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How to Get Approved for a Cell Phone with Bad Credit: Guide

Cell phones have become a crucial part of our lives. Most of our work life and social life depends on our cell phone. It has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Most of us get cell phones in installments. However, those who have bad credit fear they would not get financing options for cell phones. Many cell phone sellers offer to finance for purchasing phones even to those with bad credit. This article is focused on how to get approved for a cell phone with bad credit. But before we dive right into it, we need to understand the basics. 

Without delaying any further, let us get into the topic. We will discuss phone financing starting from the start. So, let us get started.

What is Cell Phone Financing Bad Credit?

What is Cell Phone Financing Bad Credit?

Cell phones are undoubtedly a major part of our day-to-day life. They were launched in 1973 and since then they are evolving. With time, not only phones are evolving but their price is also changing. They have become more expensive. Therefore it is nearly impossible for an average-income person to purchase them straight away with cash. 

To make them affordable, cell phone sellers break the price into small installments. Hence, you can easily afford it and pay them in smaller monthly payments rather than in lump sums. In order to know if you can afford to pay them back, they will check your credit profile. If you have a bad credit profile and poor score, they might not approve of you. 

The sellers offer different installment plans based on your profile. But what about those with bad credit? You might be wondering, how to get a cell phone with bad credit and no deposit? Fortunately, there are options for you to finance your cell phone purchase even with a poor credit score. 

Why Do Sellers Perform a Credit Check?

To know why your credit score is so important, you must know what it actually is. Basically, every individual has a personal credit profile that is based on how they have been as a borrower. Your credit score is high if you have made all the loan repayments on time and low if failed to meet payments. Therefore your credit score and profile speak about your behavior as a borrower. 

It also determines whether you will be able to repay the monthly installments. This is because, if you have met all your repayments on time in the past, your credit profile will have a record of it and the cell phone providers will count you as a reliable candidate. But if you have a poor score, it means that you have made a mistake in the past and you are an unreliable candidate. 

Therefore you have to undergo a credit check for getting any type of loan. The lenders do this to safeguard their own interests. Those of you who have a bad credit score will not be approved for financing a new cell phone, even if you opt to trade it in. 

How to Get Approved for a Cell Phone With Bad Credit?

If you want to finance phone bad credit but are rejected by traditional cell phone carriers, do not worry. Fortunately, there are other options through which you can get guaranteed phone finance with a poor credit score. 

1. Opt for a Prepaid Plan

Opt For A Prepaid Plan

As the name suggests prepaid plan means facilities are only available if you pay in advance. Therefore if you have doubts about whether you can afford future monthly repayments or not, you can opt for a prepaid plan. You can pay in advance to use the services and if you do not want to continue any further, you can stop paying. You can also change your plan after it is over. You can even switch to another carrier and therefore you do not have to commit to a single cell phone carrier.

Prepaid plans require you to pay in advance. Hence, cell phone carriers do not perform a hard check on your credit. This is because you are already paying in advance for the services you are going to use and therefore there is not any risk. 


  • You do not have to commit to a cell phone provider for the long term.
  • You get to decide how much you want to invest.
  • You can stick with one provider for as long as you want.
  • You can get bad credit phone finance.
  • If you get an entire bundle of prepaid plans, you might get a discount.


  • You will have to pay in advance.
  • There will be few facilities for cell phones with prepaid plans.
  • The price range for your prepaid plan depends on the cell phone you purchase with it.
  • You will not be able to use the cell phone and its features if you do not pay in advance for it.

2. Use Buy Now Pay Later Plans

For those of you looking to purchase a smartphone but cannot, because of its high price, you can opt for a buy now pay later plan. As the name suggests, these plans allow you to purchase a cell phone and pay for it over time. This means you do not need to make the payment the very moment you purchase the phone. You can get short-term fixed repayment plans without any interest rate. However you will need to make a down payment first, but the amount is usually low. 

Most of the buy now pay later lenders will require you to turn on autopay, wherein the payment will automatically be deducted from your account. In other cases, you can pay through your bank account or via check, credit card, or bank transfer. It is similar to a credit card but without any interest charges. 


