We use cookies on our websites. Information about cookies and how you can object to the use of cookies at any time or end their use can be found in our privacy policy.

Buying a new phone? Don't settle for carrier financing

Buying a new phone? Don't settle for carrier financing

The traditional way of paying for a smartphone is through a carrier with a monthly payment plan, tied to a two year service contract. In the long run, buying from your carrier, even with a subsidy, can end up costing you more - and you end up not being able to switch providers if you find a better deal elsewhere because you’ll have contract cancellation fees and a carrier-locked device. Since smartphones have gotten so expensive, the option to pay for a new phone upfront may seem like a far off possibility to some. However, there are better alternatives for financing a new smartphone, without having to pay interest or be tied to a carrier.

There are two compelling reasons not to finance your new smartphone through a carrier: You’ll be locked into a contract, and you might end up paying more for the device (and the service) than you would otherwise. If you want the freedom to switch carriers whenever you want and shop around for the best deal on a phone, but you don’t want to pay cash upfront for an expensive piece of hardware, you can still get financing from retailers and manufacturers.

Retailer financing

Whether you want to buy in-person or online, you’ve got options for retailer financing. The two giants, Best Buy and Amazon.com, both offer no-interest financing.

Best Buy offers carrier financing options, but that’s not what we’re interested in here. My Best Buy® Credit Cards can be used to purchase unlocked or carrier branded phones, and they allow you to get no-interest financing for 6 months for purchases over $199, and 12 months for over $399.

Amazon offers no-interest financing for 6 months with a purchase of $149 or more, or 12 months for $599 and up. Like Best Buy, you’ll have to sign up for the Amazon.com Store Card to get this deal.

Manufacturer financing

As with the retailers above, you can also get financing (sometimes with no-interest) from many, but not all, carriers. Here are the details.

  • Samsung offers 6 months no-interest on purchases between $250 and $499.99, and 12 months for $500 or more. For the Galaxy S8 and S7 flagships specifically, you can get no-interest for 24 months.
  • Motorola has phased out the Moto Credit program and now offers financing through a third-party service called Affirm. Motorola phones, whether unlocked or carrier branded, can be financed for 6 or 12 months, or for purchases of $150 or more, 18 months.
  • Google offers a generous 24 months no-interest financing option for the Pixel and Pixel XL, if you order directly from the Google Store instead of your carrier.
AndroidPIT HTC U 11 4673
You can get no-interest financing for the HTC U11. / © AndroidPIT
  • HTC gives the option for customers to pay with PayPal Credit. That means you can get 18 months no-interest on a device that costs $540 and up, like the HTC U11, 12 months for $360 and up or 6 months for $180 and up.
  • OnePlus also makes use of PayPal Credit, for any purchase over $99. You can get up to 18 months no-interest, as well.
  • Apple also offers financing through the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards. Get 6 months no-interest for purchases up to $499, 12 months for $499 to $999, 18 months for $999 to $1499 or even 24 months for $1499 and up.
  • For the moment, LG, Sony and Huawei aren’t promoting any financing options, but this may change in the future.

You don't have to settle for expensive carrier financing and service contracts that tie you down. Consider financing your phone with a manufacturer or retailer instead. You may end up paying less and getting more freedom. But, as always, read the find print. If you find any other great special financing offers, be sure to let us know in the comments!

Recommended articles


Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • iko Jul 28, 2017 Link to comment

    I always buy my phone from the maker always better on repairs here in Australia and also I get it quicker

  • FWIW, in Canada last month the federal telecom regulator forced the telcos to unlock branded phones no charge, and to issue all new phones unlocked, beginning December 1. They had been charging C$75 (over U$55) to unlock them.

  • Unfortunately for me, Verizon is the only carrier in which I can get reliable cell coverage with in my area. And if you have Verizon, you know you can't use any phone, except the ones they sell to you. So you HAVE to buy from them, or else you can't get any 4g coverage, and only limited 3g coverage. It sucks that phone manufacturers can't just put all these antenna bands on one, single device, so there's just one phone model to rule them all.

    • Yes you can on Verizon. It's called BYOD, Bring your own device. Link below. Also the Google Pixel works on all networks in the US. I have Sprint and could move to ATT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon etc...
      Update, they won't let me post a link that shows you the page... that's stupid! Just do a search with Google for: verizon can you bring your own phone?

      • The BYOD is conditional, before you register your device, you have to check the compatibility of your device with their network. If it isn't compatible, tough luck. You gotta buy one of their phones.

      • US, Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular use CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. Google Pixel supports GSM: Quad-band GSM, UMTS/WCDMA: B 1/2/4/5/8, CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10, TD-SCDMA: N/A
        FDD LTE: B 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/29/30, TDD LTE: B 41.
        Others phones that support both CDMA and GSM are iPhone 6, 6+, 6s, 6s+ and above Google Nexus 5, 6
        Some international Samsung devices (you need to research the device you are interested in)
        Motorola MotoX Pure 2014 Google Play edition, Motorola MotoX Pure 2015, Motorola MotoX Play 2015, MotoG. Many more you just need to look around. Even if you buy the Pixel phone from Verizon that phone still can move to other networks. In your post you say "And if you have Verizon, you know you can't use any phone, except the ones they sell to you" that is not true and I'm just showing you that you do have options.

    • I suggest talking to Verizon customer service and discussing this with them. You do have the option to bring your own device, and a surprising number of phones are compatible with their network.

  • Consumers are now getting further ripped off with the pricing of smartphones,and loads can't afford to buy a phone sim free,so sign up for contracts that last over 18-24 months,but do not work out what they end up fully paying for there phones ,but don't really feel happy with there phones after 12th months,sim free deals now are becoming more popular,as your not paying for a phone and offer better data usage for consumers, looks like after phones are going up again in price after August

Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing