Your Guide to Plastic Surgery Financing

From face-lifts to liposuction to breast enhancements, cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever. There were nearly 1.5 million procedures completed in 2022 (up 19% from pre-pandemic levels), according to the most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

While plastic surgery might leave you looking your best, brace for a dent in your bank account. “Cosmetic procedures are almost always considered elective and not medically necessary, so they’re not typically covered by insurance, leaving the entire financial burden on the patient,” says Jill Behm, general manager of cosmetic and spa at Synchrony, which issues the medical credit card, CareCredit.

If you are interested in elective cosmetic surgery but don’t have the cash upfront, you can look into financing options such as personal loans. Here are six best personal loans for plastic surgery, as well as tips on how to choose which loan — or alternate financing — is right for you.

Best Personal Loans for Cosmetic Surgery Financing

Best for No Fees: LightStream

APR: 9.49% to 25.99%

Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000

Terms: Up to 240 months

Why We Picked It

Medical financing loans from LightStream start at 9.49% annual percentage rate for those with good credit who set up automatic payments. The entire application can be completed digitally making it a convenient option to fund your cosmetic surgery.

Best for Low APR: Discover

APR: 7.99% to 24.99%

Loan amounts: $2,500 to $40,000

Terms: 36 to 84 months

Why We Picked It

Discover is a well-known, reputable lender offering one of the most competitive starting APRs on personal loans at the moment. Also, those who have lower-cost procedures can borrow as little as $2,500.

Best Loan Amount Flexibility: Upstart

APR: 7.8% to 35.99%

Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000

Terms: 36 or 60 months

Why We Picked It

Upstart has very strong customer ratings and a large loan amount range that should cover the majority of cosmetic procedures. If you want to have a fast application process, Upstart can also get you funded in 24 hours, though timing can vary depending on when you apply and your situation. There will be an origination fee tacked on, however, so keep that in mind when comparing costs.

Best Flexible Term Options: Upgrade

APR: 8.49% to 35.99%

Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000

Terms: 24 to 84 months

Why We Picked It

With flexible repayment terms and an easy online application process, Upgrade personal loans are a good option for people who want flexibility. You can check your rate in minutes with no hard credit inquiry, and then apply and get funded in one day. Your cost is highly dependent on your credit, however, so watch out for high origination fees and APRs if your score is on the lower side.

Best for Fast Funding: SoFi

APR: 8.99% to 29.49%

Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000

Terms: 24 to 84 months

Why We Picked It

SoFi is a popular personal loan provider for a number of reasons, from not charging any fees to the fast turnaround on funding. It also has stellar customer ratings. Just be mindful that if you don’t have strong credit, this might not be the best choice for you.

Best Credit Union Loan: PenFed

APR: 7.99% to 17.99%

Loan amount: $600 to $50,000

Terms: 12 to 60 months

Why We Picked It

If you’re willing to join a credit union, PenFed’s personal loans have very competitive rates and a wide range of loan amounts. Anyone can join by opening a savings account. The loans have no fees, except for when you’re late on making a payment. Funding may take a little longer than some online lenders.

How to Choose the Best Cosmetic Surgery Financing

“Before moving forward with a payment plan or financing solution, it’s important to determine whether your cosmetic care would be eligible for your financial savings program or covered by health insurance,” says Behm.

For example, if the procedure is considered reconstructive surgery to correct facial and body abnormalities caused by birth defects, injuries or diseases, it could be partially or fully covered. For example, a breast reduction for someone with a history of back problems may qualify for coverage.

If you have to pay out of pocket, before you shop lenders, shop medical providers, says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “Shop around in the marketplace to see if what you’re being charged is competitive,” he says. Tools like Fair Health Consumer can tell you average pricing based on your area.

The next step is to look at the resources you already have to see how you can pay for the cosmetic procedure. Are you able to use some of your personal savings? Can you tap into your available credit?

Lastly, put each of your cosmetic surgery financing options to the affordability test. “Be mindful about how payments are going to fit into your budget, and what is the long term cost, including interest above and beyond the price of the procedure,” says McClary.

Regardless of which route you take, on-time payments are critical for protecting your credit score and avoiding late fees, says Behm.

[Read: Best Sign-up Bonus Credit Cards.]

How to Compare Plastic Surgery Loans

If you decide to take out a personal loan, follow these steps to find the best loan for your needs.

Check your credit. Interest rates can vary considerably, and your approved rate will mostly depend on your credit score, says McClary. See where you stand before you shop for loans. The higher your score, the more likely you’ll qualify for the lower end of a lender’s APR range.

See if you prequalify. If potential lenders have an option to check your rate without a hard credit check, go for it. It can give you some real numbers to compare. Just be mindful that you won’t know your official loan cost until you put in the full application.

Look at rates and terms. “Make sure you’re keeping an eye on other types of fees you have to pay,” says McClary, such as origination fees. In addition, there may be terms and conditions that impact your repayment, like early payment penalties.

[Read: Best Personal Loans.]

Other Ways to Finance Cosmetic Surgery

Besides personal loans, there are some other cosmetic surgery financing options to consider.

Provider Payment Plans

Before taking on a loan or credit card, have a conversation with your provider. “Sometimes you can work out a plan in which you’re not charged interest on the amount you have to pay and payments can be split up in installments,” says McClary. Your doctor may expect faster resolution than you might be able to afford, however, meaning the minimum monthly payment could be higher than what it would be with a loan or credit card.

Due to the cost of collections and other expenses, many providers prefer to use a third-party financing provider such as CareCredit in lieu of their own payment plan, says Behm.

Medical Credit Cards

Specialized medical credit cards, like CareCredit, are specifically designed for patients to cover their out-of-pocket expenses. Typically, you can apply right in your provider’s office. These credit cards allow flexibility such as the ability to pay for more than one procedure at different times, says Behm. “As long as the credit is available, a consumer can keep using their medical credit card for the care they, their family, and [in some cases] even their pet needs,” she says.

Regular Credit Cards

Regular credit cards may be worth exploring to cover the cost of cosmetic procedures — especially if you have a high enough credit score to qualify for a 0% introductory APR offer, says McClary. “If there’s enough room in the credit line to cover the cost, it’s certainly a viable option.” These cards usually offer between 12 to 18 months of no interest, but then the regular APR will kick in. If you think you can make significant progress on the bill before the promotional period ends, you may save on borrowing costs.

[Read: Best 0% APR Credit Cards.]

Plastic Surgery Financing Options to Avoid

There are some types of borrowing you should try to avoid at all costs, says McClary. For example, drawing funds from your 401(k) or other retirement accounts. ‘”You’ll be weakening your financial position at a time in your life when you need the money the most,” he says.

Another risky option is borrowing against the equity in your home. “It may seem like a convenient pool of money, but there are serious consequences if you can’t pay as agreed — your home is on the line,” says McClary.

Should You Get Cosmetic Surgery Financing?

The answer to that question really depends on how important the surgery is to you, and how borrowing will impact you going forward. Most importantly, don’t feel pressured into making a financing decision while you’re in the doctor’s office. Just as you shopped around to find the best doctor for your procedure, take the time to figure out which financing option is best for your financial health.

More from U.S. News

How to Get Preapproved for a Credit Card

How Often Can You Open New Credit Card Accounts?

What to Look for In Your Credit Card’s Terms and Conditions

Your Guide to Plastic Surgery Financing originally appeared on

Update 05/20/24: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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