Should I use CareCredit to pay for root canal?
September 23, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I need a root canal that will cost roughly $1500. The dentist says that I can get a 0% loan for a year to pay for it. Is it worth going through carecredit as long as bill is paid on time each month?
posted by mamamia88 to Work & Money (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In short, yes. I was literally just talking to a colleague about CareCredit. If you don't have the cash handy, this is the next best option. Good customer service, too. (Note: This is second-hand but I have several friends and family members who have used CareCredit successfully (and with little hassle).
posted by nubianinthedesert at 3:51 PM on September 23, 2014

I have a friend who financed her eye surgery that way and she was very pleased with CareCredit.
posted by dchrssyr at 3:53 PM on September 23, 2014

I have used CareCredit many times for dental and vet expenses. I pay it off in the agreed upon time. If you miss a payment or are late the interest is retroactive and then it is not a good deal.
posted by cairnoflore at 3:53 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used CareCredit for LASIK and their website is fairly straight forward. A root canal is bad, debt is bad - so between the two 0% is actually an attractive option.Go for it but be anal about paying on time.

The only thing I can think of is it has to be paid from a checking account w/ acct # and routing # to avoid a fee from using a card, so if you're using an HSA or anything that like, you will need to distribute the money.
posted by lpcxa0 at 3:55 PM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was just talking with a veterinarian friend of mine today about Care Credit. CC charges a higher fee to the provider than MasterCard or Visa does. You might be able to negotiate a lower price if you agree to pay with some other method than Care Credit.
posted by workerant at 3:57 PM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

AFAIK, if you don't pay it off by the one year mark, they'll charge you interest retroactively back to day 1. I'd only go this route if you are well and truly sure you'll be able to pay off the bill completely before this happens.
posted by zachlipton at 4:09 PM on September 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Care credit is fine, especially if your credit isn't great, and I've used it with no hassles. But if you have credit it's better to get miles/points for large purchases.
posted by bleep at 4:10 PM on September 23, 2014

Response by poster: I can pay off most of it now but, don't want to drain the coffers
posted by mamamia88 at 4:12 PM on September 23, 2014

Response by poster: Oh and my credit is pretty dang good apparently it's like 761 or so according to credit karma
posted by mamamia88 at 4:12 PM on September 23, 2014

Yeah IMHO making large purchases on credit and getting nothing in return even though you're eligible is kind of throwing away money.
posted by bleep at 4:17 PM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are you anywhere near a university that has a dental school? I've gotten several root canals at my local dental school and it cost me under $400 vs over $1000 at the specialist.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 4:26 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you do half and half?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:26 PM on September 23, 2014

Care credit is awesome AS LONG AS you do the following: Figure out exactly how much you have to pay each month in order to have the total paid off before the expiration of the 0% rate. As noted above, if you have ANY balance at the expiration of the rate, all of the interest is retroactively applied. In other words, if, after the 12 month 0% period expires, you still have a $100 balance left, they will retroactively apply ALL of the deferred interest for the entire amount over the previous 12 months, to create a new balance.

Simple solution: Set up an autopay from your checking account to ensure that the total is paid by month 12. I will note that Care Credit is very good about giving you plenty of warning when your promotion period is expiring.

Also note that you can borrow higher amounts for longer periods.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 4:56 PM on September 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Absolutely use Care Credit! Just transfer any remaining balance at the end of your interest free period, because when they start charging you interest, its 26%. It's a great thing to have for things like this, just always pay more than your minimum and don't carry a balance past your interest free period.
posted by biscotti at 5:06 PM on September 23, 2014

Another voice complimentary of CareCredit: it's no-nonsense, just make your payments and you're fine. It is almost impossible to go wrong with 0% interest if you can swing the payments. We've got CareCredit and can charge both our teeth and our dog's care, and it has saved us a LOT of emotional pain over financing unexpected expensive medical care. Even just making the minimum payments has been enough to keep us in line with the 0% offers, it's not that tricky to do.

