Having a cell phone is no longer an option. Moreover, for most of us, having a smartphone that enables us to browse the web and perform all sorts of advanced tasks on the go is a must-have. Since the law of demand and offer always applies, countless carriers offer wide ranges of cell phones to meet all users’ needs. However, in today’s article, we will focus our attention on no money down cell phone plans.
We will learn all about the ‘no money down’ aspects, starting with the basics and moving forward to details that will help you attain a cell phone plan that will suit your needs. Are you ready to dig in? Let’s do this.
No Money Down Cell Phone Plans Explained
Phones and phone plans come in wide ranges, and in case of users that want large amounts or even unlimited amounts of minutes, texts, and mobile data on monthly basis in combination with top-level phones, the prices can be very high.
That said, it is completely logical that wireless carriers cannot take the risk by offering their plans to just everyone as there would likely be a high percentage of users who’d not pay their monthly bills. So, in order to protect themselves, cell phone companies perform various action steps to ensure that a customer will be able to pay the bill.
They can do a credit score check and they have a down payment set in place. However, not all cell phone deals or plans require credit checks nor down payments.
So what does the ‘no money down cell phone plans’ mean? It refers to phone or phone plan deals that do not require any initial down payments.
What Credit Score Does a Cell Phone Company Consider as “Bad Credit”?
The exact credit score that is considered as ‘bad credit’ often varies from carrier to carrier. However, a credit score of 600 is generally set as a threshold. Anything below 600 is very likely to be considered as ‘bad credit’ by the majority of wireless carriers.
Having a good credit score is absolutely beneficial and is exactly what can help you attain the best phone deals. Luckily, there are ways to attain a phone and phone deals even if your credit score is below 600.
Now that you know what numbers are behind the ‘bad credit’, it seems only fair to give you the numbers that will most likely label you with a ‘good credit’ score. 700 seems to be the score that many wireless carriers consider as good or even excellent credit score.
How To Get Best No Money Down Cell Phone Plans
So, let’s now look at the no money down cell phone plans from the carriers’ perspective. Imagine that you are a carrier. To what sort of customers would you offer no money down cell phone plans? To those that you are confident will be able to pay the bills or to those that seem like they might struggle to cover the monthly expenses? It the first one, right?
As such, it seems completely logical that customers with excellent credit scores are the ones that will get the best no money down cell phone plans offered.
That said, maintaining your credit score as high as possible is the most important thing to do to ensure to get the best no money down cell phone plans.
But what if you have a poor credit score and want to use no money down cell phone plans? What are your options?
First of all, you need to set the right kind of expectations. With poor credit and no money down, you cannot expect to get the best and the latest phones nor plans, unless paying your phone in full upfront and getting a prepaid plan.
However, if you aim for entry-level and mid-range phones or older phone models, then no money down cell phone plans become a reality again.
That said, let’s look at the most common ways to get no money down cell phone plans even if your credit score is not great.
Option #1: Prepaid Plans
Prepaid plans are without a doubt the best way to get no money down cell phone plans. Of course, they are by definition prepaid, which means that you pay for your monthly airtime in advance. Prepaid plans are similar to airtime cards that were very popular in the past.
It makes sense that a credit check is not required as you are paying your bill in advance. Moreover, keep in mind that prepaid plans tend to be rather affordable and that the amount you pay upfront is not that high.
In addition to airtime, most prepaid options also give you a chance to purchase a device. The exact devices available will vary, depending on the carrier. In many cases the latest and top models will also be available, however, these devices will cost a lot, which may not be something everyone can afford.
Option #2: Buy Now, Pay Later
Buy now pay later options are common when a credit check is performed, and a client’s credit score is good. But there are buy now, pay later deal often available without a credit check as well. The ‘Buy now, pay later’ option is a type of financing option. A third party normally offers it. The trick here is that they charge a small (or sometimes not-so-small) fee and offer you a payment plan in return.
In the long run, you will normally pay slightly more than you would if you were to pay the full amount at the purchase time. However, if you want the latest iPhone or any top-level Android phone, it is a good option.
These types of deals may be offered directly on carriers’ websites. However, you can explore other options if you turn directly towards the financing companies providing ‘Buy now, pay later’ options.
You can find various options online and is always important to be careful and perform quick research to ensure that the financing company is legit. Some mention-worthy options that offer cell phone financing without credit check include Rent Delite and Leaseville.
Most ‘buy now, pay later’ deals come in form of 12 or 24 monthly installments. Once you pay all installments you own the phone.
