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Cell phone financing in Canada

Whether you're looking for 0% interest or $0 down phones, here are 6 cell phone financing options to help you get the latest generation smartphones.

As smart phones have become a bigger part of our daily lives, they’ve also become more and more expensive. Whether you’re in search of the latest tech, or have held out upgrading until your phone has fossilized in your hands, most Canadians will end up turning to some kind of cell phone financing plan when they’re ready for a new phone.

Keep reading to learn about the 6 types of cell phone financing options available in Canada, including what to do if you want $0 down phones or have bad credit.

6 cell phone financing options in Canada

When it comes to comparing cell phone financing plans, Canadians generally have 6 options. Most of these financing options work for $0 down phones and come with 0% or low interest offers, with some available to people with a less than stellar credit history.

  1. Current carrier
  2. New carrier
  3. Personal loan
  4. Manufacturer
  5. Store retailer
  6. Credit card

1. Cell phone financing from your carrier

If you’re happy with your current plan, many cell phone companies in Canada offer a few options to finance a new phone and upgrade from the one you already have. Here are a few common options.

Phone trade-in financing plans

Trading in your old device can reduce the cost of your new phone to the point where you don’t even need financing, or can go a long way to helping you get a $0 down phone – especially if your trade-in model is in good shape. For example, you can get up to $910 towards a new iPhone when trading in your old one at Apple Canada.

Simply provide your phone’s model and overall condition to see how much you can get from your trade-in. Apply that cash towards your new phone purchase as a lump-sum down payment.

Pros
  • Helps discount the price of your new phone
  • Better for the environment, especially if you aren’t properly recycling your used phones
Cons
  • Cell phones drop in value over time, so if you’re trading in an older generation cell phone or one that isn’t in the best shape, you may not get much money for it

Payment plans with $0 down phones

Most carriers in Canada offer $0 down phones on 0% interest payment plans, usually along with a 2-year contract. While some plans require a down payment, you can often cover that by trading in your old device.

A portion of your monthly bill will go towards the cost of your phone while the rest goes towards your usage plan. If you want to lower your monthly bill by paying a portion of your phone’s cost upfront, understand that not all carriers allow optional down payments.

For example, Koodo allows you to pay a lump sum directly towards your phone cost, whereas Fido lumps both the cost of your phone and usage plan together so you can’t pay down your phone separately.

Pros
  • Often comes with 0% interest on new phone purchases
  • $0 down phone options are usually available
  • Take advantage of loyalty promotions or discounts
  • After your 2 years of financing are complete the cost of your phone may get dropped from your monthly bill
  • Since you own the phone by the end of the term, you have the freedom to shop around for phone plans at other carriers
Cons
  • You’re locked into your 2-year plan
  • You’ll likely pay expensive charges if you decide to break your contract
  • Makes it easy to upgrade to the newest model phone even if you can’t comfortably afford it

Leasing plans

While this route is less common, some carriers allow you to lease a phone for 2 years. It works a lot like buying a phone, but you won’t ever own the phone outright. You’ll need to make monthly payments and then trade it in at the end of your term.

Pros
  • Ideal if you already plan to upgrade your phone at the end of 2 years
  • You can try different phones for each 2 year term if you don’t want to settle on one to buy
  • Monthly payments for leasing are often cheaper than financing a cell phone
Cons
  • You’re locked in with your carrier for 2 years
  • If you decide to switch phones or carriers, you’ll be on the hook for the rest of the balance
  • If you lose your phone, you’re still on the hook to pay off the balance
  • Because you don’t own it outright, you need to be extra careful not to damage your phone so it’s in decent condition when it’s time to return it

2. Cell phone financing through a new carrier

If your current plan is up and you don’t mind changing service providers, you might be able to qualify for a sign-up deal by switching carriers. Some deals might cover the full cost of a phone, while others might offer a reduced monthly payment plan.

Compare various service providers’ phone plans and financing options for the phone you’re interested in. After you’ve made a shortlist, look into any new-customer deals on offer by looking online, calling their customer service lines or visiting a local store.

If you do decide to switch carriers, you can keep your old phone number by porting it over from your old carrier to your new one. Your new carrier can walk you through that relatively easy process.

