Dental Patients Struggle for Credit Approval

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In this survey, two out of three dentists told us that it's gotten harder for patients to get credit. Since dental care costs money, lack of patient financing options can be a real problem in dental practice management.

“Care Credit warned us that a lot more of our patients would not qualify," said one dentist, while another mentioned, “Enhance and Wells Fargo have discontinued dental lending."


Do you really want patients with bad credit?

  • “Do I offer patients options? Yes. They can go get some money.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “If the patient can’t get financed and has no credit card available, there is usually a good reason not to be that person’s bank.” (California dentist)

You can’t escape Care Credit

  • “We only offer Care Credit, at present.” (Maryland dental office worker)
  • "Care Credit has the BEST offers anywhere!" (Alabama dentist)
  • “Things are still very tough with Credit Care. We are going to try Chase.” (California dentist)
  • “I just assume it is harder, as I got the direct fax that Care Credit sent to warn us that a lot more of our patients would not qualify. We have not had anyone since then who has taken advantage of this type of financing.” (California dentist)

Patients don’t even bother trying

  • "Most patients won't even fill out the application if they don't think they will be accepted. They usually know if they have bad credit.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Enhance and Wells Fargo have discontinued dental lending.” (Iowa dentist)

Automatic payments

  • “We accept electronic bank drafts and auto credit card payments.” (Texas dental office worker)
  • “We use an outside third party company that will extract their payment from a checking account. They deal with any problems that arise like insufficient funds or closed accounts.” (Utah dental office worker)
  • “As the economy worsens, we've discussed down payments of 1/3 and automatic credit card or secured/automatic debit from checking account. Patients don't always warm to Care Credit and their credit history being checked. Establishing the trust relationship is so important that often this aspect of care is the ‘make or break’ point.” (Maryland dental office worker)

Lots of unappealing options

  • “I have offered other financing options in the past, and I have gotten burned with bankruptcy notices and non-payments. I no longer offer an in house alternative.” (Nevada dentist)
  • “Not at this time, as a 20% discount rate via Helpcard is not palatable to me.” (California dentist)
  • “We will hold checks if we must, but so far, that is rare.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “We are still offering external financing to everyone, but the acceptance rate is getting lower and lower. So we start with emergency or needed treatment first and have firmer financing policies in effect.” (Utah dental office worker)

 

Note: Survey sample included 46 respondents.

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