Credit Infocenter

Credit Unions: How They Work & How to Join (It’s Easier Than You Think)

February 6th, 2018 · Banking

Credit Unions: How They Work & How to Join (It's Easier Than You Think)All the hype you’ve heard about credit unions is well-earned. It’s the reason we’ve seen growth at more than three times the rate of credit activity among consumers of other lender types. And it’s the reason you need to know how credit unions work and how to join one, which is easier than you might think. Whether it’s better customer service you’re looking for, or better chances of getting a loan when you’re trying to repair your credit, get the facts about how a credit union could be just what you need.

How credit unions work

What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank?

The main difference lies in the bottom line. Banks have to answer to investors. Credit unions are owned by its members (i.e., customers). It is this distinction that enables credit unions to be more community-focused, making decisions that put people over profits.

Specifically, credit unions differ from banks in:

  • What happens to the profits. Banks give them to investors; credit unions pass profits on to members in the form of better fees and interest rates.
  • How they are insured. Both are insured, but differently – FDIC vs. NCUSIF or private insurance.
  • How you open an account. Any bank will take you (provided your ChexSystems report checks out). Credit unions require membership based on you meeting certain qualifications relative to your affiliations.
  • Where you go for in-person transactions. You can use any of a bank’s numerous locations. A credit union have may just one location, but you can stop into any one of many credit unions that are part of its network.
  • Fees and interest rates. You’ll typically pay less and earn more through a credit union.
  • Qualifying for a loan with bad credit. It’s a challenge either way, but going through a credit union increases your chances, as the decision-making process involves real people and isn’t limited to computers.

For details, see answers to related questions below.

Are credit unions FDIC insured?

No, credit unions are not FDIC insured like banks. However, federally-insured credit unions have the same amount of insurance through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) – up to $250,000 per account holder.

There are two ways that you can know whether a credit union is federally-insured:

  • It has “federal” in its name
  • It is located in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia where all credit unions are all federal

If the credit union does not meet either of those two criteria, it is probably state-chartered and should have some level of state-mandated private insurance.

Are credit unions non-profit?

Yes, credit unions are non-profit, but that does not mean they are charitable organizations. They simply don’t have investors to whom they need to show a profit. Instead, credit unions are owned by the members themselves. Any profits made benefit its members via better interest rates and fees.

Of course, it’s also possible for a credit union to pass profits on to members in the form of bonuses. That’s what Erie Federal Credit Union did, paying $550,000 out to its members, with individual bonuses ranging from a few dollars to $900.

How do you find a credit union?

You can search online via:

You should also check to see if there is a credit union associated with your employer or any organization you are affiliated with. You could also try your local chamber of commerce, Better Business Bureau, and, of course, family and friends who may be able to point you in the right direction.

Can anyone join a credit union?

Each credit union has its own eligibility requirements that determine who can join. It’s called their field of membership or FOM. This makes people think twice about credit unions, assuming they won’t meet the criteria, but there are some pretty wide-ranging qualifications, so you might be surprised.

You could be eligible based on your:

  • Employer
  • Location
  • School
  • Religion
  • Professional affiliation
  • Community
  • Civic/social groups

You could even qualify based on the associations of your family members, so it’s worth doing your homework. Some credit unions even allow you to join simply for making a donation to a specific charitable organization.

Also, keep in mind that once you are a member of a credit union, you can stay a member for life. That means there’s no need to worry about your eligibility changing – when you leave a particular employer or school – and you having to find a new credit union to join; once you’re in, you’re in.

Which credit unions allow you to join just for making a charitable donation?

The list is surprisingly long. As reported by Time, you can join:

  • Alliant Credit Union for making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success
  • DCFU Financial for making a $60 donation to the Henry Ford Museum
  • Digital Federal Credit Union for paying a $10 membership fee to join one of eight participating organizations
  • ESL Federal Credit Union for paying a $55 membership fee to join the George Eastman Museum
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union for making an $8 donation to the Financial Fitness Association or a $15 donation to the Computer History Museum
  • Golden 1 Credit Union for making an $8 donation to the Financial Fitness Association
  • Kinecta Federal Credit Union for paying a $10 membership fee to join the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica
  • Lake Michigan Federal Credit Union for making a $5 donation to the ALS Association
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union for making a $35 donation to the Michigan United Conservation Clubs
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union for making a $14 donation to Voices for America’s Troops or a $15 donation to the National Military Family Association
  • Redstone Federal Credit Union for making a donation to one of 15 participating organizations
  • San Diego County Credit Union for making an $8 donation to the Financial Fitness Association
  • United Nations Federal Credit Union for paying a $10 membership fee to join Kilimanjaro Initiative USA or $25 to join the United Nations Association of the United States of America
  • Wings Financial Credit Union for making a $5 donation to the Wings Financial Foundation

Learn more about each of these options.

