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Verizon just updated its offering to include one simple choice for customers: The Verizon Plan. This plan is a direct successor of the Verizon Edge plan. So, if you liked Edge plans, you will also like the Verizon Plan. (Shop Verizon here!)
If you are looking for one of the "subsidized" contract plans many of us were used to, you will need to look elsewhere. Verizon no longer offers plans where you pay $200 down on you phone and then pay back the rest of the subsidized cost over the term of your contract.
So let's get started looking at the Verizon Plan so that you will know the credit requirements and fees before you sign up.
How Verizon Plan Works
With the introduction of the Verizon Plan in 2015, Verizon simplified phone purchase price and wireless plan options. (Read the Verizon Plan FAQs here.)
Here are the basics of how it works:
- No upgrade or activation fees
- Pay the full retail price of your phone up front or in 24 monthly installments
- $0 down on a smartphone for eligible customers (based on a credit check)
- All plans include unlimited talk and text
- You select only the amount of data you need each month
- You will pay an access fee for each device
Buying Your Phone
When you sign up with Verizon, you can choose to either pay for the entire cost of the phone immediately, or purchase the phone in 24 monthly installments.
You should know that your 2-year cost of ownership will be exactly the same whether you pay for the phone up front or over 24 payments. The only difference if paying the phone in installments does require that you enter into a 2-year contract with Verizon.
If you choose to pay for your phone in installments, your monthly payments depend on the cost of the phone you choose, but there is no upgrade fee or finance fee. The amount is just added to your monthly bill.
Early Upgrades With Verizon
Verizon gives you two ways to upgrade your phone.
First, you can upgrade after making half (i.e., 12) payments under your installment plan and then trading in your phone.
This makes Verizon's early upgrade program the most expensive of those offered by the major carriers.
Because other carriers essentially give you a discount to lease a phone. Verizon does not.
Your other option is to pay the full price up front, re-sell your phone when you want to upgrade, and then buy a new phone.
Most customers who want to experience the Verizon network will most likely opt to stick with their phone for at least 2 years.
Wireless Data Plans
As we mentioned earlier, all plans include unlimited talk and text. From there you need to decide how much monthly data you will need.
As you will see below, Verizon does make suggestions for the size of your data plans based on the number of connected devices and your monthly usage requirements.
On top of your monthly data cost and device payment, you will also need to pay a monthly access fee for each connected device.
Beware the Monthly Access Fees
Current Verizon pricing for monthly access charges are as follows:
- $20 per smartphone
- $10 per tablet or hotspot
- $5 for all other connected devices
And, before you ask, even the first phone on the plan must pay the $20 monthly access fee.
Looking for Even More Data?
If you are require more data than available under the Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large Verizon Plans, you are in luck.
You can buy an unlimited plans:
Your plan will come with 5 GB of complementary cloud storage.
If you find that you end up requiring more, you will be able to upgrade this at any time.
How Much Will This Really Cost?
We provide the two year cost of ownership based on two different scenarios. First is an individual plan using 3 GB of data each month with no other extras. We assume you purchase the latest 16 GB iPhone under the installment plan.
The other scenario is a shared 12 GB data plan where you purchase two new iPhones under the installment plan.
As we said above, your total two year costs will be the same whether you pay in installments or pay the full purchase price upfront.
We use the 16 GB iPhone merely as an example and so you can compare costs against other carriers. Other popular smartphones from Samsung will have similar prices.
Individual 3 GB Data Plan*
- Phone: $27.08/month
- Access Fee: $20/month
- 3 GB Data: $45/Month
- Monthly Total: $92
- 2 Year Total: $2,210
Family 12 GB Data Plan*
- 2 Phones: $54.16/month
- Access Fee: $40/month
- 12 GB Data: $80/month
- Monthly Total: $174
- 2 Year Total: $4,180
* Totals are rounded for convenience.
As you can see, Verizon is charging you a premium to use their top rated network and 4G LTE speeds. But you will also own your phone, and can re-sell it after 2 years.
If you decide to trade in your phone and upgrade after 12 months, your 2-year cost of ownership will be the same as shown (assuming the new phone has the same price). But you will incur sales tax again and you will not be able to re-sell your phone.
Credit Requirements and Eligibility
Verizon Wireless tends to have strict requirements as far as credit checks go. Verizon will run your credit to check the level of debt you are currently managing, whether you have charged-off or collections accounts, your payment history and the limits on your credit accounts. If your credit score is lower than 650 or so, you may have trouble getting approved or you may be required to pay a large deposit.
You can always choose to look into Verizon prepaid plans if you have bad credit or prefer cheaper no contract plans. You can read our review of Verizon Allset Prepaid Plans here.
Finding Verizon Deals
If these plans look expensive, but you want to join the Verizon network, my suggestion to keep you eye out for a deal.
The Bottom Line
Now that you are armed with an understanding about how the new Verizon Plan works, and you know all the associated fees and credit requirements, let's outline the major pros and cons:
- Straightforward pricing
- Verizon's top ranked network
- You can re-sell your phone after 24 months because you own it
- Early upgrade option is expensive
- Plans are expensive
The bottom line is that Verizon plans are expensive, but a lot of that expense is offset because you sell your phone after 2 years. (Leasing and early upgrade plans usually require you to turn in your handset to upgrade early.)
However, if you love the fast and reliable Verizon network, Verizon remains the way to go.