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Last updated on June 8th, 2021
- 2X points on CareCredit Network purchases
- 2X points on Health & Wellness
- 2X points at grocery stores
- 2X points at pet stores
- 1X points on all other purchases
- Redeem points for statement credit, gift cards, merchandise and more
- Regular Purchase APR: 26.99%
- Cash Advance APR: 26.99%
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
At a Glance
The CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ is an infinitely useful credit card specifically designed to make medical and healthcare costs more affordable with up to payment plans ranging from 6 to 60 months. There is no annual fee and cardholders can also earn 2X points on many types of wellness and health-related expenditures.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Have health complications or upcoming (and costly) medical procedures in the near future
- Are responsible for healthcare expenses of children and/or the whole family
- Have a large family and need assistance paying for routine treatments such as braces or eye exams
- Have an illness-prone or injured pet
- Do not have a 2% cash back rewards card
- Have limited access to health insurance
- Enjoy very active, outdoor-based hobbies
- Own multiple gym memberships
CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ Review
Care Credit was designed to help people afford out-of-pocket healthcare costs for themselves, their families, and even the family pet. It is best known for the 6, 12, and 18-month interest-free payment plans and, until recently, could only be used towards medical-related expenditures at their network of 200,000 participating healthcare providers.
A Game-Changing Medical Credit Card
The CareCredit Credit Card is a game-changing option that still provides financing options for treatments, procedures, consultations, or any other type of medical expense that insurance might not cover, but now can also be used anywhere that Mastercard is accepted and will earn rewards with every purchase.
The CareCredit Mastercard bonus categories are surprisingly versatile and perfect for the health-conscious as well as pet owners. All purchases will earn points, which can then be redeemed in the CareCredit rewards portal with a healthy array of redemption options. As if this credit card wasn’t already compelling enough, the card offers both rewards and it’s coveted promotional payment plans without an annual fee.
How CareCredit Promotional Financing Works:
TheCareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ does not provide a signup bonus or any other type of introductory offer. Instead, it offers something even better: ongoing special financing options for medical and healthcare procedures—which even includes treatment for pets! Yes, you heard right – Care Credit does pay for veterinary bills at select vets and animal hospitals. This means animal-lovers never have to worry if their four-legged friend (or bird, lizard, or any other pet) is covered.
1. Qualifying for a CareCredit Payment Plan
To qualify for a CareCredit promotional financing plan, cardholders must make a purchase of at least $200 at a participating CareCredit provider. These include a wide array of medical professionals like pediatricians, dentists, and veterinarians to less traditional specialists such as plastic surgeons or aestheticians. There is no limit to how many times this card feature may be utilized.
2. Choosing a Care Credit Card Payment Plan
Like its predecessor, the CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ offers two types of promotional financing plans: deferred interest repayment or a reduced APR with fixed monthly payments. Aside from having two distinct repayment structures and benefits, both CareCredit financing plans have unique qualification requirements as well.
Deferred Interest Repayment: “No Interest if Paid in Full Within ‘X’ Months”
With this payment option, cardholders have the potential to pay no interest whatsoever, as long as the balance is paid off in full by (or before) the end of the promotional period. The deferred interest repayment plan is available in 6, 8, 12, and—newly created— 24-month payment periods for amounts of $200 or more.
The 24-month option is still relatively new and therefore is not yet available at all participating CareCredit merchants. In terms of repayment, only the minimum monthly payment is required – making this an ideal payment method for someone with a smaller balance or someone who expects to receive a large lump sum in the near future (such as insurance benefits or a settlement).
However, It is important to note that the minimum payment may not be sufficient for paying off the entire balance by the due date. As such, cardholders should be sure to adjust their payment amount as needed to ensure on-time repayment. Failing to do so will result in the interest (that was accrued but not charged throughout the duration of the loan) to become due in addition to the remaining principal balance.
The easiest way to do this is to simply divide the total amount by the number of months in the financing period – disregarding the minimum payment.
Fixed Repayment: “Reduced APR & Fixed Monthly Payments Until Paid in Full”
To cover larger medical costs, cardholders also have the option of 24, 36, 48, and even 60-month repayment periods. The minimum purchase amount needed to qualify for the 1, 2, or 3-year repayment term begins at $1,000 while the 5-year repayment options require purchases of at least $2,500.
Interest is charged from the very beginning, but unlike the deferred payment option, is done so at a discounted rate of almost half the regular purchase APR. Additionally, the fixed monthly payments are calculated to include interest and guarantee that the charge will be paid in full by the end of the promotional period, ensuring the cardholder does not pay any additional fees.
