Yes, it is possible to get a cell phone with bad credit. However, having a poor credit score may affect the type of deal you get and how much you have to pay.
Cell phone providers typically run credit checks every time a customer signs up for a new contract to make sure that they will be able to afford the monthly payments that come with purchasing a phone. Usually, cell phone companies will consider a credit rating score of 600 and above to prequalify prospective users as bad credit habits indicate to the carrier that the customer may find it difficult to cover the monthly bills.
Cell phones have become an increasingly needed electronic device within today’s society. According to the US Census Bureau, smartphones were found in 84% of American households in 2018, with many of those with poor credit also keen to get their hands on a device.
With approximately 48 million Americans having poor credit, it is not surprising that T-mobile revealed that 50% of its customers do not have sufficiently good credit to qualify for the company’s best plans. However, there are still many options available to those with a low credit, such as paying a higher deposit or opting for a month-by-month prepaid phone plan. So if you have bad credit and are looking to purchase a cell phone deal, then keep reading as this guide will explain how to do so.
Is It Possible To Get A Cell Phone Deal With Bad Credit?
Yes, there are many options for those with less-than-perfect credit scores who are looking to find a cell phone deal. Examples include:
Prepaid Cellular Plans
Customers can consider a prepaid cellular plan from a company which does not require a credit check. A few companies offer this service since you are paying for the cell phone in advance.
Consider Providers For Customers With Bad Credit
There are also providers for those with bad credit with higher interest rates and down payments. Some cell phone providers do not run credit checks but rather use other qualifying criteria such as whether the buyer has a regular income or look at their rental history to make their decision. This can be really helpful for those with bad credit but it is worth looking out for extra fees and charges you may face due to being higher risk.
Research Into Affordable Programs
There are also Smartphone Equality Programs that exist. This can be found at providers such as T-mobile which helps customers access affordable prices for cell phones with plans that do not require a credit check.
Lease A Phone
Similar to a car, it is possible to lease a new phone which is a good option if you do not wish to spend lots of money upfront. Just make sure that you do thorough research so that you get the best deal possible suited to your financial needs.
Find A Co-Signer
If necessary, you could also consider getting a co-signer to help secure a phone deal. This can be a family member or friend who agrees to pay your bill if you do not manage to pay it.
Join A Family Plan
You could also look into joining a family plan as this is a way to get a cell phone without having to worry about your credit score. Family plans allow a primary account holder to add extra numbers to their accounts, so if the main account holder has an acceptable credit rating to obtain the plan, then the additional line holders will not need to have any type of credit score.
A family plan is also advantageous since they usually offer affordable rates. However, it would still be very important to pay on time so that you do not ruin the credit rating of the primary account holder.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score To Get A Cell Phone Deal?
There are many ways you can make concrete improvements to your credit rating to show that you will be a reliable candidate when acquiring a cell phone deal. Firstly, it is worth getting a copy of your credit report to understand why your rating is poor and to check if there are any mistakes dragging down your score. You should then focus on paying any outstanding bills you have pending as fast as you can or try to create a repayment plan that will help you eliminate as many debts as possible.
If you are struggling to get the funds you need to pay off existing debts, you could consider selling unwanted items you no longer need through a garage sale or online platforms such as eBay. Or you could consider getting an extra side hustle or part time job to help eradicate any existing bills. You should keep in regular contact with the companies you owe money to so that you can keep them updated on your progress too.
A relatively easy way to improve your credit score is to add yourself to the voting register if you have not done so already. This confirms your identity and home address, which helps to solidify your profile and in turn can boost your score.
Whilst it may take a few or several months to improve your credit score, it will be worth it in the long run. Making sure you always make payments on time is of the utmost importance since late payments can damage your rating. You could also look at ways to build your credit profile, for example by only spending a fraction of your credit card limit and repaying it on time.
How Can I Budget More Carefully So That I Can Afford A Cell Phone Deal?
If you are looking to sign up for a cell phone plan, there are some useful budgeting strategies that you can follow to make sure you will be able to afford the monthly payments. Start by tracking your expenses to get an idea of how much money you spend each month and whether you could also afford a cell phone amongst this. You could use budgeting apps to help you keep track of your finances.
You can also weigh up your priorities by checking if you are overspending on anything or paying for monthly subscriptions or fees that are not necessary. For instance you may pay for a gym membership that you rarely use or a TV subscription package that you do not need. By terminating existing contractual payments, you then may have extra disposable income to put towards a phone.
Curbing your spending is also a good idea as this can positively impact your budget. For instance, you may spend up to $4 a day on a hot drink but if you opt for making a coffee at home instead, you could save a significant number of dollars. You may not realize how much money you spend on eating out or clothes shopping, so cutting back on unessential items could help you get the money you need to pay off any existing debts, improve your credit score and get a good cell phone plan.
Once you know if you can afford a phone or not, compare lots of different cell phone plans to make sure you are getting the most competitive rate at the best cost. You do not necessarily need the newest or most impressive phone, but a phone that fits your budget and has the features that you need.
You can also be savvy by looking into purchasing a second hand phone and then buying a sim-only contact. Providing that you can afford the upfront payment of a second hand device, this option may work out more affordable overall and lead to lower monthly payments.
If you are looking for a cell phone deal but have bad credit, there are many options available for you. Better yet, if you work to improve your credit score then you will be in an even stronger position when it comes to securing a good deal.