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Updated on Thursday, September 14, 2017
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 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 Barclays
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 15.24%, 21.24% or 28.24%, 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® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is MagnifyMoney’s top pick for credit cards with a 0% intro APR period for purchases right now. The card gives you 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases after you open the card (after, 14.74%-24.74% Variable). Also, there’s no annual fee and there is a cash back program earning you 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay.
The best part? There’s no sneaky deferred interest clause, which means if you don’t pay the card off in full after that 18 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 18-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
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.