If you’re looking to get an iPhone directly from Apple and don’t want to pay the full upfront cost, now there are three ways to finance an iPhone through Apple. First, there is the iPhone upgrade program, for which the iPhone 12) are the only eligible models. The second way, available for all iPhones currently sold by Apple, is to use your Apple Card to make monthly payments (a zero rate loan), exclusive to those with an Apple Card. The third is the iPhone Payment Plan, which is a zero interest loan from Apple that allows you to buy a new iPhone without having to pay the full price up front. Apple iPhone payments are also open to all iPhones currently sold by Apple.
The iPhone payment plan is different from the iPhone upgrade program in two main ways – you don’t trade in your iPhone to upgrade next year, and AppleCare + isn’t included. Here’s everything you need to know!
How is Apple iPhone Payments different from the iPhone Upgrade Program?
At first glance, it may appear that the IPhone Upgrade Program and the iPhone payment plan are the same, but they are not. They are entirely different funding programs with different characteristics and restrictions.
The iPhone Upgrade Program allows you to start a kind of rental program with Apple, in which you can trade in your current iPhone and upgrade to a new one as early as six months with a fee, or a year at no additional cost. If after two years you want to upgrade, you can, but you don’t have to trade in the iPhone you’re using to the iUP, it’s up to you to keep it. Also note: so far, the iPhone upgrade program has only been opened to very latest iphone models, which currently stands for iPhone 12.
With the iPhone payment plan, you simply take out a two-year loan on an iPhone with an operator plan, and the loan is made through Apple’s financial collaborator, Citizens One, the same institution that funds the iPhone upgrade program. You won’t be able to exchange it for an upgrade after one year. You have to pay off the entire loan (although you can pay off the loan sooner if you want).
As part of the iPhone upgrade program, AppleCare + is included in the cost, so your monthly payments are slightly higher, although you don’t pay any fees. It’s just the cost of an iPhone with AppleCare + divided by 24 months.
On the iPhone payment plan, you don’t need to buy AppleCare +. In fact, if you want, you have to buy it separately, which you can do in installments now.
If you just want an iPhone, don’t need AppleCare + and don’t plan to upgrade every year, or even have a plan for a future iPhone upgrade, the plan iPhone payment card will work for you.
One final note: iPhone SE (2020), iPhone 11, and iPhone XR are not eligible for the iPhone Upgrade Program, so if this is the phone you’re buying, the plan is to upgrade. iPhone payment is what you want.
So I can’t upgrade the iPhone payment plan every year?
Correct. The iPhone Payment Plan is a loan financing program that allows you to make monthly payments over 24 months on an iPhone. Even if you get rid of the iPhone a year or the day after your final payment, you have to pay the full amount (although you can prepay the loan).
Should I get AppleCare + with it?
Nope! A complaint I have heard from some people interested in the iPhone Upgrade Program is that they are required to have AppleCare +, but with the iPhone payment plan you are not there. not required.
In fact, if you want it, you have to buy it separately from your loan. You can, however, make monthly payments for AppleCare + now.
What is the interest rate?
Zero percent funding, my friend. That’s right. You won’t pay more than the actual cost of the iPhone plus tax (through Apple), as if you were paying it in cash up front.
Can I use my Apple Card as a payment option?
You certainly can. Once you’re approved for the loan, you can use your Apple Card as your monthly payment option, giving you that sweet 3% cashback reward every time you make a payment.
Will there be hard credit?
Apple ‘states that “a credit check is required,” but doesn’t go into much detail as to whether this is a soft or hard pull on your credit report. If that sounds like the iPhone upgrade program, however, it will be a gentle pull until Citizens One determines it needs a more in-depth credit check.
A note on credit freezes
If you have frozen your credit report, there are a few things you should know about applying for your iPhone Payments loan.
A credit freeze is a way for you to restrict access to your credit report in order to protect yourself against identity theft. If you have frozen your credit report, it does not affect your credit score or prevent you from applying for loans. There are a few caveats, however.
When you first apply for a loan through the iPhone payment plan, you can allow Citizens One to perform a credit check, but you will need to temporarily lift the freeze specifically for the Citizen One credit reporting agency first. will request your report from (either Equifax, Experian or TransUnion).
You can request a lifting of the credit freeze for a specific period or for a specific branch, in this case, Citizens One Bank.
To find out which Citizens One agency will request your report from, call them at 1-888-201-6306. If you are unable to obtain this information, you can temporarily lift the freeze for the three agencies.