What credit unions are part of shared branching?

Unlike the big banks, credit unions don’t have branches all over the world. That would make visiting a credit union downright impossible when you are traveling or if you move out of the area. Enter shared branching – the networking of multiple credit unions that allows you to make transactions in any one of the networked branches or ATMs.

Most credit unions are part of a shared branching network, also called CU Service Centers. Search for them via Co-opCreditUnions.org.

How do you open a credit union account?

It’s a similar process you would go through in opening an account through a bank:

  • Choose a credit union. Again, there are eligibility requirements, but you can sort through your options pretty efficiently through the websites listed above.
  • You’ll be asked for the same type of personal information and identification you’re asked for when you open a bank account.
  • Make a deposit into a share account (i.e., savings account). This is required of all members, with minimums ranging from $1 to $50

Credit union services

What services do credit unions offer?

You should expect the same kind of services from a credit union that you would from a bank – checking, savings, loans, cashier’s checks, certified checks, money orders, wire transfers, safe deposit boxes, notary services, and certificates of deposit (which credit unions call share certificates). Credit unions are even getting more sophisticated with online services and apps comparable to banks.

Can credit unions have business accounts?

Yes, credit unions do offer business accounts.

Credit union loans

What type of loans do credit unions offer?

It depends on the credit union, but types of loans offered may include:

Just be sure to shop around. Though credit unions typically offer good terms, it’s still worth double-checking. Look at other credit unions and banks, and compare rates on sites like Bankrate and Nerdwallet.

What are credit union interest rates?

Interest rates will vary from one credit union to the next, but in general, you should expect them to be a little better than interest rates offered by banks.

Will credit unions work with bad credit?

It depends on various factors but, in general, yes – despite bad credit, credit unions may extend a loan to you that a traditional bank will not.

As we reported in How Credit Unions Help Rebuild Bad Credit:

“Unlike banks, credit unions are non-profit organizations owned and operated by their members who democratically elect a Board of Directors. For this reason, the decisions made regarding the credit union take into consideration your best interest, unlike banks that are always looking out for their own best interest (i.e., the bottom line).

“For this reason, credit unions are more forgiving of bad debt — including bankruptcy — making it easier for you to get a credit card or auto loan than it would be through a traditional bank.”

Just keep in mind, there is no guarantee. Whether you qualify for a loan will depend on the credit union, your relationship with them, just how bad your credit is, employment, income, and down payment (if applicable).

Still not convinced?

Millennials are. Find out why they’re driving credit union growth.

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Tax Scams: What You Need to Know About the Latest Schemes

January 23rd, 2018 · Consumer Info, Taxes

Tax Scams: What You Need to Know About the Latest SchemesWhat if you filed your tax return only to discover that it had already been filed? Since filing your taxes isn’t something you’re likely to have forgotten doing, it’s safe to say someone else filed your tax return in your name and had your refund sent to them. This is just one of many tax scams you need to know about. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of them based on the most recent IRS tax scam alerts. The goal? To protect your money, of course, but also to protect the sensitive information that fraudsters could use to commit identity theft against you for years to come, and leave you in desperate need of credit repair. Take a look at how the latest tax schemes work, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you are targeted by one of these scams.

Posing as IRS representative via phone

If you get a phone call from someone saying they are an IRS representative seeking payment, chances are good they’re lying. That’s because the IRS sends tax bills via regular mail through the U.S. Postal Service. Phone calls are rare and, even if they do call you for some legitimate reason, the IRS would not demand that you provide immediate payment or sensitive personal information over the phone. Plus, you would probably have received multiple letters in the mail first, so a phone call from the IRS should not come out of the blue.