The thing to be noted is that this type of financing only refers to device cost. Your plan will be covered separately, directly with the carrier. Moreover, make sure to pay close attention when looking at the fees. Some financing options will have extremely high fees, which can result in you paying 150%, 200%, or even more of the device’s actual price. As such, read all the details and understand what you are signing up for.
Option #3: Family Plans
Many carriers offer family plans that come with multiple lines. These plans are a great choice and can save quite a lot of money for family members, as much as 50%. Usually, the more the lines, the higher the savings. But the lines are often limited to five lines with most carriers.
The thing about family plans is that they have the main account holder (typically the head of the family). And if the main account holder has a good credit score, the entire family can benefit from it. That leads to no money down cell phone plans for other family members.
The thing to note here is that the primary account holder will be responsible for all accounts and carry the consequences of any payments that other members missed.
Option #4: Finding a Co-Signer
Getting a co-signer who has a good credit score is another alternative to get the no money down cell phone plans. This option is not available with all the carriers; however, in most cases, you can exploit it after asking about it.
If you get a co-signer, make sure to play it fair and go with a plan that you will easily pay for on a monthly basis so that your co-signer doesn’t actually care about any consequences.
Given the options above, we believe that prepaid plans are your best choice, however, feel free to explore any of them. Always make sure to read all the details of any offer. Moreover, keep in mind that the phone may be essential but you can definitely get by with an entry-level phone. That said, give your decision on paying an extra fee for a phone always a second thought and determine if you really need that expensive phone.
That said, let’s move on to the next section, where we will take a closer look at the 5 best companies that provide no money down cell phone plans.
The 5 Best Companies That Provide No Money Down Cell Phone Plans
Keep in mind that there are countless carriers operating in various areas of the USA. As such, your actual choices will always depend on your area. In line with this fact, we decided to go with the carriers that are available in most areas and take a closer look at their no money down cell phone plans. These include Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Metro by T-Mobile.
The first four are the leading carriers in the USA, however, they now also offer prepaid options that include no money down cell phone plans. Keep in mind that in order to get a no money down cell phone plans with those carriers, you will need to either bring your own phone or purchase theirs at a full price.
Sprint is one of the leading wireless carriers in the USA. They have joined the T-Mobile team in 2020, however, they continue to operate and offer great deals to their clients.
Sprint runs a No Credit Check plan for people with bad credit or no credit history, which is something that deserves your attention. No, keep in mind that down payments may apply for some of the deals, however, there is no money down cell phone plans available as well.
If you decide to go with Sprint, you can be eligible to sign up for the Unlimited Kickstart plan. This plan offers unlimited voice, text, and data for only $35 per month. At this price, this is one of the most affordable unlimited plans. It has no annual contract, which means you are free to leave at any time.
This plan is not only a great choice for people with bad credit but also for everyone else, who already has a working phone, which may be used (via Bring Your Own Device) with that plan.
Of course, you can also buy a phone with Sprint, however, payment plans and any down payments will depend on the type of phone you choose. There are some highly affordable pre-owned phones available at Sprint for as little as $49. A great example is LG’s Tribute Royal.
To get the most up-to-date information, be sure to visit Sprint’s official website.
T-Mobile is a huge wireless provider that is operating all across the globe. Their main focus is still on postpaid plans; however, with the T-Mobile Simply Prepaid, no money down cell phone plans are now available.
T-Mobile’s prepaid plans start at $40 per month, which provides you with 10 GB of data, unlimited texts, and calls. To attain unlimited data, you need to pay $50.
Moreover, T-Mobile runs a special program known as ‘Smartphone Equality’ that enables all who make on-time payments on their prepaid plans for 12 consecutive months to access all T-Mobile’s best deals. This means that by paying your prepaid regularly, you will be able to upgrade to a new device at the most affordable price.
T-Mobile also offers you to either bring your own phone, which is the most affordable option, or explore their phone deals. To get no money down cell phone plans, the device will need to be paid in full in advance.
AT&T also has a prepaid option, which enables you to use this major carrier without being tight down to one of its postpaid plans. More importantly, that way you can also skip the credit check.
AT&T has several different prepaid plans. They mainly vary on the data usage you require each month as they all come with unlimited texting to over 100 countries and unlimited talk within the US.
The most affordable prepaid plan starts at $35 per month and includes 2 GB of data. The plan that comes with unlimited data runs at $65 per month.
