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Cell phone with terrible credit.

DrezDrez Registered User regular
edited February 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
So, to be blunt - my credit is atrocious. However I just started a new job so I am on the path to economic recovery.

Buy for the time being I want to try to achieve some semblance of independence. Right now, I'm on a family plan. I want to break away from this and do an "upgrade" (I'm over two years on this plan) or sign a new contract so I can get a new phone.

My credit rating, however, is truly abysmal. I was reading online that they might ask you for a deposit of some kind to cover the subsidy if your credit is poor. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm going to go to Verizon today and discuss this with them but I was hoping to have an idea of what I should expect before walking in there.

Is it possible that they might just reject me entirely without even allowing a deposit-type situation? I have no problem leaving a huge deposit.

Also, I don't actually have a credit card. I got rid of them long ago. Is that going to be an issue?

Last, any advice on how I can start to repair my credit? My outstanding debts are nearly gone (few more payments and they will be). But then what?

Drez on
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Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    How horrible is horrible Drez? I had like a 600 when I got my cell phones 6 years ago with no problems. They take cash too.

    Best advice to repair your credit is to get a credit card and pay it off every month, it's usually the quickest way. The other way is to get loans from banks (though slower) and pay them off too (like car loans, unsecured loans, etc). Paying your utilities might help too, depends on the company.

    You have 0 debt liability (or thereabouts), right?

    bowen on
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Failing the credit check no longer means that they turn you away. You just have to leave a deposit as a security - usually like 250 bucks to start an account.
    That is on top of whatever plan, phone, and accessories you buy.

  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    If Verizon wants a deposit I would check with Sprint or TMobile as they generally will give people phones without deposit much more often than Verizon or AT&T.

    We have Sprint and they put a spending limit on our account and we maybe pay a small fee for that to be in place, but otherwise they're great. The immigrant community my wife works with generally have no credit and they almost exclusively use TMobile for that reason.

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    Get a Virgin Mobile phone. You buy the phone (about $200 for an Android), but no contracts, no credit checks, and a low price each month depending on your plan (I have the lowest with unlimited everything except for talk which is 300 minutes and it's $25 a month). You would need some way to pay your bill digitally, but if you have a debit card that would work.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    How is Sprint's service? I like Verizon's network which is why I would prefer to stay with them but I will keep that under consideration.

    And Bowen it is abysmal. I don't know what my score is but I bet it is below 500.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    I should have mentioned that I am focused on an iPhone 4S.

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  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Thats AT&T and Verizon then!

    Good news is that you can usually find both stores within a stones throw of each other. Just go down to a Verizon store and let them know that you'd like the latest iphone and you've got money, but terrible credit. They'll run it, and get you set up. Make sure its a real verizon store and not an "authorized verizon dealer".

    If you don't like the price, go next door to AT&T, and repeat.

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Drez wrote:
    I should have mentioned that I am focused on an iPhone 4S.

    You've got the iPhone 5 coming in late Summer. Wait. Get a pay-as-you go for now.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Drez wrote:
    How is Sprint's service? I like Verizon's network which is why I would prefer to stay with them but I will keep that under consideration.

    And Bowen it is abysmal. I don't know what my score is but I bet it is below 500.

    AT&T and Verizon are your choices for the iPhone. AT&T usually has better prices, Verizon usually has better service in general.

    Egads, any reason it would be that low? Did you default on some loans/file for bankruptcy.

    Have a car loan you're about to pay off any chance?

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    S
    bowen wrote:
    Drez wrote:
    How is Sprint's service? I like Verizon's network which is why I would prefer to stay with them but I will keep that under consideration.

    And Bowen it is abysmal. I don't know what my score is but I bet it is below 500.

    AT&T and Verizon are your choices for the iPhone. AT&T usually has better prices, Verizon usually has better service in general.

    Egads, any reason it would be that low? Did you default on some loans/file for bankruptcy.

    Have a car loan you're about to pay off any chance?

    Sprint has iPhones.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    Drez wrote:
    How is Sprint's service? I like Verizon's network which is why I would prefer to stay with them but I will keep that under consideration.

    And Bowen it is abysmal. I don't know what my score is but I bet it is below 500.

    Sprint's coverage for 3G can be iffy in my area, but I'm in Maine and that's probably to be expected. Despite all rumors I heard prior to switching, their customer service has been nothing but awesome for us. We've had US Cellular, TMobile, Verizon and Sprint and we've been the happiest with Sprint in both pricing and customer service.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Drez wrote:
    I should have mentioned that I am focused on an iPhone 4S.

    You've got the iPhone 5 coming in late Summer. Wait. Get a pay-as-you go for now.

    I'm normally not an advocate of waiting on technology that's months away. I'm a "need-it-now" type of guy. But for Apple, this is sound advice.

    I'd also urge you to check out the Androids available. The platform has come a long, long way in the past year, and where it was a promising looking OS, it's now a legitimate contender with the iPhone. The phone is cheaper. The technology is (currently) better. The app availability is impressive. And most importantly for me, user customization isn't sacrificed for brand recognition.

    I currently have an iPhone 4, and unless the next iPhone is incredible, I'm likely getting an Android when my upgrade term renews in the Fall.

    Phone choice aside, if you're willing to plop down a gigantic deposit, why not just buy a phone and not go under contract?

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Ah sprint has them now? Excellent. Sprint has good data rates for smart phones, if I recall, with "actually unlimited unlimited data."

    To me though, I'm 99% of the time around wifi so I don't honestly care, which might help you factor in which one offers the best service if you're looking at stuff like that.

