Does T-Mobile Require a Credit Check?

Does T-mobile run a credit check on new subscribers?

Q: I'm thinking about applying for phone service from T-Mobile. Does the company require a credit check?

A: Today, you can expect to submit to a check of your credit when you apply for a job, sign up for auto insurance, take out a mortgage loan and, of course, when you apply for wireless phone service. T-Mobile is no exception. The carrier wants to make sure that you have a history of paying for your bills on time. If your three-digit credit score is low, T-Mobile will know that you instead have the unfortunate habit of not paying your bills on time.

You might even qualify for one of T-Mobile's more traditional service programs if your score is low. Don't be surprised, though, if you have to pay a security deposit. This provides protection to T-Mobile in case you fail to pay your bills; T-Mobile can simply keep your security deposit after canceling your service.

Security Deposit Calculator

Before applying for new service with T-Mobile 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.

Even if you do have a low credit score, though, you don't have to panic. You can still apply for a T-Mobile prepaid plan. These plans don't require credit checks. Of course, you'll have to pay for your mobile service as you go, purchasing prepaid wireless cards or signing up for auto payment with your credit card. It's still mobile phone service, though, prepaid or not.

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About the author

Dan Rafter

Dan Rafter has contributed to such publications as the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and BusinessWeek Online. He's also a frequent blogger on credit and financial issues.