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What is CareCredit® credit card?

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A great pick for the financially secure, but dangerous otherwise.

  • This card is a strong choice with helpful financing options — but only if you can capably plan your card payments.
  • Avoid this card if you’re unsure you can plan your card payments, or if you tend to miss due dates.
  • Most applicants have reported approvals with fair to excellent FICO scores of670 and above.

$0

Annual fee

Promotional financing for 6 or 12 months ($200+), then 26.99%

Purchase APR

670

Recommended credit score

Details

Product NameCareCredit® credit card
Card typeMastercard
Annual fee$0
Purchase APRPromotional financing for 6 or 12 months ($200+), then 26.99%
Balance transfer APRN/A
Interest free periodUp to 23 days
Late payment feeUp to $40
Rates & feesrates & fees

Expert review

Kliment Dukovski

Review by


Kliment Dukovski is a credit cards writer. He's written over 600 articles to help readers find and compare the best credit cards. Kliment has also written on money transfers, home loans and more. Previously, he ghostwrote guides and articles on foreign exchange, stock market trading and cryptocurrencies.

Expert review

The CareCredit® credit card was designed to ease the burden of expensive medical bills. For no annual fee, you may receive special financing on qualifying purchases at over 225,000 providers of health and wellness services and products.

The card is a fine choice — but only if used properly. This means you should carefully read the card’s fine print and understand how its financing works. If you’ve got that covered, you can reap benefits like the following:

  • Promotional financing: Pay off your medical bill of $200 or more entirely over six to 24 months, and pay zero interest.
  • Special APR: Pay off more-expensive medical bills — $1,000 or more — over a longer period of time, but at a reduced interest rate.
  • What is the CareCredit® credit card

    The CareCredit® credit card allows you to pay for qualifying medical treatments, procedures and supplies with promotional financing over six to 24 months as long as your bill is $200 or more. If your bill is $1,000 or more, you may qualify for a promotional fixed APR for 24 to 60 months.

    In many cases, you can use the card to cover your deductible or pay for medical purchases not covered by insurance.

    What is CareCredit® credit card promotional financing?

    0% intro APR vs. CareCredit® credit card promotional financing

    0% intro APRCareCredit® credit card promotional financing
    What happens if you don’t pay off your balance before the promotional period expires?Interest starts accruing on the remaining balanceInterest is charged immediately on the entire original purchase amount
    Time period for interest chargeStarts as soon as promotional period endsInterest charged for entire promotional period; continues accruing after this period

    What can you use the CareCredit® credit card for?

    Use CareCredit at more than 225,000 providers across the country for:

    • LASIK and vision care.
    • Cosmetic and dermatology procedures.
    • Dentistry.
    • Veterinary.
    • Hearing care.
    • Chiropractic.
    • Day spa and fitness.
    • Labs and diagnostic.
    • Med equipment and supplies.
    • Pharmacy and personal care products.
    • Primary care and clinics.
    • Surgery.
    • Sleep services and products.
    • Weight loss products and services.
    • Specialists (anesthesiology, endocrinology, neurology, orthopedics, urology, etc.).

    You can also use the CareCredit® credit card to purchase health, wellness and personal-care items at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Duane Reade, RiteAid and more.

    How does the CareCredit® credit card work?

    If you want to apply for the card by phone, you must be at least 21 years old. If you’re under that age, but at least 18 years old, you can apply online. Once you have the card, using it is simple:

    1. Go to the CareCredit® credit card website.
    2. Find a doctor or an eligible business type in your area.
    3. Use the CareCredit® credit card at the doctor or business to pay for the service.

    Check out the Card Benefits section below to see short-term and long-term financing options for this card. Promotional financing may not be available with all providers, so check with the provider you want to work with before making a purchase or initiating treatment.

    Card benefits

    • No annual fee.
    • Wide range of qualifying providers.
      According to CareCredit, your card is valid with over 225,000 health and wellness providers.
    • Short-term financing.
      On purchases of $200 or more, you may qualify for promotional financing of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. This means you’ll pay no interest as long as you make the minimum payments each month and pay off the full amount by the end of the period.

      If you don’t pay off the full amount by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest on the entire purchase at a very high 26.99% fixed APR.

      All in all, the short-term financing is a strong benefit as long as it’s used properly. It can help you keep more cash in your bank account each month, as you can avoid paying for big medical purchases all at once.

