Getting a Mobile Phone Contract with Bad Credit

Most major mobile phone networks and retailers will perform a credit check on anyone looking to take out a new phone contract. This is because a phone contract is essentially credit: you receive a handset, data allowance, and other benefits now and pay for it all later. Networks run credit checks to find out if you can – and will – pay them back. 

A credit check assesses your financial reliability in two key areas. First, whether or not you can actually afford the monthly payments and second, how you’ve managed money in the past. If there’s indication of missed or late payments, this will raise some red flags.

If you’ve recently been rejected for a mobile phone contract, it’s likely because you have a poor credit rating. A bad credit rating can be caused by missing or making late payments, repaying only the minimum on credit cards, not being on the electoral roll and being the victim of identity theft. Having no history of credit can also weaken your score. Fortunately, even with a low credit score you still have some options. Today we’re going to explore three alternatives for people with bad credit.

Mobile phone contracts for bad credit

It may still be possible to secure a mobile phone contract, even with a low credit score. Simply apply for a low-end model rather than the more expensive iPhones or Samsung. The cheaper the phone, the lower the risk for the network and this may mean there is some leniency on the credit check.

However, it’s really important that you don’t just keep applying for contract after contract. Every time you apply for credit it affects your credit score. The more you apply, the bigger the impact it has. Multiple applications can make you look desperate and high risk, and it drastically reduces your chance of being accepted.

Does every retailer run a credit check?

No. There are some retailers who offer pay monthly phone contracts without running a credit check. These retailers usually offer cheaper handsets as these are considered low risk. A quick web search brings up many third-party retailers offering ‘no credit checks’ or ‘guaranteed’ phone contracts.

Always be wary of anything that seems too good to be true. Such companies may hike prices or there may be other unusual caveats in the contract. Be sure to read the small print before signing anything.

SIM-Only is best for bad credit

The best option for people with bad credit is usually SIM-only. As the name suggests, you won’t receive a handset but you will get a great package of minutes, texts and data. You can pop the SIM-card in any unlocked phone and it may even help improve your credit score. Win win!

There will likely be a credit check when applying for a SIM-only deal because you pay for the allowance after you’ve used it. However, because the contract length is shorter, the bill is lower and you’re not receiving a device, there’s a much higher chance of acceptance. Some reports even suggest an acceptance rate of around 99% for SIM-only deals.

You’ll need to keep your old phone or buy a new one outright. This doesn’t appeal to everyone but there is a surprising benefit to going down this route. Because a SIM-only deal is considered credit, if you pay your bills on time and in full, you will strengthen your credit score. This improves your chance of being accepted for a traditional contract with a handset later down the line.

Pay As You Go for bad credit

If all else fails, you have one final option: Pay As You Go. PAYG has vastly improved over the years. Where once it cost a small fortune to make a short phone call and using the internet was out of the question, now you can sign up for a package deal similar to SIM-only. Some PAYG deals even come with added benefits and rewards such as data boosts, free subscriptions and more.

The difference is that you pay for the deal before you use it. You top up by a fixed amount each month and then you receive your bundle of data, texts and minutes. There are no credit checks with this kind of deal so everyone is guaranteed approval.

There are a few downsides to PAYG: you may pay more for your package compared to a traditional contract or SIM-only. You have to pay in advance to receive your allowance. And PAYG will not help strengthen your credit score. But if you’ve been rejected for everything else, it’s the best option for keeping you connected.

Struggling to get a Contract Phone because you have Bad Credit?

Have you ever been turned down by a mobile phone network provider due to a tough financial period in your life? Have you had to bite the bullet and avoid getting the latest smartphone because the mobile service provider charged a much much higher deposit than you could afford?

Here at MobileHawk.co.uk we realise that sometimes life can throw in plenty of surprises and sometimes circumstances really are outside your control. But not only that, we understand how important it is to stay connected with the world be it via text, voice or social and that requires a mobile phone.

Nowadays a phone is more than a just luxury, it is important for every the day to day running of your life, a necessity. And we are here to ensure that you can stay connected and don’t miss any important work calls or keeping in touch with your friends simply because you don’t have a contract phone.

Our mantra here in the office is: Don’t be without a mobile phone any longer, we can help.

Working with a range of suppliers we are able to bring you extraordinary credit terms. Selectively working with only the best providers we will work hard to come up with a solution for you no matter what your circumstances. And in many cases you will be overwhelmed at how good the deal is.

When our MD started this business in 2006 he started with the sole aim of making sure if you buy a contract phones from us it will be the best you’ll get anywhere, whether it’s for an iPhone 8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 or for the Google Pixel 2. Our flexible approach means we don’t have fixed plans or set deals that don’t work for you. All our customers are treated as individuals meaning that the right deals are chosen exclusively from them to suit their needs.

In many cases, if you come up to us with bad credit or low income we can get you a contract phone. You have to remember, we don’t provide low-grade old phones, we provide the best contract phones but at cheap prices, using our market insight and buying power to make sure that you get the most for your money.

