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Best Credit Cards for Medical Expenses for June 2024

Using a credit card with a no-interest intro period for medical bills could provide some breathing room -- but there are risks involved.

  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    8.8/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    2% Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
    Intro offer available Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
    Apply Now with Wells Fargo
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    7.4/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    1.5% - 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; 1.5% on all other purchases
    Intro offer available Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    7.6/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    N/A This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points
    Apply Now with Wells Fargo
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    6.2/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    1% - 3% Earn Unlimited 2% Cash Back on eligible Medical expenses.; Earn Unlimited 3% Cash Back On Gas and Drug Store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).; Earn Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
    Intro offer available Earn a $100 Cash Back Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days

If you owe a hospital or health care provider for care, paying for these expenses with an introductory 0% APR credit card could sometimes make sense.

A 0% APR card allows you to defer interest for a period of time, typically for 15 to 21 months. As long as you have a repayment plan in place, this type of credit card can offer more time to pay down your debt. However, many of the best 0% introductory APR cards require good to excellent credit -- if your credit is lower, you should explore other payment options.

“Before applying for a credit card to cover your medical expenses, contact your medical provider to ensure they accept credit cards,” credit expert Lee Huffman said. “Confirm whether or not there are any fees for using a credit card because some businesses tack on extra fees that offset the rewards you may earn.”

We’ll run you through the credit cards we recommend specifically for medical bills, how to choose the right one and alternatives to consider.

8.8/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
with Wells Fargo
Intro Offer
$200 cash rewards Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2% Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is our top choice to use for medical expenses,  if you can pay your balance off completely within 15 months from account opening. That’s how long you’ll have to take advantage of the card’s 0% introductory APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers before its standard variable 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% APR takes over.

It’s one of the most rewarding flat-rate credit cards available; it earns 2% cash rewards back on purchases. And depending on the size of your bill, you can earn $200 in cash rewards when you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. There’s no annual fee to worry about, either.

Once you’ve paid off your debt, you’ll have a great rewards card to continue to use for your purchases.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
up to 5%, min: $5
2%
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is our top choice to use for medical expenses,  if you can pay your balance off completely within 15 months from account opening. That’s how long you’ll have to take advantage of the card’s 0% introductory APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers before its standard variable 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% APR takes over.

It’s one of the most rewarding flat-rate credit cards available; it earns 2% cash rewards back on purchases. And depending on the size of your bill, you can earn $200 in cash rewards when you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. There’s no annual fee to worry about, either.

Once you’ve paid off your debt, you’ll have a great rewards card to continue to use for your purchases.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
up to 5%, min: $5
2%
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
7.4/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Up to $300 cash back Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) -- worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% – 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; 1.5% on all other purchases
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is another card that offers exceptional rewards and an introductory 0% APR for a period of time. Specifically, cardholders get 15 months of introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR of 20.49% to 29.24%.

This card’s great rewards rate helps it standout. You’ll earn 1.5% for all purchases, including medical expenses, plus 3% cash back at drug stores to help earn rewards for your prescriptions. There’s also a great welcome offer for new cardholders to earn.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
5%
Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
3%
3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
1.5%
1.5% on all other purchases

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is another card that offers exceptional rewards and an introductory 0% APR for a period of time. Specifically, cardholders get 15 months of introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR of 20.49% to 29.24%.

This card’s great rewards rate helps it standout. You’ll earn 1.5% for all purchases, including medical expenses, plus 3% cash back at drug stores to help earn rewards for your prescriptions. There’s also a great welcome offer for new cardholders to earn.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
5%
Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
3%
3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
1.5%
1.5% on all other purchases
7.6/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
with Wells Fargo
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
N/A This card doesn’t offer cash back, miles, or points
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is another option to check out if you need more time to pay down your medical debt. It has a 21-month introductory 0% APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (from the time of account opening), after which the APR goes up to 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable*. But you’ll forgo rewards in favor of that extra time.

While not earning rewards is a downside with this card, it’s more important to focus on paying down your debt. If the extra six months is helpful,  the interest savings could be more valuable than any rewards you could have earned.

*Balance transfers must be made within 120 days from account opening, and a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) applies.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Regular APR
18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
5%, min: $5
N/A

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is another option to check out if you need more time to pay down your medical debt. It has a 21-month introductory 0% APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (from the time of account opening), after which the APR goes up to 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable*. But you’ll forgo rewards in favor of that extra time.

While not earning rewards is a downside with this card, it’s more important to focus on paying down your debt. If the extra six months is helpful,  the interest savings could be more valuable than any rewards you could have earned.

*Balance transfers must be made within 120 days from account opening, and a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) applies.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Regular APR
18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
5%, min: $5
N/A
6.2/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
$100 Cash Back Earn a $100 Cash Back Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% – 3% Earn Unlimited 2% Cash Back on eligible Medical expenses.; Earn Unlimited 3% Cash Back On Gas and Drug Store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).; Earn Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
800 – 850 Excellent
APR
21.99%, 25.99%, 29.99% Variable

The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays** is worth considering if you want to earn rewards every time you pay a medical bills or pick up a prescription. While it doesn’t have a 0% purchase APR offer, you can earn 3% back on gas and drugstore purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 2% cash back on eligible medical expenses, and 1% back on other purchases. That’s a slightly better overall rate on medical spending than what you’d earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. And there’s no annual fee

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.99%, 25.99%, 29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
3%
Earn Unlimited 3% Cash Back On Gas and Drug Store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).
2%
Earn Unlimited 2% Cash Back on eligible Medical expenses.
1%
Earn Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.

