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3 Smart Ways to Finance the New iPhone 8 or iPhone X

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The new iPhone X (Source: Apple)

The new iPhone 8 and iPhone X are drool-worthy devices, especially if your smartphone has taken a beating, no longer stays charged, or shoots crummy video. With new features like facial recognition and an all-glass design, they’ll be hard to resist.

The iPhone 8’s standout features are an all-glass design, wireless charging, and a retina HD display and technology that’s expected to make images crisper and more colorful. Camera improvements include a new color filter, a faster and larger sensor, and new technology that helps to keep your photos and videos from being shaky.

The iPhone X comes with two cameras and sensors with Face ID and a 5.8-inch “super retina” display, in addition to an all-glass front and back, wireless charging, and other new features available in the iPhone 8.
But, of course, these new editions come with a hefty price tag.

The iPhone 8 will start at $699 for a 4.7-inch display and $799 for a 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. You can pre-order the iPhone 8 starting at 12 a.m. PST on Sept. 15.

You’ll have to wait until Oct. 27 at 12 a.m. PST to pre-order its fancier big brother, the iPhone X, which comes in at a staggering $999 base price.

Before you get sticker shock, here’s what you need to know to purchase and finance these souped-up smartphones, and to possibly carve out extra funds for new accessories.

Siri: How Do I Finance a New iPhone?

There’s no better way to pay for a large purchase than cash. You don’t take on new debt and the item is all yours free and clear. But if you don’t have the funds handy and you’re determined to get your hands on the newest iPhone, there are several ways to finance.

Just be sure you’re careful to pick the best choice for your finances. We’ll cover all your options below.

1. Finance directly with your carrier

The new iPhone X (Source: Apple)

The major carriers offering the new iPhones mostly have their own version of a financing deal, allowing you to break up payments over a set period of time. We’ll cover the highlights of a few major carriers below.

What to watch out for when you finance through a carrier:

  • If you cancel your plan before your phone is paid off, you may have to pay off the full balance immediately. Read your terms carefully.
  • Ask if the carrier will be doing a hard pull on your credit report, which could be a ding that you don’t want to take. Some carriers, like AT&T, say credit approval is required, but the fine print doesn’t provide a credit score minimum.

AT&T: AT&T has two financing programs — AT&T Next and AT&T Every Year. AT&T Next requires mostly no money down (but you will have to pay for sales tax), has no finance charges, and divvies up the monthly payments over 24 or 30 months. You can trade in your phone and get a new upgrade every two years. AT&T Every Year offers the same basic financing deal but with the ability to get a new upgrade every year with trade-in.

T-Mobile: Customers can finance a new iPhone through T-Mobile’s installment plan, which breaks up payments over 24 months. As an incentive, the carrier is offering a $300 credit for people who trade up from an iPhone 6 or newer, but that credit is spread across the term of your installment plan.

Sprint: Sprint is offering half off the iPhone 8, with a trade-in if you finance with their monthly Sprint Flex plan starting at $14.58 a month.

2. Sign up for special financing through Barclaycard

The new iPhone X (Source: Apple)

Through a partnership with Barclays, consumers can receive up to 18 months of 0% promotional financing if they purchase the new iPhone ($999 to $1,149, depending on the model you choose) on the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards card. They also can receive special financing on other qualifying Apple purchases — except for iTunes purchases — made within the account’s first 30 days.

You’ll also earn points on purchases at Apple, specifically three points for every $1 spent at store.apple.com, the Apple Store, the iTunes Store, or 1-800-MY-APPLE. To be eligible for the credit card, you also have to be 18 years and older.

The length of the promotional 0% financing offer depends on how much you spend.

  • 6 months: less than $499
  • 12 months: $499 to less than $999
  • 18 months: $999 to less than $1,499
  • 24 months: $1,499 and over

But before you apply for this card, there are some caveats that are important to note.

Deferred interest. If you don’t pay off your card before your promotional period ends, you’ll get hit with deferred interest charges. That means they’ll act as if you’d been paying interest all along and add the entire total to your credit card bill.

Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the balance isn’t paid off by the end of the promotional period or if you make a late payment. The variable annual percentage rate (APR) on your purchase will be 14.99%, 20.99% or 27.99%, based on your credit history when you open the account.

If you purchase the lowest cost version of the iPhone 8 ($699), at best you could qualify for the 12-month 0% promotional APR offer. That would require monthly payments of at least $58.25 per month if you want to pay it in full and avoid getting slapped with deferred interest.

You won’t have to worry about interest if you pay the balance for your new iPhone in full by the end of your promotional period. Know your deadline, since it may be different from a friend’s deadline if they spent more or less than you.

3. Use a no-interest, no-fee credit card

If you can’t fork out the full amount, look for other credit cards with 0% intro interest offers and zero fees. Pay attention to the length of the 0% intro offer because you will need to pay off the purchase before it expires or you might be hit with interest.

The Citi Simplicity® card is MagnifyMoney’s top pick for credit cards with a 0% intro APR offer right now. The card gives you 0% intro APR for 21 months after you open the card, and there’s no annual fee.

The best part? There’s no sneaky deferred interest clause, which means if you don’t pay the card off in full after that 21 months are up, you won’t get back-charged for interest.

Just make sure you purchase the phone after you open the card because the 21-month time limit starts ticking from the moment you’re approved, not from when you make a purchase.

How to get a discount on your new iPhone

iStock

If you’re savvy, you can try these ways to shave some money off the total cost of a new iPhone.

Switch carriers to score discounts

Check out the offers from your current phone carrier or a competitor if you’re interested in switching carriers and can do so without penalty. Some promotions include a discount on the purchase of a new iPhone if you trade in your old phone, or discounts on other Apple products.

Most promotions have caveats, such as required enrollment in a monthly installment plan or credits divided into a series of lower payments.

Trade in to trim the cost

Verizon is offering $300 off an iPhone 8 if you trade in phones from a list that includes iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, Galaxy S8 and Moto Z2 Force.

T-Mobile’s $300 credit will be broken up over a 24-month installment plan for consumers who turn in a paid-off iPhone 6 or newer version, according to its @TMobileHelp Twitter account.

Sprint is offering half off the iPhone 8, with a trade-in and the monthly Sprint Flex plan starting at $14.58 a month.

You can receive up to $260 in credit from Apple if you trade in an eligible smartphone. Estimated trade-in values, according to Apple, include:

  • iPhone 5: $45
  • iPhone 5c: $35
  • iPhone 5s: $70
  • iPhone SE: $135
  • iPhone 6: $135
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $170
  • iPhone 6s: $215
  • iPhone 6s Plus: $260

Of course, you don’t get the credit in cash outright, but here’s what you can do with the trade-in bonus:

  • Apply the credit to the full iPhone cost or the monthly payments to your mobile carrier.
  • Use the credit toward the purchase of any device at the Apple Store.
  • Receive an Apple Store gift card by mail.

Upgrade your old phone through Apple

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program is still around. If you have made at least 12 payments for an existing iPhone, you can return your phone to Apple and upgrade to a new version.

For this program, payments start at $34.50 a month, and you will enter into a 24-month, 0% APR agreement with Citizens Bank, also an Apple bank partner. A credit card is required for this program, which also provides AppleCare+ coverage (a $129 value).

You have to activate the phone with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, or activate with T-Mobile through the Apple Store. There’s no requirement that you remain with a certain carrier, if you want flexibility in switching carriers while paying off the phone.

The perk of this program is that Apple says the new iPhone will be shipped to your house for free or you can pick it up in a store. Then you will either use the Trade-in Kit to return your old iPhone to Apple or bring it to the store.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lori Johnston
Lori Johnston |

Lori Johnston is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lori here

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Banking Apps, Reviews

Level Money: Free, But Not Ideal for Variable Income

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Overdraft_lg_mobile vs trad

Gone are the days of the pen and paper budgets that require manual updates and re-writing of your entire spending plan each time you make a new purchase. These days there are quite a few different options for budgeting software and apps available that can help you track your spending and update your budget as your needs change throughout the month. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to find one that fits all of your needs.

