As a former employee of a cell phone carrier I found that many consumers are skeptical of purchasing a cell phone due to their undesirable credit history. They often believe that prepaid is their only option but they would prefer a contract provider. Many people don’t realize that even with subprime credit they may still be eligible for a mobile phone contract. 80% of the customers with the misconception that they can’t get a contract were often surprised when they received approval for a cell phone plan. If you have bad credit and prefer better quality cell phones over prepaid then here are a few steps you can take to get a contract phone.

Pay a down payment

Many customers with bad credit may be asked to pay a down on their contract. The price can range from $50 to $400 depending on the carrier. You get the money back with interest after waiting two years. Go through the application process to find out what you qualify for. If your down payment requirement is at the low end then go for it but if it’s at the high end then move on.

Apply with various carriers

If you’re preferred cell phone carrier is charging you a very high down payment then apply at another company. Some carriers pick up customers that their competitors may reject. Its amazing how one carrier may classify you as a high risk but another may consider you to be a prime client.

Go with credit lenient companies

Not all cell phone companies use the same process for credit checks. Each company have different standards and requirements than there competitors. It’s been my experience that Sprint and T-mobile usually provide great deals for customers with bad credit.

Sprint’s credit requirements are the lowest of the major US carriers. Many customers who were rejected by other carriers almost always get a contract with sprint. Usually they ask for a $50 down payment but may be up to $150. Sprint has some of the lowest priced service plans in the nation that helps to keep monthly bills to a minimum.

T-mobile is also a good choice for customers with low credit scores. In addition to having low credit requirements, T-mobile takes it a step further by vanquishing down payment and providing account options form customers for subprime customers. The first of two options is called the even more plan. In this plan the customer still has the ability to purchase phones at a discount price but they have to pay the first month’s bill up front. Activation fees are automatically waved, saving you a large sum of money if you purchased more than one phone. The second option is the even more plus plan. This option is a no contract plan. You have to pay full price for the phones but the monthly fees are cheaper than the even more plan. After a year of timely payments on the even more plus plan T-mobile will review your account to determine if you’re eligible to upgrade to a contract plan.