Most people get their mobile phones for "free" by taking out very expensive monthly contracts. However, it's often much better value for money to buy the phone on finance from a catalogue using a buy now pay later, pay weekly or pay monthly payment plan. Few people ever use all of their free allowances from a contract anyway, so would be better off with a cheaper sim only contract, or even pay as you go sim.
This guide will look at where you can buy a mobile phone and the types of finance they offer.
Argos is one of the biggest retailers in the UK and stocks almost everything you could ever want. They sell mobile phones in stores and online. These can be purchased either sim free, or on pay as you go. Sim free phones are unlocked, but a pay as you go phone may need unlocking if it is used on another network.
As well as stocking all the popular phones such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, they also have their own range of Bush smart phones which are great value for money and have some very good reviews. As long as you spend over £100 in a transaction then you get 6 months interest free credit, if you are successful in your application for an Argos card.
Customers with no credit history or a bad credit score may find it more difficult to get accepted for the Argos card.
With the Argos card, as long as you pay the balance off in full by the end of the six month period then it will not cost you any extra, however if there is any of the original balance remaining then the interest will be backdated on the full amount.
With the Argos card it's also possible to spread the cost of buying a phone out further. In this case the card can be used like a normal credit card.
Littlewoods is another catalogue in the UK which sells more than you would think. They stock lots of the popular mobile phones and these are normally pay as you go handsets. This means that you may need to consider getting the phone unlocked to use it on different networks.
iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones and blackberries are all available on Littlewoods. They also have a range of cheaper budget handsets from manufacturers such as ZTE. The interest free finance from Littlewoods is very generous. As long as you are spending over £99 you can get 52 weeks interest free credit. The cost can also be reduced further by paying weekly over a longer period of time, where interest will be charged.
If you are buying a pay as you go phone then make sure that you will be able to use your own simcard in it. Most of the cheaper pay as you go handsets are locked to a certain network. Unlocking most of them is cheap to do online, but it's worth investigating before making a purchase.
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If you've already been rejected for credit it's normally best to wait awhile before you re-apply elsewhere.
Always compare different catalogues and stores to find the best prices.
Always read the terms and conditions in full and understand exactly how much you'll have to pay back.