    Short-term financing options

    Promotional-financing periodPromotional financing
    6 monthsNo interest if paid in full by end of promotional financing period; otherwise, full interest charged on entire original purchase
    12 months
    18 months
    24 months

    Longer-term financing

    On purchases of $1,000 or more, you may be eligible for a promotional fixed APR for 24, 36 or 48 months. On purchases of $2,500 or more, you may be eligible for a promotional fixed APR for 60 months.

    For each of these financing plans, you’ll pay equal monthly payments.

    Longer-term financing isn’t as powerful as short-term financing. The main reason is you’re paying off your purchase over a very long period of time, which gives your balance a lot of time to accrue interest. Still, it can be helpful if you were planning on an extended repayment timeline anyway.
    Long

    Long-term financing options

    Promotional-financing periodPromotional fixed APR
    24 months14.90%
    36 months15.90%
    48 months16.90%
    Promotional-financing periodPromotional fixed APR
    60 months17.90%

    What to watch out for

    • For short-term financing, be sure to pay off your purchase in full.
      The promotional financing on purchases of $200 or more is legitimate, but the terms can be confusing. You must pay off the complete amount by the end of the promotional period. Otherwise, you’ll be charged interest on the entire original purchase, not just your remaining balance.
    • You could pay a lot more than you expected via long-term financing.
      For long-term financing, Synchrony sets fixed monthly payments for you. But even with a reduced APR, you could end up paying a lot in interest if you spread out your repayment over a long period of time. A 60-month promotional-financing period is five years — a significant amount of time to be charged interest.
    • Optional monthly security fee.
      Synchrony offers a monthly security fee of $1.66 per $100 of the ending monthly balance on your account. The bank says this cost is optional. The program cancels your minimum monthly payment — or, potentially, your entire balance up to $10,000 — if you experience hardship due to qualifying events.

      If you’re part of this program, you’ll be charged a fee every month you have a statement balance — even if you pay off the balance in full.

      Online, consumers have complained about inadvertently agreeing to this additional fee without knowing it, though it’s unclear what the bank’s process for this is at the moment. Read your card terms carefully and monitor your card statement for any discrepancies.

    What credit score do I need?

    Applicants generally report having better approval odds with FICO scores of at least 600, which is fair to excellent. Approval may be possible with a lower score, but watch out for the possibility of receiving a lower credit line.

    Examples of promotional financing and reduced APR

    Here are a few breakdowns of financing options based on examples from CareCredit:

    Promotional financing

    Let’s assume you made a $1,200 purchase, with no interest if you pay off your purchase in full within six months.

    Equal monthly payments

    Month 1Month 2Month 3Month 4Month 5Month 6
    Equal monthly payments$200$200$200$200$200$200

    During this time, interest has been accruing. But by the end of the sixth month, you’ve paid off your entire $1,200 purchase. This means you’ll be charged no interest.

    Minimum monthly payment where you pay off of the entire purchase

    Month 1Month 2Month 3Month 4Month 5Month 6
    Minimum monthly payments with pay off$39$38$37$35$34$1017

    Again, interest has been accruing throughout this period. But even if you paid just the minimum for five months, you ultimately paid off the entire purchase after the sixth month. This means you’ll be charged no interest.

    Minimum monthly payment only

    Month 1Month 2Month 3Month 4Month 5Month 6
    Minimum monthly payments only$39$38$37$35$34$33

    Interest has been accruing throughout this period. But since you’ve paid just the minimum for the full six months, you still have a balance when your promotional period expires. This means you’ll be charged approximately $152 in interest based on the standard fixed APR of 26.99%.

    Over six months, you’ve paid your balance down to $984. With the interest you’re charged, your new balance will be $1,136.

    This new balance will continue to accrue interest at the standard fixed APR until you pay it off.

    Reduced APR

    Let’s assume you made a $2,400 purchase, and you qualified for reduced 16.90% fixed APR with fixed monthly payments for 48 months.

    Equal monthly payments for 48 months$70
    Minimum monthly payments only$3,319, which includes:

    • $2,400 principal
    • $919 in interest

    Bottom line

    The CareCredit® credit card is a great choice if you’re financially savvy, letting you split big medical bills into more manageable payments.

    However, you should get it only if you can plan your payments months in advance. If you can’t, you can easily rack up huge interest charges that can make it more difficult to pay off what you owe.

    Be careful when selecting longer-term financing. While you’ll receive a lower APR, it might not be worth stretching your payments over a few years. In the end, you could accumulate more interest than you thought.

    If the CareCredit® credit card isn’t the right pick for you, look into alternative medical credit cards.

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