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01 Jan 2006 | Australasian Dental Practice

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CareCredit launches consumer awareness campaign

GE Money CareCredit will this month launch a consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits of patient payment plans and the availability of interest free healthcare to existing GE customers.

"Being part of GE Money, CareCredit is able promote the availability of Interest Free finance for dental procedures to a base of well over 2 million customers in Australia," said GE Money CareCredit General Manager, Simon Beckett. "The campaign is designed to promote awareness of CareCredit and drive incremental patients and procedures to practices that are signed up with CareCredit. This is an advantage that no other patient finance provider can offer".

The initial campaign will distribute brochures to over 700,000 GE customers. The brochure advises customers of the benefits of CareCredit and directs them to visit an accredited CareCredit practice for their treatment.

CareCredit allows dental practices the ability to offer patients up to 12 months interest free to pay for their dental procedure. For patients wanting a longer time to pay, there are also Extended Payment options offering terms of up to 48 months.

"Having launched in March last year, the acceptance of the product has been exceptional," Mr Beckett said. "Over 1000 practitioners have chosen to offer CareCredit and the response from patients has proven that Interest Free Patient Payment Plans are leading the market.

"Before launch, CareCredit undertook extensive market research with over 200 dental consumers and 150 dentists and dental practice staff. From the dental consumers perspective, the availability of interest free finance, a low application fee and a simple, fast application process was the key consideration when considering a patient finance plan"

According to Mr Beckett, based on that market research, CareCredit designed a product that offers patients a revolving line of credit with access to 3, 6 or 12 months Interest Free, or 24, 36 and 48 month Extended Payment plans for a low once off establishment fee of $25. In addition, other family members can also use the card without the need to reapply, as long as there is credit available.

Applications for CareCredit can be processed via the Internet (or fax), with credit decisions usually provided within 30 seconds whilst the patient waits.

"The consumer awareness campaign is a substantial investment for CareCredit, however we believe that it is important for CareCredit to support the practices that are using our product. With a range of patient finance products now available to choose from, dental practices are carefully evaluating what provider they will choose to use. We believe this will give us a further edge."

"It is important to consider all aspects when choosing a patient finance product as no too offerings are the same," said CareCredit Product and Marketing Leader Simon Jovanovic. "We have, for example, had some practices question the fact that we charge a Merchant Service Fee. While this is true, we conversely to not charge a fee to the practice to enrol and so like credit cards, you only pay on a per-transaction basis.

"More importantly though, from the patients' perspective, there is no upfront cost. Would you take out a patient finance plan that charged an application fee of $200 and then also be charged a high interest rate? We believe that for patient finance to be successful, it needs to be an appealing consumer proposition - there is no point offering a product that patients will not accept. Once practices realise this, they then begin to understand how Interest Free financing is not a cost to their practice but a tool that will build their practice".

"In addition, CareCredit is a non-recourse program, meaning once CareCredit has paid your practice, we bear the risk of the patients loan, with no recourse back to the practice.

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