Paying for the care your pet receives at an animal hospital doesn't have to be stressful. While many people pay for pet insurance, some do not because they can't find a plan that they like. But that leaves those people's budgets at the mercy of their pet's health.
Pet hospital staff know that no one wants to decline care for their pet due to financial issues. Many places have started offering payment plan services through different companies. But these are third-party services offering individual loans that require payment plans, which means taking on debt. Is it worth it to accept a third-party payment plan?
It's Not a Credit-Based Card, but It Is a Loan
While most payment assistance for veterinary issues is done through companies that offer vet-specific credit cards or credit lines, other companies offer loans that you pay back in installments. For these loans, your personal credit isn't much of a factor, so if you have a low score due to past issues like late bills during the pandemic, you still have a good chance of getting these loans to help your pet. But this does mean that you'll take on debt in the amount of the vet care plus interest that you wouldn't pay if you could manage to come up with the money for the bill up front.
You'll Get Funding for Your Pet's Treatment Quickly
A point in favor of these plans is that approval is often super fast, and getting the funds quickly is no problem. That helps when your pet needs care urgently because there's little waiting. If you use a third-party service that your vet hospital partners with, transferring the funds should go very smoothly, allowing the vet to start working on helping your pet.
You Do Get a Choice of Payment Plans
When you try these plans, you do get a choice of payment plan—but those aren't unlimited. There will be a minimum payment that you can't go under, and there will be interest. If you don't think you can add even the lowest-payment plan to your budget, speak to the vet about what to do. Sometimes the care can be divided into urgent tests and treatments to do now, and less-urgent tests and treatments that could wait until a follow-up appointment.
It Can Affect Your Pet's Future Care
While getting these loans might be easy even if you have bad credit, you have to remember that these are real loans that you have to pay on time. Otherwise, you could start getting negative marks on your credit again, and that could affect your ability to get future loans if your pet needs more care. Vet hospitals want you to be able to pay and understand things happen in life, but they aren't able to sway third-party policy. That could mean not having the funds for care the next time you bring your pet into an animal hospital.