Simply apply using our form and we’ll work diligently to get you a brand new mobile phone. And we work long and hard to make sure we can deliver you a guaranteed contract phone even if you have bad credit.

Can I Get A Mobile Phone With Bad Credit? Yes You Can!

There are thousands of people struggling with a below average credit rating, yet that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t get a contract phone so don’t lose hope. OK, you might have difficulty obtaining a contract and you’re no doubt on the page because you posed the question of how can I get a contract phone with bad credit? But you needn’t worry, although you might be a bit more restricted than those with a clean credit rating there are still choices.

Before jumping the gun and getting declined at every retailer going it’s important as to why mobile phone companies don’t generally award contracts to customers with poor credit ratings. Basically, this is because smartphones are highly subsidised; customers are offered a free mobile phone in exchange for 12 or 24-month contract. This lets new customers get a brand new phone at no immediate cost, and the network or retailer recovers the money through your monthly billing.

The offer of the free phone is an incentive to get brand new customers; this is all well and good however if the phone company offering the free phone thinks that you’re a high-risk customer due to your poor credit rating they make not be willing to take that risk as they could lose money by bringing you on board.

Get A Mobile Phone Contract With Bad Credit

So in order to get a mobile phone contract with bad credit, you will need to lower your risk to the phone company. Here are some things you can do:

1. Compare Mobile Phone Handsets

The starting point if you’re in the market for a mobile phone contract with bad credit then make sure you compare handsets, you might have to make some sacrifices on features in order to start rebuilding and once you have proven you can pay then you can get the latest top spec handsets.

Choosing a handset that doesn’t include all the top end features that the latest smartphones means you can significantly reduce your risk to the phone company, you’ll have a lot more success choosing a more basic model than a top-of-the-line Galaxy S8 or Apple iPhone X.

2. Consider Sim Only Contracts

When applying for a mobile phone contract with bad credit, the company’s biggest concern will be the overall cost of the handset so you might want to consider taking out a sim-only deal. They don’t include a handset so usually cover a much shorter period of time and can operate via a rolling monthly basis.

Of course with this option you’ll need to buy your own mobile phone handset outright; you have some options here too:

  • Purchase a Sim-Free handset from any provider or retailer
  • Buy a pre-owned handset from eBay or another mobile phone retailer

When you choose a SIM only deal there’s very little risk to the phone company. Meaning they aren’t going to lose much so will more often than not accept you and this gives you a chance to rebuild your credit rating.

3. Pay an Upfront Deposit

Some of the mobile phone networks allow new customers to place a reasonable upfront payment if they happen to be struggling with bad credit. Again, this significantly lowers the phone company’s risk. If they can collect a substantial amount of money up front, they protect themselves and the network will likely approve your application for a contract. This is probably the most effective method when trying to get a mobile phone even if you have bad credit and many of our customers have used this very technique to get a contract phone even with poor credit.

4. Communicate With Networks Directly

If you’re really struggling to get the phone you want then you should speak directly to the network that you applied to, we can put you in touch. Many retailers have policies they have to adhere to when you apply online whereas a customer service representative will be able to offer more flexibility.

Remember if one network rejects your application, this doesn’t always mean that another one will so shop around. Each network has different policies and some are more lenient than others.

Once you manage to get accepted for a new contract phone and you keep up to your monthly payments your credit rating will improve over time meaning you can get phones with no problem in the future.

Bad Credit Mobile Phone Contracts – Your Options

Here we run through some of the options available to you. Please read this section carefully as it could mean the difference between getting a contract phone or being declined.

If you have really bad, terrible, shockingly poor credit then consider SIM Only…

If you've been declined everywhere after multiple attempts and are 99% sure you won't be able to get a contract phone. Then you really ought to think about getting a low monthly cost SIM Only Deal and buying a phone outright. This will allow you to build your credit rating up and open up the possibility of getting a contract phone in the near future. If a credit check on a sim is also a bridge to far, then consider a no credit check sim only deal.

If you had bad credit and have been declined for an iPhone or another latest flagship device…

If you know you have bad credit and will be declined for one of the pricier smartphones you have two choices. Save up and buy the expensive phone you want outright with a SIM only deal, or choose a cheaper phone and take out a contract on that. Keep up the payments for a few months and you will be able to upgrade to something better when you have a history of repayments with the network.

If you have a poor to average credit rating…

You might struggle to get a high-end phone like the iPhone XR or Samsung Galaxy S9 without a very large deposit. But you do have a few more options, consider some of the devices below, and pick a deal that has an upfront cost to at least prove you have the funds.

If you have average to good credit…

The possibilities of getting a better device open up when you have good credit. If you have been declined in the past then we do recommend trying to get together a decent upfront payment to offset the risk for the retailer. If you can cough up 30% to 50% of the outright cost of the device you will stand a much better chance. So for an iPhone 6S, putting down £200 up front will work in your favour massively.

If you want a high end smartphone contract phone but have poor credit…

If you are looking for a guaranteed contract phone then you can apply here.