Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card Review

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Oct 22, 2019

The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card is a low-interest card offering 18 months of 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers.

This card is one of two popular low-APR cards that Citi offers, both of which have some impressive 0% offers as well as a lack of annual fee.

In our review of the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card, we’ll help you understand how the card works, talk about its benefits, review its rates and fees and then compare it to other low-interest credit cards.

Along the way, we’ll give you some tips on how to leverage this card to save you money and strengthen your credit scores.

How the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card Works

Quick Facts
Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card
Pros: Excellent 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.

Cons: 29.99% penalty APR.
Intro APR for balance transfers Intro APR for purchases Regular APR
0% for 18 months 0% for 18 months 15.49% to 25.49%


To get this card, you’ll need to go to Citi’s website or their app and find the Citi Diamond Preferred. When you fill out your application, Citi will ask you for your income and your social security number.

The company will use this information to decide if you’ll get the card. Having poor income may make them hesitant to give you a card or, if they do, your credit limit will be low because you may not have the funds to cover payments you’d have with a bigger balance.

The second factor, your credit scores, have the biggest influence on your approval and your interest rate. Your credit scores are a reflection of your history as a borrower.

If you have any payments that are 30-, 60-, or 90-days late, then lenders see this as a red flag. The same goes for past bankruptcies and accounts that have gone to collections.

So, if you have any of the marks in your credit history, Citi may choose to decline your application. If they approve you, there’s a good chance they’ll give you an APR that’s in the middle to high range, which we’ll talk about in the rates and fees section.

One of three things will happen when you submit your application:

  • Instant approval
  • Instant denial
  • Delayed decision

A delayed decision means it will take a few days or weeks for Citi to decide what to do. In some cases, they may send you a letter asking for additional information to help them make their decision.

Once you have your card, the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card’s fine print says you have four months to make a balance transfer that gets the card’s 0% APR offer (more on that later). A “balance transfer” refers to the act of moving a balance from one credit card to another.

The fine print says you’ll have to call the number on the back of your card to request the balance transfer. It will take at least 14 days for the transfer to process.

In other words, after 14 days, you should see the balance disappear on your old card and appear on your Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card.

Aside from balance transfers and making purchases, this credit card allows cash advances, too. These are transactions in which you use your credit card like a debit card. When you do this, Citi will charge you a high APR and an additional fee.

For these reasons, we advise against doing cash advances. However, they could be helpful in an emergency situation in which your bank is closed and you don’t have your ATM card.

The card’s other features include free access to your credit score and Citi Private Pass, which is a Citi event-booking portal exclusive to Citi cardmembers. The portal gives you access to presales of tickets to concerts, comedy tours, and other events.

The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card’s Rates and Fees

Rates and fees are a crucial part of low-interest credit cards. There’s a good chance you want to get one of these cards to transfer a balance or make a big purchase you can finance over time.

As such, you’ll need to know the length of the card’s 0% offer, the balance transfer and cash advance fees, as well as the card’s regular APR:

  • Interest rate for purchases and cash advances: 15.49% to 25.49%
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% for 18 months
  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% for 18 months
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5%, whichever is greater
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 5%, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $39
  • Annual fee: None

The card’s annual percentage rate (“APR”) is also known as its interest rate. Citi will charge you this rate for any purchases or balance transfers you don’t pay off on your due date.

It can be hard to understand how these rates can affect your wallet, so we’ve created a chart to help you visualize the effects of interest payments.

You’ll see three APR’s you could get from this card, five different average daily balances and the interest you’d pay on those balances for one year:

15.74% APR for one year 20.74% APR for one year 25.74% APR for one year
$1,000 daily balance $157.40 $207.40 $257.40
$2,000 daily balance $314.80 $414.80 $514.80
$3,000 daily balance $472.20 $622.20 $772.20
$4,000 daily balance $629.60 $829.60 $1,029.60
$5,000 daily balance $787.00 $1,037.00 $1,287.00

Carrying a balance on your card is expensive, especially if you have a high APR. Having a $2,000 balance for one year at the highest APR will cost you more than $500 a year in interest.

Our research indicates most people who use credit cards regularly could have balances as high as $4,000 per card they own. Based on the table above, a $4,000 carried for one year will cost you between $629 and $1,029 per year.

