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The CareCredit credit card is designed for funding health and wellness expenses. It’s not an everyday card, as you can only use it for limited purposes; for example, you can use it to pay healthcare providers who accept CareCredit or to buy specific products from specific stores (e.g., Walmart and Sam’s Club).
The card offers financing options to help you spread out the cost of health and wellness expenses—from hearing aids and eyeglasses to dentists’ and vets’ appointments, or even cosmetic surgery and spa treatments. However, these financing plans can be confusing, so caution is required.
The CareCredit credit card offers personal lines of credit for all kinds of health and wellness costs that aren’t usually covered by medical insurance. You can use it for laser eye surgery, eyeglasses, hearing aids, cosmetic procedures, dentistry, vet’s bills, and much more.
Along with using the credit card to pay medical bills, you can use it on purchases at certain stores, including Walgreens, Walmart, and Sam’s Club, to buy a wide variety of products. Examples include:
- Pharmacy and over-the-counter medications
- Health and beauty items (e.g., dental care, haircare, skincare)
- Hearing and vision care products
- Baby essentials
- Pet supplies
The major advantage of the CareCredit card is that it lets you split large expenses into smaller monthly installments that you pay off over time. There are short-term special financing plans and longer term reduced-interest plans, depending on how much you spend.
However, you need to make sure you fully understand the terms before you sign up. CareCredit has previously been penalized for “deceptive credit card enrollment tactics” after misleading customers about its potentially expensive deferred interest programs. 1
These kinds of deferred interest programs may seem like interest-free loans, but they’re tricky. If you don’t finish your payment plan within the designated time frame, you can end up paying all of your interest retroactively and in one go. As the regular CareCredit credit card APR is very high at 26.99%, this could ultimately be very expensive.
As such, CareCredit’s deferred interest program is only recommended if you’re 100% confident about your ability to pay off the balance in the designated time frame. If not, there are a number of better alternatives out there. Read on to find out more.
CareCredit Credit Card Important Details
Basic Card Details
- Card issuer: Synchrony Bank
- Card type: Medical credit card
- APR: 26.99%
- Annual fee: $0
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Grace period: 23 days
- Accepted by thousands of selected health care providers as well as Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Pets Best, Duane Reade, MDsave, VSP Vision Care, Bowflex, and Rite Aid.
- Authorized users and joint accounts allowed.
- Credit limit increases available.
- Deferred interest program on purchases of $200 and up.
- Reduced APR program for purchases of $1,000 and up.
CareCredit Credit Card Feature Breakdown
To help you better understand how the CareCredit credit card works, here’s a breakdown of its key features.
- Annual fee: $0
- Late fee: Up to $41
- Regular APR: 26.99%
- Minimum interest charge: $2
With most credit cards, if you don’t pay your credit card balance in full each month, you’ll be charged interest. The interest you’ll pay each year depends on your credit card APR (“annual percentage rate”).
With the CareCredit credit card, the normal APR for carrying a balance is 26.99%. Notably, this APR is fixed, which means your interest rates won’t fluctuate based on the banks (which is the standard with most credit cards).
The CareCredit card also has special deals that allow you to take advantage of lower interest rates.
The CareCredit credit card has promotional financing programs—also referred to as special financing or flexible financing.
- Shorter term financing options: If you spend $200–$1,000, you can split your debt into fixed payments over 6, 12, 18, or 24 months. You’ll be charged no interest if you make the minimum payment every month and pay the full amount due before the promotional period ends. The catch is that, if you don’t pay on time and/or don’t pay the full amount, CareCredit back-charges all the interest from the date you made the original purchase.
- Longer term financing options: If you spend $1,000 or more on your card, you can split your debt into fixed payments over 2–4 years with a reduced APR. The options are a 24-month offer with a 14.90% APR, a 36-month offer with a 15.90% APR, or a 48-month offer with a 16.90% APR.
- Very long-term financing options: If you spend $2,500 or more, you may also be eligible for a 60-month offer with a 17.90% APR.
Note that not all promotional financing options are available everywhere that accepts CareCredit. If your purchase isn’t eligible for promotional financing, you’ll get the standard CareCredit card account terms. This means you’ll be charged a lot of interest if you can’t pay off your purchases straight away.
Because there’s such a high price for failing to pay your balance by the end of the promotional period, deferred interest programs are only beneficial if you know you can pay off your purchase in time. If you think there’s a chance you’ll need extra time, consider some alternatives.
- If you have good credit: Try applying for credit cards with true 0% APR introductory offers. These cards won’t back-charge months’ worth of interest if you fail to pay your balance in full by the end of the promo period.
- If you have fair credit: Consider an alternative like the Upgrade Card. This allows you to pay off your debt in fixed installments and offers APRs as low as 8.99% with credit limits of up to $25,000.
- If you already have a credit card: Depending on which credit card you have, you may be eligible for flexible financing. This is a way to pay off purchases over an extended period in fixed, equal monthly payments with a reduced APR or a flat fee instead of interest charges. Examples include the My Chase Plan or My Chase Loan (available with many Chase credit cards) and the Citi Flex Pay or Citi Flex Loan (available with many Citi credit cards).
