Medical care can be expensive, even if you have excellent insurance. Deductibles, copays and coinsurance all add up.
If you need or want a procedure that’s not covered by insurance, you’re facing even higher bills. Medical credit cards can help. They can help you break your bills into manageable monthly payments, and some offer promotional periods with low or no interest charges.
Learn more about the best medical credit cards.
Best Medical Credit Cards
Here are Benzinga’s picks for the best medical credit cards.
Best for Provider Choice: CareCredit
CareCredit is accepted by more than 225,000 providers across the country. It’s accepted at many doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, dentists and more. It’s also accepted by many veterinarians, so it can help keep all the members of your family healthy.
CareCredit offers a variety of financing options. You may be able to finance a purchase for up to 24 months with no interest. It also has longer payment plans with a reduced APR and fixed monthly payments. This helps make even high medical or dental costs manageable.
Keep in mind that if you use one of CareCredit’s financing options but you don’t pay off the balance by the end of your financing period, you’ll have to pay all the interest that’s built since you received the procedure or service.
If you use this option, keep track of your balances and promotional periods so you can pay them off while you have 0% or low interest. This may mean paying more than the required minimum monthly payment.
Best for All Credit Backgrounds: AccessOne
AcessOne is unique in that it accepts everyone, regardless of credit background. It also doesn’t report to credit bureaus, so it won’t impact your credit score. It offers long-term payment plans at 0% and low interest rates.
AccessOne isn’t technically a credit card, which is how it can accept everyone and not report to credit bureaus. It functions similarly to credit cards, however, in that it breaks your bills into a manageable monthly payment. You do need to work with a provider who accepts AccessOne.
Best for Good to Excellent Credit: Advance Care
Advance Care offers interest-free financing for up to 14 months. It works with a variety of credit backgrounds, but those with good to excellent credit will have the best rates. You can use a co-signer to improve your chances of being approved and your credit terms.
Advance Care doesn’t have any prepayment penalties, and you can apply online. Most applicants receive an instant decision.
Best for Interest Rate: Wells Fargo Health Advantage Card
While medical credit cards often offer special financing rates, the purchase APR can be high. Wells Fargo’s Health Advantage Card has a 12.99% APR along with special financing options, so even if you can’t pay off your balance during the financing period, you still have a reasonable rate.
You can apply for the Health Advantage Card online, and it’s accepted at thousands of providers, including dental, hearing, vision and veterinary offices.
What is a Medical Credit Card?
A medical credit card is a credit card that can only be used for medical expenses. While that might sound limiting, medical expenses can encompass a wide range of health-related care costs, including dental, vision and hearing care and veterinary expenses. The exact expenses that you can charge on a medical credit card vary depending on the card.
The other limitation on these cards is that you can only use them at providers who agree to accept the card. They’re not as widely accepted as a traditional credit card.
Pros and Cons of Medical Credit Cards
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of medical credit cards.
- Can be an affordable way to finance medical care
- Can typically be used at a variety of providers
- Often have 0% financing options
- Application process is typically quick and easy
- If you don’t have 0% financing, the interest rates are often higher than traditional credit cards
- No rewards or cash back
- May have to make high monthly payments to pay off your balance before your 0% promotional period ends
- If you don’t pay off your balance before the end of your promotional period, you may have to pay all the interest that’s been building since the date of your service or procedure
Medical Credit Cards on Your Credit Score
How medical credit cards affect your credit score depends on the card. Some cards report to the 3 credit bureaus just like a regular credit card. That means they affect your credit score the same way any credit card would. If you don’t pay on time or if you have too high of a balance compared to your credit limit, it will hurt your credit score.
Other options, like Access One, don’t report to the credit bureaus. That means working with Access One would have no impact on your credit score.
If you’re uncertain or have concerns about how a medical credit card would affect your credit score, ask if they use your credit to approve you and whether they report your account information to the credit bureaus.
Is a Medical Credit Card Right for You?
Whether a medical credit card is right for you depends on several factors. If you have or can qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory period or that has generous rewards, that may be a better option. If you’re sure you can pay off your bill by the end of your promotional period, then a medical credit card may be worthwhile.
If you’re considering a medical credit card, review the terms and conditions carefully. Check to see whether you pay all the accrued interest if you don’t pay off your balance before the end of your promotional period. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Medical credit cards can help you manage your medical bills as long as you’re fully informed about how they work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CareCredit a credit card or loan?
CareCredit is a credit card. You can use a credit card over and over as long as you pay down your balance and keep it below the card limit. That’s how CareCredit works. Your balance and your minimum monthly payments can fluctuate depending on how much you’ve charged on the card.
With a loan, you need to apply each time you need financing, and you typically have set monthly payments until it’s paid off. That’s not how CareCredit works.
How Do Medical Credit Cards Work?
How medical credit cards work depends on the card. In general, you’re procedure or service is charged at the time of service. You may have the option to use a promotional period that offers a low or 0% APR. You have the option to pay a minimum monthly payment each month or pay more to pay down your balance sooner.
Depending on the card, you may have to pay all the accrued interest if you don’t pay off your balance by the end of the promotional period. Review each statement carefully so you know how much you owe and how long your promotional period is.