The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays** is worth considering if you want to earn rewards every time you pay a medical bills or pick up a prescription. While it doesn’t have a 0% purchase APR offer, you can earn 3% back on gas and drugstore purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 2% cash back on eligible medical expenses, and 1% back on other purchases. That’s a slightly better overall rate on medical spending than what you’d earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. And there’s no annual fee

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.99%, 25.99%, 29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
3%
Earn Unlimited 3% Cash Back On Gas and Drug Store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).
2%
Earn Unlimited 2% Cash Back on eligible Medical expenses.
1%
Earn Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.

Factors to consider when choosing a card for medical expenses

Interest rates

While credit cards with an introductory 0% APR are enticing, make sure you’re able to pay down your balance in the given time frame. Otherwise, your balance will begin to accrue interest at the card’s variable rate when the promo rate expires. Right now, the average credit card APR is currently over 20% -- a steep rate that could lead to costly interest charges.

Also, watch out for “deferred interest” offers from companies like CareCredit. Deferred interest means you will be charged the full amount of interest you would have normally been charged from day one if you can’t pay your balance by the end of the promotional period. Even if your remaining balance is just $1.

Rewards and cash back

Earning rewards for medical expenses is a nice perk, but the focus should be on paying down your medical bills rather than earning rewards. If you carry credit card debt, any rewards you earn can be quickly offset by interest charges.

Fees

If you’re planning to use a credit card to consolidate medical expenses and other debts, compare different credit cards’ annual fees, cash advance fees, late payment fees and balance transfer fees. These fees can increase the total amount you must pay to eliminate debt.

What are health-specific credit cards?

The most common health-specific credit cards are CareCredit** and the Wells Fargo Health Advantage® Card**. These health-specific cards let you pay down medical or dental expenses over time, but they tend to have fewer benefits than traditional credit cards. In addition, these financing options can only be used at participating merchants instead of being available for everyday purchases like a Visa or Mastercard.

For example, health-specific credit cards don’t offer rewards or other notable perks like consumer protections. Some come with low interest rates or introductory 0% APR promotional offers, but you’ll have to watch out for the deferred interest.

The AccessOne Medcard is another popular option, but functions more as a payment plan card than a credit card.

Tips for using a credit card for medical expenses

Credit cards can be a valuable tool if used wisely, but they can also lead to a cycle of debt that can be difficult to break. Consider these tips:

Have a plan to pay off your debt. Before you charge medical expenses to a credit card, figure out how much you would need to allocate monthly to pay the balance off within the given time frame. If you have 15 months, for example, divide the cost of your medical bills by 15 to see how much you’ll need to budget to pay it down in time.

Avoid using your credit card for regular purchases.
If you really want to pay down your medical expenses while avoiding debt and interest, resist using the card for new purchases until your balance is paid off. Adding new debt to your card will make it harder to pay off in time.

Redeem rewards to reduce your balance (when you can).
Consider alternative uses of your credit card rewards. Many rewards credit cards let you redeem your points for statement credits to reduce your bill. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® lets you redeem rewards for statement credits to your account, thus reducing the amount of medical debt you owe. Just remember statement credits don’t go toward your monthly required payment, so be sure you’re still paying your card bill on time.

What to avoid when using credit cards for healthcare bills

While the tips above can help you maximize your card’s benefits and avoid financial mayhem, there are also risks you should be aware of.

  • Don’t overspend to earn rewards. If you can’t pay off your card balance, spending more to earn rewards will quickly get you into financial trouble. Instead, focus on paying down your debt before getting strategic with rewards.
  • Don’t just pay the minimum. Don’t make the minimum payment on your credit card and hope the debt goes away. Figure out how much you need to pay each month to eliminate your balance during an introductory APR period. If your balance is already earning interest, pay as much as you can every single month.
  • Don’t charge debt you can’t pay back. If you’re struggling financially, there may be more affordable options you can turn to rather than accumulating credit card debt.

Alternative ways to pay for medical expenses

If you’re worried about affording a medical expense or are unable to get approved for a 0% intro APR card, there are other options you can explore.

First, talk to your healthcare provider and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship. They might be able to help refer you to a more affordable provider, set you up with a more affordable payment plan, provide you with medication samples or prescribe generic prescription options.

And, if you don’t have insurance, you can check to see if you qualify for government-sponsored health care, like Medicaid.

Lastly, if you already have past-due medical bills, you may be able to negotiate the amount due with the health care provider.

Read more:
Is Affordable Health Care Impossible? How Patients Find Ways to Lower Costs

FAQs

The best credit card for medical expenses depends on whether you need to finance a purchase or want to earn rewards. We recommend introductory 0% APR cards as a financing option.

Paying your health care bills with a 0% introductory APR credit card can give you more time to pay your balance off, while avoiding interest, if you’re disciplined. However, if you’re worried about affording the total bill, you should avoid charging hefty medical expenses on a credit card.

Alternatives to CareCredit include Wells Fargo Health Advantage® Card and the AccessOne Medcard. You can also consider an introductory APR card, like the Wells Fargo Active Cash or the Chase Freedom Unlimited. 

**All information about the CareCredit credit card, Wells Fargo Health Advantage Card, and the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert and writer who covers rewards and loyalty programs, budgeting, and all things personal finance. In addition to writing for publications like Bankrate, CreditCards.com, Forbes Advisor and Investopedia, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of "Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love."