Citi Diamond Preferred Card: 0% APR For 21 Months on Balance Transfers

C_DP7_EMV_MNLW_18-PID 257.epsOne of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to pay down debt. Rewards-earning credit cards may not be optimal for those carrying balances and thus more impacted by 18% interest rates than a relatively puny 2% back on purchases.

Our partner Citi offers the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which currently has their longest 0% APR intro balance transfer period. The highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that the variable APR will be 14.49% – 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 14.49% – 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • No annual fee*
  • Free access to FICO® Score

The strong part of this card is the long 21 month period, so you can spread out payments over 1.75 years and ideally pay it all off by the end. There is a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 min). However, if you’re currently paying 18% APR, then 5% works out to 3 months of interest over a 21 month period. Once the intro period on all 0% cards expire, the rates will go right back up. You’ll either need to pay it off or transfer your balance again if you need more time. This card lets you spread your payments out over 21 months instead of 6 or 12.

If you know you will pay it off within a shorter time period, look for a card with no balance transfer fee. Compare with other low fee 0% APR balance transfer offers.

Bottom line. The Citi Diamond Preferred® Card is a card targeted that for those serious about paying down their balances. You get a 0% introductory period of 1.75 years on balance transfers is the longest they offer, with a one-time 5% balance transfer fee ($5 min). No annual fee.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”


  1. A couple things jump out at me:
    – $500 in “online purchases” could be problematic if stores don’t use the right CC code when charing the card. How do you ever really know when you qualify…
    – Also, If you transfer a balance, and do the $500 in purchases to qualify for the statement credit you may have a problem if you don’t pay the purchases off before doing the balance transfer. I’ve run into that before with other cards, where even though I paid more than the minimum payment it only applied to one of the two types (purchases or balance transfer) and it became a problem.
    – So if I were going to do this, I would make the $500 in purchases, make sure I got the $200 credit, pay off the balance, and then do the balance transfer.

  2. There is no mention of 200$ credit in the link posted.

  3. @Stephen – I could see being careful with that, but as long as you make them at an online-only store, I don’t see how it could go wrong. Why not just buy a $500 gift certificate to Even when buying online at other stores, usually it shows up as “” as opposed to “Walmart – Oakland, California”. I might look at old purchases and confirm first in that case.

    Here, both are at 0% for 18 months, so for the 18 months it doesn’t matter between purchases and balance transfers. Second, the habit of making your payment apply to the balances with the lowest interest rate has since been disallowed by law. Your payments now always apply to pay down the higher interest rate balance.

    @Jack – You’re right, one of the links was off. Both should show the $200 statement credit now. Thanks!

  4. I would also make a note of the tax implications. If I’m not mistaken, come tax time you will have to pay Uncle Sam his 15%, so in the $5000 transfer example in the post would not net $50 but only $20… ie. $200*.15 = $30

  5. @frank – Actually, credit card rewards and bonuses are considered not taxable by the IRS and you won’t get a 1099 for them. They are viewed as rebates on your purchases and thus a reduction in any cost basis only:

  6. that is odd… I have received 1099 forms from banks before that included interest for the year along with cash incentive offers. i believe they came as a 1099-int or 1099-div. i may have to look again over my past tax forms to make sure. anyone else had a similar experience? the post you added is from ’06, maybe things have changed since?

  7. great deal…thanks! do you see any issue with getting a check for $6650 (assuming within credit limit) instead of doing a balance transfer?

  8. ah, yes… it was probably a bank and not a credit card sign-up bonus. it’s funny that a private letter ruling was required in order to change what is obviously the same thing… money back to the consumer is the same thing whether it shows up in your account or you get a credit on purchases. if i choose to pay my utilities with the credit card, or something that i would have paid for anyway, then it is the exact same. as a consumer, i will pretend that it is different as well.

  9. @Kathy – Citi has historically allowed balance transfers to be sent to you as a check. I just checked my account and I have the ability to request a check. See screenshot:

    @frank – Yup, I just play by the rules set before me. 🙂

  10. So Jonathan you seem to indicate that getting a balance transfer as a check is not considered taxable income. What about not going the check route (I hate carrying them to my bank) and just using accumulated points to pay for items I have already purchased directly?

  11. All of these Citi credit card 0% APR offers state “New cardmembers only.” Has anyone with a currently active Citi credit card successfully received a new card with the 0% offer?

  12. Heads up that come February 1, PenFed Visa Cash Back cc holders will be able to convert to a new PenFed VISA Rewards card. The Visa cash back card will continue to exist and pay 5% for gas but only .25% on everything else. The new card will be a points card with 5 points for every dollar for gas, 3 points for groceries and 1 point per dollar for everything else. 5000 points for first use and another 20,000 points for $1,000 spend in 3 months. You can switch without an application or keep the old card and apply for the new one as well. Switchers are eligible for the bonus points as well as new cardholder applicants. Rewards will be in the form of gift cards, prepaid VISA card, travel certificates, etc. PenFed is one the pickier cc issuers though. Usually requires W2s or paycheck stubs as part of the application.

  13. Should have added that the conversion rate for now will be $.01 for every point.
    See the FAQ at

  14. can I choose just transfer to another checking account instead of carrying a check to bank? I won’t be in states at that time.
    Also, as I understand this is kind of an ordinary credit from bank since they won’t actually check how I’m gonna use the money, is it right? I mean I don’t have any balances to pay off, I’ll just need money to buy something.

  15. “I mean I don’t have any balances to pay off, I’ll just need money to buy something.”
    Instead of doing a balance transfer (which likely means 3-4% transfer fee), you should just use the 0% APR card to buy household items, pay for everyday expenses using that card and that will free up you other cash amount that you can use to make the new purchase or use it to pay off another card.

    For those who asked about having one card and then getting a new card of the same type (to get 0% APR on purchase), I have done that with Chase and it works. I think it would work with other companies as well but I haven’t tried others yet.

    Remember, always plan to pay off the card before its 0% APR expires. You might want to plan to apply for a new card on your credit. You should be able to get a new card assuming you have kept some of your existing cards at zero balance and have one or two existing cards at 50-60% balance. If you have already used up a lot of your cards then your credit score is not good enough and you will likely be denied a new credit card. If all your existing cards are 80-90% used then it’s a guaranteed denial for a new credit card. In that case you should plan to improve the credit of one person in the household and then apply for a new card for that person. The credit balance that shows up on the credit report is the balance on the card’s statement each month.

  16. PS:
    Regarding closing an account and then applying for a new one of the same kind, in my experience it worked when the card was closed and then new application was done after waiting for about 4 months. The customer service reps don’t give a concrete number but said that “you can try after about 6 months.”

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