Bad Credit Mobile Phone Contracts

man holding old mobile phone

John has bad credit history – but obviously didn’t read this guide on getting approved for a new mobile phone…

It can be extremely difficult and frustrating when you are declined a pay monthly mobile phone contract because of a bad credit rating and your previous circumstances.

Although it may be difficult, it is not impossible to get approved for a contract with the main UK networks.

No matter how bad your credit rating might be, this guide will show you how to get approved for a new mobile phone contract.

Seven Important Tips You MUST Remember!

Here are seven important tips which will greatly improve your chances of being accepted. Follow them or forever be stuck with your brick mobile phone from 1995…


1. Avoid Applying For Top-Of-The-Range Handsets

It’s common for people to choose the latest and best handsets available when applying for a contract. After all, who doesnt want the latest Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4?

However, not many people know that the exact model of your chosen phone plays a big part on whether you are accepted or declined for a contract.

When you make an application, you are credit scored on the specific handset model – the more expensive the phone, the harder it is to be approved (Pay monthly mobile phone contract work  like any other type of finance – the more you wish to borrow, the harder it is to be approved).

New handsets have a retail value of between £60 – £700 and so networks are understandably cautious which types of customers they give their phones to.

Retailers do not generally show the price of handsets, but by applying for a more basic low to mid range handset, you can vastly increase your chances of being approved.


2. Apply With 3 Mobile

Not many people are aware that each mobile network operator has a different credit checking criteria for their contract phones –  some require a better credit score to be approved than others.

The exact credit scoring details of each individual network is unknown but 3 Mobile has always been considered as the best option for those with a poor credit. To increase your chances of approval, apply for a cheaper handset packages rather than the latest and more expensive top of the range phones.  Although you are by no means guaranteed for approval, they are a recommended company to apply with if you have a less than perfect credit history.

When applying, avoid expensive top end handsets to improve your chances of being accepted.

3 Mobile – Click to visit


3. Apply For A SIM Only Contract For Easiest Approval

SIM only contracts are a great way to get connected if you are happy with your existing handset. SIM only contracts operate on a easier credit check compared to standard contracts which come with a free handset.

Because no handset is supplied, these contracts are considered lower risk by the mobile networks and are the easiest way to get a pay monthly contract if you have bad credit.

SIM card only contracts offer the perks of a pay monthly contract with lots of free monthly minutes and texts, without the obligation of having to be locked into a long-term 12 or 18 month plan.

  • More inclusive minutes and texts than standard pay monthly contracts
  • 30 day rolling contract
  • Keep your existing number (both PAYG and Pay Monthly)
  • Easier to be approved for

After making regular repayment of your monthly bill you will establish trust with the networks, making it possible to upgrade to a free handset a few months into the contract.

3 Mobile SIM only contracts – Click to visit

If mobile networks realise that you may be a high risk customer, they may reject your application leaving you with the next best option of a SIM only contract. Using these few months, can help your credit score to improve and better your chances of getting upgrading your contract and receiving a free handset a few months later.

It is strongly recommended that you choose a SIM only deal if you fail to get approved for a pay monthly contract with handset.  These deals simply have the best acceptance rate and you are more likely to be approved if you have a bad credit rating.

4. Avoid Applying For Contracts That Come With Free Gifts

It is wise to steer clear of any special offers that include free gifts such as such as an Xbox 360, LVD TV or Sat Nav system. Although these offers are very appealing, you will struggle to get approved if you have bad credit history since these are high value contracts and credit scoring requirements are much higher.

These gifts are never ‘free’ and the cost of the item is usually paid back in the form of the higher monthly line rental and longer 24-36 month contracts.

5. Be Prepared To Pay A Deposit

If you have a poor credit rating, you are seen as a risk by the mobile networks and may be asked to pay a deposit in order to be accepted. This is fair enough.  Network operators may assume that you will struggle to make monthly repayments, so they are seeking a way to cover any risk involved in approving your contract.

The desposit amount you will be asked to pay will vary depending on your circumstances, but if you have the cash available, this will virtually guarantee you approval for a mobile phone contract.

6. Remember That “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers”

If you have a less than perfect credit rating, you have to be realistic as to what type of pay monthly contracts are available to you.

You may not be too happy about having to avoid the latest handsets or you may not like being limited with Three but remember that especially in today’s current economic climate, it is harder to obtain credit of any kind so your options are limited.

Once you manage to be approved, it would be wise to ensure you repay your monthly bills on time, to help rebuild your credit rating.

7. Check Your Free Credit Report For Any Mistakes

It is a good idea to examine your credit report to see if there is anything you dispute or to change anything which may need fixing. It is not unusual to find simple mistakes on credit files and these are often a result of human clerical errors. However, these small errors can have a far greater effect on whether you are approved for credit, so it is extremely important to keep it up to date.

Accessing your credit report is relatively easy, and there are a handful of places where you can view your credit report online. Most will require a payment but, offer a 30 day free trial allowing you to view your credit report online and update any errors which may be on your file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Apply Directly With the Mobile Networks?

If you have poor credit ratings then you stand a greater chance of being accepted for a mobile phone contract by going directly to the network, rather than through a third party service provider. The thing is, these networks have greater authority than the retailers, to choose who they want to approve and they are not as strict. So, the best thing to do is to visit the networks’ website and apply directly to them.

Are there other ways of getting a mobile phone contract with bad credit?

Not really. Three Mobile  is by far the best network to get approved with and there are no trusted companies in the UK who currently provide mobile phone contracts to people with bad credit. No credit check mobile phone contracts are a myth and only exist in the form of Pay As You Go.

Why Should I Choose SIM Only Deals?

Many people with poor credit may apply for mobile phone contracts trying to get the best phones with the most expensive phone plans. In fact, it is highly unlikely that your poor credit score will succeed in getting the best deals, as you may pose a serious risk to the networks that are uncertain about your ability to make payments. However, as mentioned before, SIM only contracts offer the greatest chance of approval, so if you fail to get a mobile phone contract, it is recommended to reapply for a SIM only tariff.


The harsh economic conditions have caused a number of reasons for people to have a poor credit score. Despite of a bad credit history, research has proven that you can still get acceptance for an phone contract if you apply directly to the website of certain mobile networks like Virgin Mobile.

However, do remember that after you have successfully been approved on a pay monthly contract, whether you make the monthly repayments on time can either positively or negatively affect your credit score. You should ensure that you make timely payments by setting up a direct debit, which is one of the most popular ways of making  payments. Making repayment on time will help improve your credit score improving your chances of obtaining any form of credit or finance in the future.

We can’t guarantee everyone success in applying for a contract, mainly because everyone is different and  experiencing different circumstances. What we can guarantee you is that by following the tips above, you will greatly improve your chances of getting approved.

So what are you waiting for? Go apply for a pay monthly contract now and let me know how you get on.

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