Citi Simplicity® Credit Card vs. Discover it® Cash Back Match

Learn why the Discover it — Cashback Match is a top cash back card, while also offering you a long 0% introductory APR rate like the Citi Simplicity.

Featured Credit Cards of 2018
Featured Credit Cards of 2018
Compare cards for all credit ranges.

The Winner

The Discover it Cashback Match earns you more cash back in the long run than the Citi Simplicity Card

If you are not travelling too often and extra cash is always a welcome reward, Discover's Cashback Match card is one of the best cash back rewards cards you can get.

In addition to earning 5% cash back in rotating categories like Amazon and groceries, you'll also earn a flat 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Plus all cash back earned during your first year of having this credit card is doubled—effectively earning you 10% cash back on those bonus categories!

Average Annual Amount Spent on Amazon from 2015-2017

What's more, the Cashback Match offers 14 months of 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases made within the first four months of getting the card.

A long-term 0% interest credit card that also offers cash back of up to 5% and with no annual fee?!

Sign me up!

While it's tempting to recommend a 21-month interest-free card like the Citi Simplicity, its introductory APR rate simply can't beat all the benefits the Discover card offers.

We'll explain why in this comprehensive comparison review.

Why You Should Consider These 0% Interest Credit Cards

If you're planning on making some hefty purchases in the next few months, or you have a large credit card balance you would like to transfer, these 0% interest credit cards will save you money.

You should consider these cards if you are looking for a longer-term 0% interest promotional rate

Both Discover and Citi offer attractive 0% APR financing at longer-than-average promotional periods.

You're the ideal customer for the Cashback Match if you want to earn cash back on your purchases

To find out whether the Cashback Match is indeed a match for you and your wallet, take time to answer the following questions:

  • Do you have a credit score greater than 700?
  • Are you looking for a low-interest credit card with a 0% interest rate for longer than a year?
  • Do you purchase within rotating bonus categories like grocery stores and Amazon?
  • Do you like to travel outside the United States?

If you answered yes to most of the questions above, then the Discover Cashback Match may be a good credit card for you.

You're the perfect customer for Citi Simplicity if you want a no-fee credit card with a long 0% interest rate

Wondering whether the Citi Simplicity is a better bet for you? Answer the questions below to find out:

  • Are you planning to make a big purchase from a store without a store loyalty program?
  • Are you looking to transfer a credit card balance to a 0% interest card?
  • Do you sometimes accidentally make late credit card payments?

Credit Card Delinquency Rate from 2009-2017

If you answered yes, then Citi Simplicity is a good credit card to consider.

Doesn't sound like you or describe your spending habits? Then you may want to consider the Chase Freedom card's great cash back and bonuses or the Citi Double Cash Back Card, which gives you cash back on every purchase including when you pay your bill.

The Winner's Strengths

Earn up to 10% in cash back on rotating categories during your first year with the Discover it Cashback Match.

The Cashback Match card is better than the Citi Simplicity because it offers you cash back on your purchases

It's true, the Discover Cashback and Citi Simplicity both offer generous 0% interest promotions on balance transfers and new purchases.

But the Discover Cashback is a way better long-term rewards card for your wallet because it will continue rewarding you with cash back of up to 5% on your purchases.

People love this card because of the double cash back bonus

Discover it cardholders can really rake it in with the dollar-for-dollar match of all cash back earned during their first year of having the card.

Bonus categories double 5–10% cash back and all regular purchases will earn you 2% cash back.

Now here's a cool money-saving tip: You'll get a match on all cash back earned through shopping online via the Discover Deals web portal—so sign in to Discover Deals whenever you are shopping online.

The biggest customer complaint about the card is that it isn't widely accepted

Consumers complained that some smaller shops in the United States and many international vendors do not accept Discover cards.

Those who use the Discover Cashback as their go-to credit card recommend keeping a Visa- or MasterCard-branded debit card in your wallet for back-up.

Counterargument

If you're working to pay off credit card debt, the Citi Simplicity may be a better bet because it offers 21 months of 0% interest.

The Citi Simplicity could also save you more money because it offers 0% interest for seven more months

The Citi Simplicity's strength lies in its 21-month 0% interest promotional period, which is among the longest and most generous industry-wide.