Pros
  • Take advantage of promotions or deals to attract new customers
  • You might also be able to qualify for a sign-up deal if you’re adding a new line to your current plan.
Cons
  • You may be charged account set-up fees, activation fees, account cancellation fees or other expenses that could outweigh the savings of moving to a new carrier

Cell phone companies in Canada offering financing and $0 down phones

To help you compare your cell phone financing options we’ve summarized typical financing plans and $0 down phone offers from some of Canada’s most popular carriers. Keep in mind that these cell phone financing offers can vary based on the type of phone, and are usually only available when you sign up for a monthly or yearly usage plan with the same carrier.

CarrierDown paymentInterest rateTerm length (months)Carrier network
Bell
  • SmartPay
$0 down0%24Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.
Rogers
  • Device financing
$0 down0%24Rogers Communications
Telus
  • TELUS Easy Payment
$0 down
  • Some devices require a down payment
0%24Telus Corporation
Koodo
  • Tab
$0 down
  • Optional down payment
0%24Telus Corporation
Fido
  • Fido Payment Program
$0 down
  • Some devices require a down payment
0%24Rogers Communications
Virgin
  • Sweet Pay
$0 down
  • Some devices require a down payment
0%24Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.

3. Get a personal loan

You can take out a personal loan from a separate lender to finance your new phone. Rates can run from 6.99% to 46.96% with terms generally ranging from 3 – 60 months. While you need good credit to get the most competitive rates, there are personal loan options for all credit types, so it’s possible to get cell phone financing with bad credit. Make sure you’re working with a lender that offers loan amounts low enough to cover the cost of your phone.

Pros
  • You aren’t bound to a phone contract tied to your carrier
  • You have a variety of personal loan options from online lenders, banks and credit unions
  • You can decide between secured loans (which involves collateral) or unsecured loans (no collateral)
  • Online lenders tend to have more flexible eligibility criteria than banks and credit unions and can transfer funds within 24 hours
Cons
  • Borrowers with bad credit will face steeper interest rates than borrowers with good credit
  • You may have to wait to get your credit score and finances in good shape so you can qualify for a lower interest rate and better terms

Compare personal loans for cell phone financing in Canada

1 - 9 of 9
Name Product Ratings APR Range Loan Amount Loan Term Broker Compliance Requirements
Spring Financial Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
10.8% - 46.99%
$500 - $35,000
6 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $2,000/month, 3+ months employed, min. credit score 550
Loans Canada Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
6.99% - 46.96%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Loans Canada is a loan search platform with access to multiple lenders. Applicants will be matched with a suitable lender based on credit history and borrowing requirements.
Requirements: min. credit score 300
LoanConnect Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
8.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $50,000
3 - 120 months
LoanConnect is a loan search platform with access to multiple lenders. Applicants will be matched with a suitable lender based on credit history and borrowing requirements.
Requirements: min. credit score 300
easyfinancial Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
9.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $100,000
9 - 120 months
Requirements: min. income $1,200/month
Mogo Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
9.90% - 46.96%
$500 - $35,000
6 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $35,000/year, min. credit score 600
Fig Personal Loans
Finder Score:
★★★★★
12.99% - 31.99%
$2,000 - $30,000
24 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $5,000/month, 6+ months employed, min. credit score 700
Fat Cat Loans Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
4.84% - 35.99%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 84 months
Requirements: min. income $1,000/month, min. credit score 300
MDG Financial Installment Loan
Not yet rated
29.78% - 44.80%
Up to $1,600
Up to 36 months
Requirements: no min. income, min. credit score 560
goPeer Personal Loan
Finder Score:
★★★★★
8.99% - 34.99%
$1,000 - $35,000
36 or 60 months
Requirements: recommended income $35,000/year, min. credit score 600, min. 5-year credit history.
loading

4. Buy from a manufacturer

Do you prefer to buy an unlocked cell phone through the manufacturer? Top cell phone manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung, offer financing plans through their associated carriers or partners.

Shop the manufacturers websites to learn about the cost of various phone models, financing plans and any discounts or promotions on offer.

Pros
  • Since you’re bypassing the service provider, you may be able to score a cheaper monthly usage plan
  • You may be able to trade-in your old phone to reduce the cost of your new purchase
  • You may be able to get a certified-refurbished phone of a newer model at a cheaper price
  • Manufacturers also often provide low or 0% interest payment plans so you don’t have to foot the entire bill upfront and you can pay for your phone over the course of 1 to 2 years
Cons
  • Service providers and tech stores may offer the same phone model you’re looking for at a cheaper sales price than the manufacturer, especially if they are trying to get rid of inventory before a new season

Apple cell phone financing

Apple financing in Canada

Considering that Apple has the largest mobile phone market share in Canada at a whopping 61.01%, it’s no surprise that thousands of Canadians turn to Apple for iPhone financing on its latest models. Apple Canada offers $0 down phone financing through Affirm when you shop directly on its website.

