How to pay for the newest iPhone when Apple’s financing shuts you out.
The iPhone XS, XS Max or XR cost as much as $1,449 — that can be a real sticker shock for some. And if you don’t have the savings to cover these pricey phones, you might have quickly completed the credit app with financing partner Citizens One only to be confronted with a disappointing message: “Not approved for financing.”
Fortunately, you can still order your iPhone XS, XS Max or XR with these four financing alternatives.
Option 1: A personal loan with fast turnaround
- Good for those who want financing with $0 down payment and more flexibility.
A personal loan is a general-use financing tool that you can use to cover any large expense. Unlike phone-specific financing, you can apply for personal loan amounts of $1,000 to $50,000 and use the funds to pay for must-have accessories as well. Go ahead and add $500 extra for wireless headphones, a phone case and a charging base.
Typical turnaround: You can expect to receive your personal loan funds within a few business days. Most lenders offer immediate preapproval decisions, which means you’ll quickly find out how much you’re eligible to borrow so that you can plan your next steps.
Our top picks for a fast personal loan:
|Provider||Maximum loan amount||APR||Terms||CTA|
|Even Financial Personal Loans||$100,000||3.84% to 35.99%||2 to 7 years|
|NetCredit Personal Loan||$10,000||34% to 155% (Varies by state)||6 months to 5 years (varies by state)|
|Prosper Personal Loans||$40,000||6.95% to 35.99%||3 or 5 years|
Option 2: Finance your iPhone through your carrier
- Good for those who want to roll payments for their phone into their monthly bill.
If you aren’t approved for financing through Apple’s site, you might be able to get financing through your current mobile carrier. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile offer phone financing that can be grouped into your monthly bill. Carrier financing typically comes with an interest-free period of up to 24 months, but you’ll likely have to make a one-time payment at checkout to receive the phone.
Option 3: Switch to a new carrier offering a stellar discount
- Good for those who aren’t married to their current carriers — and are on the lookout for a deal.
If you visit any major wireless carrier, you’ll probably see deals for the iPhone XS, XR Max or XR front and center — part of a competitive battle for your business. Some providers offer discounts of up to $300 off the iPhone XS when you trade in specific smartphones, while others offer to subsidize a chunk off the cost when you sign a multiyear contract.
Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve found with the big four for new customers:
- T-Mobile. You could get up to $650 for trading in an old phone in the form of a prepaid debit card. Or, T-Mobile also offers $300 off an iPhone XS or XS Max with a finance agreement and eligible device trade-in. Discount is applied as 24 monthly bill credits. Well-qualified customers may even be eligible for $0 down on their purchase.
- Verizon. Verizon has multiple deals for new and existing customers. If you purchase a second iPhone, you can save $700 off your bill. There is also a $100 guaranteed minimum trade-in, which is applied as 24 monthly bill credits.
- Sprint and AT&T. Sprint and AT&T haven’t announced any big deals yet, but keep an eye out – in the past, there have been discounts of over $300 from both carriers.
Option 4: Use the iPhone trade-up program
- Good for current smartphone users that just need an extra $100 to foot the bill.
Already have an iPhone or other smart phone? Apple allows you to trade in your old device for up to $525 in cash, which you can use to partly fund your new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or XR. And it doesn’t even have to be with Apple. Many carriers also offer similar programs.
Value depends on the model and condition the phone is in, with newer phones getting the most bank. But even if you have an older device, it might be worth trading in anyway – it’ll be more useful than sitting in a drawer full of low tech junk.
Future option: Marcus by Goldman Sachs in-store loans
Online lender Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Apple announced in May 2018 that they were teaming up to provide in-store financing for products such as the iPhone XR.
The partnership is expected to roll out sometime in 2019, so there aren’t many details on financing to date. Marcus also plans on rolling out an Apple Pay-branded credit card and potentially other financing services.
Last-ditch option: A short-term loan
If none of the above four options work for you, you have another alternative — albeit a costly one: a short-term loan. These loans are small-dollar financing products designed for repayment within a few weeks to a few month, depending on the lender.
Because finance charges for every $100 you borrow can be high, you might want to wait until you’ve saved enough to purchase the iPhone XR or work on improving the area of your finances that resulted in your declined financing application.
How much does a new iPhone cost?
Here’s what you can expect to pay for a new iPhone if you buy it without a carrier:
|Size||XS cost||XS Max cost||XR cost|
With iPhones becoming increasingly expensive, finding a way to pay for it can get more complicated. A personal loan might be a good option, though you might want to get preapproved with multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal. To learn more about your financing options, check out our guide to personal loans.