Do you want an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, but not sure you can afford it? With iPhone financing, Apple and U.S. carriers make it easier for you to get the phone you want, usually for less than the cost of the phone. Here’s how.
The Monthly Payment
Since Apple’s iPhone X event on Tuesday, the non-tech media has been obsessing over the “$1,000 iPhone.” While it’s true the entry-level iPhone X will set you back $999 plus taxes in the United States, this assumes you’re paying for the device in full.
In reality, most folks now buy smartphones with monthly payments through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program or similar carrier offerings. These programs allow you to upgrade your phone on a 12-month or 24-month basis without paying the entire amount for the device.
The drawback here is that you’re technically renting your iPhone (unless you decide to pay the amount in full), as opposed to owning it and when the time comes to upgrade, you’ll need to return your old phone in good condition.
Apple offers three purchasing options. You can buy the phone outright for full price or utilize the iPhone Upgrade Program and pay for 12 months and then buy a new one. The company’s iPhone Installation program allows you to purchase a new phone after 24 months.
AT&T Next/AT&T Next Every Year divides the full price cost of your iPhone into monthly installments. Requires 0% APR monthly installment agreement & eligibility. $0 down requires well-qualified credit. If you put more down upfront, the remaining cost is divided into 30 or 24-month installments.
AT&T Next is a 30-month payment agreement that allows you to upgrade to a new iPhone when you trade-in your current iPhone (once 80% is paid off). AT&T Next Every Year is a 24-month payment agreement that allows you to upgrade to a new iPhone when you trade-in your current iPhone (once 50% is paid off).
With Verizon’s iPhone Annual Upgrade program, you may upgrade from an eligible iPhone as soon as 30 days after enrolling in the Verizon Device Payment program and after you have paid off at least 50% of the retail price of your iPhone.
Note: The prices listed don’t include service or taxes.
As you can see in the chart, the difference per month between the least expensive iPhone X and most expensive iPhone 8 Plus is as little as $2. Additionally, you can purchase an entry-level iPhone 8 for as little as $23 per month, compared to $33 per month for the “$1,000” iPhone X.
Through AT&T Next, I’m paying $36 per month for my 128GB iPhone 7 Plus that is now upgrade eligible. I can either pay an additional $6 per month for the 64GB iPhone X model or $12 more per month for the 256GB model. Upgrading to the 256GB iPhone 8 Plus would set me back $4 more per month.
My choice is to buy a 256GB iPhone X, which means coughing up another $12 per month. Over the course of the next year, I’ll pay $575 for the device.
The bottom line: If you qualify, financing your phone is the way to go. This no-interest approach allows you to make purchases every 12- or 24-months. In other words, figure out what you can afford per month and then decide what phone you should buy.
As a reminder, pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus begin this Friday, Sept. 15 with the first deliveries going out one week later on Friday, Sept. 22. The iPhone X goes on sale Friday, Oct. 27 with the first orders arriving on Friday, Nov. 3.
Which iPhone are you going to buy? Let us know below.