How to Earn Points
While the special financing alone makes this an already invaluable card to own, the CareCredit Mastercard has the added ability to earn points on every purchase – including specially financed purchases (with most other cards that have a similar offering, cardholders usually have to choose between earning rewards or the special financing).
CareCredit Bonus Categories
The bonus categories are uncommon and give cardholders to earn rewards on the types of purchases most other rewards cards neglect. While the bonus rates aren’t particularly generous, they’re likely more than what cardholders would receive with other general use cards.
- 2X points on CareCredit purchases
- 2X points on Health & Wellness
- 2X points at Grocery Stores
- 2X points at Pet Stores
- 1X points on purchases everywhere else
What does the “Health & Wellness” category include?
These bonus categories are straightforward with the exception of the broadly named “health & wellness” category. A hodge-podge of various merchant types, eligible purchases will fall under a wide range of merchant category codes (MCC’s). According to the CareCredit® Rewards Mastercard, health and wellness purchases include the following:
- Drugstores & Pharmacies
- Gym Memberships
- Sporting Goods Stores
- Bicycle Shops
- Health Shops
- Beauty Shops
This is not an exhaustive list, so, unfortunately, cardholders will have to rely on trial and error. The CareCredit site does not provide further information about specific MCC’s or other requirements for determining which specific merchants fall under the “health and wellness” umbrella. Still, this category has great potential to offers bonuses for daily toiletries as well as hobbies.
Redeeming CareCredit Rewards Points
Points have an average value of 1-cent each and can be redeemed for statement credit, gift cards, merchandise, and travel starting at 1000-points (requires a $5 spend in the 2X point categories). Both gift cards and merchandise options have products from well-known brands, so cardholders well have plenty of things to choose from (that they’d actually want).
Statement Credit and gift cards can only be redeemed at specific point intervals for the following amounts: $10, $25, $50, $100, and $250. In terms of travel redemption, things become much less straightforward and much more manual.
Although the CareCredit redemption portal claims that cardholders can redeem points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and activities, the portal does not display available options. Instead, cardholders will have to contact customer support for any travel bookings.
Regardless of the redemption method or point redemption interval, points maintain a 1-cent value so there is little incentive to hold on to them for the larger redemption options. Smaller-scale spenders will doubly want to avoid trying to wait for the larger redemption options since CareCredit points expire 24 months after they were earned.
Things to Consider Before Applying
Even though this impressive card has no annual fee, it’s still not without its flaws. The high APR would be a very rude awakening for cardholders who opt for one of the promotional plans but fail to complete the pay off in time.
CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard has a limited functionality which makes is an ill-suited tool for trying to improve a bad credit score; it cannot conduct balance transfers, has high cash advance fees as well as foreign transaction fees.
Further, the main issue that should give potential applicants pause is regarding Synchrony Bank directly. Synchrony Bank does not allow for the setup of recurring, monthly auto-payments which significantly increases the likelihood of a cardholder having a late or missing payment.
Since the primary function of this card (the promotional financing) is dependent on timely payments, cardholders should already have good credit habits in place to ensure they do not fall behind with Synchrony’s woefully inconvenient payment system.
Should You Apply for the CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™?
For most, the answer will be a resounding “yes” – in fact, it’s hard to imagine an instance where the CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ wouldn’t be useful. If you’ve ever had an expensive dentist bill, doctor’s visit, prescription, surgery, veterinary bill, or even a cosmetic procedure, you –or more accurately, your wallet— have likely experienced the sting of costly healthcare-related expenses.
Even procedures covered by insurance can leave individuals feeling the ache, which are the exact kinds of the financial strain the CareCredit Mastercard can alleviate. The special financing is a wonderful benefit that can be adjusted to fit the budget of any cardholder – and the fact that you can still earn rewards on top of those financed purchases is even more icing on the (healthy) cake.
Additionally, even though the bonus categories are uncommon, cardholders are essentially only receiving 2% back on eligible purchases (a return that can be found in several flat-rate cash back cards) and need to spend at least $500 before seeing a single reward. As such, this card isn’t worth owning for the rewards alone – they should instead be thought of as an auxiliary benefit to the card’s main purpose.
Overall, the CareCredit® Rewards™ Mastercard™ is an invaluable healthcare credit card with universal appeal. Thanks to its two-pronged benefit structure, cardholders will find this application well worth the hard pull from day 1 to 1,000.