How the scam works

They:

  • Do their homework on you, compiling enough information to convince you of their legitimacy
  • Manipulate caller ID so that it appears you are, indeed, receiving a call from the IRS
  • Use a fake name and ID badge number
  • Demand immediate payment of your supposed tax bill (including the bogus Federal Student Tax, which is not a thing) with no opportunity to appeal
  • Say that you must pay by prepaid card, gift card (like iTunes), or wire transfer
  • Use hostile and insulting language with you
  • Threaten you with arrest, or deportation, or the suspension of your business or driver’s license

On the flip side of this scenario, fraudsters may say that the IRS actually owes you money in the form of a tax refund. In order to process the refund, they say you need only verify personally-identifying information that they provide to you. Again, they do their homework, so they may have enough detailed info to convince you that they are, indeed, the IRS.

In either case, should you not answer the phone call, these fraudsters may leave a message urging you to call them back to deal with the “urgent” matter.

Note, it may not be a live person calling you. Some tax scams involve robocalls – automated messages stating you owe money and must call back immediately to take care of it or risk legal action.

Posing as IRS representative (or tax preparer) via email or text

While there is an off-chance that a real IRS agent could call you, there is zero chance of you receiving an email or text from them. That’s because the IRS never contacts taxpayers via either of these methods. So, if you do receive an unsolicited email or text from someone claiming to be an IRS representative, you can be certain it is a scam.

Unfortunately, there is no such clear-cut deciphering if they send an email or text posing as your tax preparer, so beware.

How the scam works

They:

  • Make their emails and texts to you seem as legitimate as possible (e.g., using the IRS logo)
  • Request information from you (e.g., updating your IRS e-file)
  • Include links in these emails or texts that direct you to an official-looking website that is actually a mirror site of the actual IRS site
  • Steal the requested information that you input into this mirror site
  • Infect your computer with malware

Examples of specific email scams:

Hotmail scam. The subject lines reads, “Internal Revenue Service Email No. XXXX | We’re processing your request soon | TXXXXXX-XXXXXXXX.” Inside the email, you are directed to a fake Microsoft page that asks for personal information.

IRS/FBI ransomware scam. Emails include both the IRS and FBI emblems. You are instructed to click a link to download an FBI questionnaire – a questionnaire that is fake. Clicking the link installs malware onto your computer, only instead of stealing your information or spying on your keystrokes, it locks your computer and demands you pay a ransom to release it (a ransom that the IRS says you should not pay).

Tax preparer/tax software company scam. Emails say they are from your tax professional or tax software company requesting more information needed to file your taxes. If you provide this information, it can be used to file fraudulent tax returns.

Posing as company executive requesting W-2 forms from payroll or human resources

If someone gets their hands on your W-2, they could file a fraudulent tax return in your name, as it contains everything necessary to do so – your name, address, social security number, income, and withholding information. Then instead of the refund going to you, the fraudster has it sent to them. Thus, the devastating implications of a tax scam in which fraudsters get their hands on the W-2 forms of an organization’s entire workforce.

How the scam works

Form W-2 tax scam fraudsters:

  • Get the names of people in positions of authority at companies, non-profits, schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Use business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES) to send emails posing as these people in positions of power
  • Send these emails to people in payroll or human resources
    • First it may be an email just saying hello, to establish contact
    • Then it may be a follow-up email asking for the W-2 forms of every employee
  • After receiving the W-2 forms, may follow-up with a request for a wire transfer
  • File the fraudulent tax return (or sell the information for other fraudsters to do so)

What’s worse is, the IRS says it may be days, weeks, or even months before such a scam is detected.

Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel member

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on various issues. The advisory role of these volunteers does not include any access to taxpayer information. So, if you receive an email from someone claiming to be a representative of the panel – someone who says you have a tax refund coming to you – you can be certain it is a scam.

How the scam works

Fraudsters posing as members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel may:

  • Send you an email stating that you have a tax refund coming to you
  • Ask you to provide them with the information necessary for you to receive the refund
  • Use the information provided to commit fraud against you

Scams targeting tax professionals

Posing as e-Services representative

e-Services is a set of online tools that tax professionals use to complete their transactions with the IRS – tools only available to tax professionals who have been approved by the IRS to use them. Unfortunately, fraudsters exploit this relationship in the form of a phishing scam.