  • LankyseanLankysean Registered User regular
    I work in the cell phone industry so let me shed a little light here. If your credit is truly that bad you are almost 100% going to be required to leave a deposit, which is generally returned to you 12 months later assuming you keep your account paid on time. The size of the deposit will vary depending on the provider and credit score, the highest I've ever seen was when I worked at Verizon and it was $5,000... yeah really. Typical deposits can be as low as $50 and as high as $400 however. In terms of who requires a higher credit score it's going to go: Verizon>AT&T>Sprint>T-mobile... unless you owe one of them money than they will more then likely flat out decline you. Now keep in mind that some providers may decline you flat out if your credit score has a long, long history of skipping out on cell phone companies even if you have never had them before. I had a customer recently who had never had my company before in their life, but had defaulted on every other provider and we didn't approve them because of that.

    Another thing, don't be afraid of pre-paid... it's not that bad. It's generally a LOT cheeper every month than a contract and you can even get unlimited minutes/text/unlimited date (but it will be throttled). If you pay $50 a month for prepaid vs $80 a month on a contract you are saving $720 by the end of the 2 year period... more then enough to get yourself an unlocked iPhone to use. Just something to think about, because from what I hear cell phone providers don't report positively on your credit score even if you pay your bill every single month... they are real quick to report when you miss a payment though.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    I went pre-paid with AT&T for like two years at one point because I didn't need a smartphone. I had a basic phone that did everything I want and I just had AT&T take $50 out of my account every month for it, no contract, no credit check. It was the same data and voice plan that their basic service starts at and it worked fine.

    Also, no one has mentioned it, but in some areas Cricket Mobile is a good service. It basically piggybacks off the sprint network and I know quite a few people that use it. It's like $65 a month after taxes if you want a droid.

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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Ah sprint has them now? Excellent. Sprint has good data rates for smart phones, if I recall, with "actually unlimited unlimited data."

    To me though, I'm 99% of the time around wifi so I don't honestly care, which might help you factor in which one offers the best service if you're looking at stuff like that.

    I need to look into Sprint's pricing. I'm grandaddied into the AT&T unlimited data, but the $95 a month hurts.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    How many minutes do you use @Esh? You could probably get down to $80 a month with unlimited data + 450 minutes.

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    How many minutes do you use @Esh? You could probably get down to $80 a month with unlimited data + 450 minutes.

    Very, very few. I text way more.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    If you're really a few payments away from being out of debt (or at least bad debt), wait until then to even think about a new phone.

    Also, iphones really suck on Sprint's network. If you're in an area that's even somewhat populated, the 3g is just too congested to be worthwhile. 4g phones, on the other hand, fly - though right now I'd wait for the lte phones to start coming out before investing.

  • MelinoeMelinoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Esh wrote:
    bowen wrote:
    How many minutes do you use @Esh? You could probably get down to $80 a month with unlimited data + 450 minutes.

    Very, very few. I text way more.

    Sprint is around $70 a month for 450 minutes and unlimited everything else+a $10 smartphone charge if you get an iphone or an android. Insurance is about $7. Taxes are whatever they are. You probably wouldn't actually save that much money but one of the other nice things about Sprint (that AT&T might have, I've never used them and know next to nothing about them) is that they have unlimited free roaming. Was super helpful when my boyfriend and I were driving through the middle of nowhere on a roadtrip and were mostly on roaming. Sprint piggybacks off of Verizon's network when the roaming kicks in, so between the two you have coverage just about everywhere.

    edit: If you get an iphone though you can't insure them so that knocks off the insurance price.

    Melinoe on
  • GolemGolem Registered User regular
    okie let me put this out their, I go with Straight Talk its a month to month service from Wal-Mart via the Tracfone network. It's nationwide, reliable and they have smart phone options (like I have a Galaxy Precedent with Android 2.2) all it takes is cost of the phone and 45 a month for unlimited everything. (talk, text, data)

    It won't help your credit, but it will get you a functional and modern phone.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Yeah, unfortunately if you NEED an iPhone, you can't use Virgin Mobile at the moment. They support smartphones, but only the ones listed on their website (and no iPhone has been listed to date). It's kind of odd since they've been bought by Sprint and SPRINT gets iPhones, but as best as I've read online, they indeed don't support iPhones yet (I guess the phones need certain software to track the pay-as-you-go aspect, not really sure). However, they are far and away the cheapest provider (or one of the cheapest providers) out there, whether or not you have a smartphone. Hell, the cheapest you can go without a smartphone is $20 every 3 months, so effectively <$7/month, which is just nuts... and their lowest smartphone plan is $35/month (so cheaper than the Wal-mart suggestion above if you don't need more than 300 minutes/month since everything else is unlimited, but if you do need more than that Wal-mart's option is better). A small downside is that, yeah, you need to buy the phone outright, I suppose. The bigger downside is that their coverage area is supposedly smaller than usual, according to their site... kind of weird since they use Sprint's towers and Sprint has much better coverage it seems. I honestly haven't ever had any trouble getting a signal anywhere people on Verizon/etc. are able to thus far (and sometimes I've even had a signal when they haven't), even on my crappy phone, at any rate. Maybe I'm just lucky in where I've traveled around the States, I dunno.

    Regarding Sprint, having had Virgin Mobile (which has always run off Sprint's towers) ever since I got a cell phone, their voice service at least is solid in the areas it covers. Be sure to double-check that they DO have service where you are, since unlike Verizon they're not literally everywhere. The map on their site looks like you're covered nearly everywhere now though, which is nice since they weren't as prevalent before.

    Essee on
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