Verizon Wireless Credit Check: Everything You Need to Know
Planning to sign up for a new wireless service with Verizon? If so, be prepared to submit a credit check from America’s largest mobile telecommunications network.
Verizon Wireless requires a credit check for any new customers or existing customers adding a new line to your service as well as for phone upgrades. Also, you may have to pay a deposit as high as $1,000 per line if you have bad or poor credit.
That means you could be asked to fork over $3,000 just to get three lines of service!
Step 1: Check Your Own Credit Score First
Verizon Wireless has stringent credit requirements, but compared to AT&T, Verizon’s deposits don’t begin as high.
Verizon checks your credit to determine if you’re eligible for their service and if a down payment will be required. Therefore, it’s extremely important to know your credit scores before signing up for a new wireless service or upgrade.
If you have a credit score below 720 you may be required to pay a substantial deposit for service.
The deposit calculator uses historical data to provide you with a rough estimate of what you may be required to pay when signing up for a new service. It’ll also provide customized suggestions to reduce your deposit based on the information you provide.
Step 3: Reducing Your Deposit
There are two great ways to minimize or eliminate your deposit. Verizon and most other wireless carriers always have online promotions and deals that can help to offset any deposit that may be required. Many times, it’s possible to find a promotion that reduces the cost of a new phone by $100 or more.
Your deposit is also determined by the plan you choose. Choosing a more basic plan, and reducing the number of lines you request, may help to minimize the deposit you need to pay.
If you’d rather skip the credit check altogether, Verizon does have a pay-as-you-go plan available. They currently have three prepaid plans, two of which charge a daily access fee but come with unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. When you apply refills to your account, they will expire in 30 days to one year.
The prepaid plan allows you to pay for what you use and there is absolutely no credit check or annual contract necessary for this service. You can choose from basic phones, smartphones, or tablets, and their prepaid smartphone plans include unlimited talk and text starting at $60/month.
All major wireless carriers use credit checks as a tool to determine how likely applicants are to pay their bills. While one might not regard a cell phone with the same level of financial prudence as a credit card, both are forms of credit. Furthermore, it’s much easier to run up a high bill on a cell phone compared to a landline.
When Verizon Wireless runs a credit check, they review the amount of debt you already have, any collections or charged-off accounts, your payment history, and the limits on your credit accounts to get an overview of your financial stability.
Studies have found a correlation between credit rating and default risk, so Verizon Wireless checks the credit of new customers to see how responsible they’ve been in the past.
While having bad credit doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible, having poor credit does increase your risk of default in the eyes of a creditor, and they’ll hedge their bets by requiring a security deposit.
Will I Need to Pay a Deposit?
Depending on your credit score and history, one of three things will happen:
You’ll be denied service.
You’ll be required to pay a deposit.
You may have no deposit at all.
The good news is Verizon Wireless denies very few applicants, and even a recent bankruptcy on your record won’t eliminate you, although you’ll more than likely be required to pay a hefty deposit.
Verizon Wireless deposits range from $150 to $1,000, and this deposit is required per line, not per account. Most people who are required to pay a deposit generally fall in the $400 to $450 range.
The deposit you need to pay will be based on your credit score and credit history. Oftentimes, applicants with a score above 600 may not require a deposit at all unless there’s a bankruptcy on file.
According to the Terms and Conditions, your security deposit won’t accrue interest and will be held until you have completed an entire year of satisfactory payment history with no service interruption. This means you’ll get your deposit back if you make on-time payments for a full 12 months.
How Do I Improve My Credit?
The best thing you can do is spend a few months cleaning up your credit before you apply for wireless service. Start by ordering copies of your credit reports and then check for mistakes, such as accounts that don’t belong to you. Report any errors to the credit bureaus right away.
The next step is looking for red flags on your credit report, such as recently missed payments. If you have late payments on your report, you might have luck contacting your lender to request a goodwill adjustment.
Other steps you can take to improve your credit include requesting credit limit increases on your credit cards (not opening new accounts), paying down your debt to improve your debt-to-credit ratio and even adding a new type of credit to your report, such as a car loan or store credit.
While Verizon Wireless doesn’t have the highest security deposits in the industry, they can require up to $1,000 per line and their requirements are stringent. If you have poor credit, your best chance to be approved for cell phone service is to work on your credit before applying or consider their prepaid plan if the deposit that’s quoted is unaffordable.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.