Last updated on April 7th, 2020
The SmartHealth PayCard has recently announced that it is waiving its annual fee for new applicants over the next three months. This credit card launched early in 2020 as the first card solely devoted to paying medical expenses.
SmartHealth PayCard partnered with i2c Inc. to create this credit card. As a result, 1st Community Federal Credit Union is the actual issuer of this card. This is a small Texas-based credit union with a limited reach within the state. This credit card is part of the Mastercard payment network.
When SmartHealth PayCard launched, it promised the public a lot. However, a previous BestCards.com article detailing the PayCard’s debut paints this card in a more realistic light.
The SmartHealth PayCard Reality
Applicants can receive credit limits between $3,000 and $15,000. The maximum credit limit is average compared to other credit cards. If you have enormous medical expenses, your total medical bills will likely exceed your credit limit.
Additionally, all applicants receive the same 18% APR. The SmartHealth website advertises a low interest rate. However, 18% is slightly higher than the national average.
Furthermore, the website doesn’t offer this information or hardly any details of the credit card’s rates and fees. Unlike most credit cards, the SmartHealth PayCard doesn’t provide applicants a Schumer box. We had to call an offshore customer support hotline to get the interest rate, and it was tough to get additional details.
The only unique benefits of the SmartHealth PayCard include a complimentary indemnity reimbursement plan and accidental death coverage. This indemnity reimbursement plan is almost like a supplemental emergency medical coverage. You can read more details about this coverage here.
Was There Ever an Annual Fee?
When we wrote about the SmartHealth PayCard back in February, we didn’t include information on an annual fee for this card. As previously mentioned, the SmartHealth website doesn’t provide any rate or fee information.
Additionally, we couldn’t find any mention about an annual fee within the site’s content. As such, we didn’t think to ask about the annual fee when contacting customer support.
However, SmartHealth PayCard’s recent announcement that it is waiving its annual fee had us curious to see what the annual fee was. Again, we couldn’t find any further details on the card’s official website. Therefore, we contacted customer support again.
All they could tell us is that the interest rate is a flat 18% and that there presently isn’t an annual fee. The agent with whom we spoke couldn’t tell us what the fee was before. What’s more, he implied that it was an irrelevant detail as there is no annual fee presently.
We researched some other articles covering this announcement and found the same vague details. However, we were able to find a contact named Jonathan Wacthel and decided to reach out to him via phone. He could not provide the team at BestCards.com with any information about the annual fee. Just like the customer service agent, he reiterated that there isn’t an annual fee right now.
Could This Just Be PR?
It’s not possible to determine what SmartHealth PayCard’s motives are with regards to its announcement of an annual fee waiver. However, the company’s reluctance to divulge standard credit card rates and fees leads us here at BestCards.com to draw some conclusions.
SmartHealth PayCard made sure to mention how its fee waiver is in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Press releases also state how the move was an effort to support Americans who are dealing with the Coronavirus.
It is difficult not to assume that this announcement is little more than a publicity move for the SmartHealth PayCard. Perhaps the credit card that intended to revolutionize how patients pay for medical expenses didn’t make the impact it had hoped to make.
We were surprised at how quickly we were able to get through to customer service. Similarly, Wachtel picked up his phone immediately when we called him. These two incidents hint at the possibility that customers aren’t necessarily flocking to SmartHealth PayCard.
While SmartHealth’s fee waiver announcement is relatively inconsequential for consumers, it could signal a potential trend. As the world continues to face uncertainty regarding COVID-19, could we see more companies taking advantage of a public health emergency to boost their image?