Pet Insurance

CareCredit For Pets Reviews: How Does CareCredit Work?

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Last Updated: December 19, 2023 | 7 min read | Leave a Comment

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Person at vet paying for cat appointment with CareCredit card in hand.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to pay for veterinary bills if your pup becomes ill or has an accident, having CareCredit may be able to give you some peace of mind. This special credit card offers a line of credit you can apply toward expensive vet bills and more.

How does CareCredit work? And is it your best option to ensure that your furry friend gets the care he needs? In some cases, it can be a lifesaver, but you’ll want to read our review before jumping on board. Learn more in our CareCredit for pets review.

Visit CareCredit’s Website

CareCredit For Pets Review

carecredit logo 250 png

Product Name: CareCredit

Product Description: CareCredit is a credit card designed for use with human healthcare and pet vet care expenses.

Summary

CareCredit could be a good option to help you pay for hefty veterinary bills, particularly with their longer-term, reduced APR financing option. However, to take advantage of their deferred interest promotion, you’ll want to make sure you can pay your balance off in full by the end of the promotional period. Otherwise, you’ll face extremely high interest charges. 

Our team determines the overall rating by considering several criteria, including company reputation, customer service, perks, financing options, interest rates, user feedback, and more. 

Overall Score

3

Pros

  • Can use for healthcare expenses for your pets, you, and your family members
  • Offers a deferred-interest financing option
  • Offers long-term financing 
  • Accepted at over 24,000 veterinary clinics across the U.S.
  • Can use CreditCare immediately after approval
  • Can use at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Rite Aid (for qualifying purchases)
  • You can see if you prequalify without it impacting your credit score
  • Online payment calculator helps you get an idea of monthly payment requirements

Cons

  • High standard interest rate and high late payment fees
  • Increasingly poor user reviews over the last year for questionable business practices and poor customer service
  • Several customers said CareCredit closed their account or reduced their credit limit without any notice
  • Must call billing to ensure they apply your payment to the right account if you have several different lines of credit

What Is CareCredit?

CareCredit is a nontraditional credit card structured to help you pay for medical expenses, including a broad range of human healthcare and veterinary services and certain health-related items. It’s ideal for pet owners who must pay upfront for pricey vet care but don’t have the means to pay out of pocket. CareCredit is owned by Synchrony Bank, which is an FDIC-insured financial institution and part of a Fortune 500 company with over 80 years of experience.

How Does CareCredit Work For Pets?

Veterinary care is expensive, and full payment is required upfront at most vet clinics. CareCredit gives you the ability to get your pets the preventative care and treatment they need by providing financing to cover out-of-pocket expenses. More than 260,000 participating healthcare providers, including over 24,000 veterinary clinics, around the nation accept the CareCredit credit card. Their website has a handy search tool so you can see if your vet takes CareCredit.

CareCredit works much like traditional credit cards, but they offer special financing options that you may not be able to find with other cards. Paired with pet insurance, CareCredit for dogs or cats can go a long way in helping you manage all of the necessary veterinary costs to keep your furry loved one as healthy as possible.

Financing Options & Details

CareCredit offers a variety of short- and long-term financing options* to suit your specific budgetary needs. Undoubtedly, the most significant perk of using CareCredit over a traditional credit card is that you may never have to pay interest. However, as you may have guessed, you must follow specific requirements to take advantage of this benefit.

With their no-interest-if-paid-in-full financing option (also called deferred interest financing or promotional financing),** repayment options are 6, 12, 18, and 24 months for qualifying purchases of $200 or more. To avoid interest charges, you must make every minimum monthly payment, and you must pay your entire balance in full by the end of your selected promotional period.

If you fail to meet these requirements, CareCredit charges you interest beginning with the original purchase date. Keep in mind that making the minimum payment each month may not pay off your full balance by the end of the promotional period. It’s also important to know that you may be charged interest at a high rate when the promotional period ends. According to their website, “the standard cardholder’s APR is 29.99%. Your account’s APR may be different.” The national average APR is around 20%. As with all credit, it is best to pay off your balances as quickly as possible to minimize interest payments and credit issues down the road.

A Word Of Caution

It’s important to keep in mind that CareCredit can be an extremely expensive way to pay for veterinary bills if you can’t pay back your balance before the end of the promotional period.

CareCredit also offers longer-term financing for purchases of $1,000 or more. These options feature a reduced APR and require fixed monthly payments until you pay the balance in full. Your options may include:

  • 24-month offer with a 17.90% APR
  • 36-month offer with an 18.90% APR
  • 48-month offer with a 19.90% APR
  • Purchases of $2,500 or more may be eligible for a 60-month offer with a 20.90% APR

*As of October 2023 and subject to credit approval

**Not all promotional financing options are available at all enrolled providers. CareCredit recommends you ask your provider for details. Promotional financing options are not available at all retail locations that accept CareCredit and standard account terms will apply to such purchases.

What Pet Expenses Can I Use CareCredit For?

You can use CareCredit to finance routine and preventative vet care, non-routine treatment, grooming services, and some other qualified expenses. However, the vet provider or retail store must be in their network. In addition to dogs and cats, you can also use CareCredit to care for birds, horses, lizards, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other “exotic” pets.

