LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
Intro to Citi Health Card
If you have any credit cards, you’ve likely heard of Citi, or Citigroup, which owns and operates Citibank and offers services in investing, lending, banking, and other monetary needs. What started in 1812 as the City Bank of New York has expanded dynamically into this well-known global company. Its services are available in 160 countries and to more than 200 million customers. While Citigroup as a whole has a 200-year history, the company has been involved with healthcare financing for over 16 years helping clients to pay for their medical expenses. Its primary product for medical needs is the Citi Health Card. In recent years, CareCredit, another medical credit card issuer acquired Citi Health Card and its providers.
- Time in business
Time in Business
Citigroup has a well-established reputation among credit card companies and literally centuries of experience. Since the company was initiated in the early 1800s, it has had plenty of time to develop into a global company and to benefit from the expertise of its workers throughout the years. Citi is a well-known brand and, as a bank, offers a variety of services. In many ways, this makes them a trusted partner for your healthcare financial needs if you are looking to invest in one of the medical credit cards currently available. Even though Citigroup hasn't offered the Citi Health Card the entire time it has been in business, it has been available for well over a decade. In other words, the Citi Health Credit Card is no longer a new, untested product for helping to pay medical bills, it has been provided for over 16 years.
One of the best things about the Citi Health Card is flexibility. Cardholders can use this card in a variety of industries-orthodontia, vision treatments, even veterinary procedures-as long as your treatment costs are within your credit limit and the provider is within Citi's network. It is important to note that this is no regular credit card. It is not meant for going out and buying groceries, it is strictly to help with medical expenses. To its credit, Citi has a network of thousands of healthcare providers making financing plans easier to find and set up.
Here are the bonus features you'll love about this card:
- Online patient portal: Applying for, maintaining, and paying off a credit card can be a hassle. Citi tries to make it more convenient by providing an online portal where you can apply for the card, view recent activity, and of course, pay off its balance. In fact, you pay your bills for the Citi Health Card only online, not at the doctor's office. This online payment feature takes the stress away from setting up financing plans with your provider and allows you to look at the financing options for yourself and make your own decision without the pressure of a financial institution.
- Find a Provider feature: At citicards.com, you have access to the feature titled "Find a Provider," which lets you search for any doctor's office to see if it's a provider with the Citi Health Card. You can use this feature even before you apply for the card and search by the doctor's name, zip code, industry, etc.
- Reasonable fees: With the Citi Health Card, you don't have to worry about making a down payment or paying for the card application. Furthermore, you will have no prepayment penalties. The flexibility with this card applies to more than just its provider network too; once you're approved for a card, you can use it for treatments of your whole family (not just yourself) up to your credit limit. You can also use it for more than one treatment (again, up to your credit limit). According to online sources an annual fee is not charged.
In short, the Citi Health Card stands out for its flexibility, lack of fees and convenient online features to verify providers in the network and establish financing plans. This makes your life as a patient much easier.
- Lacking information
Considering how experienced Citigroup is, you would expect more from this company in terms of accessible information and customer service resources. In these two areas, the company is lacking and the Citi Health Card is a subpar option. For one thing, Citi is quite vague about the interest rates they charge. They provide some basic information about pricing plans that providers may offer, but they don't clearly lay out all of the payment plans, monthly payments, differing interest rates, and hidden fees. This alone is a red flag because interest rates can be the main disadvantage of using a credit card, even in healthcare financing. In addition, one restriction with the Citi Health Card is that customers can only pay off the balance online rather than in person. So if you use the card to pay for a treatment at a doctor's office, you can't pay part of the bill while at your appointment; you have to manage the card solely online.
The following aspects are other potential sources of frustration:
- No 24/7 customer support: It's somewhat difficult to contact customer service at Citigroup, partially because their card support representatives are only available during certain hours of the day and there are only a couple of phone numbers you can call to get information. It would be nice to have more ready access to a representative if you run into problems with your card.
- $25 late fee: For every payment you miss or pay late, you will be charged a $25 fee (or the remaining balance on your card, depending on the situation). This isn't a terribly high fee, but it does repeat for every late payment and there is very little wiggle room for late payments.
- Affected credit: When you apply for a Citi Health Card, a representative pulls your credit report from all three credit bureaus to determine your eligibility. Because the card is used for loans, this credit inquiry is considered a hard inquiry, which means your credit is affected by the application.
In broader ways, this company presents frustrations to potential customers. For example, their website is not very informative and patients might benefit from more detailed FAQs sections and especially upfront information about pricing. In addition, Citigroup is first and foremost a bank and not a healthcare lending agency, and that makes the Citi Health Card just one of the products-not necessarily a priority or a main focus for the company.
The Bottom Line
The Citi health Healthcare Credit Card has plenty of pros and plenty of cons making it difficult to give a definite recommendation. In many ways, the needs of the customer will determine whether this card is a good financial option. The Citi Health Credit Card offers an excellent option for customers who prefer online card management, who need a card for the whole family and not just themselves, and who prefer working with a company that has been in business for a long time. In these ways, Citigroup is a trusted brand, and this product offers flexibility and convenience. Furthermore, this card can potentially cover treatments in any industry so long as your provider is in Citi's network. However, this card is not a recommended option for customers who would prefer to be able to make card payments in person, who prefer more round-the-clock customer support, or who prefer not to have their credit affected by a card application. If you are unsure what your current FICO score is, you can look it up online or through your online banking services. In these ways, Citigroup is a risky option because they pull your credit report and they are vague about information that potential customers would want. This company would do well to provide more detailed information about their pricing plans and fees. Even though Citigroup is a trusted brand as a whole, this product is just one of their many services for cardholders and has therefore taken a backseat to other ventures like banking and investing. As a patient, if your credit score and lifestyle can afford this, then the Citi Health Card is a great option to help you with your healthcare finances. However, it is not a recommended option if you prefer more transparency, more accessible customer support, and less of a credit risk.
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