Apple Simplifies 'Trade Up With Installments' iPhone Program by Relying on Carrier Financing Plans
Jun 28, 2016 11:45 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today made some changes to its recently introduced "Trade Up With Installments" payment plan, which is designed to let prospective customers trade in an old iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone, putting the value of the device towards a new 24-month iPhone installment plan.

Previously, Apple's Trade Up program relied on a 24-month installment loan from Apple partner Citizens Bank, but Apple is simplifying the service and instead relying on financing plans handled by carriers. Trading in a device at the Apple Store will now allow the value of the device to be applied to the purchase of a new iPhone from a carrier. Credits can be used to lower the cost of an outright purchase or to reduce monthly payments.


It is no longer necessary to undergo a credit check to trade in a device, nor do customers have to agree to a 24-month installment loan or minimum financing. Going through carrier financing does mean iPhones purchased through the program will be locked to the carrier a customer chooses, while phones previously available through Trade-In were unlocked.

Old wording:
Available to qualified customers with a credit check and eligible U.S. credit card. Monthly payment may vary depending on condition and type of device you trade in. Offer only available on presentation of a valid, government-issued photo ID (local law may require saving this information). Requires a 24-month installment loan with a 0% APR from Citizens Bank, N.A. (subject to any interest, fees, or other costs payable to the issuer of the credit card). Requires financing of at least $239.
New wording:
Sales tax on the full value of new iPhone and any applicable fees may be due at time of purchase. Value of your current device may be applied toward purchase of a new Apple iPhone via an available carrier financing plan.
With the changes comes an update to the site explaining the program, with new wording that calls it "Trade Up" instead of "Trade In" and new maximum trade-in values of $250 instead of $300. Apple has also removed all of the information on monthly payments based on trade-in, as pricing will now vary by carrier and trade-in value.

The program is otherwise unchanged, continuing to offer customers a way to apply the value of old devices to a new purchase. Estimated trade-in values, which are based on phone quality, range from $50 for the iPhone 4s to $250 for the iPhone 6 Plus. Customers are also still able to trade in other eligible smartphones from companies like Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, and LG, with all trade-ins done through Apple partner Brightstar.

Apple also continues to offer its dedicated iPhone Upgrade Program, which remains unchanged. With the iPhone Upgrade Program, customers can purchase an iPhone through Apple and trade it in each year for a new device.


Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
I miss those 2 year contracts....
Rating: 13 Votes
10 months ago

I live in the UK but I just don't see why anyone would do this in the US or here. Their trade in value sucks. You'd get at least another third of that on eBay.


Good point, but sometimes I'd rather expedite the process than deal with eBayidiot123 with 0 feedback trolling my auction for a few weeks.
Rating: 13 Votes
10 months ago
I'll pass. I'm seriously at the point were the cost is now prohibitive for me to have the latest "smart phone" looks like it's cheap droids for me or maybe a cheaper version of the iPhone. and I make very good money. $2000 a year for a phone is just crazy..
Rating: 11 Votes
10 months ago
I live in the UK but I just don't see why anyone would do this in the US or here. Their trade in value sucks. You'd get at least another third of that on eBay.
Rating: 8 Votes
10 months ago

Good point, but sometimes I'd rather expedite the process than deal with eBayidiot123 with 0 feedback trolling my auction for a few weeks.

This is the number one reason people want to avoid eBay. Been there done that. The hassle isn't worth the payout for me.

Plenty of threads here on this very forum with various outcomes and resolutions too.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago
Am I the only one who's completely lost about how to get a new phone? I could get behind the days of just trading in your old phone with a new two year contract. With these new schemes to get a phone, I get the feeling that it's just another way for the phone companies to scam us out of our money. They're also much more confusing. I'm certain this is one of the reasons for fewer phone sales. They've put roadblocks in place that didn't appear to be there in the old way of doing business.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

I'll pass. I'm seriously at the point were the cost is now prohibitive for me to have the latest "smart phone" looks like it's cheap droids for me or maybe a cheaper version of the iPhone. and I make very good money. $2000 a year for a phone is just crazy..


Agree. I'm perfectly happy with my 64GB 6. Force touch and an incremental camera upgrade weren't even close to interesting when the 6S came out. And it isn't looking like the next iPhone will offer much either. It is now more expensive for me to get on a new plan (still on AT&T unlimited) and have to put phone costs into the equation than it was to simply get a new phone every other year and sell the old one on eBay.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

Am I the only one who's completely lost about how to get a new phone? I could get behind the days of just trading in your old phone with a new two year contract. With these new schemes to get a phone, I get the feeling that it's just another way for the phone companies to scam us out of our money. They're also much more confusing. I'm certain this is one of the reasons for fewer phone sales. They've put roadblocks in place that didn't appear to be there in the old way of doing business.


I disagree. Now it is much more transparent. I am on AT&T's next. I bought my wife and myself each a phone. We pay the retail price of the phone with no interest spread out over 18 months. At 12 months, I can send them back to AT&T and get new phones, restarting the 18 month clock. If I want to keep the phone I finish all 18 of the payments and it's mine.

They treat the phone for service billing just like I owned it outright. So for example, when I add my wife's phone to my plan it is $15 per month plus fees. Before with 2 year contracts, I could end up out of contract, but still paying the contract fee.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 months ago

I'll pass. I'm seriously at the point were the cost is now prohibitive for me to have the latest "smart phone" looks like it's cheap droids for me or maybe a cheaper version of the iPhone. and I make very good money. $2000 a year for a phone is just crazy..


I still don't understand that position. The monthly cost of a new phone with installments is no more than it ever was with "subsidized" phones. It's just semantics, and where the costs show up in the bill. Before the costs were bundled into the data/voice plan. Now they're just a separate line item for the hardware.

Now, I truly agree with an argument that says they were too expensive to upgrade every year, even with the "subsidies." Still didn't stop me from doing it... ;-)
Rating: 4 Votes
10 months ago

This had better not be replacing the iPhone Upgrade Program, I was going to use that specifically to get out of financing through carriers. I may want to swap carriers, or not want to have to deal with my phone being locked, I may want the best carrier and roaming compatibility, and getting Apple Care Plus bundled in was a nice enticing feature... Plus being able to upgrade every year still. UGH Imma be pissed if this is gone now.


Last paragraph of the story.
Rating: 3 Votes

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