Here’s a quick chart to help you understand some of the types of purchases you can make using a CareCredit card.

Routine Veterinary CareVeterinary Treatment
Annual check-upsVet appointments for illnesses or accidents
VaccinationsCare of chronic diseases and conditions
Spay and neuteringVet-prescribed medications
Parasite preventionEmergency services
Teeth cleaningSurgical procedures
MicrochippingDiagnostics and imaging
Pet food and nutritionDog chemotherapy
Rehabilitation
Alternative and holistic therapies

Using CareCredit With Pet Insurance Is A Better Option

Having your pup covered with pet insurance can give you the peace of mind that your furry friend can get the emergency treatment he needs or even save his life when you can’t afford a huge vet bill. By making relatively low monthly premium payments, pet insurance can cover a vast majority of hefty veterinary expenses. This could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Learn more about how pet insurance can benefit your pup and your wallet in our comprehensive pet insurance guide.

So, how do pet insurance and CareCredit work together? Most vets require upfront payment, yet pet insurance requires you to file a claim for reimbursement after you’ve paid. Claim reimbursement timelines vary by pet insurance provider, anywhere between two days and two weeks or longer. If you simply don’t have the money to pay your vet at the time of treatment, you can use your CareCredit card to pay for these expenses. Then once you’re reimbursed by your pet insurance provider, you can pay off your CareCredit balance.

Using CareCredit and pet insurance together ensures that your pup will always be able to get the medical care he needs. You can also rest assured that having your pet covered with pet insurance can drastically reduce your out-of-pocket costs (after you meet your deductible). It’s an excellent way to manage your pet-related finances.

With pet insurance as your safety net, you also won’t have to worry about incurring large interest charges on your CareCredit account because you know you’ll be able to pay off your balance once you’re reimbursed by your pet insurance provider.

CareCredit may also come in handy to help you pay for the treatment of pre-existing conditions and routine expenses, which typically aren’t covered by pet insurance.

Our Personal Experience With CareCredit

“I opened a CareCredit card account nearly 20 years ago. At the time, I was a young single parent, and my son needed dental care right away that I couldn’t afford. My dentist suggested CareCredit. I was approved quickly and was able to get my son the care he needed. I opened the account without doing too much research and thereafter realized that the interest rate was quite high.

On top of that, there are some very tricky conditions regarding the amount used, the time frame in which the debt needs to be paid back, and the way minimum payments work. There are also many fees and penalties associated with the charges.

It was not until after I already had a CareCredit account that I knew they covered vet care. Having the account was a big help to me, as I have had pets experience emergencies and needed the credit. However, one big drawback was that the charges must exceed $200 to use the account. This was a problem a few times, and I often felt I got charged for things I may not have needed by the vet to meet that charge limit.

Eventually, I realized the interest was high and stopped using the card. I paid it off and have avoided using it since. I have a family member who got behind on CareCredit payments and received a high volume of calls, even after missing only one or two payments. While I was glad to have access to the credit in times of need, in hindsight, this is not a card I would open again or recommend to anyone else.”

Danielle DeGroot, parent to multiple rescue dogs and cats

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about CareCredit? Here’s some more detailed information you may find helpful.

What Credit Score Do I Need To Qualify For CareCredit?

CareCredit doesn’t publicize a minimum credit score that the company requires to qualify for the card. Their website states, “Your credit score alone is not the only factor that is evaluated for underwriting decisions. Many factors affect qualifying for any kind of credit card, and those guidelines can change for many reasons.” However, you can quickly check to see if you prequalify for CareCredit via their website. This check won’t impact your credit bureau score.

Can I Use CareCredit For Pet Medications?

Yes, you can use the CareCredit card for vet-prescribed medications you purchase from your veterinarian or a pet pharmacy as long as they’re in CareCredit’s network. You can check on their website to see which pet pharmacies accept CareCredit. Also, keep in mind that many pet insurance policies also cover prescription medications.

Can I Use CareCredit At Walmart?

Yes, Walmart and Sam’s Club both accept CareCredit for health and wellness-related items for pets and their human family members. For pets, this can include pet food, treats, flea and tick prevention, and several other qualifying products.

Can I Use CareCredit At Pet Stores?

Most pet stores do not take CareCredit. The exception to this is Banfield Pet Hospitals, which are located in PetSmart stores across the nation. Banfield does accept CareCredit for veterinary services. However, PetSmart doesn’t accept CareCredit for its grooming services or retail purchases.

What’s Our Final Verdict On CareCredit?

Visit CareCredit’s Website

If you’re in a serious financial bind and can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for your pet’s essential vet treatment, then you may want to consider applying for CareCredit. While this card has its perks, it’s extremely important for you to understand the terms you’re subject to regarding strict repayment timelines and other issues that we’ve experienced and seen from recent online customer feedback.

If you’re not sure you can meet CareCredit’s requirements or even qualify for their credit card, you may have other pet financial assistance options for dire situations. With that said, budgeting for your pup’s future healthcare needs with pet insurance may be your best long-term option to make sure you and your dog are financially protected from any illnesses and emergencies that may arise.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing, availability, and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.

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