Our advice is to avoid paying interest by paying off your balance every month. You’ll avoid interest and you’ll improve your credit scores.

Scoring models rewards you for keeping your balances under 30% of your credit limit. If you want to fast-track a good credit score, pay off your balances every week.

This way, when your credit card company reports your balances to the credit bureaus, there’s a good chance they’ll report low balances.

You’ll keep these APR’s as long as you own the card. However, if you make a single late payment you’ll pay up to a $39 fee and Citi will change your APR to 29.99%. This is what’s known as a “penalty APR” and it will stay on your account indefinitely.

The next two APR’s on the list are the 0% interest rates you get for purchases and balance transfers. This rate lasts 18 months and then converts to your regular APR.

You can leverage these offers to move a high-interest balance from another card to this one. You can also use it to spread out payments on a big purchase without paying interest.

For example, if you have an expensive car repair coming up, you can use your Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card to pay for it. If you make the purchase in the first month you own the card, you’ll have around 17 months of 0% interest.

Keep in mind, though, that you’ll pay a fee to make the transfer. This fee is equal to 5% of the balance you transfer.

The last fee we’ll point out is the cash advance fee. Citi will charge you this when you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM. All withdrawals up to $200 will get a $10 fee. Anything over that will get a 5% fee.

How the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card Compares to Other Low-Interest Credit Cards

The chart below gives you a basic comparison of six different low-interest credit cards including the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card:

Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card Citi Simplicity Card Chase Slate Credit Card BankAmericard Credit Card U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Wells Fargo Platinum Card
Intro APR for balance transfers 0% for 18 months 0% for 21 months 0% for 15 months 0% for 15 months 0% for 18 months 0% for 18 months
Intro APR for purchases 0% for 18 months 0% for 12 months 0% for 15 months 0% for 15 months 0% for 18 months 0% for 18 months
Regular APR 15.49% to 25.49% 16.74% to 26.74% 16.99% to 25.74% 14.99% to 24.99% 14.49% to 25.49% 17.49% to 26.99%
Penalty APR 29.99% None None None None None
Balance transfer fee $5 or 5% $5 or 5% $0 for first 60 days, $5 or 5% after $10 or 3% $5 or 3% $5 or 3% for 1st 120 days, then 5%
Late payment fee Up to $39 None Up to $39 Up to $39 Up to $39 Up to $37

You’ll see that there are two cards from Citi. The Citi Simplicity Card is a better choice for balance transfers because it has a longer intro APR. Also, it doesn’t have a penalty APR or late fees, which means it’s a better card if you often pay late.

The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card, however, is the better choice if you need a long 0% period for purchases and if you tend to carry balances.

Its 18 months of 0% on purchases is better than its Citi counterpart and every card on the list. Also, its APR is 1% lower than the other Citi card.

When compared to the other cards in the list, the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card is a strong choice. It’s balance transfer APR offer lags behind the Citi Simplicity Card but ties the Wells Fargo Platinum Card for the longest 0% offer.

The same goes for the 0% APR offer, too. Its 18 months is tied for the best with the card from Wells Fargo and is three months longer than the Chase Slate Credit Card.

As for APR, this card isn’t the worst but trails the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card and the BankAmericard by at least 0.75%.

We believe this card is poised to the best choice on this chart if you don’t carry a balance or you don’t pay late. If you do carry balances, then your APR is significantly higher than the card from U.S. Bank.

If you pay late, then you’ll have to deal with a penalty APR. The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card is the only card in the chart with a penalty APR.

The Bottom Line: Should You Use the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card?

We believe the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card is a versatile low-interest card. Its 0% intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers is excellent compared to other cards that have a shorter 0% intro APR period.

If you’re someone who is looking to use a low-interest card to make a big purchase, this card is an excellent choice.

If you’re someone who is looking for a good low-APR card for balance transfers, we suggest considering the Citi Simplicity Card, as it has 21 months of 0% for balance transfers instead of 18.

Now, if you’re someone who has a tendency to pay late, then the Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card’s penalty APR is a big red flag.

The easy way to avoid the penalty APR is to set up automatic payments either for the balance of your account (recommended) or for the minimum payment. You can do this through your Citi account.

Should you be undecided about which low-interest card is the best fit for you, read through our rankings of the best low-interest credit cards. We do an in-depth category-by-category comparison of the leading low-interest cards.

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