Hearing loss is not an inexpensive prospect for your patients. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that the total cost of first-year hearing loss treatments will skyrocket in the coming decades. The numbers will go from $8.2 billion in 2002 to as high as $51.4 billion by 2030, according to a study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  In a 2015 report, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) determined the average cost of a single hearing aid alone is around $2,300.

For many patients, the cost to preserve and protect their hearing is prohibitively high. Consider partnering with CareCredit. The health, wellness, and personal care credit provider works with more than 200,000 practitioners and retailers. The ability to offer a financing option could make the difference between keeping or losing your next patient. But it also raises new questions. Your patients may wonder how applying for or securing financing will affect their credit.

CareCredit

Awareness of the need to maintain one’s credit profile is at an all-time high. Consumers are becoming better-educated about the components of their credit scores. And thanks to a healthy economy, scores are on the rise. According to FICO, the average US credit score is about 700. That is generally considered a “good” score. According to FICO, it’s also an all-time high.

Your patients will want to know how CareCredit will affect them. Let’s review a few of the basic questions you may encounter:

  1. Is This a ‘Soft’ or ‘Hard’ Credit Inquiry?

One of the factors that determines credit score impact is the nature of the inquiry. A “soft” inquiry does not require a judgment of creditworthiness. Examples include checking one’s own credit score or checking a multitude of scores to create a “pre-approved” offer of credit. This type of inquiry has no meaningful impact on credit scores.

A hard inquiry is a different matter. Hard inquiries reflect an attempt to secure new credit, finance a purchase, or borrow money. This includes applying for CareCredit.

In most cases, a hard inquiry will remain on a credit report for no more than two years. Each hard inquiry is likely to lower your patient’s score by a few points. But that impact will typically disappear after about six months.

  1. Will CareCredit Show Up on My Credit Report?

CareCredit shows up as a hard inquiry on a patient’s credit report. It will likely be shown as “Syncb.” Not all credit reports are the same, though. Patients might see it on TransUnion, but not Experian or Equifax, for example. If they are concerned, they should check each of the three bureaus.

  1. How Will This Affect My Credit Score?

This is a complicated question. The short answer is that everyone is different. Every individual has a unique credit history. CareCredit applications will impact them differently.

When applying for new credit of any type, a number of issues come into play:

  • The type of inquiry;
  • The amount of credit they are applying for;
  • The amount of available credit they already have;
  • The ratio of debt to credit they are carrying.
  1. Why Should I Select CareCredit Over Other Options?

CareCredit offers several advantages over paying with cash or a standard credit card. For many patients, budgets are tight, and an upfront cash payout could affect other expenses. Financing allows them to get the care they need. And once a patient becomes a CareCredit customer, they can use their card for other healthcare expenses.

CareCredit also offers a range of financing options. Your patients can choose the plan that works best for them. Most credit card providers offer only one method of repayment.

Ultimately, opening a new line of credit isn’t going to have a major effect on your patients’ credit scores. They might see it go down by a few points for a month or two. They might even see it rise if this changes the “debt to credit ratio” in their favor. That ratio, along with the payment history and derogatory marks, has a far greater impact than inquiries.

This content was provided to the 4MyHearingBiz community by contributing writer Tariq Kamal, courtesy of CareCredit and The Hearing Review.