  • Available on minimum $99 purchases
  • Instant approval decision
  • 7.99% interest for 24 months
  • No additional finance fees
  • Visit an Apple store to find carriers offering $0 down phone plans

If you have an old iPhone, you can trade it in and have the trade-in value of anywhere from $200 to $910 instantly applied as a discount to the total cost.

Shop Apple iPhones now

Samsung cell phone financingSamsung financing in Canada

It’s no surprise to avid Android users that Samsung garners the second biggest mobile phone market share in Canada at 24.09%. And like Apple, Samsung Canada offers $0 down phone financing on its website through Affirm.

  • Available on purchases between $200 and $15,000
  • Instant approval decision
  • Financing interest rates range 0% and 32% APR (based on credit approval)
  • Term lengths of 12 to 36 months (varies by product)

If you have a bad credit score, you may not be eligible for 0% financing, but you could still receive phone financing with an additional interest charge.

You then pay off your phone in convenient, automatic monthly payments.

Shop Samsung phones now

5. Finance through a store retailer

Some retailers use their store credit card to offer a low interest or interest-free promotional period of around 1-2 years to help you save when paying off the cost of a new cell phone. Others use third-party services like Affirm or Flexiti to offer personal loans you can use to finance your cellphone purchase at checkout. Although store credit cards are typically easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards, in order to qualify for 0% APR financing you’ll likely need a good credit score.

Pros
  • Possible to qualify for 0% phone financing for a limited time
  • $0 down phone options may be available
  • Take advantage of its financing plans and perks such as collecting store loyalty points on your big purchase or having access to programs like on-site tech support
Cons
  • You’ll have to ensure your specific phone model can be serviced by and is compatible with your provider
  • You’ll need to watch out to make sure that between the manufacturer and the retailer you have the warranty coverage you need for defects or issues

Popular retailers offering cell phone financing in Canada

To help give you an idea of how cell phone financing in Canada works at some of the most popular stores, we’ve summarized the key points of each financing program below. Many of these mobile financing plans will allow you to purchase $0 down phones.

Keep in mind that the details and terms shown here may change at any time and should only be used as as a general guide to retailer cell phone financing programs.

Store financingProgram detailsAdditional feesInterest after promotion
Amazon cell phone financing

Affirm or MBNA Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard

Affirm
  • 10% – 30% interest on purchases of $50 or more with terms of 3 – 48 months

Amazon credit card

  • 19.99% interest on purchases
No hidden feesN/AGo to site
The Source cell phone financing

Partnered with Affirm

  • 10%+ interest rate on 12 equal monthly payments on purchases between $200-$15,000
UnspecifiedStarts at 10% (credit rating dependent)Go to site
Staples cell phone financingStaples Card through Flexiti
  • Split your payments (in-store and online): 0% interest on 3, 6 or 12 equal monthly payments on purchases of $299.99 and up
  • Defer your payments (in-store): 0% interest on terms of 3, 6 or 12 months on purchases of $299.99 and up
$29.99 – $59.99 administrative fee may apply31.99% – 39.99%Go to site
Walmart cell phone financingWalmart Rewards Mastercard
  • 20.89% interest on 6 equal payments on purchases of $199.99 and up
4% set up fee20.89% – 26.99%Go to site
Best Buy cell phone financing

Best Buy Card through Fairstone

  • 0% interest for 3 months on purchases of $149.99 and up
  • 0% interest for 6 months on purchases of $299.99 and up
  • 0% interest for 12 months on purchases of $399.99 and up
  • 0% interest for 18 months on purchases of $999.99 and up
$29.99 – $99.99 administrative fee may applyUnspecifiedGo to site

Details in the table above were last verified on March 14, 2024

6. Use a credit card

As a last resort, you can also use a credit card to cover the cost of your new phone. This is generally the most expensive option since credit cards tend to have higher rates than personal loans and other types of cell phone financing in Canada. However, it might be worth it if you can qualify for a low interest rate credit card.