  • You can easily pay for larger cell phone prices over time in installments.
  • Most lenders will not charge any interest. If they do, it would be much lower than credit cards.
  • They do not require any credit score and you can finance phone with bad credit.
  • Their approval is usually fast.
  • You can purchase smartphones with high prices with a buy now pay later plan.


  • The repayment might continue even if you have returned the item.
  • You will be charged with a late payment penalty in case you missed a payment.
  • It can be difficult to track payments.
  • There are no rewards or cash backs on any purchase.

3. Look for Lenders Offering Bad Credit Phone Financing

Look For Lenders Offering Bad Credit Phone Financing

Just like there are lenders that offer loans to those with poor credit, there are cell phone carriers that offer financing a cell phone to those with poor credit. However, they will charge a high-interest rate and you will need to pay a higher down payment. But, if you wish to get guaranteed phone finance with bad credit, you can contact such providers. You do not need to go through a credit check. But they will still check if you are capable of paying back.

They will learn about your credit profile through a soft check which will give them just enough to know if you can be a reliable candidate or not. Alternatively, they will require you to have a certain income amount and to show proof of that. Many providers might also look into your rental history to know if you pay back your dues on time or not. This is because the providers do not want to engage with troubled customers.


  • You can get online loans for bad credit for cell purchasing.
  • There is no credit score requirement.
  • You can purchase your choice of smartphone even if it is expensive.
  • May help you in rebuilding your credit score with on-time repayments.


  • You will have to pay a higher down payment.
  • You will be charged a high-interest rate.
  • You must be able to show proof of income.
  • They might charge extra fees and charges to eliminate the risk.

4. Leasing a Cell Phone

Leasing a smartphone means you do not have to purchase it. It is similar to leasing a car or a flat. Basically, you can go to a company that leases a smartphone and get one. You can use the phone for a specific period of time and you do not have to pay its price. However, you will need to pay monthly leasing payments, just like you do when you lease an apartment or car. 

All you have to do is successfully make an initial payment or down payment then you can only pay the lease price of the phone. One thing you need to remember is leasing is not the same as buying. When you buy a cell phone, it is entirely yours. However, when you lease it, you kind of borrow it to use for a period of time and return it back. You can even return the phone and get a new one or you can renew the existing deal. If you want to, you can purchase the smartphone you have been using.


  • You do not have to commit to one device.
  • You can always return the phone and lease a new one.
  • You can experience new upgrades.
  • Leasing can be cheaper than buying.
  • The carrier will not perform a credit check.
  • You will not need to take credit.


  • You will not be the rightful owner of the phone.
  • You might have to pay buyout fees.
  • Sometimes the sellers charge additional charges and fees.
  • You will have to bear any damages caused to the phone.

5. Purchase a Second-Hand Phone

Smartphones have taken a very important place in our day-to-day lives. It is nearly impossible to survive without them. You not only use them for socializing but also for work and study purposes. Therefore everyone needs it and not everyone can afford them. Those of you who cannot afford to purchase a phone, you might want to consider purchasing a pre-owned one. It is exactly like purchasing a new phone but with minor setbacks. 

The companies that sell pre-owned phones, refurbish them for resale. They repair and restore a secondhand phone and sell it at a comparatively lower price than a new phone. However, a secondhand phone might not work in the same manner as a new phone but it is affordable and you can easily purchase them. 


  • Pre-owned phones are affordable. 
  • You can get phone financing bad credit.
  • The sellers will not perform any credit checks.
  • When you purchase pre-owned phones, it helps reduce electronic waste.
  • You can get a warranty on second-hand guaranteed phone finance.


  • The warranty you get is usually shorter than you get with brand-new phones.
  • Second-hand phones are backward when compared to the latest technology.
  • The phones might be defective.
  • You will not be getting a new handset experience.

