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Credit Cards for Pet Expenses

Credit Cards for Pet Expenses

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Aug 01, 2018, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Owning a pet isn’t cheap. Currently, an estimated 84.6 million U.S. households own at least one pet. And Americans are continuing to spend more money on their pets each year, with $69.51 billion spent in 2017. That’s estimated to increase by $2.62 billion this year to $72.13 billion.

While it’s often costly to own a pet, odds are the cost is well worth it to take care of your companion. However, doing so doesn’t have to put you into debt — you can use certain credit cards with fixed interest rates or 0% intro APR periods to keep your costs down if you need to finance pet expenses. In this post, we’ll discuss the veterinary and pet financing options available with CareCredit, as well as better alternatives that offer financing for existing debt or new purchases.

Pet specific credit card: CareCredit

CareCredit, backed by Synchrony, provides a health care financing credit card that offers special financing options for routine and emergency veterinary expenses, including annual checkups, teeth cleaning and spay and neutering at over 200,000 health care providers and health-focused retailers. They offer various financing options with a 0% intro APR period or fixed interest rate for a certain amount of months.

Beware: Pay close attention to the fine print of these offers. The financing options at 0% intro APR are subject to deferred interest. This means you will be charged all the interest accrued starting from the purchase date if you continue to carry a balance after the financing period ends. Your financing offer may also require you to make fixed monthly payments until your balance is paid in full.

Here’s a breakdown of the financing options* available with CareCredit, by purchase amount:

Purchase Amount Financing Period Promotional APR Regular Purchase APR
$200-$999 6, 12, 18, or 24 months 0% APR 26.99% APR
$1,000 or more 24, 36, or 48 months 14.90% APR* 26.99% APR
$2,500 or more 60 months 16.90% APR* 26.99% APR

*Fixed monthly payments are required for these financing options until your balance is paid in full. This offer and/or promotion has since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

Better alternatives to CareCredit

CareCredit’s terms are a bit tricky, and the ongoing interest rate is high at 26.99% APR. That’s where credit cards with 0% intro periods for purchases or balance transfers may be a better alternative. These cards offer intro periods where you may receive a 0% intro APR for a given time period, avoid deferred interest and aren’t required to make fixed monthly payments (though you need to make your minimum monthly payment).

In comparison with CareCredit — which limits special financing options to select routine and emergency veterinary expenses at select providers and retailers — the cards below can be used for a wider range of pet expenses, including food, bedding and toy purchases.

For new expenses: Cards offering 0% intro APR periods on purchases

Credit cards offering 0% intro APR periods on purchases allow you to carry a balance for a set time period without being charged interest. If you need time to pay off new purchases like surgeries, food and medicine, 0% intro APR cards can be helpful.

For example, if you have an upcoming surgery for your dog, you can open a card offering an intro 0% APR for 18 months on purchases and use the card to pay for the surgery. Then, you can pay off the surgery during the 18-month intro period. You still need to make the minimum payment due each month, and any balances remaining after the intro period will be charged the regular purchase APR. Make sure you do the math to figure out how much you need to pay each month to pay off the balance before the end of the intro period.

Here are some of our favorite cards offering 0% intro periods for purchases:

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

 

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  • 0%* for 18 months on Purchases*

  • 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*

  • 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)

Highlights
  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER 
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness 
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater 
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period 
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative” 
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month

See additional details for Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever lives up to its name and is a simple card with a $0* annual fee, no late fees and no penalty APR. This card offers an intro 0%* for 18 months on Purchases* (after, 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) APR). That’s a lot of time for you to pay off new purchases without accruing interest.

Discover it® Cash Back

 

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  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*

  • Any amount, any time. Cash back rewards never expire*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. 
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically. 
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire. 
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout. 
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up. 
  • No annual fee.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

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The Discover it® Cash Back is a great $0 annual fee card that offers more than an intro 0% for 14 months on purchases (after, 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR). You can also benefit from a cashback program where you can earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.*

For existing debt: Balance transfer cards

If you currently have credit card debt as a result of pet expenses like a surgery or costs from buying or adopting a pet, a balance transfer credit card can be a great way to get out of debt, when used responsibly. A balance transfer involves transferring debt from one credit card (that typically charges a high interest rate) to a new card that offers a 0% intro APR period. Sometimes there are balance transfer fees (typically 3% of the amount you transfer) but the amount you save on interest often outweighs that fee.

Overall, a balance transfer card can be a great option if you have existing debt. Just note that you can’t transfer debt between cards from the same issuer, and the regular purchase APR applies to any balances remaining after the intro period ends.

Here are some of our favorite balance transfer cards:

Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer

 

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  • Earn $150 cash back bonus after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

  • No rotating categories and no caps on cash back

Highlights
  • Earn $150 cash back bonus after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Cash back bonus is not available if you have had Citi® Double Cash card opened or closed in the past 24 months
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • No Annual Fee

See additional details for Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer

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The Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer has an intro 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers* (after, 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable) APR). There is a balance transfer fee at 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. In addition, there is a $0 annual fee and a great cashback program where you can earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay on new purchases.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

 

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Over the Past 60 Days!

  • 0% for 18 Months*

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*

  • 13.74% - 24.74% Variable*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. 
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically. 
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire. 
  • 100% U.S. based customer service. 
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more. 
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up. 
  • No annual fee.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Balance Transfer

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The Discover it® Balance Transfer has a $0 annual fee and offers an intro 0% for 18 Months on balance transfers (after, 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR) with a 3% balance transfer fee. This card also comes with a cashback program — earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. And Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.*

Read our guide on the best balance transfer credit cards.


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