- The Smile Generation credit card is a store/retailer credit card
- It is issued by Comenity Bank, which currently issues 163 different credit cards through its financial services
- Smile Generation is a company that partners with a network of several different dentists to help provide high-quality and affordable dental care for thousands of patients every year
- In addition to providing dental payment plans for its members, it also is an industry leader in teledentistry and virtual screening.
- The credit services provided by Smile Generation is a part of the growing trend of businesses and retailers issuing credit cards, bypassing the 3rd party credit services of traditional credit card companies like Discover, American Express, and Capital One.
- The dental plans offered by Smile Generation are not forms of insurance, but rather is a discounted dental plan.
- This credit card allows members to make monthly payments on dental services provided through the Smile Generation Network
Pros & Cons
- Can be used in conjunction with or apart from dental insurance
- Reports to several credit agencies
- Special promotional period for the first 18 months for an initial $500+ purchase
- Available for consumers with poor credit
- Very secure online account system
- No annual fees
- Provides affordable monthly payments for dental care
- 25 day no interest grace period for late payments
- High-interest rates
- Interest during the promotional period is deferred, not eliminated
- No sign-up bonuses or rewards
- No cash back programs
- Very few perks or special deals
Compared to Other Cards
APR Interest Rates – The Smile Generation credit card has a hefty APR interest rate, common among most store/retailer credit cards, with a maximum potential rate reaching up to 29.24%. Below is a list of the APR rates of many other well-known store/retailer credit cards offered by Comenity Bank. The 29.24% rate offered by the Smile Generation credit card is one of the more expensive rates available even among store/retailer credit cards but is not an anomaly.
- Catherine’s Credit Card – 28.99%
- Gordmans Credit Card – 29.24%
- Woman Within Platinum Credit Card – 29.24%
- The Stage Store Credit Card – 29.24%
- Chadwick’s of Boston Credit Card – 26.99%
- Hot Topic Guest List Credit Card – 27.29%
- Lane Bryant Credit Card – 29.24%
- Express Next Credit Card – 29.24%
- Anne Geddes Visa Card – 26.74%
- Venus Credit Card – 27.24%
Cashback/Rewards/Promotional Offers – The Smile Generation credit card does not compare well to other store/retailer credit cards with regards to cashback bonuses, rewards programs, or special promotional offers for the simple reason that they have none of these options available. The only special offer currently available for customers is an 18-month interest-free period available for the first $500+ purchase made. Even the David’s Bridal credit card, notorious for its onerous late fees and debilitating restrictions gives its customers access to promotional deals and new product news before the general public.
Availability – As with most other store/retailer credit cards, the Smile Generation credit card is available to most consumers, including those with poor credit. It is only available to residents of the United States.
Card Type: Store/Retailer Card
Sign-up Bonus: N/A
Foreign Transaction Fee: N/A
Balance Transfer Fee: N/A – There are currently no balance transfer options available to customers as listed on the Smile Generation website.
Extras: A 18-month interest-free period is available for the first $500+ purchase made for dental services.
Smile Generation Credit Card: Is it worth it?
Unfortunately, the credit card offered by Smile Generation doesn’t have many desirable characteristics that many other store/retailer credit cards offer to attract customers. This combined with a very high APR interest rate limits its usefulness to many prospective card users. However, most dental services do not offer an option for affordable monthly payments, which may be very helpful to certain patients, and this unique provision is the key selling point for the Smile Generation credit card.
Why you might want the Smile Generation Credit Card
The lack of cashback bonuses, rewards, and promotional offers and a high APR interest rate should not discourage potential customers who could benefit from it. Certain customers may not be able to afford to pay the total amount of dental care upon completion of the service, especially those without dental insurance. The smaller monthly payment system, as well as the initial interest-free 18 month period for the first $500+ purchase upon activation of the card, may be the only way for certain individuals to be able to afford dental work. It is vital for those who sign up for this card to be completely aware of the actual provisions of the 18-month interest-free period. The interest for this period is deferred, not eliminated, so if an individual does not pay off the first $500 purchase during this period, they will be charged all the interest that has accrued for the previous 18 months on the principal amount.
Why you might want a different card
Consumers whose main purpose for getting credit cards is for the special offers or perks provided by the card itself should not get the Smile Generation credit card. The advantages of this card almost exclusively relate to the ability to pay off dental expenses in a more cost-effective manner on a per month basis.
Is the Smile Generation Credit Card right for you?
The Smile Generation credit card is right for customers who fit 3 different criteria. First, they must be individuals seeking affordable dental care through the Smile Generation network. While the network does partner with hundreds of top dental professionals across the country, they are currently available in only 22 of 50 states, limiting the potential customer base. Second, they must be individuals who would benefit from affordable monthly payments, and specifically the 18-month interest-free period. Those who already have good dental plans may not need the added burden of maintaining another credit card with potential fees and credit hampering pitfalls. Third, they must be financially responsible individuals who will at least make the monthly minimum payments provided by the card. Failing to make payments or pay off the principal interest-free $500+ amount for the first 18 months will result in massive fees, eliminating the affordability of the Smile Generation monthly payment plan.