6. Get a Co-Signer

Get A Co-Signer

A co-signer is the person who signs online loans for bad credit applications with you. The lender will hold them responsible in case you fail to repay the credit. Not only this but when you default on your payments, your credit score is definitely affected and along with that, your cosigner’s credit score will also be affected negatively. Having said that, you can get a cosigner with good credit. If someone with good credit signs the application, you can get a better deal and even guaranteed phone finance.

This is because they act as insurance when you fail to repay. Therefore the sellers will contact them to repay your loan. Hence, a co-signer is your guarantor. When the co-signer signs your application with you, they become legally responsible for repaying your loan if you default.


  • You can use their credit score to get a good deal.
  • You will not have to go through a credit check.
  • One can easily get guaranteed phone finance with bad credit.
  • The cell phone provider offers you a low-interest rate.
  • You can improve your score with on-time payments.


  • The co-signer will be held responsible for paying your loan if you failed to do so.
  • Co signer’s credit score will be negatively affected if you default on your repayments.
  • The co-signer cannot back out of the deal.

7. Opt for Family Plans

The family plan for phone financing is the same as any other family plan. If you have a family member with a good or excellent credit score, then it would be beneficial for you to get into a family plan. The primary account holder in a family plan has to be someone with a great credit score. This primary account holder can add additional members which have to be part of their family. You will have to show your relationship with the priory member. These plans are beneficial because apart from the primary member, none of the other members need to have a credit score.

As beneficial as it is to other members, it is equally risky for the primary member. This is because, if any member defaults on their payment, not only the primary member will be held responsible to repay the loan but their credit score will be negatively affected. 


  • Credit profiles or the history of the borrowers are not considered.
  • You can get low-interest rates.
  • You can get affordable plans and deals.
  • You can easily get phone financing for bad credit.


  • The primary member has to have a good credit score.
  • In case you fail to repay the loan, the primary account holder will be held responsible for paying it back.
  • The primary member’s credit score is affected when the borrower defaults.
  • You must be a part of the family to join a family plan. 

8. Pay the Security Deposit

A cell phone provider will only finance your application if they think and have proof that you are a reliable candidate. This is the major reason why most lenders perform a hard check on your credit. But many of you must be wondering, how to get approved for a cell phone with bad credit? However, those of you looking for no credit checks because your credit score is low and your credit history is not well maintained or for other reasons can put down a security deposit. 

If you pay a security deposit, the providers are likely to trust you and provide you the credit. This is because you have paid the security deposit. Usually, the amount of the security deposit depends on your loan amount and credit score, but the larger you put down the better.


  • You get moved up on the phone finance approval list.
  • You can purchase phones on finance bad credit.
  • You become a reliable customer.
  • Your credit score improves if you make on-time payments.


  • You are required to pay a certain sum at the start.
  • This does not get you guaranteed phone finance, only moves up your application.
  • You may not be able to afford the amount of the security deposit.
  • You will be charged high-interest rates.

Who Should Get No Credit Check Phones?

Who Should Get No Credit Check Phones?

As appealing as it sounds, no credit check phone financing comes with its setbacks. It is best to opt for such providers only if you do not have any option. Basically, those with bad credit are the most suitable candidates to apply for this loan. This is because many traditional lenders will decline your application if you have a poor credit score. Therefore it is best to opt for no credit check loan options.

But why is it a bad choice for those with a well-maintained credit profile? This is because these loans come with drawbacks that are just not worth it. The interest rates are high and there are additional charges and fees. Moreover, the loan options for no credit check loans like prepaid plans, family plans, co-singers, etc. are not as good as they sound. The disadvantages overpower the advantages. To know more, refer to the description of each how to get a cell phone with bad credit and no deposit options above. 

Where Can You Get Bad Credit Phone Financing?

There are several lenders that offer to finance bad credit holders. Some of them are mentioned below:

1. Boost Mobile

For those of you looking for cheap prepaid plans, boost mobile is your answer. They offer up to 10 plans at a pretty reasonable price. The term period of these prepaid plans ranges from one month to one year. However, you will need to check beforehand if your phone is compatible with the plan. 