Rewards and Benefits
The CareCredit credit card doesn’t offer any cashback rewards, and it doesn’t have any other benefits either. Many credit cards will give you basic benefits like roadside assistance, ID theft and fraud protection, or free credit scores; these benefits are one reason regular Mastercard or Visa cards might be better than dedicated medical and healthcare credit cards.
Medical and healthcare credit cards generally have high credit limits, as they’re designed to cover major expenses like dental work and medical tests.
According to some reports, the CareCredit card offers credit lines up to $25,000. The CareCredit website doesn’t provide any information about this, so we contacted the customer service team. They told us that there’s no set maximum credit limit and that some applicants could qualify for credit lines over $25,000.
The CareCredit website also states that credit limit increases are available. You can call (866) 893-7864 to request a credit limit increase on your CareCredit account.
Credit reporting is an important part of building credit, as your credit report consists of the information your lenders pass on to credit bureaus.
Some lenders report to only one or two of the major credit bureaus, or they might not report to any in some cases. Fortunately, Synchrony Bank regularly reports to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), so the CareCredit card will help you to build credit.
Application and Approval
You can apply for a CareCredit credit card online or in person at health care providers and select retail locations that accept it. You can also apply by phone at (800) 677-0718.
The application requirements depend on where you apply:
- To apply online: You must reside in the US and be aged 18+ years.
- To apply by phone: You must reside in the US and be aged 21+ years.
- To apply in person (at a provider’s location in the US): You must reside in the US or in Canada and be aged 18+ years.
To apply for a CareCredit credit card, you have to provide your:
- Date of birth
- Social Security number or ITIN (an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a number that the tax authorities issue to non-residents of the US for tax purposes)
- Net income
- Housing information
You can also prequalify for the CareCredit card. According to the CareCredit website, the response should take only seconds.
Authorized users and joint accounts are allowed, so you can add other people to your account—your family members, friends, spouse, or fiance, for example.
Credit Score Requirements
There’s no particular credit score needed to qualify for the CareCredit card. As with other similar cards, the issuer will likely consider various factors, including your credit score, credit history, and general finances before they decide whether to offer you a CareCredit card (and, if so, what terms they’ll offer you).
Managing Your Account
Alternatively, you can manage your account by phone. The number to call is (866) 893-7864
You can also mail payments to the following address:
PO Box 960061
Most credit cards will accept checks and money orders as payment.
If you need help from CareCredit’s customer service (if your card is lost or stolen or you want to request a credit increase, for example), you can call (866) 893-7864.
Customer Service Reputation
Unfortunately, Synchrony Bank doesn’t have a great reputation for customer service. In a 2021 study, Synchrony received a below-average score for customer service among major credit card issuers.
Should You Get the CareCredit Credit Card?
The CareCredit credit card has a limited range of use, a complicated system for promotional financing, and no benefits besides the financing options. We don’t recommend it unless you’re stuck for alternatives to help you pay for health and wellness expenses and you’re 100% sure that you can keep up with the repayment plan.
Otherwise, consider other options such as broader-use credit cards with 0% APR or cards that let you pay off your balance in fixed installments over 6+ months.
Who is this card for?
The CareCredit credit card is best for:
- Patients who can’t pay dentistry, vision care, or hearing care bills upfront: The CareCredit credit card has many potential uses, but the most obvious ones are for expenses like dentists’ appointments, eye tests and eyeglasses, or hearing tests and hearing aids. These kinds of products and services are usually excluded from health insurance. In such cases, a medical card like the CareCredit card could be a good way to manage your finances.
- Borrowers who need 24+ months to pay for health or wellness purchases: Even if you’re eligible for credit cards with 0% intro APR offers, these only tend to give you around 24 months at the most to pay off purchases before high interest charges kick in. If you need more than 2 years to pay for your purchase, a special financing deal like CareCredit’s could be your best option.
FAQs About the CareCredit Credit Card
1. Where can I use the CareCredit credit card?
You can use CareCredit at more than 250,000 providers in the US for health and medical specialties including laser eye surgery and vision care, hearing care, dermatological and cosmetic procedures, dentistry, and veterinary services.
You can also use it for certain purchases at Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Pets Best, Duane Reade, MDsave, VSP Vision Care, Bowflex, and Rite Aid.
Use CareCredit’s acceptance locator tool to find out which doctors or businesses take CareCredit in your area.
2. Does applying for the CareCredit card hurt my credit?
Applying for the CareCredit credit card will probably hurt your credit slightly. When you apply, Synchrony Bank should do a hard inquiry, and hard inquiries usually cost you a few credit score points (although your score will recover within a year)
3. What credit score do you need for the CareCredit credit card?
CareCredit doesn’t have a specific credit score requirement for their card. According to some reports online, you’ll need a score of 620 or more. However, some users have reported that they were approved with lower scores.
4. Does the CareCredit card build credit?
Yes, the CareCredit card builds credit, as Synchrony Bank reports to all three major credit bureaus.
5. Does the CreditCard credit card have an annual fee?
No, the CareCredit credit card doesn’t have an annual fee.
To help you decide whether the CareCredit credit card is the right choice for you, take a look at how it measures up against similar credit cards for medical and healthcare financing.