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Buying a phone: Credit card or finance?

A person looking at their phone, holding a credit card and looking disconcerted

The best way to buy a phone is outright. That’s not always an option though. The next best way is phone financing, spreading the payments out over several months or even a year.

The worst way to buy a phone is through a major carrier who’ll want to lock you in and bury the cost of the phone in your monthly bill with unclear terms.

Removing the worst option, we’re left with two basic choices to finance a phone: a credit card or a financing service like Affirm. Both options are available in the Ting Mobile Shop.

Using a credit card

Credit cards tend to carry high interest rates, up to and often exceeding 20%. While credit cards are a convenient tool, they are not the best choice if the goal is to spread payments out over the long term.

If you can afford to buy a phone outright, using a credit card and paying off the balance before the interest starts is a great option. 

Some premium credit cards will extend the manufacturer warranty on purchases, including phones. Many cards will give you “points” on your purchase. You can often redeem these points for flights, hotels and merchandise. Some cards will even let you pay down any balance with points or convert points into cash or gift cards.

There are a whole bunch of credit card cautions to bear in mind. When used carefully though, a credit card is an undeniably useful thing to have.

Paying in instalments 

If the upfront purchase price of a phone is out of reach, or if you want to step up to a more powerful, newer or more luxurious (read: more expensive) phone, responsible financing can help spread the payments out. 

Interest rates will vary based on a person’s creditworthiness. This translates to how confident the lender is that they’ll be paid back.

Ting Mobile offers financing through Affirm with rates as low as 0% APR* (annual percentage rate, the interest collected over 1 year). If Affirm determines you qualify for 0% APR, there is no interest applied. Everything you pay goes to the cost of the phone. That’s good.

If you qualify and if you want to spread payments out, financing over the shortest term possible is the best option. You’ll see that Interest rates go up markedly when financing over an 18 or 24-month term.

How to qualify for financing

The Ting Mobile shop connects buyers with Affirm. Affirm handles the rate assessment and collects monthly payment. 

Phone financing in the Ting Mobile shop - A screenshot showing financing options for a $349 phone.

In the Ting Mobile shop, click through on any phone you’re considering then see “Starting at $XX/mo with Affirm.” You’ll see the lowest possible monthly payment. Click or tap to see details and the monthly payment over 12, 18 or 24 months, including the APR (the annual interest rate).

Continue to “See if you qualify,” share some information and get a personalized financing offer from Affirm. Checking your eligibility for Affirm financing through the Ting Mobile Shop does not affect your credit score.

Financing in the Ting Mobile Shop

Whichever phone buying or financing option makes the most sense for you, the Ting Mobile Shop has you covered. Find unlocked phones from entry-level to top-of-the-line, all available to purchase or with reasonable financing terms as low as 0% APR*.

*Example: A $119 purchase might cost $9.92/mo over 12 months at 0.00% APR. Subject to credit check and approval, and a down payment may be required. Payment options depend on your purchase amount. Affirm loans are made by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.