Based on 290 reviews, they have an average of 1.1 points out of 5 on Better Business Bureau. Trustpilot rates them 1.3 points out of five based on 206 customer reviews. They have 1.3 out of five on SiteJabber and 3.3 on 5 on Influenster based on 621 and 261 reviews respectively. This clearly shows that the customers are dissatisfied with their services.

How to activate a boost mobile plan?

  • To get started, you must have a phone. You have two options, either get your own phone or purchase a new one from boost mobile. 
  • Now you will have to activate the phone with a plan. You can either do that by referring to their website or visiting the nearest boost mobile retail store. 
  • If you visit the store, an associate for retailing will help you throughout the process. You can follow the lead to activate the plans on your phone.

2. Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is rated the best service provider by American Customer Satisfaction Index. This company is best suited for those who require unlimited offers as they have two plans based on that. With a super simple activation process, you can also save activation fees by activating plans by yourself online. 

Consumer affairs rate them 3.5 points out of 5 based on 729 reviews. They have a 1.5-star rating out of five concluded from 288 reviews on SiteJabber. 1.8/5 stars on Trustpilot based on 236 customer reviews. The customer reviews point out disappointment and dissatisfaction among the customers.

How to activate a Cricket Wireless plan?

  • Move to their website and select the plan of your choice. Now you will have to choose whether you will bring your phone or buy it from the Cricket Wireless website.
  • Check if your device is compatible or not. If yes, choose the sim card along with other options.
  • You will now be able to see the entire plan cost. There are certain offers on some sim cards to arrive.
  • You will get it within 24 hours. Insert it into your device and navigate to
  • Add all the details and reboot your phone. The plan will be activated. 

3. Metro by T-Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile offers four prepaid plans that range from $30 to $60. You can get at least 30 days of the term period. Moreover, you do not need to pay any activation fee even if you are a new customer. Along with attractive plans, Metro by T-Mobile has a few options on free phones but only for a limited time. To be eligible for a free phone, you will need to activate Metro by T-Mobile plans in-store. You can use your existing phone too if you want to or you can simply purchase a new one from their website.

On 64 customers voted 1.3 stars on 5 and 26 customers voted 2.1 stars on the total of five. Based on 452 customer reviews, SiteJabber concluded 1.96 points out of 5. The customer reviews are not great and have shown that they need to improve. However, this is an average of all reviews. Which means there are very satisfied customers too.

How to activate a Metro by T-Mobile plan?

  • They claim there is no activation fee for new customers but charge $20 for re-activation by existing ones. There are two ways to activate a plan.
  • You can either visit a nearby store using their store locator tool. Once found, go there and an assistant will be there to walk you step by step.
  • Or you can go to their website and apply from there. Simply select your plan to move forward.
  • Opt whether to use your existing device or purchase a new one. 
  • Check the compatibility of your phone with the new plan and move ahead only if they are compatible. 
  • Add a SIM card to your cart too along with the plan. Make the payment and wait for the SIM to deliver to you.
  • Once you get it, insert the SIM and then go to their website.
  • Tap on activate your SIM and follow the instructions on the screen to activate your plan.

How to Get a Cell Phone with Bad Credit and No Deposit?

How To Get A Cell Phone With Bad Credit And No Deposit?

In case you do not like the above-mentioned loan options and you can postpone purchasing a cell phone, there is another alternative to get a great deal for financing. Since you are looking for phones to finance bad credit, you will only find options like prepaid plans, co-signer, etc. however, if you restore your credit score, you can get much better deals at lower costs. Here are some ways by which you can rebuild your credit score:

Get a Loan

Before you get payday loans online no denial direct lenders make sure the provider reports to the credit bureaus. There are three major credit bureaus known by the name of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Their major work is to evaluate the borrower’s credit report provided by the lender and determine their credit score. Any defaults will be clearly shown in your credit report. Therefore it is best that you do not make any.

This means that when you get a loan from a lender that reports to the credit bureaus and you meet the repayments on time, then your credit score will be increased. 

