The CareCredit card offers financing for medical expenses, pet care and more. Here's everything you need to know

Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
  • The CareCredit card from Synchrony Bank offers financing for a wide variety of health-related expenses, from beauty treatments to medical procedures to pet care.
  • CareCredit has both short- and long-term financing options. The short-term option has 0% interest for up to 24 months, and the long-term option gets you a reduced APR of 14.90% to 17.90% for up to 60 months.
  • It can be a good option for paying down expensive treatments, but only if you pay off your purchase in full by the end of the promotional term.

CareCredit is different than your average credit card. It offers financing for health, wellness, and beauty-related treatments and other procedures that aren’t covered by your insurance. If you have these expenses, CareCredit’s financing offers with 0% interest periods can be appealing, though it’s very important you read the fine print and pay the full amount by the end of the promotional period so you’re not hit with huge interest rates.

What is the CareCredit card?

CareCredit has been around for over 30 years. It started as a credit card for dental services and was originally called DenCharge. Over the years, it’s evolved into a more robust financing option issued by Synchrony Bank that covers a plethora of health and wellness services. Today, there are over 11 million card holders and counting.

While the CareCredit card is primarily for the main cardholder, it’s possible for other family members to use the card for their healthcare needs as well. You just have to add them to the account as an authorised user.

Where can I use my CareCredit card?

CareCredit is currently accepted at over 200,000 providers nationwide. The CareCredit website provides a tool that helps you locate providers that accept the card.

CareCredit is accepted by major retailers such as Duane Reade, Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Bowflex, RiteAid, and VSP.

Care Credit also offers coverage on several other healthcare needs, like pet care. It’s an option for a pet owner who may not have pet insurance or a pet insurance plan that has some gaps in coverage.

Here’s a current list of the services that are eligible for CareCredit financing:

  • Pet care
  • Chiropractic
  • Cosmetic
  • Day spa
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Fitness
  • Hearing
  • Labs and diagnostics
  • Med equipment supplies
  • Pharmacy/personal care
  • Primary care/clinics
  • Sleep
  • Specialists
  • Surgery centres
  • Vision
  • Weight loss

While CareCredit offers specific terms for its financing options, the card itself does not expire, as long your account is in good standing.

Applying for CareCredit

CareCredit’s application process is a bit easier than signing up for most other credit cards. The information needed to start an application is minimal, and it’s more health-related than financial.

You’ll need to provide your doctor’s name or the procedure that you plan on purchasing. In addition, CareCredit requires basic information like your name and address, date of birth, and Social Security number. The only financial piece of information to provide is your net income and housing information.

Financing options

CareCredit offers special financing options: Customers get a fixed payment plan based on their balance and the finance term they choose.

There are currently two finance options to choose from: short-term and long-term.

Short-term financing: no interest on your balance if it’s paid in full

You’re given a fixed monthly payment amount based on your balance and the duration of the financing period you choose. CareCredit defines short-term financing as 6, 12, 18, or 24 months on purchases of $US200 or more.

It’s important to note that CareCredit’s 0% APR period is a deferred-interest offer. This means you’re actually accruing interest during the promotional period, and if you don’t pay off your entire balance by the end of your financing term, you’ll be on the hook for that interest.

This is a significant caveat, since months of interest can result in thousands of dollars in fees. So don’t opt for the CareCredit card if you aren’t sure you can make all your payments by the time the promotional period is over. It could be worth checking out other credit cards with 0% introductory offers – there are several that offer 12-month promotional periods or longer, and without deferred interest.

The CareCredit website provides some examples of how much interest will be accrued based on how much you pay each month. Basically, you need to pay off the entire purchase you make with the card by the end of the promotional period to avoid paying more than the purchase price in total. Simply paying the minimum payment amount each month won’t necessarily pay off the entire purchase by the end of the promotional period.

Long-term financing: reduced interest

With this financing option, you’re also given a fixed minimum monthly payment based on your balance and the duration of time you choose. However, you’re charged interest from the first payment cycle.

CareCredit offers a reduced APR on longer-term financing, which it defines as 24, 36, or 48 months on purchases of $US1,000 or more. The APR starts at 14.90% for 24 months, and for every additional 12 months you add to your agreement, there’s an additional 1% in interest charged. So, for a 24-month term, the APR is 14.90%, for a 36-month term, the APR is 15.90%, and for a 48-month term, the APR is 16.90%.

CareCredit offers a 60-month term option, but that is only for purchases of $US2,500 or more. The APR on that term is currently 17.90%.


Read more:
These are the best balance transfer credit cards for paying down debt without interest

Bottom line

CareCredit is a viable option if you need to finance your healthcare-related procedures and services or pet care. Compared to many other credit cards, CareCredit can save a lot of money on interest if you opt for the short-term financing option. Even with the longer-term financing, your APR could still be much less than the average credit card’s APR.

If you opt for short-term financing with a 0% APR offer, just make absolutely sure that you pay off your balance in full by the end of your financing term so you’re not hit with sky-high interest rates.

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