It’s become more difficult to obtain any form of credit, with many businesses strapped for cash and wary of getting burned by high-risk customers. This extends to mobile phone companies, who run credit checks before allowing customers to enter into any form of long-term contract. If you have made financial mistakes in the past or are too young to have established credit, this can make finding a suitable cell phone plan difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to get around the credit check and still find the right mobile phone for your needs.
Pay a Deposit
One of the first ways to get a cell phone even if your credit isn’t perfect is by paying a deposit. Most mobile phone providers will work with you and take a deposit, which could be anywhere from £100 to £1000. This can then be applied towards your first few mobile phone bills or retained until you have paid all of your bills on time for a specific trial period, such as one year. If you need to build or repair credit, this can be a good way to get started.
Sign up for a Family Plan
If you’re a teenager without established credit, you could still get a cell phone if you sign up for your family’s plan. Many major providers offer family packages that allow you to take out several phones and numbers, with a small extra fee for each line.
Avoid a Contract
Another option is to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone. Prepaid plans are available without credit checks, although you may have to pay for your own mobile phone in order to access them. Going without a contract gives you a greater amount of freedom, and it can also be cheaper if you need to make cheap calls to Pakistan or other locations abroad. This is advantageous for those with friends and family living in other countries. For example, you can call Australia with Lebara, a prepaid phone provider, for far lower rates than you would pay if you had a monthly phone contract with a major provider like Virgin. Because your minutes are paid for in advance, there’s no risk to the phone provider and no credit check is needed.
Get a Co-Signer
Another option for those with poor credit is to get a co-signer for the phone contract. If you have a friend or relative who has good established credit, they can start up an account in their name. You can make changes to the account provided you have the account holder’s permission, but they will be held responsible for all bills being paid on time. However, bear in mind that not all providers will agree to this and it cannot be used as a way to improve your credit, since the payments are not in your name.
From prepaid phones to deposits, there are numerous avenues you can explore even with less than perfect credit. Mobile phone providers face stiff competition from one another, and don’t want to turn away customers. You can use this to your advantage to obtain a phone that best suits your needs.