance until you pay it off entirely. Bear in mind, though, that your card's APR will depend on your credit score and a few other factors. Citi cards that currently have lower APRs include the Citi Rewards+® Card, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card.

  • This is an icon

    Low or no balance transfer fees

    If you wish to pay no balance transfer fees, you need to look beyond what Citi credit cards have to offer. Depending on the card you get and when a balance transfer is posted to your account, you'll need to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% or 5%.

You may benefit through a Citi balance transfer card's 0% APR offer as long as your balance transfer posts to your account within four months from account opening. Transfers that are posted to your account any later accrue interest at the regular balance transfer APR assigned to your card.

Request Balance Transfer

If you have an existing Citi card with a 0% APR offer on balance transfers, you need to complete the transfer process within four months of account opening to make use of the promotional offer. If you're applying for a new card and Citi lets you request a balance transfer during the application process, it takes at least 14 days from account opening to process balance transfer payments.

You may request a balance transfer online or over the phone by calling Citi card customer service or the number on the back of your card. You'll need to provide the name and number of the credit card you want to transfer the balance from, the name of its issuer and the amount you want to transfer. If you plan to transfer balances from multiple cards or other forms of credit, you'll need to provide details of each account.

While you need excellent credit to qualify for the best balance transfer credit cards from Citi, those with fair/average credit may qualify for the Citi® Double Cash Card.

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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

If you have poor credit, applying for the Citi® Secured Mastercard® could be another good option to help you rebuild your credit. Then, once you improve your credit score, you might qualify for a Citi balance transfer card.

Prepare a Payment Schedule

Creating a payment schedule can help you stay on track to pay off the entire transferred balance before the end of the promo 0% APR period. Doing so can also help you determine if you might be better off applying for a card with a 15-month or a 21-month offer, as the latter gives you the freedom to make slightly smaller monthly payments. As long as you can pay off the entire balance before the promo period ends, you don't have to worry about paying interest charges.

If paying off the entire transferred balance before the promo period expires does not seem possible, you should create a plan to bring it down as much as possible. This is because any outstanding balance that remains when the promo period ends starts accruing interest at the card's regular APR.

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Don't forget to account for the balance transfer fees that will add to your starting balance. For example, if you transfer $7,500 and need to pay a 5% balance transfer fee, the total amount you owe will stand at $7,875 ($7,500 + $375).

Citi’s Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

While Citi balance transfer cards can help you save on interest charges, there are other benefits you may expect from your new card. For example, some of these cards let you earn rewards or cash back. Depending on the card you get, you may also qualify to earn a spend-based welcome bonus.

>>MORE: CITI THANKYOU REWARDS TRANSFER PARTNERS

  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

    A great no annual fee cash back card with a unique bonus category system


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1% - 5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 15 monthsAPR Offer Duration
    • 15 monthsBalance Transfer Duration

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Citi® Double Cash Card

    A great no-annual-fee card that offers up to 2% cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 2% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

    Best balance transfer card for immediate transfers


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • 0% APR on new purchasesAPR Offer
    • 12 monthsAPR Offer Duration
    • 0% Intro APR on balance transfersBalance Transfer Offer
    • 15.99% – 26.74%APR

  • Citi Simplicity® Card

    A good no annual fee card for balance transfers


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 14.74% - 24.74%APR
    • 12 monthsAPR Offer Duration
    • 21 monthsBalance Transfer Duration

  • Citi Rewards+® Card

    An excellent no-annual-fee rewards card with a 0% intro APR offer


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The no-annual-fee Citi Custom Cash℠ Card comes with a 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. You get to earn $200 cash back if you spend $750 on purchases within the first three months. This card offers 5% cash back on up to $500 you spend on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle. All other purchases come with 1% cash back.

Citi Double Cash Credit Card

The 0% APR offer that comes with the Citi Double Cash Credit Card applies only on balance transfers and stays in effect for the first 18 months. This card lets you earn 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you make a purchase and 1% more when you pay off the purchase. You pay no annual fees.

Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card

The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card's 0% APR applies on purchases for the first 12 months and on balance transfers for the first 21 months. This is among the longest durations you'll get through a 0% APR offer on balance transfers. As with other Citi balance transfer cards, this one comes with no annual fee.

Citi Simplicity Credit Card

The Citi Simplicity Credit Card charges no interest on balance transfers for the first 21 months and on purchases for the first 12 months. This card does not charge annual fees, and it also does away with late fees and penalty APRs.

Citi Rewards+ Credit Card

The 0% APR offer of the Citi Rewards+ Credit Card applies for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers alike. You get 20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first three months. You also get to earn up to 2x points per dollar on category-based spending. This card comes with no annual fees.

How Much You Can Save With a Balance Transfer

While a Citi balance transfer may lead to monetary savings, different factors will impact how much money you might save. These include the intro APR, the duration for which it applies, the balance transfer amount and how long you take to pay it off in full.

  • How Much You Will Pay With Your Current Credit Card
    How Much You Will Pay When You Transfer Your Balance
  • Current outstanding balance: $15,000
    Regular APR: 18.49%
    Monthly payment: $750
    Time required to pay off the balance: 25 months
    Total amount to pay: $18,070.15

    Balance transfer amount: $15,000
    Balance transfer fee: 5%
    Intro APR: 0% for 21 months
    Regular APR: 18.49%
    Monthly payment: $750
    Time required to pay off the balance: 21 months
    Total amount to pay: $15,750.00

    Total savings: $2,320.15

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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

When choosing a balance transfer credit card, consider what other benefits the card has. Preferably, the card has attractive earnings power or ongoing benefits that you can enjoy long after you've paid off your balance transfer. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com

What to Know Before Requesting a Balance Transfer With Citi

Balance transfers work similarly across most credit card providers, although there are a few differences in the processes they follow. As a result, it’s good to review what to expect if you plan to transfer a balance to a Citi credit card.

  • In addition to transferring balances from other credit cards, you may be able to use a Citi balance transfer card to pay off other types of debt, such as auto loans, personal loans and payday loans, provided they are not issued by Citi or its affiliates.
  • The maximum amount you may transfer, including the balance transfer fees, cannot be more than the available credit limit on your card.
  • Citi may take two to 21 days to process your balance transfer.
  • If you request a balance transfer with your application for a new Citi card, processing your balance transfer payment will take at least 14 days.
  • Balance transfers with Citi don't earn rewards or cash back.
  • You need to keep making payments toward your old account until the balance transfer is complete and there is no outstanding balance.
  • If you use a Citi 0% APR offer for balance transfers, purchases will accrue interest until you pay off the total balance in full — unless the card also has an APR offer on purchases.
  • Any outstanding balance at the end of the promo APR period will start accruing interest charges at the card's regular balance transfer APR.

Maintaining responsible credit habits and knowing how credit card debt works will hold you in good stead when it comes to paying off what you owe. If you use a balance transfer properly, you may save money on interest charges and get rid of your debt sooner.

  • Compare multiple balance transfer cards based on intro APRs, the duration of intro APR offers, regular APRs, balance transfer fees, annual fees and rewards.
  • Aim to pay off the entire amount you transfer before the end of the promotional period.
  • Avoid late fees and penalty APRs by making your payments ahead of time.
  • Clear your existing debt before you think about accumulating more.

Pros and Cons of Doing a Balance Transfer

The advantages of balance transfers notwithstanding, there are possible drawbacks that you need to be aware of as well. Knowing both the pros and the cons can help you determine if this is the best path to take.

Key Takeaways

plusSign
Pros
  • Possibility of paying no interest charges.
  • Can help pay off debt quicker.
  • May be able to transfer balances from different forms of debt.
  • Your new card may offer better features and benefits.
  • Your credit score might improve.
minusSign
Cons
  • Citi might deny your balance transfer request after approving your application for a new card.
  • Citi's 0% APR offers vary in duration, so you’ll need to be strategic when choosing which card to use.
  • Every balance transfer comes with a balance transfer fee.
  • Citi might terminate the offer if you make a late payment or a payment is returned.
  • A late or returned payment may result in a rather steep penalty APR.
  • Your credit score might drop.

What if My Balance Transfer Request Is Denied?

Citi might reject your balance transfer request for different reasons. Should this happen, you may take a look at other options. If you wish to consolidate debt from multiple sources, checking what personal loans have to offer might be worth your while. Individuals who are having trouble keeping up with their finances may also find it helpful to explore debt management plans. Cash advances are best left for emergencies.

  • Personal loan. The credit card vs. personal loan comparison tilts in favor of the latter when it comes to ongoing APRs. This is because credit cards tend to come with considerably higher APRs. In addition, personal loans usually come with higher credit limits. This makes them ideal if you want to consolidate balances from multiple credit cards and other forms of debt.
  • Debt management plan. Various nonprofit credit counseling agencies that are accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling help people facing financial hardship get on debt management plans. The agency you work with negotiates with your creditors on your behalf and may be able to get your interest rates lowered and late fees waived.
  • Cash advance. Cash advances start accruing interest from the day of the transaction, and you’ll need to pay cash advance fees. As a result, using a cash advance from one card to pay off another is best avoided. The only situation in which this avenue may be helpful is if you want to avoid a steep late fee and are sure you’ll be able pay off the amount you withdraw in no more than a few days.
  • Balance Transfer
    Personal Loan
    Cash Advance
    Debt Management Program
  • When to Use

    To pay off debt in
    up to 21 months
    through a 0% APR
    offer

    To repay debt
    over a longer term

    In emergencies

    If you're facing
    financial
    hardship

  • How to Request

    Online or over the
    phone

    Online or over the
    phone

    Online, over the
    phone, at an ATM
    or at a branch

    Online or over
    the phone

  • Repayment Terms

    Minimum monthly
    payments, or more

    Fixed monthly
    payments

    Minimum monthly
    payments, or
    more

    A single unified
    monthly
    payment

  • APR Ranges

    When an intro APR
    period ends,
    usually the same as
    purchase APRs

    4.99% to 35.99%

    17.99% to
    29.99%

    7.04% to
    35.89%

  • Credit/Loan Limits

    Up to a card's
    available credit limit
    with Citi

    Up to $100,000

    Typically a
    percentage of a
    credit card's
    overall limit

    No minimum or
    maximum limits

  • Fees

    3% or 5% of the
    transferred amount
    with Citi

    Application fee:
    Up to $50
    Loan origination
    fee:
    Up to 6% of
    borrowed amount

    3% to 5% of the
    transaction
    amount

    One-time set-up
    fee:
    Up to $75
    Monthly fee: $20 to $75

Other Questions You May Have About Balance Transfers With Citi

Next Steps

Compare Citi Credit Cards

Learn More About Credit Card Balance Transfer Pages

About the Author


Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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