How the scam works

e-Services tax scam fraudsters:

  • Send an email posing as a representative of e-Services
  • State in the email that the tax professional needs to sign a new user agreement
  • Warn the recipient that if they do not sign the agreement, they will lose access to e-Services
  • Direct the tax professional to a fake site where they are asked for information
  • Steal passwords and data they can use to commit tax fraud

A variation on this scam is one in which the fraudsters – again, posing as e-Services reps – ask tax pros to update e-Services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). They are instructed to click on an included link to update this information; they are taken to a fake site that is used to steal their username and password.

Posing as software providers

Tax professionals depend on tax preparation software; without it, they cannot do their jobs. Thus, the effectiveness of a scam that tells tax pros that access to their tax software is locked.

How the scam works

Software provider tax scam fraudsters:

  • Send an email posing as a representative of a tax preparation software company
  • State in the email that the tax pro’s access to the software has been locked “due to errors in your security details”
  • Instruct them to click on an “unlock” link included in the email
  • Take them to a fake website where they are asked for their username and password
  • Use their username and password to access the tax pro’s client information

A variation on this scam is one in which fraudsters send emails – again, posing as tax prep software representatives – saying the recipients need to click a link to download a software update. Only, instead of an update, it is actually malware that tracks keystrokes.

Posing as potential client

While tax professionals may get new clients from walk-ins or phone calls, they also rely on email. Unfortunately, fraudsters take advantage of this, posing as potential clients so as to infiltrate the tax professional’s computer system.

Potential client tax scam fraudsters send bogus emails to tax preparers. Examples include:

  • “Happy new year to you and yours. I want you to help us file our tax return this year as our previous CPA/account passed away in October. How much will this cost us?…hope to hear from you soon.”
  • “Please kindly look into this issue, A friend of mine introduced you to me, regarding the job you did for him on his 2017 tax. I tried to reach you by phone earlier today but it was not connecting, attach is my information needed for my tax to be filed if you need any more Details please feel free to contact me as soon as possible and also send me your direct Tel-number to rich (sic) you on.”
  • “I got your details from the directory. I would like you to help me process my tax. Please get back to me asap so I can forward my details.”

If the tax professional responds, a second email follows with a link or attachment that the fraudster says contains their tax info. That’s a lie, of course, instead installing malware on their computer that can be used to access data or take over control of the computer.

Posing as existing client

This is a last-minute tax scam that tax professionals need to be on the lookout for the closer it gets to the April tax-filing deadline.

How the scam works

They:

  • Send emails to tax preparers that claim to be from clients
  • Request in these emails a change to how the client’s refund will be received
  • Count on the tax preparer making the change without a follow-up phone call to confirm
  • The fraudster receives the refund, not you

What you need to know about the IRS

The IRS will NOT:

  • Contact you by phone without sending you notices in the mail first
  • Communicate with you via email or text
  • Demand that you make immediate payment over the phone
  • Demand that you make payment without giving you an opportunity to appeal
  • Ask you to share debit or credit card numbers over the phone
  • Insist that you make a payment via prepaid card, gift card, or wire transfer
  • Threaten to have you arrested or deported, or to have your business or driver’s license suspended or revoked

How to protect yourself

For individuals

Don’t open links in suspicious-looking emails or texts.

Don’t just pay an unexpected tax bill; call the IRS to verify the debt using the phone number listed on the official IRS website.

Even if you know that you owe the IRS money, don’t assume that a call, email, or text you receive from someone saying they’re from the IRS is legitimate. Again, call the IRS using the number listed on the official IRS website.

Keep in mind that fraudsters may try and scam you via regular mail, too. So if you receive an unexpected or suspicious-looking letter, call the IRS to confirm it’s legitimacy: 1-800-829-1040.

If your computer is infected with ransomware, don’t pay it. There is no guarantee they will unlock your computer as promised.

Familiarize yourself with what your tax professional should be doing to protect against fraud.

For tax professionals

The IRS recommends that tax professionals familiarize themselves with Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data. For instance, tax pros should not communicate with clients via email alone, especially when any special request is made by the client via email; they should always follow up with a phone call.

For employers

To guard against the W-2 tax scam, the IRS recommends the following: “In addition to educating payroll or finance personnel, the IRS and Security Summit partners also urge employers to consider creating a policy to limit the number of employees who have authority to handle Form W-2 requests and that they require additional verification procedures to validate the actual request before emailing sensitive data such as employee Form W-2s.”

