When it comes to obtaining a phone plan, you probably won’t find a minimum credit score requirement listed on a provider’s website. However, some cell phone companies do check your credit if you apply for a plan that allows you to pay in monthly installments. Learn more about how credit could affect your phone bill and how to get a phone even when you have a lower credit score.
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How your credit affects your cell phone bill
If you qualify for a one- or two-year contract when you lease or buy a phone, you will be able to make monthly payments. Cell phone companies run a credit check to get an idea of whether you will be able to pay the monthly fee for the phone or for using their service. Having no credit history, bad credit, or marks on your credit report like missed payments or delinquent accounts, can raise questions about your credit-worthiness.
If you are rejected for a payment plan, you have other options.
How to get approved for a cell phone with bad credit
Your credit score is not permanent and can fluctuate based on your credit history. For a better chance at qualifying for a cell phone plan or possibly a better plan, you can take steps now to increase your credit score over the long term.
Even if you don’t have a credit card, you can start building your credit by having your monthly payments on qualifying products or services reported to the credit bureaus. It might be bills you pay for streaming services, rent, or utility payments. A program like Experian Boost will help you report these types of payments to the three major credit bureaus. Making the payments on time every month can help increase your credit score over time.
Building your credit is not a quick process. As you work on improving your credit score, you can look into alternative phone bill plans such as:
- A prepaid plan that requires a full payment for the length of the contract.
- A month-by-month contract that mimics long-term contracts’ monthly payments, but typically has a faster shut-off of service if you miss a payment..
Either option can be a quick solution for not having a phone plan and might allow you to work on establishing your credit.
Join another person’s plan
When plans such as prepaid or month-to-month don’t suit your needs you could consider joining a friend or relative’s plan. Ask a friend or family member if you can add a line to their plan.
Get a cosigner
You may have the option of asking a cosigner to join you on a phone bill plan. A family member or friend with a good credit score could cosign your phone bill to verify that these fees will be paid. Make sure that your cosigner understands they will be held responsible for the bill if you stop paying.
How to start building your credit today
One way to build credit is to take out a loan and pay it off. MoneyLion offers that opportunity with a loan you can access through a Credit Builder Plus membership. Credit Builder Plus includes access to a loan that helps you establish 12 months of payment history with all three credit bureaus. You’ll also get 24/7 credit monitoring to track your progress.
Once approved for the membership, you can apply for a loan with no hard credit check, and more than half our members raise their score by 42+ points within 60 days.1 This powerful membership costs $19.99/month and includes several features and benefit, including:
- 0% APR Cash advances: Your membership includes access to Instacash advances of up to $300 per period.
- Rewards: Members get exclusive monthly Lion’s Share Loyalty Program rewards, with payouts up to $19.99 per month. Click for more information on Lion’s Share.
Is it hard to get a phone contract with bad credit?
A low credit score may make it difficult to qualify for long-term contracts. There are other alternative options to these contracts such as prepaid and month-to-month plans.
Does paying for a cell phone build credit?
With help from a program like Experian Boost, you could report your monthly cell phone bill to the three credit bureaus to help increase your credit score, as long as you are paying your bills on time. Phone companies might not report your on-time payment history to these bureaus, although you will want to make sure you read the terms that come with your plan to make sure.
Do cell phone companies look at credit?
Depending on the contract with cell phone companies they may take into consideration your credit history. They could also say you do not qualify for a long term contract if you do not have a good credit history.