If you are giving it everything you've got to pay down credit card debt, you'll find that you can save more money with the Citi Simplicity.

U.S. Household Personal Savings Rate from 2017-2018

If you carry a $10,000 credit card balance, for instance, you can save more than $1,500 in interest by switching to the Citi Simplicity as opposed to another credit card charging 18% in interest.

People love this card because it has no late fees or penalty APR

Customers who occasionally forget to pay their credit card bill on time say that they appreciate the fact that the Citi Simplicity doesn't knock them down with late charges of up to $35.

And, if you're worried about the interest rate you pay when you carry a balance, Citi won't increase it to 29.99% after just one late payment.

Still, your activity will be reported to credit bureaus and can hurt your credit score, so better to view this perk as a safety net rather than permission to ignore payment due dates.

The biggest customer complaint about the card is its poor customer service

Citi customers say that good customer service is hard to find, with the typical experience being rather frustrating.

Particularly when it came to disputes, customer service representatives often gave incorrect or confusing information.

How the Discover Cashback compares to its top competitor

Discover it – Cashback Match Citi Simplicity Card
How high of credit score do you need?

>700

>720

Average APR?

18.24%

20.24%

Annual fee?

$0

$0

How big of sign-up bonus do you get?

None

None

How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?

n/a

n/a

How many points do you get for every dollar?

5% back on select categories each quarter

1% on everything else

n/a

Any restrictions?

5% back only applies to a maximum of $1,500 per quarter on select categories.

n/a

If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?

$5 on bonus category items

$1 on all else

n/a

How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)?

No annual fee

No annual fee

Bonuses and Benefits

Neither credit card offers a sign-up bonus, but both offer helpful benefits.

The Discover Cashback will match all cash back earned during the first year

While the Discover it credit card doesn't offer a sign-up bonus, it does offer a valuable dollar-for-dollar match of all cash back earned during the first 12 months of having the card.

Monitor your credit for free. Your monthly statements from Discover come with a free FICO score.

This allows you to keep tabs on your credit score without having to pay $20 a month or more for a similar service.

Earn bonus cash back when shopping online. If you like to shop from your couch, use the Discover Deals online portal.

Doing so will earn you 5–20% cash back at major retailer websites.

You can also easily redeem cash back when making purchases on Amazon.

The Citi Simplicity offers purchase protection benefits

The Citi Simplicity, while known for its 21-month 0% APR promotional rate, doesn't offer a sign-up bonus or cash back rewards on purchases.

Lowest price—guaranteed. With Citi Price Rewind, you can register electronics and other big-ticket items purchased with your Simplicity card.

You'll also have access to Citi Price Rewind, which will search hundreds of online merchants for the best possible price for an item.

If the same item is found at a lower price within 60 days of your purchase, you can get a refund for the difference.

Your purchases, protected. The Citi Simplicity offers an extended warranty on purchases and auto rental insurance.

Prevent—and deal with—identity theft. If your identity is compromised, Citi Identity Theft Solutions can help you investigate and resolve the problem so you can quickly get your life back on track.

Also important: Should you require it, the company will provide you help in filing police reports and will guide you towards repairing your credit.

Cost and Fees

Neither card has an annual fee—a fact that increases your potential savings.

The Discover Cashback Match doesn't have a foreign transaction fee

The Discover it does away with many unnecessary fees, including no foreign transaction fees.

This makes it a good card to travel abroad with—assuming the merchants you visit accept Discover (many in Europe do not).

No annual fee. You won't need to pay a yearly charge nor would you need to request to waive any annual fee to keep this card in your wallet, which is a definitely a good thing.

Get a pass on your first late payment. Missed your credit card payment deadline?

You'll get a pass—at least the first time—saving you up to $35.

Standard fees still apply. While you won't pay interest on balance transfers for up to 14 months, a 3% fee still applies to each transfer you make to your account.

Forget about (most) added fees with the Citi card

The Citi Simplicity does away with most pesky fees—starting with no annual fee.

No late fee, ever. Unlike other credit cards, the Citi Simplicity won't charge you a $35 late fee or raise your interest rate to a crushing 29.99% after your first missed payment.

But late payments will still be reported to credit bureaus and can lower your credit score.

You will pay a 3% balance transfer fee. These types of fees are standard among credit cards, though some charge as much as 5%.