Do Not Get Multiple Loans

It is recommended to get a loan but not get multiple loans at one time. There are two major reasons behind this. The first one is that when you take multiple loans at one time, it will be visible on your credit report and therefore it will be assumed that you are going through financial issues. Another major reason is that when you get several loans at a time then you have several monthly repayments. This opens the possibility of defaulting on one or more of the loan repayments and knocking the credit score off.

Credit History

Many lenders might not check your credit score but most of them will check your credit history to know how reliable you are as a borrower. Therefore it is important to maintain a credit history free from major red flags and several ups and downs. It is best if you show a long and stable credit history. This will determine that you are not only a responsible individual who meets the repayments on time but also a responsible borrower to manage their credits and loans properly. Basically, it shows you have achieved financial stability.

Lower Your Debts

The lenders will look into your debts and expenses. If you have several outstanding credits and expenses, then it can be a red flag for the lender. If you keep your debt lower, you will be considered a good candidate and it will be assumed that you can repay the loan. Moreover, it will make you look less risky. 

Alternatives for Financing Phone with Bad Credit

There are several other options if you think that phone financing with bad credit loan options is unsuitable for your requirements. You can ask your loved ones like friends or family for funds to purchase a new phone. They might draw a contract that states the rules of borrowing like term period and interest. All you have to do is sign the contract. But remember if you fail to repay, it will have consequences on your relationship with the lender. 

Other than this, you can get payday loans. Payday loans are issued against your income. If you have a stable income and you require a cell phone immediately, you can get a loan and the repayment will be automatically deducted from your upcoming paycheck. These are short-term loans taken for a term of 15 to 30 days but can be more. You can contact the payday lender for loans over the phone or via email. 

Another way is to obtain funds by selling off useless yet valuable items you own. If you have some things of certain value that you own but do not use, you can sell them for money. This way you do not have to take any type of loan whatsoever. All you have to do is sell the products and earn money. You can use the funds however you want to. 

Another alternative is to exchange your old phone to buy a new one. Although you will have to add more money the original price of the new phone will be reduced when you purchase it by exchanging your old phone. Most lenders allow you to exchange an older phone for a new one. However, you need to remember that the new phone will be more valuable than your old phone and you will have to pay the difference separately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the easiest cell phone company to get approved?

  • Cricket Wireless
  • Republic Wireless
  • Visible
  • Consumer Cellular
  • Google Fi Unlimited Plan
  • Metro by T-Mobile
  • Boost Mobile Unlimited Plan
  • Mint Mobile

Q: What cell phone company does not require a credit check?

You will not have to go through a credit check with companies that offer:

  • Prepaid plans
  • You do get a co-signer
  • Paying security deposit
  • Leasing a cell phone
  • Second-hand or pre-owned phones
  • Family plans

Q: Can I get a cell phone if I have bad credit?

Yes, there are lenders and cell phone providers that offer phones to those with bad credit. Although you might have to pay higher interest rates and show proof of your income you can get a cell phone with bad credit. Moreover, the offers might not be as attractive as you normally get.


When you have bad credit but you still need to finance your phone, you feel stuck in the situation and do not know how to get approved for a cell phone with bad credit? You will be happy to know that you still have options left. You can opt for different loan options all of which are mentioned in the above guide. We have also mentioned some prepaid plan providers along with their customer satisfaction scales. 

This guide will not only help you to learn about no check phone financing but also about your options and where you can get such offers. Moreover, you can make an informed decision about whether these loans are worth it or not. With this, we are ending this article hoping we could be of some help.

Author Profile

Susan Anderson
Meet our Author of Our Editorial Team, Susan Anderson. She is an experienced writer and financial expert who has been writing about credit cards, card offers, services, and other related topics for more than twenty years. With her in-depth knowledge on the matter and her ability to distill complex topics into useful information for readers, Susan has become a go-to source for reliable credit card advice. In addition to her work at the editorial team, she also contributes to major publications such as The Wall Street Journal and With her expertise and industry experience, she is able to provide sound advice on all aspects of credit responsibly while helping people save money in the process.

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