If you’re looking for $0 down phones, a credit card is an option. However, it’s recommended that you pay as much as you can in cash for the phone upfront so you cut down on the amount of interest you’ll be charged later.

Pros
  • Low interest rate credit cards can come with rates ranging from of 9% to 15%
  • You won’t be tied to a carrier plan or financing, so you can change service providers without incurring extra charges
  • Some credit cards come with additional insurance in case you lose or damage your phone
Cons
  • Unless you get a low interest rate card, you could be paying upwards of 20% for buying your phone with plastic
  • Watch out for other credit card fees, including late payment fees and overlimit fees
  • If you’re using up the majority of your credit limit to buy your phone, make sure you don’t max out your card

Popular low interest credit cards in Canada

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

Scotiabank Value Visa Card logo
Credit recommended (670-)
Apply now
on Scotiabank's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$29 ongoing
Annual fee
12.99%
Purchase Rate
12.99%
Cash Advance Rate
With no cash back or rewards points, the Scotiabank Value Visa Card doesn't come with a lot of extra perks – but it can be a great tool for saving money on cell phone financing in Canada. Get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months. Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2024.
  • Low interest rate. Low purchase and cash advance interest rates of 12.99%.
  • Balance transfer option.
  • Low ongoing interest rate. Once the promotional balance transfer period ends, any unpaid balance will incur the low rate of 12.99%.
  • Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $29.
  • Limited benefits. No cash back or rewards.
  • Foreign transaction fee. This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Annual fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($29 thereafter)
Purchase APR 12.99%
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 6 months (then 12.99% )
Balance transfer fee $3.50
Rewards Get an on-going low interest rate of 12.99% on eligible purchases.

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (660-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
660
Min. credit score
$29 ongoing
Annual fee
13.99%
Purchase Rate
15.99%
Cash Advance Rate
The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard is a simple, no-frills credit card with a low interest rate of 13.99% for purchases and 15.99% for cash advances. You won't earn any rewards points or cash back, but this card's low rate can help you save money and pay down your cell phone financing faster. Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $29 annual fee waived by your first anniversary.
  • Low interest rate. Low APR of 13.99% for purchases and 15.99% for cash advances.
  • Intro offer. Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $29 annual fee waived by your first anniversary.
  • Coverage. Get Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty coverage and Zero Liability protection.
  • Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $29.
  • Limited benefits. No cash back or rewards and no extra perks like complimentary travel insurance or car rental benefits.
  • Balance transfer fee. This card comes with a balance transfer fee of 2%.
  • Foreign transaction fee. This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Annual fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($29 thereafter)
Purchase APR 13.99%
Balance transfer APR 0.99% intro for the first 9 months (then 15.99% )
Balance transfer fee 2%
Rewards N/A

How to get approved for cell phone financing with bad credit in Canada

You can still get approved for cell phone financing in Canada even if you have bad credit, although your options will be limited. The 0% APR financing or $0 down phone options might not be available to you, but you might be able to get a loan through a carrier, retailer or separate lender.

Here’s a look at the most common options on the table for bad credit borrowers. You can explore any of these loan options to help you buy your phone:

  • Bad credit loans. The quickest and most viable option available to you comes in the form of bad credit personal loans. There are lenders, mostly in the online space, that will offer loans of up to $10,000 for people with bad credit or no credit history at all. These come with steep interest rates to help lenders offset the risk they’re taking. Compare personal loans for bad credit.
  • Secure a personal loan with an asset. If you have home equity or an asset such as a car, and you’re willing to use it as collateral, you may qualify for a secured loan. Providing collateral in case you default on your loan helps you score a lower interest rate with lenders.
  • Ask a family member or friend to cosign on a loan. If your bad credit is getting in the way of you getting approved for financing, seeking the help of a relative with good credit is a prime way to seal the deal. Make sure they understand what they’re getting into because they’ll be on the hook if you can’t keep up with payments.

Can I get $0 down phones with no credit check?

Typically, no, you can’t get $0 down phones with no credit check. It’s standard practice for most cell phone carriers and loan providers to do a credit check before approving $0 down phone financing. That’s because carriers and lenders want to ensure you’ll be able to afford the monthly payments required to pay back your loan.

Is it better to buy a cell phone outright or to buy mobile phones on finance?

These days, smartphones easily cost upwards of $1,000 or more. Deciding whether to buy a cell phone outright or buy a mobile phone on finance will depend on your financial situation.

