According to the U.S. Department of Labor, prices for dental services are on the rise. Patients without dental insurance may want to pursue dental loans to cover the cost. But what if you have bad credit? Can you still secure a dental loan?
The short answer is yes, you do still have options. Here’s a quick guide of five ways to qualify for dental loans with bad credit. Or if you’d rather get a dental loan that won’t check your credit at all, we can help with that too.
How can I finance dental work when I have bad credit?
While your selection of lenders will be slimmer if you have bad credit, they do exist. Here are five ways to get a loan for dental work when your credit is poor.
Apply for a personal loan
One way to finance your dental work is to shop around for a personal loan. Even applicants with bad credit can qualify for secured loans — loans in which the borrower provides assets as collateral. Payday or auto title loans are also easy to acquire, though their punishing interest rates and fees make them a less attractive option.
Unsecured personal loans are another great option worth considering. The lending market is competitive and caters to diverse audiences, including people with not-so-great credit.
Set up a payment plan with your local dentist
Most dental practices have a few payment plans available to customers. These vary from in-house offers to partnerships with third-party dental financing companies, including some which don’t require a credit check and don’t charge interest. It’s worth calling a few dentists in your area to see what options are available.
Use a credit card
Paying with a credit card may also be an option. Each credit card provider has different eligibility requirements. While some require a credit score above 700, others allow scores as low as 550.
What’s the catch? The lower your credit, the higher the interest charges. If your credit score is low, this option may cost you more in the long run.
There are also credit cards designed specifically to help users pay for healthcare and wellness. One such medical card is CareCredit, which charges no interest on short financing terms (usually 6 to 24 months).
To use CareCredit, you must first confirm that your dental provider is enrolled with the program. You should be able to find one in your area — more than 200,000 providers across the country work with CareCredit.
Once you’ve confirmed that your provider accepts CareCredit, simply pay with your credit card!
The one downside? If your credit score is low enough, you may not qualify for CareCredit. Fortunately, the program does accept co-signers. If your application is denied and you have a willing co-signer, consider enlisting them to help you re-apply.
A final tip on credit cards: look for a card with a no-interest introductory period. Just be sure to pay before the grace period ends. After the allotted no-interest time has passed, your interest rates will skyrocket.
Check out our Personal Credit Card Review page to compare a list of top cards.
Get a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC)
Do you own your house and have some equity in it? If so, you might want to consider tapping into it to cover your dental costs. Home equity loans and lines of credit (HELOC) enable you to borrow against the equity in your home. This is a great option if you have bad credit because your house secures the loan, ensuring low interest rates. Just be sure to make your payments on time. With a HELOC, your house will be on the line if you default on your loan.
Borrow from your 401(k)
Lastly, if you’re employed and have a 401(k), you can borrow from it to pay for your dental costs. This option will usually not require a credit check. It also streamlines your monthly payments by taking them out of your paychecks.
Interest rates for this option are typically low, and you can usually borrow half of the amount in your account. Check with the provider that manages your 401(k) to find out how to set this up.
How much will you need to borrow?
The cost of dental care and procedures will vary depending on the location, skill level, and quality of the dentist. The graphs below show the average costs of dental services according to two sources.
Learn more about the average dental costs and the factors that influence them.
Find the right dental loan for you, no matter your credit score
While bad credit does require you to get more creative when finding a dental loan, you still have options. Whether you take out a loan or borrow from your home equity or 401(k), you can find a way to finance the dental work you need. Just be proactive and weigh the costs and benefits of each loan type to find the one that’s right for you.
Ready to start shopping around? Check out what the best personal loans are to ensure that you choose the best option for you, and head over to our personal loan offer engine to find out what you qualify for today!
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.