One popular budgeting app option is Level Money.

What is Level Money?

Level Money
Level Money is a budgeting app that launched in 2013 in San Francisco, California. It was acquired by Capital One in 2015 and became part of Capital One’s Digital Innovation Team to reinforce Capital One’s commitment to digital banking technologies. According to Level Money’s website, the app has over 800,000 downloads to date. Level Money’s motto is “Spend smarter. Do more. Live better.” But how exactly does it work?

How Does Level Money Work?

The Level Money app allows you to easily connect your bank account(s) and any credit cards to the app. It currently works with over 18,000 financial institutions, so hopefully your bank account and credit cards will be available to connect to the app.

Next you enter your income, your monthly bills, and how much you want to save each month. Level Money crunches all those numbers for you and comes up with your “Spendable” cash each day.

Another part of the app, called “Insights”, allows you to keep track of your spending in certain categories, like dining out or transportation, so you can see how these expenses change over time. You can also see your bank balance history and some projections going forward based on your spending and income habits.

The third way to view your finances in Level Money is on the tab called “Plan”. This shows a pie chart and a summarized number for your income, bills, savings goal, and total “spendable” income left over.

Security Features Offered by Level Money

One of the biggest concerns many people have about using a budgeting app is security. The Level Money app does require you to enter your financial account information to use all of its services. According to its website, Level Money uses the same 128-bit Encryption as banks and other financial institutions.

Who Should Use Level Money?

Budgeting apps, like Level Money, are a great tool for those who like to check their finances on the go. Having access to your income numbers, bills, and spendable income at any time on your smartphone could be a good deterrent to overspending your budget. With just a few taps on your phone, you can see whether or not a purchase you are about to make is within your budget or not.

It has been reported that the app is not as user friendly for those with a variable income or expenses that only come up every few months. However, a new version of the app is supposed to help combat these issues by allowing you to select how often you pay your bills.

Another potential downside of the app is for those who use primarily cash for their purchases. The Level Money app doesn’t have a system in place to keep track of transactions made outside of your linked bank accounts and credit cards.

What Does Level Money Cost?

One of the best things about Level Money is that it’s free to use. The app also doesn’t rely on advertisements, which is a nice feature. Many budgeting apps that are free to use, like Mint.com, use advertisements to help pay for the app since users don’t have to pay to use the services.

Pros and Cons of Level Money

Pros

  • 100% free to use with no advertisements
  • Simple to set up and use
  • Links to multiple bank accounts and credit cards
  • Provides insight into how much money you have left to spend per day and per month

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide advice for how to use your money to improve your finances, other than encouraging you to meet the savings goal you set up within the app.
  • May not be the best fit for those with a variable income (such as freelancers).
  • No easy way to account for cash purchases, which can be a big downside for those who like to budget with cash.

How Does Level Money Stack Up?

As mentioned, Level Money is far from the only budgeting app available. Every Dollar and Mint.com also offer budgeting apps to help your personal finances.

Every Dollar

EveryDollar
Every Dollar is the budgeting app designed by Dave Ramsey’s team to help people with their zero sum budgeting strategy. It’s easy to set up and use, but in order to get a complete picture of your finances by linking your bank accounts and credit cards, you have to pay for the Every Dollar Plus version of the app for $99 a year. It also doesn’t have charts and graphs that many people find helpful in analyzing their spending.

Mint.com

 

Mint Budgeting
Mint.com is very similar to Level Money in that it’s 100% free to use, even if you link you bank accounts and credit cards. However, there are ads from financial institutions and products that may look like helpful advice. You need to be aware that these products and services may not be the right fit for you. Mint.com does profit from these advertisements and recommendations.

Should You Use Level Money?

Level Money is a good way to track your budget, expenses, and available cash on the go. It seems to be particularly handy for those who are always wondering how much they have available for spending on any given day of the month as the app provides that information with just a glance. Plus if you start using Level Money and decide it’s not for you, you can always cancel without losing any money as it’s 100% free to use the app.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Kayla Sloan
Kayla Sloan |

Kayla Sloan is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kayla at Kayla@magnifymoney.com

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