iPhone Upgrade Program Causing Headaches for Some Launch Day Customers

Apple launched its iPhone Upgrade Program today in the U.S., enabling customers to purchase the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with AppleCare+ coverage included for 24 equal payments of between around $30 and $45 per month depending on the model. After at least 12 monthly payments, the customer can upgrade to a new iPhone and restart the 24-month payment cycle.

apple iphone upgrade program
Apple stipulates that the iPhone Upgrade Program is available to qualified customers only with a valid U.S. personal credit card, since the program is based on a 24-month installment loan with a 0% APR from Citizens Bank. For customers with good credit, most did not expect this requirement to be an issue. But, as launch day unfolds, some customers have had frustrating experiences.

MacRumors user onujpt writes that he was declined from the program, despite having good credit and an Apple Barclaycard with a $4,000 available balance, in the iPhone Upgrade Program Experience Thread in our discussion forums. Many other users shared similar experiences in the thread.

Signed up for a reservation. Got there. Front of the line quickly. Got the phone and began the checkout process and notified them I wanted to do the iPhone Upgrade Program.

I have a 724 credit score, a Barclaycard through Apple, and a $4,000 available balance on that card with a combined household income of over $80,000.

I was declined. At first everyone was getting declined. Then some started to work. Mine didn't. They attempted 3 or 4 times with absolutely no luck.

It immediately added a hard inquiry to my credit score. Although we attempted four times, for now it appears that it only hit my credit score once.

I'm beyond upset and will anxiously be awaiting my letter from the bank to find out why I was declined. I personally believe it was a system communication error. And that maybe I was approved but the system just didn't show it. I'm tempted to go back and try again tomorrow just to see if it was a launch-day-8-am issue or not.

MacRumors user inkyoto echoed similar frustration in his thread Nightmarish Experience With Apple Upgrade Program in our discussion forums, noting that he was denied approval for the iPhone Upgrade Program with both Chase and Bank of America credit cards despite having "flawless credit."

Chase call #1 — Chase said they didn't even receive an authorization for the purchase, but put on a high spending note anyway. Tried it again, no dice - same error message.

Trying another card — Okay, trying another credit card, this time from Bank of America. Went through the entire process again. Same error message.

Chase call #2 — This rep has no idea what is going on and is confused about why I'm financing a purchase on my credit card. Tells me to contact Citizens One (the bank financing the iPhone upgrade program) because the error isn't on their side – they aren't even seeing an authorization.

Citizens One — Rep says I have 3 tries per card before I have to wait 30 days. Says that their financing limit is $4000 so as long as I'm under that, and my credit can accommodate the next 3 months of payments, it should go through. Tells me to contact Apple. Gives me a phone number for Apple Financing that goes to "not in service". Nice.

Trying again — Decided to give it another shot with my Bank of America card so we could get another look at the error message. This time it changed. Now it says "Customer ineligible for Apple Offers."

Apple — Enter the twilight zone. Apple rep has no idea what is going on. When I ask to be transferred to whoever is responsible for Apple financing, they say it's the person in the store. Oh yeah, brilliant! I ask again to be transferred and they say they don't have anyone to transfer me to and that I need to contact Citizens One about why it's not going through.

It is possible that iPhone Upgrade Program approvals have been experiencing problems due to the high volume of traffic today in Apple Stores, but in the meantime some customers with good credit may be forced to pay upfront or walk away empty handed. Alternatively, some customers may opt for a carrier financing plan from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile.

Enrolling in the iPhone Upgrade Program requires visiting an Apple Store. Apple states you must be at least 18 years old and bring your current iPhone, a valid personal credit card, your personal information and two forms of identification and your carrier information, such as your wireless account password. The full terms and conditions are posted on Apple's website.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

mattnotis Avatar
112 months ago
You're buying it wrong.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Asarien Avatar
112 months ago
Why don't people just pay for the phone upfront? Knowing we upgrade every year.... buying the phone outright has been simple for us.
Check your privilege, friend. Not everyone can readily spend $700-$1000 on one frivolous purchase.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mlrollin91 Avatar
112 months ago
If someone needs to finance the phone they should not buy one. Pay cash upfront and keep it simple....
By that logic, if you can't pay cash for a house or car, you should not get one.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WowAppleWow Avatar
112 months ago
I will only pay $432 for the phone?
Not 800.
We pay $950 upfront then sell the old phones for $550. So we pay $400 per year and don't have to worry about these programs.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WowAppleWow Avatar
112 months ago
Why don't people just pay for the phone upfront? Knowing we upgrade every year.... buying the phone outright has been simple for us.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuropsychguy Avatar
112 months ago
We pay $950 upfront then sell the old phones for $550. So we pay $400 per year and don't have to worry about these programs.
If the loan is 0% interest, which this is, it's better to pay over time and not all up front if you have good fiscal responsibility. I only buy things like this (not a house or car) if I can purchase it outright but I'd rather pay over time so I keep the money earning interest (what little it is) or sitting in a money market account or mutual fund. It's great to not have monthly payments but if monthly payments have a 0% interest rate, why not pay over time?

Plus, some people would rather not deal with selling the phone. I don't mind so that's the route I go but it's not worth the time or hassle for some people.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Apple Announces 'Let Loose' Event on May 7 Amid Rumors of New iPads

Tuesday April 23, 2024 7:11 am PDT by
Apple has announced it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, May 7 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. Eastern Time), with a live stream to be available on Apple.com and on YouTube as usual. The event invitation has a tagline of "Let Loose" and shows an artistic render of an Apple Pencil, suggesting that iPads will be a focus of the event. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Orange Feature 2

Apple Cuts Vision Pro Shipments as Demand Falls 'Sharply Beyond Expectations'

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple has dropped the number of Vision Pro units that it plans to ship in 2024, going from an expected 700 to 800k units to just 400k to 450k units, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Orders have been scaled back before the Vision Pro has launched in markets outside of the United States, which Kuo says is a sign that demand in the U.S. has "fallen sharply beyond expectations." As a...
iPad And Calculator App Feature

Apple Finally Plans to Release a Calculator App for iPad Later This Year

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:08 am PDT by
Apple is finally planning a Calculator app for the iPad, over 14 years after launching the device, according to a source familiar with the matter. iPadOS 18 will include a built-in Calculator app for all iPad models that are compatible with the software update, which is expected to be unveiled during the opening keynote of Apple's annual developers conference WWDC on June 10. AppleInsider...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
Apple Silicon AI Optimized Feature Siri

Apple Releases Open Source AI Models That Run On-Device

Wednesday April 24, 2024 3:39 pm PDT by
Apple today released several open source large language models (LLMs) that are designed to run on-device rather than through cloud servers. Called OpenELM (Open-source Efficient Language Models), the LLMs are available on the Hugging Face Hub, a community for sharing AI code. As outlined in a white paper [PDF], there are eight total OpenELM models, four of which were pre-trained using the...