If you opt to buy a mobile phone on finance through your carrier, you can often score a discount to the tune of $100 or more on the initial cost of your hardware. Financing makes paying for your new phone much easier on your budget, too. Your carrier may even offer $0 down phone options, throw in a free month of service or a set of AirPods. The catch? You are locked into a plan for at least the next two years, which may be constraining for some people.

If you opt to buy your phone outright, you can shop around for phone plans, which are often cheaper than plans you’d get that include financing a new phone. Buying your phone outright opens you up to a series of options, too: you can buy it directly from the manufacturer or a third-party store, you can charge it on your credit card or you can pay for it via a line of credit or a personal loan.

For some people, there isn’t a choice at all and financing is the most feasible way to get their hands on a new phone. If that isn’t you, do your homework, comparison shop and take notes before deciding on which option is better for your bottom line.

6 tips for mobile phone financing

Before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a new cell phone, consider these tips to ensure you find the right financing for your needs:

  1. Trade in your old phone. Trading in your old phone can shave hundreds of dollars off the upfront or monthly cost, regardless of where you buy it.
  2. Make a down payment. While $0 down phone advertisements can be appealing, making a down payment is a great way to cut down on your monthly costs and the amount of interest you’ll have to pay over time.
  3. Consider your travel plans. Plan on moving abroad or travelling a lot over the next few years? You might want to think twice before locking yourself into a two-year contract.
  4. Finish your contract before switching carriers. This is especially important if you’re still paying off another phone. You might have to pay back interest and extra fees for breaking your contract early, making it more expensive than if you saw it through.
  5. Plan your repayments. Got a card with a 0% APR intro offer? Calculate exactly how much you’d have to pay per month to avoid paying interest once the promotional period is up.
  6. Read the fine print. Before you sign, take a close look at your contract for circumstances where you could end up paying hefty fees or interest.

How much does a cell phone cost in Canada?

A new cell phone can typically cost you anywhere from $250 to over $2,000, depending on the model you choose. So if you opt for $0 down phones, without any discounts or sales, you’ll have to pay the full cost. Here are the prices of some popular models in Canada:

Cell phoneStarting retail price*
iPhone 15 Pro Max$1,749
iPhone 15 Pro$1,449
iPhone 15 Plus$1,279
iPhone 15$1,129
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra$1,799.99
Samsung Galaxy S24+$1,399.99
Samsung Galaxy S24$1,179.99
Google Pixel 8 Pro$1,099
Google Pixel 8$749
Motorola Razr+$949.99
Motorola Edge$499.99
OnePlus 12$1,069.99

*Prices last verified on March 14, 2024

Representative example: Jillian gets cell phone financing

Jillian has had her current cell phone for almost five years, so the time has come to upgrade to new tech. She researches a range of models and decides she wants to get a 256GB Samsung Galaxy S24, but the $1,180 price tag is too much for her to pay in one go. She wants to keep her savings balance healthy to cover any unexpected costs, so she decides to compare financing options among a range of lenders.

The results of her comparison are shown in the table below.

Lender ALender BLender CLender D
Amount borrowed$1,180$1,180$1,180$1,180
Interest rate0%11.99%5.99%20.89%
Loan term12 months24 months12 months6 months
Admin fee$59.99$0$0$47.20
Total interest$0$152.99$38.64$75.85
Total cost$1,239.99$1,332.99$1,218.64$1,303.05
Monthly payment$103.33$55.54$101.55$217.17

Jillian decides to apply for financing with Lender C. Though this lender has a much higher interest rate than 0% financing, it works out cheaper in the long run because there are no administrative fees.

Bottom line

You have a wide range of low interest or interest-free, $0 down phone options when it comes to financing a new cell phone from carriers, store financing programs or through the manufacturer. Make sure you consider those first before turning to more expensive financing choices like personal loans or credit cards.

Frequently asked questions about cell phone financing in Canada

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Written by

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Carmen Chai is a freelance writer at Finder, specializing in financial products. She is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. She has reported on personal finance, mortgages, and banking products for nearly a decade. See full bio

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Chelsey Hurst is an associate editor at Finder. She loves empowering people to avoid financial pitfalls and make better decisions with their money. Chelsey has a Bachelor of Science from Redeemer University, a Master of Science from McMaster University, and has won multiple awards for research communication. In her spare time, Chelsey enjoys cooking and taking long walks in nature. See full bio

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