Here are the numbers from the credit bureaus in the United States:
- Equifax – 1-800-349-9960
- Experian – 1‑888‑397‑3742
- TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872
You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, social security number, and other personal information.
Who is eligible?
Currently, the iPhone Payments loan program is only available to US residents over the age of 18.
You will also need a valid US-issued credit or debit card to register.
Can I buy an iPhone for someone else with the iPhone payment plan?
You can buy the iPhone for whoever you want, but you are solely responsible for the payments. If you want to give the new iPhone to your child or spouse, go ahead! Remember, you are the one Citizens One will contact if payments are late. It’s like any loan.
What do I need to apply for the iPhone payments program
As mentioned above, you must be a US resident over the age of 18 and you must have a valid credit or debit card issued in the United States. Prepaid cards are not accepted.
You will also need to make sure to temporarily unfreeze your credit report if you have frozen it.
When you apply, you will need to choose a carrier. If you already have an operator account and want to add your new iPhone to the plan, you will need your operator account information, including your account PIN if you are at Verizon, in order for Apple to can confirm your eligibility.
If you haven’t memorized it, you must also have your Social Security number on hand for the credit approval process. You will be asked to provide information about yourself, such as your address, phone number, and annual income.
Do I have to pay anything up front?
Your first payment will include the first payment for the phone, plus all applicable taxes and fees. Your first payment will be processed the day you purchase your new iPhone.
Can I repay my loan early?
While payments are automatically billed on a monthly basis, as with any loan, you can make multiple payments in a single month or pay off the entire amount early. You will need to contact Citizens Bank directly to find out how to make multiple payments or repay your loan in full.
Can I get an iPhone without a SIM?
Unfortunately no. The iPhone Payments plan is Apple’s financing option for purchasing an iPhone with a carrier plan. You’re going to buy an unlocked iPhone (the only locked iPhone you can buy through Apple right now is on the AT&T installment plan), but you will be required to select a carrier plan to use for the next two years.
Is the cost of the carrier package included in the monthly loan payment?
No. The iPhone payment plan only covers the cost of the iPhone. You will pay for the carrier’s service separately and directly through your carrier.
What if I want to cancel or change my operator service plan?
If you decide within 24 months that you want to switch providers, you can’t take your iPhone Payments loan with you. You will have to pay the entire loan balance in order to get out of your carrier plan.
So choose wisely, my young Padawan.
Can I trade in an old iPhone?
You can of course! You can trade in a phone as old as the iPhone SE for up to $ 30 off, up to the iPhone 11 Pro Max for up to $ 500 off.
Trade-in values for your old iPhone
- iPhone SE (first generation): up to $ 30
- iPhone SE (second generation): up to $ 210
- iPhone 6: up to $ 30
- iPhone 6 Plus: up to $ 50
- iPhone 6s: up to $ 60
- iPhone 6s Plus: up to $ 80
- iPhone 7: up to $ 100
- iPhone 7 Plus: up to $ 140
- iPhone 8: up to $ 140
- iPhone 8 Plus: up to $ 210
- iPhone X: up to $ 250
- iPhone XR: up to $ 250
- iPhone XS: up to $ 300
- iPhone XS Max: up to $ 370
- iPhone 11: up to $ 350
- iPhone 11 Pro: up to $ 450
- iPhone 11 Pro Max: up to $ 500
Can I have more than one loan on the iPhone payment plan at the same time?
Only with different phone numbers. You cannot apply for, for example, two iPhone Payments loans with your one Verizon account using the same phone number. However, you can apply for two different loans using two different numbers on the same package. If, for example, you have a family plan.
What if I’m already enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program?
You cannot transfer payment from iPhone on your iPhone Upgrade Program plan to iPhone Payments plan. If you are in the middle of your 24 month contract on the iPhone Upgrade Program, I recommend that you terminate the program unless you are willing to pay what you owe for the iPhone on the Upgrade Program. iPhone in its entirety or complete two different installment plans at the same time (one for the iPhone upgrade program and one for the iPhone payment plan). The latter would mean you would have two phones.
What if my loan is not approved?
Citizens One Bank may decline your loan application for any reason. If this happens, the bank can send you a letter explaining the reasons. You can also call Citizens One at 1-888-201-6306 with any questions regarding your loan or loan denial.
Please let us know your iPhone payment plan questions and we will find the answer and drop it in this FAQ as soon as possible.