What to do if it happens to you

If you receive a fraudulent IRS email or text, don’t click on any links or reply to it. Forward it to phishing@IRS.gov then delete the original email. You should also alert the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

If you receive a phone call from someone who says they’re with the IRS, take down the caller’s information – name, badge number, call back number, and caller ID. Hang up and then call the IRS directly at 1-800-366-4484 to verify the caller’s identity. If it cannot be verified, report it to phishing@IRS.gov and alert the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

If you receive an unexpected or suspicious IRS letter, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm its validity. If it is a fake, report it to phishing@IRS.gov and alert the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

If you are a tax professional targeted by one of these scams, follow the instructions in Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

If your organization falls victim to the W-2 scam, email dataloss@irs.gov with “W-2 Data Loss” in the subject line. Organizations that were targeted in this scam, but did not fall victim to it, are advised to email phishing@irs.gov with “W-2 Scam” in the subject line. See details about what to include in the content of these emails.

Learn more about identity theft.

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CareCredit: What You Need to Know About This Healthcare Credit Card

January 9th, 2018 · Credit Cards

CareCredit: What You Need to Know About This Healthcare Credit CardWhether you need it now for a medical emergency or you’d like to have it on hand just in case, CareCredit can be a helpful credit card, especially with its deferred interest options. And you don’t need excellent credit to get it, meaning it can be a good way to not only finance health-related expenses, but also a good way to repair your credit score. That said, it’s important to understand what’s in the fine print or it could be costly. Get the facts about how CareCredit’s deferred interest financing works, where you can use CareCredit, what you can use it for, and more.

What’s CareCredit?

CareCredit is a healthcare credit card.

It was founded as DenCharge in 1987 by Ralph Stern, a dental implant provider.

Stern’s dentist clients told him that their patients were having a hard time affording the implant procedure. DenCharge provided the financing patients needed to get the job done.

Soon, the company expanded its financing to include chiropractic and veterinary procedures. They changed the name to CareCredit, eventually widening the range of covered financing even further, from vision and hearing, to cosmetic surgery.

Today, CareCredit is a subsidiary of Synchrony Financial, the nation’s largest provider of private label credit cards, including Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s, CheapOAir, Discount Tire, J.C. Penney, and more.

How does CareCredit work?

When you have a CareCredit account, you can use it to charge healthcare-related expenses that are not covered by an insurance policy. However, not all healthcare providers take CareCredit, so never assume you’ll be able to use it; ask first.

As with other types of credit cards, you will have a credit limit and a set interest rate. You will also receive monthly statements and make monthly payments. And, of course, CareCredit will report your payment history to the credit bureaus, so it’s a great way to strengthen your credit score.

Deferred interest

The standard APR is 26.99 percent, but yours may vary depending on your credit score and other factors. Even so, CareCredit offers promotional periods during which time interest is deferred for a set number of months on minimum purchases of $200.

There’s just one catch.

You have to pay off the full financed amount before the period ends, which may be 6, 12, or 18 months. You may do this in equal monthly payments or in minimum monthly payments that are enough to pay off the balance by the time the promo period is over. You may also have the option of doing fixed monthly payments, which makes you eligible for 24 months of deferred interest.

In any case, if you fail to pay the balance off by the end of the promo period, you will be charged interest for the full financed amount.

For example, let’s say the original financed amount was $500, but you only pay off $400 of it by the time the promotional period ends. That leaves you with a balance of $100. You will not only be charged interest on the $100 you have yet to pay, but also on the $400 you’ve already paid as well.

Reduced APRs

Purchases financed over longer periods of time are not eligible for deferred interest. However, minimum purchases of $1,000 may make you eligible for a reduced APR at 14.90 percent over 24, 36, or 48 months, and minimum purchases of $2,500 may make you eligible for a reduced APR of 16.90 percent over 60 months. (These terms also require fixed monthly payments.)

See financing examples on CareCredit’s website.

Availability of financing options

Not all participating healthcare providers or health-focused retailers offer all of these financing options.

How do you apply for CareCredit?

You have several options. You can apply:

Be prepared to provide the following personal information:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Net income
  • Housing info

You’ll also be asked your doctor’s name or how you plan to use the card. And, of course, you need to be at least 18.

Approvals are instantaneous.

Can CareCredit be used anywhere?

No. Only participating providers accept CareCredit. Fortunately, there are many of them to choose from – more than 200,000 healthcare professionals and health-focused retailers nationwide.

Where is CareCredit accepted?