AT&T also allows you to bring your own device, which ensures you no money down cell phone plans usage. In case you need a new device, you can also purchase it with them. Their most affordable devices start as low as $39.99. Though, keep in mind that in any case you will be required to get the most expensive unlimited plan to attain an additional discount on the device purchase.
Visit AT&T’s official website for the most recent offers.
4. Verizon Wireless
Verizon is one of the most awarded wireless providers in the states. Their coverage is amazing and their customer service top of the top. Luckily, they also give you no money down cell phone plans to choose from with the Verizon Prepaid plans.
All Verizon prepaid plans come without any long-term contracts. To make full use of these plans, you will typically need to bring your own phone.
Similar to other carriers, Verizon offers unlimited calls and texts on all their unlimited plans. As such, the plans vary based on the amount of mobile data.
Often times they also run special promotions, such as “double the data,” which seem highly generous.
Verizon prepaid plans start at $35 per month that comes with 3GB of data. The truly unlimited plan (that also includes the unlimited amount of data) runs for $65 per month.
In case you also need a new device, you have many phones available at Verizon. Of course, the latest and top-grade models will cost you a lot, however, there are Alcatel’s and Motorola’s entry-level smartphones that come at an affordable $59.99.
5. Metro by T-Mobile (former Metro PCS)
Metro by T-Mobile is completely devoted to prepaid plans. All their plans are no money down cell phone plans. Moreover, they are only offering unlimited plans, which means that you get to enjoy calls, texts, and even unlimited mobile data carefree.
All their plans come with multi-line discounts, which enables families to save further.
Current T-Mobile Plans:
- $30 plan with 2GB of data, unlimited text and calls
- $40 (single line): 10 GB high-speed data, unlimited text, and calls
- $70 for 2 lines
- $100 for 3 lines
- $130 for 4 lines
- $160 for 5 lines
- $50 (single line): Unlimited GB of high-speed data, unlimited text, and calls; hot spot 5GB included, Google One 100GB
- $80 for 2 lines
- $110 for 3 lines
- $140 for 4 lines
- $170 for 5 lines
- $60 (single line): Unlimited GB of high-speed data, unlimited text, and calls; hot spot 15GB included, Google One 100GB, Amazon Prime
- $90 for 2 lines
- $120 for 3 lines
- $120 for 4 lines
- $150 for 5 lines
Metro by T-Mobile has a wide selection of phones available and they often run special deals, especially in their local stores. These deals often include free phones or buy one get one for free and do not require a credit check. Moreover, these deals are typically no money down cell phone plans. To see the most up-to-date offers, visit Metro-by-T-Mobile’s website.
Advantage & Disadvantage Of No Money Down Cell Phone Plans
No money down cell phone plans have their advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, some people will see certain advantages as disadvantages, depending on your needs and wants. This will also highly dependent on how you will get no money down cell phone plans (as discussed in the ‘How To Get Best No Money Down Cell Phone Plans’ section).
For instance, if you go with the prepaid option, the freedom of switching at any time you want is a major advantage. While the need to pay for a new phone in full in advance may be a noticeable disadvantage.
In the case of using ‘buy now, pay later’ financing, the main advantage would be the ability to attain a more expensive phone, while the main disadvantage would be the fees imposed by the financing company.
That said, you can see that it is all very relative to your specific case. As such, it is up to you to weigh the benefits and downsides and make an informed decision.
FAQs ( Frequently Asked Questions )
What does $0 down or no money mean when buying a cell phone?
It means that there is no down payment required. However, keep in mind that phones that are paid in full at the time of purchase also fall under the no money down deals.
Which cell phone carrier has the cheapest unlimited plan?
Boost Mobile and Sprint currently offer the most affordable truly unlimited plans that also include an unlimited amount of data. If you are only interested in unlimited texts and calls, then you have more options.
What credit score do I need for a phone contract?
It varies from carrier to carrier, however, a score of above 550 or 600 is often required.
Can I get a cell phone contract with no credit and no money down?
Yes. The best way to do so is through family plans or to get a co-signer.
Why is my cell phone bill so high?
There may be several reasons for a high bill. The bill typically consists of your plan (minutes, data, texts) and device payments (if applicable). So the first reason may be that you have an expensive plan. The second reason may be that you do not have an optimal plan (this means that your plan doesn’t cover your amounts of calls, texts, or data) and you pay per use, which can really skyrocket your bill.
The third option is that you purchased your device based on monthly installments, which can be very expensive for top-grade phones.