The traditional way of paying for a smartphone is through a carrier with a monthly payment plan, tied to a two year service contract. In the long run, buying from your carrier, even with a subsidy, can end up costing you more – and you end up not being able to switch providers if you find a better deal elsewhere because you’ll have contract cancellation fees and a carrier-locked device. Since smartphones have gotten so expensive, the option to pay for a new phone upfront may seem like a far off possibility to some. However, there are better alternatives for financing a new smartphone, without having to pay interest or be tied to a carrier.
There are two compelling reasons not to finance your new smartphone through a carrier: You’ll be locked into a contract, and you might end up paying more for the device (and the service) than you would otherwise. If you want the freedom to switch carriers whenever you want and shop around for the best deal on a phone, but you don’t want to pay cash upfront for an expensive piece of hardware, you can still get financing from retailers and manufacturers.
Whether you want to buy in-person or online, you’ve got options for retailer financing. The two giants, Best Buy and Amazon.com, both offer no-interest financing.
Best Buy offers carrier financing options, but that’s not what we’re interested in here. My Best Buy® Credit Cards can be used to purchase unlocked or carrier branded phones, and they allow you to get no-interest financing for 6 months for purchases over $199, and 12 months for over $399.
Amazon offers no-interest financing for 6 months