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Discover it Cash Back Review: 5% Rewards Are Worth a Little Work

It's one of the lengthiest such interest-free promo periods you'll find. But there's a steep balance transfer fee and little reason to keep using the card once you've paid off your debt.

Jordan November 9th, 2019

Our Take

NerdWallet rating ?
NerdWallet's ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the type of card being reviewed (such as cash back, travel or balance transfer) and the card's rates, fees, rewards and other features.

3.5

The bottom line: If you're OK with a shorter interest-free window, other cards earn ongoing rewards or feature lower balance transfer fees.
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Full Review

The headlining feature of the $0-annual-fee Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is its lengthy 0% intro APR on balance transfers — an interest-free period of nearly two years.

This super-long window could make it a worthy get-out-of-debt card for the right applicant. However, its balance transfer fee is high compared with other balance transfer credit cards, and its intro APR on purchases falls short of the competition.

The card doesn’t earn rewards either, so there’s little incentive to use it once you’ve paid off your balance

» MORE: Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Simplicity: It comes down to late fees

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card: Basics

Card type: Balance transfer and low interest.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and 0% for 21 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% – 25.24% Variable APR.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: None.

Balance transfer fee: 5% of each transfer; $5 minimum.

» MORE: Citi mobile app review

Why you might want the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

A $0 ANNUAL FEE

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card has two ideal features for a balance transfer credit card: a $0 annual fee and a long 0% intro APR offer. Both can save you money as you pay down an existing balance.

A LONG INTEREST-FREE PERIOD

With the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, you’ll pay an intro 0% for 12 months on purchases and 0% for 21 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% – 25.24% Variable APR. That’s one of the longest interest-free periods for balance transfers on the market.

CHOOSE YOUR PAYMENT DUE DATE

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card lets you choose a monthly payment due date that works for you. That can offer a little flexibility as you attack your balance.

Why you might want a different card

THERE’S A HIGH BALANCE TRANSFER FEE

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card charges 5% of the amount of your transfer, and that’s on the high side. You can find cards with lower fees, albeit typically with shorter 0% intro APR periods on your transfer. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, for instance, has a 3% balance transfer fee, and it offers an intro 0% APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% – 25.49% Variable APR. Its annual fee is $0. Some cards charge no balance transfer fees at all. The BankAmericard® credit card lets you avoid the fee if you apply directly through Bank of America® and transfer your balance within the first 60 days of opening your account. (This offer is not available through NerdWallet, which features different terms for the card.) The annual fee is $0.

IT DOESN’T EARN REWARDS

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card doesn’t give you a reason to keep using it after you’ve paid off your balance. The Discover it® Balance Transfer, on the other hand, multitasks as a balance transfer credit card and a rewards card. It offers an intro 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% – 24.49% Variable APR. You’ll get an introductory 3% balance transfer fee until March 10, 2020, and you’ll get rewards. The card earns 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (activation is required); 1% on everything else. Bonus categories in the past have included restaurants, grocery stores, wholesale clubs, gas stations and more. The annual fee is $0.

YOU NEED AT LEAST GOOD CREDIT TO QUALIFY

Balance transfer credit cards are typically reserved for those with good to excellent credit — typically a FICO score of at least 690 — and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is no exception. If you have average credit, you could consider the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card. It has a $0 annual fee and the following 0% intro APR offer: 0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.40% – 24.40% Variable APR. It does have a 3% balance transfer fee, but it also earns rewards: 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar

» MORE: Which 5% rotating bonus category card should I choose?

YOU NEED AT LEAST GOOD CREDIT TO QUALIFY

Balance transfer credit cards are typically reserved for those with good to excellent credit — typically a FICO score of at least 690 — and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is no exception. If you have average credit, you could consider the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card. It has a $0 annual fee and the following 0% intro APR offer: 0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.40% – 24.40% Variable APR. It does have a 3% balance transfer fee, but it also earns rewards: 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar

Is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card right for you?

If you know you’ll need a long time to pay down an existing balance, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card could be an option. It offers one of the longest 0% intro APR periods on balance transfers available

But if you’re chronically forgetful, the Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever is a better choice. And if you’re willing to settle for a slightly shorter interest-free window, you can find similar cards that earn rewards or charge lower balance transfer fees — including some that don’t charge the fee at all.