Do Assisted Living Facilities Accept Credit Cards?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Using credit cards is possible when it comes to paying for assisted living. However, there are other payment options to consider, too. Here is your helpful guide to everything you need to know when assisted living facilities accept credit cards.

Assisted Living Facilities Accept Credit Cards

Using credit cards is possible when it comes to paying for assisted living. However, there are other payment options to consider, too. Here is your helpful guide to everything you need to know when assisted living facilities accept credit cards.

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With rising inflation and a demanding economic environment, many assisted living facilities are looking to make the process of making payments to their communities as easy and convenient as possible.

Back when adult children had stable jobs and parents’ homes were easy to sell, families didn’t have any problem getting their checkbooks to pay for the costs of their loved ones in assisted living facilities.

However, things have changed, and families now have fewer options when it comes to paying for assisted living.

Fortunately, service providers didn’t take too long to catch up. Electronic payments, credit cards, and senior living lines of credit were quickly introduced to meet the demands of the ever-changing marketplace.

Each of these options allows service providers to offer various payment options to families seeking long-term care for their loved ones.

assisted living facilities accept credit cards paying
New payment options, such as credit cards, are greatly helpful to financially struggling families.

Paying for Assisted Living Using Credit

Payment in a form other than cash or check is relatively new to the assisted living industry. It’s actually taking some time for some service providers to understand how alternative payment options can help families.

The transition from traditional payment options like checks to electronic payments and credit cards is long overdue.

Service providers are now being forced to embrace these new payment options for assisted living in order to serve cash-strapped families who equally need services for their loved ones.

Long-Term Payment

For long-term payment, where a family predicts that it may take many months to sell assets or for senior benefits to arrive, a line of credit may be considered.

Families can take advantage of the line of credit (typically available in amounts of up to $50,000) to finance the ongoing monthly care costs until money can be sourced from home selling or retirement benefits.

Monthly care costs tend to be small and suited to a family with a tight budget.

Families often use an assisted living line of credit to fund a parent’s gap between the cost of monthly care and what the parent can afford to pay for themselves.

It gives families some time and space to repair and stage their home in the best way possible so that they can get a good price for it in a tough real estate market. 

Short-Term Payment

For short-term payment, many service providers are now accepting credit cards.

Whether it’s for the amount due at admission, or a past-due bill, giving a family the option to use a credit card, which enables the provider to receive payment immediately, can be the determining factor between a postponement of the sought commitment or a moving commitment today.

Despite incurring a small fee, allowing families to pay using a credit card is much better than having to wait several days or even weeks for the families to deposit the checks. 

Advantages of Paying for Assisted Living Using Credit Cards

Are there advantages to paying for assisted living with credit cards?

Easy Access to Credit

One of the main benefits of paying for assisted living with a credit card is that you get easy access to credit.

A credit card functions on a deferred payment basis. This means that you can pay for your loved one’s care and accommodation now and pay for the costs later.

The money used is not deducted from your personal expenses account, thus not impacting your bank balance every time you make a payment.

Record of Payments

Using a credit card provides you with a record of each payment made using the card, with a detailed list sent to your monthly card statement. This can be used to track and determine your exact payments, which could be useful for financial planning and tax purposes. 

Flexible Credit

Many credit cards now come with an interest-free period where your outstanding balance is not charged any interest. Typical interest-free periods range from 30 to 60 days. You can get free short-term credit if you pay off the full balance due by the specified due date.

assisted living facilities accept credit cards drawbacks
Be extra careful in order to avoid the risk of credit card fraud.

Drawbacks of Paying for Assisted Living Using Credit Cards

What are the drawbacks to using credit cards to pay for assisted living?

Hidden Costs

Credit cards often have hidden costs that many people may not be aware of.

Risk of Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is on the rise, and there is a risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud if you are not careful.

High Interest Rates

Some credit card companies are known to charge high interest rates, which can significantly raise the costs of care and accommodation for your loved one in an assisted living facility.

Other Options for Paying for Assisted Living

What are some other options for paying for assisted living?

1. Using Personal Assets to Pay for Assisted Living

Most residents enrolling in assisted living pay for their care using their own funds. This may mean using your loved one’s personal savings or selling their assets like real estate and stocks.

However, it’s not uncommon for adult children and other family members to raise funds to help meet the costs of assisted living.

Families seeking to enroll their loved ones into assisted living communities can also turn to more creative ways of using personal assets to cover costs of care, like taking out a home equity loan.

A home equity loan or reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to convert their stake in their home or residential property to cash. The homeowner can then access this cash via a line of credit or as a lump sum.

RELATED: What Should You Do When You Can’t Afford Assisted Living?

2. Using Private Insurance to Cover Assisted Living

Many families use long-term care insurance to cover assisted living costs for their loved ones. Long-term care insurance is designed to reduce out-of-pocket spending for accommodation in assisted living facilities.

Seniors are advised to get a long-term care insurance policy well before it is needed, even if this means paying premiums many years in advance. Premiums are usually lower for individuals who are in good health when they get their policy.

Paying with a credit card should not be your first option when thinking of enrolling a parent or loved one in an assisted living facility. It’s advisable to consider other payment options before opting for credit cards or other lines of credit like loans.

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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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