Customer Service

Discover offers better customer service than Citi.

Discover ranks No. 1 in customer service

According to a 2016 J.D. Power study, Discover ranked No. 1 in customer service among credit card companies.

Customers love the fact that they can reach a representative based in the United States 24/7 via email, phone, or chat.

Some customers, however, complained that the customer service agents who assisted them at the time weren't able to help them regarding low credit lines and other related issues.

Citi's customer service is mixed

Customers were divided in their reviews of Citi's customer service, with many complaining about unhelpful representatives and low credit lines.

Others said they were able to quickly reach a representative and resolve issues.

2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index's Top 10

Key Digital Services

Both Citi and Discover offer helpful digital services that help you monitor and protect your credit.

View your free credit score on the Discover app

Log into the Discover app to view your free FICO credit score, making it simple and easy to monitor your credit.

You can also log into the Discover app to immediately freeze your card in the event that it's lost or stolen.

You can easily unfreeze the card when it finally turns up.

Citi's Quick Lock lets you lock and unlock your credit card on-the-go

If you frequently misplace your credit card, Citi's Quick Lock will be a helpful solution.

This online feature lets you instantly lock your card when you lose it, and unlock it as soon as you find it.

If you're using the Citi mobile app, just click on the three lines in the top left corner, select "Manage Your Cards," then click "Lock Credit Card."

You will then be able to lock and unlock any of the cards linked to your account as well as call Citi customer service to report your card as permanently lost or stolen.

FAQ

  • What does each card provider offer new customers as incentives?

    Neither card offers a sign-up bonus. But you'll earn a dollar-for-dollar cash back match on all purchases made during the first year of having the Discover Cashback card.

  • What does each card provider offer as ongoing incentives for loyal customers?

    You'll earn 5% back on purchases in rotating categories with the Discover Cashback and 1% on everything else.

    The Citi Simplicity, on the other hand, does not offer cash back rewards.

    Both cards offer 0% interest, with the Discover it card's promotion lasting 14 months and the Citi Simplicity's promotion lasting 21 months.

  • What are the interest rates for each card provider?

    Discover it's interest rate ranges from 12.24 to 24.24%, depending on your credit score.

    While the Citi Simplicity will charge you interest ranging from 15.24–25.24%, also depending on your credit score.

  • Does either card have an annual fee?

    No.

  • What about a foreign transaction fee?

    The Citi Simplicity Card charges 3% on all international purchases.

    The Discover it card does not have a foreign transaction fee.

  • What credit score range should you be in before applying for each card?

    You need to have "Excellent" credit for the Citi Simplicity Card (>720) and "Very Good" credit for the Discover Cashback (>700).

  • How do I apply for each card?

    To apply for the Discover it Cashback Match, visit the Discover website.

    If you'd like to sign up for the Citi Simplicity Card instead, you can apply on the Citi website.

  • How do I cancel each card?

    If you'd like to cancel either your credit card, just call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. That way, you'll reach a customer service agent who specializes in your credit card.

    With both cards, you'll have to pay off your balance before the account can be closed.

    Be sure to redeem any cash back available before closing the account, or you risk forfeiting it.

The Discover card's 10% cash back makes it the clear winner

After thoroughly comparing the Discover Cashback and the Citi Simplicity cards, the Discover it wins out—offering you the ability to earn 2–10% on purchases during your first year of having the card.

You'll also get more than a year—14 months—of 0% interest, saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on interest.

If you're planning on making a large purchase in the next few months, or you have a large credit card balance you would like to transfer, both of these 0% interest credit cards will save you money.

Earn up to 10% in cash back on rotating categories during your first year with the Cashback Match rewards credit card.

If you're working hard to pay off credit card debt, then the Citi Simplicity Card might be a better choice because it offers up to 21 months at 0% interest.

Neither credit card offers a sign-up bonus, but both offer helpful benefits.

Neither card has an annual fee—a fact that increases your potential savings!

Discover offers better customer service than Citi.

Both Citi and Discover are digital dynamos thanks to the tech services and solutions they offer that help you monitor and protect your credit.

Do you use the Discover it – Cashback Match?

How has the company worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Advertiser Disclosure:

The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which CreditLoan.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including the order in which they may appear within listing categories. CreditLoan.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note:

Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.