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Alternatives to Apple Card financing for iPhone 11 and 11 Pro

How to pay for the newest iPhone when Apple's financing shuts you out.

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The new iPhone 12 models are slated to come out later this year. With a price tag of $649 to $1,399, it’s time to plan for how you’ll pay for your next smartphone.

Borrow a personal loan

  • 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. But interest rates can be high — especially for smaller loans — which means you may end up paying more for your phone than it’s worth.

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 all 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 an initial payment at checkout to receive your new iPhone.

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.

While there aren’t any deals or discounts out yet, we’ll likely start seeing carriers offer bonuses for switching over once the iPhone 12 is close to its release date. Some carriers may still offer discounts for the iPhone 11, while others may take a chunk off the cost when you sign a multiyear contract. And you could potentially score a large discount if you trade in specific smartphones — including previous iPhone models.

Here’s a breakdown of what the big four carriers have on offer as of July 2020:

  • T-Mobile. If you have an eligible smartphone from the past few years to trade in, you could get $500 off the iPhone 11. And if you have a newer model smartphone, you may be able to trade it in for up to the full value of an iPhone 11 — paid in the form of statement credits over 24 months.
  • Verizon. Verizon offers up to $550 off your new iPhone — including older models like the iPhone XS. And if you switch to Verizon Unlimited, you could get a $150 Verizon gift card.
  • Sprint. With an eligible unlocked trade in, you may be able to pay $0 a month for your new iPhone 11. Trade ins can be in any condition, but if you opt for the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, you’ll still have a monthly payment.
  • AT&T. If you pick up a new line with AT&T, you could receive a 50% off your iPhone 11 in the form of $350 in bill credits over 30 months.

Use the iPhone trade-up program

  • Good for current smartphone users who need extra cash to foot the bill.

Already have an iPhone? Apple allows you to trade in your old device — including iPads, Macs and other smartphones — for up to $500, which you can use to partly fund your new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The amount you receive depends on the model and condition your 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, and even if it’s not eligible for a trade in, Apple will recycle it for free.

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 months, 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 11 or work on improving your finances so you can choose another option instead.

How much does a new iPhone cost?

Compare personal loan lenders

Find a personal loan by selecting your credit score range and state. Then click Show me my personalized options to get a list of lenders you can compare on the spot.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Credible personal loans
4.99% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
SoFi personal loans
5.99% to 18.83%
680
$100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
Upstart personal loans
8.69% to 35.99%
580 or 600 depending on state of residence
$50,000
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
LendingTree personal loans
Starting from 3.99%
Good to excellent credit
$50,000
Receive up to five loan offers in just minutes through LendingTree's simple online form.
NetCredit personal loans
34% to 155%
No minimum
$10,500
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

With iPhones becoming increasingly expensive, finding a way to pay for it can get more complicated. If you don’t want the new Apple Card or financing through a carrier, a personal loan might be a good alternative — provided you’re able to score a low APR. To learn more about other financing options, check out our guide to personal loans.

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