If you don’t have dental coverage, it may be difficult to pay for all of your dental procedures at the time you have them done. Financing is sometimes offered to help make paying for dental care more manageable by spreading out the cost over a period of time and can involve the use of a credit card.
Make sure you understand how credit finance plans work before you decide on a plan, and remember these three rules:
1. Only finance what you can afford.
Make sure you understand the monthly payment requirements for your plan. Most plans will have a monthly minimum payment amount, but paying just that amount may not be enough to pay off your balance before the no-interest period on the offer ends. Consider the following:
- Figure out how much you can afford to pay each month.
- Look at the financing offer’s minimum payment. If you pay that amount each month, will you be able to pay off the balance by the end of the offer period? If not, how much more would you have to pay per month to pay it off in that timeframe?
- How much interest will be charged each month? Does that change whether you’ll be able to afford the payment?
2. Understand how interest is charged and pay accordingly (and on time!).
There are two common types of financing offers: No interest and low interest.
- "No interest” payment plans are more commonly offered by healthcare credit cards. They typically give you a short time period to pay your balance (6 to 18 months) and require you to pay at least the monthly minimum and pay off the balance within that timeframe. If you don't, interest charges will be added.
- “Low interest” payment plans are typically longer term, sometimes up to five years. Payments are divided into equal monthly payments and should be paid off every month. Interest charges will be added to your balance beginning on the original purchase date.
3. Make sure you read and fully understand the agreement.
Taking time to understand your options and obligations can improve your financial and your dental health.
- Keep copies of anything you are asked to sign.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions up front.