As the credit crunch continues and consumers wait to have what were once some of the most-sought after cosmetic procedures, doctors are finding ways to attract new patients. Doctors that offer zero-interest financing plans or affordable payment plans are finding it easier to get patients into the door for the latest treatment.
Zero-interest financing programs are offered by companies like CareCredit, which specialize in financing for cosmetic surgery, dentistry and different types of elective surgeries. With today’s high interest rates taking their toll on standard credit card lines, few consumers are likely to ‘just charge it’ for their procedure. CareCredit works like a credit card, but offers significantly lower rates and other incentive programs for new members. Doctors must decide which offers they can accept, and patients then have an option to select from different enrollment programs.
Tony Seymour, senior vice president of sales for CareCredit, explains how the company extends credit:
“We only want to lend money to people that we think have an above average chance to pay it back. The credit quality of the incoming applications of patients applying has fallen dramatically in the last year as more patients are squeezed by this economic cycle..those who gravitate towards no interest tend to be more financially savvy and lower credit risks. “(Source: Cosmetic Surgery Times)
Seymour also points out that many doctors can use this special offer as a powerful marketing tool. Patients are much more likely to book their procedure if they are not worried about upfront costs. CareCredit also offers extended payment plans up to 18 months or more for those who cannot pay off the entire balance during the speical offer period. These options make it even easier for patients to settle in for their procedure, regardless of the gloomy economic forecast.
Patient financing can be a viable alternative to paying for a procedure out-of-pocket or charging the fees to a credit card. Some doctors require a minimum amount before processing (typically $300-$500), and CareCredit is now available at dentist offices, medical spas and even some LASIK centers.