Cricket Wireless, a subsidiary of AT&T, is one of the most popular wireless providers for people with bad credit. The company has affordable, no-contract plans that do not require a credit check, as service is paid for in advance.

While you do not need to pass a credit check to get approved for Cricket service, you will need to have good credit to qualify for their best promotions, particularly with their phone payment plans that let you pay a small amount down and pay off your phone over time. Here is what you should know.

Phone Payment Plan

Last year, Cricket announced a new program that allows customers to get the phones they want with a fairly low down payment and monthly payments over time. When you apply for the payment plan, you will get one of three offers: No Interest, Deferred Interest or No Credit Check. The terms and offer you receive will be based on many factors, including a credit history, if you choose to undergo a credit check.

Here is how the three offers break down:

  • No Interest: You pay 4% down when you buy the phone and 4% of the total amount every month for 24 months with 0% APR
  • Deferred Interest: You pay 5% down at the time of purchase and at least 5% of the plan per month. There is no interest charged if you pay off the loan within 6 months.
  • No Credit Check: You will pay an initial down payment as low as 8% and same as cash for 90 days.

If you have very bad credit, your best bet is the "No Credit Check" plan. If you get a Galaxy S4, you'll be looking at a $48 down payment and paying the remaining $552 over three months (or $184 a month).

Interestingly, Cricket itself does not do credit checks, and all financing is done through a third-party company, Progressive. If you have been employed for 6 months and you have had an active checking account for at least 3 months, you should have no problem getting approved.