AT&T and Verizon Wireless Credit Check: Don’t Be Denied!

Want to apply for cell phone service but your credit isn't so great? Unfortunately, this can get you into some trouble as most companies will require you to pay a down payment if your credit score is lacking.

Virtually all cell phone providers require a credit check before service is activated, and those with a credit score that fails to meet their internal checks must pay a hefty but refundable deposit.

Here's a look at both AT&T and Verizon's approach to bad credit applications and what you should expect.

Wireless Service with Bad Credit

There are some possible alternatives, although you may be stuck paying a deposit ranging anywhere from $50 to $1,000. 

Security Deposit Calculator

Before applying for new service with AT&T, Verizon, or any other provider, you can estimate the required deposit with our Wireless Service Deposit Calculator. The calculator will estimate a deposit amount based on historical data and make recommendations for reducing your deposit. After using our calculator, check out CreditForum's guide to no deposit/no contract cell phones.

If you're looking for solid wireless service with bad or average credit and want to avoid paying a large deposit, many visitors are having success with Prepaid/Pay-as-You-Go Plans. Carriers are now offering 4G LTE pre-paid plans that include unlimited talk & text and start with 500mb of data for $45 a month.

AT&T Service with Bad Credit

AT&T has the highest initial security deposit, which usually starts at $250 and may go as high as $750. Your deposit will be refunded after 12 months of on-time payments.

With ATT, many people with a credit score in the low- to mid-500's are approved with a deposit ranging from $100/line to $750 total. If you've declared bankruptcy and your score is below 600, you may not be approved at all. On the other hand, some people with a credit score in the mid-500's received approval with no down payment necessary.​

AT&T does offer Pay as You Go plans, designed for people with bad credit. It has no contract, no deposit and no credit check necessary. You choose whether you want to pay by the minute, by the day or by the month.

In a nutshell:

  • Security deposit ranges from $250 to $750
  • Deposit is refunded after 12 on-time payments
  • AT&T Pay as You Go plans available with no credit check or deposit
  • Credit scores between 500 and 650 may require deposit of $100 per line to $750 total
AT&T no credit check

AT&T Go Phone Prepaid Mobile

Verizon Service with Poor Credit

The credit requirements at Verizon are similar to those at AT&T, although their security deposits start at $125 and then go past $400. As with AT&T, your security deposit is refunded after a year.

Many people report approval for Verizon wireless service with a credit limit around 600 and up with no deposit. Like AT&T, Verizon also offers a prepaid plan intended for individuals with bad credit.

If you're looking for solid wireless service with bad or average credit and avoid paying a large deposit many visitors are having success with Verizon's 4G Prepaid Plan. 

Verizon is now offering 4G LTE plans and service with no annual contract, no credit check and no activation fee. These plans include unlimited talk & text and start with 500mb of data for $45 a month.

You can buy an additional 500mb of data for $5 or 1gb for $10. Verizon is also currently offering free overnight shipping if you order through the online store. You can see all Verizon Prepaid deals here.

Verizon in a nutshell:

  • ​Security deposit ranges from $150 to $450
  • Deposit is refunded after 12 on-time payments
  • Verizon Prepaid plans available with no credit check or deposit
  • Credit scores above 600 may not require a deposit
no verizon credit check

Two Possible Solutions to Avoid Down Payments

Option #1

Want an iPhone? Many people have reported success by ordering their iPhone through the Apple website -- as opposed to starting with AT&T -- and then setting up an appointment to pick up the phone at a local Apple Store. With this method you may be able to get your phone service through AT&T with no deposit required.

Option #2

Choose a prepaid or pay-as-you-go plan that doesn't require a credit check. Many companies offer prepaid plans, including Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, with the ability to chose among a range of smartphones.

Looking for Cell Phone Deals and Offers?

If you are thinking about changing providers, check out our Deals page to find the latest bonus and offers from all the top cell phone providers.

About the author

Kevin

Kevin founded CreditShout in 2008 to help people manage their credit and finances. He wants to make it easy for anyone, regardless of their level of financial knowledge to understand credit cards and what may seem like the complex world of personal finance. | Author Google+

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