If you've got really good credit but might still have a balance at the end you can't pay out of pocket: do the CareCredit until the due date, then talk to your bank or credit union about a signature loan; it may be 8% or 10%, but definitely better than the 26%+ retroactively with CareCredit. Don't move it to a credit card unless you have some really low interest rate there, or crazy-good miles that offsets the interest on it.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:52 PM on September 23, 2014

I used Care Credit a while back to cover some fairly extensive dental work and had no complaints. As people are saying, you have to make sure you never miss a payment and that you pay it all off before the 0% promotional period ends, or you will be charged all of the deferred interest from day 1. They're up front about it, and I don't recall there being any confusion about what was due when. It's basically the same sort of deal that many store credit cards will offer as an incentive on large purchases. Afterwards, I shopped around and found a regular credit card that was offering a 0% balance transfer promotion and moved my remaining balance there when the time came. This was about 7 years ago, no idea if things are different now.
posted by lzlo at 5:59 PM on September 23, 2014

Yes, it is fantastic and easy to use. Their website is even easy to use. You can pay your monthly note online.
posted by myselfasme at 6:01 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Use the CareCredit. I cannot imagine your own credit card's reward program can do better than 0% over the course of 12 months. Even if you negotiate a lower fee from the doctor, chances are you'd negate it by paying some interest. Believe me, and I work in a dental office, CareCredit helps us sell dental treatment by making it easy and less costly to pay, for the patient. The fee that we pay on behalf of the patient nets us more treatment to bill for over the long run.
Pay it back on time, like everyone else has said. It becomes a huuuuuge accumulated interest charge if you are late!
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:09 PM on September 23, 2014

I used CareCredit to cover the part of my wisdom tooth extraction that my insurance didn't cover. I paid it off in time and had no problems.
posted by dhens at 6:13 PM on September 23, 2014

I've used CareCredit for years. Never had a problem! Perfect for stuff like that. Just make sure you pay it off before the grace period ends, otherwise they'll tack on the interest too. (I was poor and couldn't pay off the $1850 for wisdom teeth in 18 months. But I have paid off other "promotional purchases" with no problem.)
posted by Crystalinne at 6:14 PM on September 23, 2014

I get monthly offers from my credit cards for 18-month 0% financing for a one time 2% fee. I just got what amounts to an 18 month loan of $6,000 for a one time fee of $121. And, at the end of the 18months I only get charged interest on the remaining balance going forward, not retroactively.

If you have good credit your credit cards probably send you these offers often.
posted by M Edward at 9:02 PM on September 23, 2014

I have two CareCredit accounts for separate dental visits, and it's worked out fine in both cases. I just resent the dentist for charging so much in the first place! (And, I guess, myself for needing the root canals.)
posted by mirepoix at 9:50 PM on September 23, 2014

I applied for CareCredit a few times for a few different procedures (dental included) and we denied. The positive side, is that they have the low interest rate but it's only applicable if you have a certain credit score.

I ended up taking out a small personal loan, which worked out better in my favor. They were able to work with me for smaller payments, and in instances when I couldn't make the payment, they were more than obliged to work with me as well.

Good luck!
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 6:23 AM on September 24, 2014

For people reading this AskMe in the future: CareCredit is also good for pets. If you have a beloved animal that's otherwise fine and you simply can't bear the cost of pet insurance (or, as was the case with me, the animal simply won't be insured at any cost), then an open CareCredit card is your 'just in case' money for your animal; your de facto pet insurance.

My elderly kitty with a bad heart got two more years with us because a clerk at the Animal Emergency Room said 'hey, look at this card'.

Still, try to pay off the amount in the time allotted cause that interest ain't no joke, jack.
posted by eclectist at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2014

I've used Care Credit twice for dental work and was very satisfied. I've just signed up to use it again for cataract surgery.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:23 PM on September 24, 2014

« Older Why won't iTunes sync my music to iDevices?...   |   Found out I have a learning disability and a high... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.