Use the locator tool on CareCredit’s website. You can search by profession, doctor, zip code, and radius.

Which pharmacies accept CareCredit?

CareCredit is accepted at all Rite Aids and RediClinics nationwide.

Can CareCredit be used for anything?

No. CareCredit can only be used for health-related transactions – either through participating healthcare providers or health-focused retailers.

What can CareCredit be used for?

CareCredit can be used for:

  • Procedures
  • Copays
  • Deductibles
  • Prescriptions
  • Product purchases at participating health-focused retailers

What types of procedures can you use CareCredit for?

The range of qualifying procedures may surprise you, including:

  • Chiropractic
  • Cosmetic
  • Day spa
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Healthcare specialists
  • Hearing
  • LASIK and vision
  • Primary and urgent care
  • Veterinary
  • Weight loss

That’s a tempting list of possibilities for your CareCredit card. More than just a way to charge medical emergencies, it offers you a way to finance procedures you do not need, from facials and massages to microdermabrasion and the removal of age spots.

In other words, it’s easy to get in over your head, charging things you cannot afford.

What should you charge to CareCredit?

What we recommend is that you treat CareCredit the same way you would any other credit card – only charging what you can afford to pay back before they start charging you interest.

For most credit cards, this means paying it off within a month’s time (i.e., the grace period). CareCredit, however, offers promotional periods that let you carry debt interest free for months at a time, ranging from 6 to 60 months with various APRs.

This makes charging a medical emergency a no-brainer – you need it and you have several months to pay it off. For non-essential procedures, though, think twice. Is there really a place in your budget for this or will you be sacrificing something else?

Unless it is an essential healthcare procedure, think twice about charging something to your CareCredit card if you still need to:

Plus, don’t forget how the promotional period works.

It’s only interest fee if you not only make minimum monthly payments, but also return the balance to zero by the period’s end. If you fail to do this, you are charged interest. Not just on the remaining balance but on the full balance you originally borrowed.

In other words, if your financial situation changes during the promotional period and you aren’t able to pay the charged amount back within the allotted time, you’re looking at a costly adjustment. That’s an easier pill to swallow if it was for an essential medical procedure than something you didn’t need.

Which credit bureaus does CareCredit use?

Any of the three major credit bureaus may be checked when you apply for CareCredit. That’s not to say they check all three, only that the one they do check will be chosen randomly. This means it’s important to make sure your credit reports from all three bureaus are in good shape.

Can you apply for CareCredit if you have a credit freeze on your credit reports?

Yes. You will just need to lift the freeze temporarily while they process your application. We called and spoke with a representative at Synchrony Financial who said you have a couple of options:

  • Apply before you lift the freeze. When they see that your credit is frozen, they will contact you and ask you to lift the freeze on one of your credit reports so they can process your application.
  • Lift the freeze on your credit report of choice. Call in to apply and let the representative known which of the freezes you have lifted.

Note, this is a process you will need to get used to, as it is recommended in the wake of the Equifax hack that you keep credit freezes on your reports indefinitely.

Is CareCredit hard to get approved?

Credit approval on anything depends on a number of factors. But this thread on the Credit Card Approvals board at myFICO.com offers some interesting insight:

  • 638 FICO approved for $3,000
  • 662 FICO approved for $4,000

Again, though, other key factors are considered when deciding on approval and credit limit, like income and housing information.

Wasn’t CareCredit accused of deceptive enrollment practices?

Yes. In 2013, when CareCredit was a subsidiary of GE Capital, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said that CareCredit was misleading consumers about the way deferred interest worked.

As we blogged in December 2013:

“In addition to the interest rate not being adequately explained to cardholders, they often are not provided with a copy of the agreement, equipped only with the information that has been shared with them orally.

“These are considered deceptive credit card enrollment practices that have cost cardholders millions in unexpected interest fees, thus the enforced refund [of $34 million].”

The enforced refund was for $34 million.

CareCredit now provides a copy of the credit card agreement on its website and makes clear – through several examples of financing scenarios – how its deferred interest works.

Will CareCredit raise my limit?

Possibly. Call 866-893-7864 to inquire.

Can CareCredit be used for someone else?

Yes, but with limitations. As stated on its website, you can use CareCredit for “you, your family, and even your pets.”

How often do I need to use my CareCredit card?

To keep it active, you will need to use it at least once a year.

Get more tips on smart credit card use.

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