Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’: What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close
| Ad Disclosure
This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com This compensation may impact how and where links appear. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Close

The best credit cards for medical expenses: Get the care you need

These cards can buy you time when the doctor's bill comes calling.

Today, the average employer pays more than $13,300 per employee for health insurance, while individual family premiums run about $22,221 per year. It is no small change and can add up quickly when you need extra services, like a specialty or out-of-network provider and detailed testing like X-rays and scans.  

It is expensive enough to pay for medical care with health insurance, but without health insurance, these costs can feel unsurmountable. That is where the right credit card for medical expenses can help you get the care you need while offering the time and space necessary to pay off those larger bills.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% for 12 months on Purchases
Additional Details

With the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you get an extended promotional period that is far longer than other credit cards. For 21 months, you will have 0% APR on balance transfers and 12 months of 0% APR on purchases before changing to a 14.49% to 24.49% variable APR. Balance transfers will cost $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. This is not a card to get when you want extra rewards because this card has none. The promotional period is the best reward that the Diamond Preferred offers, but it can save you a ton of money in interest over a longer period of time.

There is 24/7 customer service with automatic account alerts, plus the freedom to pick your own payment date. Good credit is recommended to apply.

Pros:

  • Extended APR period
  • No annual fee
  • Balance transfer intro offer

Cons:

  • Must have good credit
  • No rewards program
  • Foreign transaction fee
Card Highlights
Intro BonusIntro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
APR15.24% to 23.99% Variable
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 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
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has a special offer for new cardholders that includes earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy in the first year, up to $20,000. That is worth up to $300 cash back. The regular awards are pretty attractive, too. There is 5% back on travel but you must buy through Chase to qualify. Your dining purchases earn you 3% back, including your takeout favorites, and there is also 3% off drug store purchases. All other purchases on your card bring you 1.5% cash back.

The APR starts at 0% for 15 months and then increases to a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.99%, depending on creditworthiness. There is no annual fee, and your points never expire. 

Pros:

  • Intro APR
  • No annual fee
  • Can cash in rewards without minimums

Cons:

  • Must have good credit
  • Travel must be booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Balance transfer fee increases
Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% for 20 billing cycles on purchases
Additional Details

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card has an introductory 0% APR that lasts an entire 20 billing cycles, longer than many other comparable cards. That means if you have a big expense to suddenly pay for, your Visa Platinum card could be an excellent way to buy some time before you have to begin paying interest. 

The APR after that is largely reasonable at a variable APR 15.24%-25.24% for standard ongoing rates. U.S. Bank allows you to choose your own payment date, plus there is auto-pay to keep things simple. There are no awards, but there is no annual fee to save you some cash. U.S. Bank will even cover your phone with cell phone protection when you pay your bill with your Visa Platinum card. Fraud protection is also included with free credit score monitoring available in the app or online. 

Pros:

  • Introductory APR
  • No annual fee
  • Includes cell phone coverage

Cons:

  • No rewards program
  • Good credit needed
  • No welcome offer
Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR13.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening
Additional Details

The Wells Fargo Reflect card carries a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months of having the card. If you make timely payments, however, the promotional period will extend another three months for a total of 21 months. At the end of the promotional period, the rate changes to a 13.74% to 25.74% variable APR.

There is no annual fee, and you also receive up to $600 in cell phone protection when you pay your bill with your Reflect card. A unique benefit from Wells Fargo includes 24/7 roadside dispatch, as well as My Wells Fargo Deals that offers exclusive pricing from top merchants.

Pros:

  • Extended promo period with timely payments 
  • No annual fee
  • Extra Wells Fargo benefits

Cons:

  • No welcome bonus
  • No rewards program
  • Foreign transaction fee

How did we choose these credit cards?

Most financial institutions today have credit cards that they offer to new customers, but not all of them may work when you are looking for the best credit cards for medical expenses. In our search for today's top credit cards, we meticulously analyzed real consumer reviews while also measuring each company against a specific set of metrics. 

These are some of the factors that we considered in finding the best credit cards for medical expenses.   

  • Medical needs: To find the right card, first think about your specific medical needs. If you see an out-of-network provider or plan to have a specific procedure, it will help to have an idea of your general needs so you can match them to the best credit card.
  • APR: The amount of interest you will pay each billing cycle matters because it can quickly add up and cost you more than you expected. The APR can vary significantly between cards and is based on a number of factors, including your credit score.
  • Credit score: Your credit score is used to determine the financing terms of your medical credit card. When you have a higher credit score, you generally receive lower interest rates than someone with poor credit.  
  • Rewards: Some credit cards will offer special introductory or general rewards that give you cash back or bonus miles that you can use for future purchases.
  • Introductory offer: Most cards offer a special introductory offer to reward you for signing up. This can include no interest for a certain amount of months, extra cash back on balance transfers, or additional miles on your everyday purchases.

These are all factors that can help you in your search for the best credit card for medical expenses. 

Which is the right credit card for you?

Choose this card...

When you...

Citi Diamond Preferred card

Want a low APR to pay off expenses

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Shop at drug stores for your medical needs 

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card 

Are consolidating medical debt

Wells Fargo Reflect card 

Have temporary, emergency expenses

With so many institutions offering so many credit cards, it can quickly get confusing to tell them all apart. 

Are there alternative cards to consider?

CareCredit: Best for out-of-pocket medical expenses

CareCredit is a unique provider that specializes in medical-related financing for your entire household - even your pets. The program provides coverage for health, wellness, and even beauty treatments, so you can use your CareCredit account to pay for certain procedures or treatments that your regular health insurance company will not cover. The funds can be used to pay a deductible or to pay for out-of-pocket procedures. There are shorter financing terms of anywhere from six to 18 months on purchases you make of $200 or more.

There is a convenient mobile app to help you manage your account, plus there is an option for online bill pay. You also can search more than 250 practices and medical professionals covered by CareCredit on its website to ensure you select a provider that is covered by the program. 

Pros:

  • Covers a variety of medical procedures
  • Several financing terms
  • Accepted at 250+ providers and facilities

Cons:

  • Shorter financing terms
  • High regular APR
  • Only works for medical needs
Show Comments