How to get a phone contract with a poor credit rating

Megan Robinson
January 12, 2023

The experts at Uswitch give top tips on getting a phone contract when you have a poor credit rating

1. Choose a cheaper deal – If you’ve currently got poor credit history, this might rule you out of getting the latest and most expensive smartphones, like the iPhone 14. The newer smartphones can come with costly monthly payment plans, so your first option would be to find a cheaper, older phone. You can still try for an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy but instead of the latest model, it can work out a lot cheaper to opt for an earlier release. The cheaper the contract, the better chance you’ll have of passing the credit check.

2. Opt for a SIM-only deal – Your best bet could be to opt for a SIM-only deal that doesn’t require you to sign up for a contract. Unlike pay-as-you-go deals, which usually don’t come with good perks or allowances, SIM-only plans still get you a good amount of data, calls and minutes to use. You can compare SIM-only deals here.

 3. Select a network that offers mobile deals for bad credit – Pay monthly deals from major networks like EE, O2 and Vodafone will usually require you to pass a credit check. However, there are a number of networks that offer rolling monthly deals that won’t require a check. Examples include GiffGaff, Voxi, and Lebara SIM-only deals.

 4. Utilise your old phone or refurbished models – Rolling SIM-only plans won’t come with a mobile phone, so they’re ideal if you already have a phone you’re happy to use. But what if you need a new phone too? Well, if a pay monthly plan that includes a handset is not an option, you can save up and buy one outright. If buying a phone outright is too expensive, you could get a refurbished phone. These will be used phones that have been rigorously tested to make sure they’re still fully functional, and then sold on at a fraction of their original price.

 5. Improve your credit rating – If you have failed a credit check, this can come down to a few factors. You may have missed a number of payments, repeatedly made late payments, or even made too many credit applications at the same time. Even not being on the electoral roll can have an impact on your credit score. So how can you improve your credit rating?

 There are a few actions you can take to improve your credit rating. Generally, it revolves around staying on top of your finances and managing your money and bills. If you take the following steps you’ll be on the right track to getting good credit.

  • Make sure you have a proper bank account

  • Pay your outgoing bills on time, including your mobile bill

  • Make sure you’re registered on the electoral roll

  • Try not to share accounts or bills with someone else who has bad credit

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