Bad credit can make many areas of life hard, from getting approved for an apartment to getting services like cable, internet and cell phone service. If you have tried to sign up for wireless service only to be hit with a large deposit of hundreds of dollars, you do have other options.
T-Mobile offers a variety of wireless plans that let you sign up with no credit check, no deposit and no annual contract.
- Simple Choice Plans
- Simply Prepaid Plans
- Pay As You Go Plans
- Basic Prepaid Plans
This article explains how to sign up for T-Mobile service with bad credit, and what you should know about T-Mobile’s Simple Choice and other prepaid plans. By the end, you will be able to choose the the T-Mobile plan that works best for you.
Simple Choice No Credit Check Plans
T-Mobile offers Simple Choice prepaid plans that do not require a credit check or annual contract. Here are the plan essentials:
- Single line plans start at $50. Family plans starting at $80.
- All plans include unlimited talk, text and data, starting with up to 1GB of 4g LTE.
- Your data is unlimited, but you are choosing a plan with a limited amount of 4G LTE data. To the extent you exceed that amount, your speeds may be throttled.
- You can buy a phone upfront or bring your own to avoid the credit check.
- The Simple Choice plans do not require a credit check, but there will be a deposit equal to one month of service. For example, a single line will have a $50 deposit.
- You will need to pay the full cost of the phone upfront, but there are many phones to choose from. An iPhone 6, for example, will cost $649.92, the full retail price. An iPhone 5s is available for $549.84.
- You can talk, text, or use your data on the T-Mobile network in the United States, Mexico & Canada.
- Unlimited music streaming through T-Mobile’s Music Freedom.
And here is a chart with all single line plan options:
For family plans, adding additional lines adds the following costs:
- Line 2 Starts at $30/month for 1 GB of 4G LTE data, and increases in $10 increments as you add 4G data (up to $60/month for unlimited 4G LTE data).
- Each additional line starts at $10/month for 1GB of 4G data, and increases in $10 increments as you add 4G data (up to $40/month for unlimited 4G LTE data).
Simple Choice Features and Benefits
You can customize your plan with international talk ($10-15/month) or Score! ($5/month), which gives you exclusive pricing on your next smartphone. Score! lets you upgrade your phone after 6 months or gives you better pricing after 12 months.
T-Mobile does have some unique features that you won’t find with other Prepaid plans from major carriers. Along with unlimited data, you can get a Rhapsody subscription included and you can enjoy unlimited music streaming from services like Pandora without using up your 4G LTE data.
Note: 3GB and 5GB of LTE data plans also include Data Stash, which lets you rollover unused 4G LTE data to the next month.
Right now, T-Mobile will give you 10GB of free 4G LTE data when you sign up for a plan! This deal is good until the end of 2015.
How to Avoid a Credit Check
To avoid a credit check and sign up for T-Mobile Simple Choice service, follow these steps. Note that this option DOES have a deposit, but it will only be equal to your first month of service. To sign up without a deposit, follow the steps below for the Simple Prepaid plans.
1. Navigate to Plans, and then select Individual or Family.
2. Choose the Simple Choice plan that works for you and then select whether you will shop for a phone or bring your own.
3. When the phone options come up, select “No Credit Check”.
4. Select your phone and choose the “Buy Now” option to pay for the phone.
5. Verify that it says “Simple Choice No Credit Plan” on the far right, then choose the right plan option and “Add to Cart.
6. You can then check out and pay. Your total will include the cost of the phone, a $15 SIM starter kit and your deposit, which is the first month of service in advance.
T-Mobile Jump Program
T-Mobile does offer financing if you sign up for a Simple Choice plan, but this option is not available if you choose a No Credit Check plan. Jump does require a credit check, but if your credit score is at least in the 600s, there is a good chance you will be approved. This is worth considering if you have pretty bad credit but think it’s good enough to get financing and avoid the high upfront cost of a new phone. (You can find options to check you credit score here.)
In 2015, T-Mobile introduced Jump! On Demand, an upgrade program that lets you choose the newest devices whenever you want at a low cost. You can switch to a new phone up to 3x per year with no upgrade fees or waiting period. Don’t pay to upgrade; just trade in your old device.
There is no upfront fee for either Jump! or Jump! On Demand, but you do pay $10 a month for enrollment. Note that you need a postpaid Simple Choice plan to be eligible, not a No Credit Check plan.
With your fee, you are able to upgrade early and replace your phone in the event it is lost or damaged.
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid Plans
T-Mobile also offers Simply Prepaid plans, which have no annual contract, no credit check AND no deposit. You can bring your own phone or shop for a new one.
These plans are less expensive than the Simple Choice plans:
- $40/month for 1GB 4G LTE data + unlimited text, talk and data.
- $50/month for 3GB 4G LTE data + unlimited text, talk and data.
- $60/month for 5GB 4G LTE data + unlimited text, talk and data
And these are the negatives of Simply Prepaid compared to a Simple Choice plan.
- No family plans available
- No unlimited 4G LTA data option
- T-Mobile caps prepaid plans at 8Mbps. This means you will not have a fast data connection, no matter how strong the network in your area.
- No coverage in Canada and Mexico
- No international texting
- No unlimited streaming of music through Music Streaming.
- No access to T-Mobile Jump.
You need to decide if the differences are worth upgrading your plan to Simple Choice.
To sign up with a prepaid plan and avoid both a credit check and a deposit, follow these steps.
1. Choose Plans and then Prepaid Plans.
2. Select “Shop for a new device” and choose the phone you want.
3. Add the phone to your cart and pay. Your total will include the cost of the phone, a $10 SIM Starter Kit and $0 deposit.
4. Your device will be shipped to you. Once you receive it, activate it and then choose your plan.
T-Mobile Basic Monthly Plans
The Basic monthly plans offered by T-mobile come with no credit check, no deposit, and no annual contract.
For just $30 per month, you can get unlimited texting with limited talk and data.
And for $35 per month, get unlimited talk and text with no data.
Prepaid Pay As You Go Plans
If you need only small amounts of talk time, a pay as you go plan may serve you well. It’s key benefits are:
- Low prices
- No annual service contracts
- No deposits
- No credit checks
- Keep your phone number
The Bottom Line
If you’ve decided to get prepaid cell service, T-Mobile does have a lot going for it. While it isn’t the fastest or most reliable network, you can get unlimited data (albeit at slower speeds) with the ability to stream music without eating up your data. Most wireless carriers do not offer unlimited prepaid data plans so this is a big selling point. You can also choose from many phones or bring your own phone to avoid paying full retail value for a new phone.