Are you struggling to get a contract phone due to a poor credit score? If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Many people in the UK face the same problem. From a missed payment a couple of years ago to high credit card usage, several things can impact your credit score and make it difficult for you to get the contract phone you want, even if you know you can afford it. But don’t worry – the good news is that there are some options available for you to get a contract phone, even if your credit rating isn’t the best.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to get a contact phone with poor credit, and some alternative options to consider.

Contract Phones: No Credit Check

If you have a poor credit score, you may find it challenging to get a contract phone from traditional mobile networks. But fortunately, some mobile networks offer contract phones with no credit check. While you are unlikely to get the latest and best iPhone this way, it can be an ideal option if you simply need a functional smartphone. Instead of looking at your credit history when you apply, they base their decision on your current financial situation.


But this option is few and far between – so it might be worth considering an alternative. Instead, buying a refurbished smartphone outright means you can get the handset you want, without all the hassle of it going on your credit rating. Then, you can pair it with one of Lebara’s monthly rolling deals with no credit checks whatsoever. What’s more, you’re not tied into a lengthy contract – meaning you can switch deals, change pricing, adjust your allowances, or even bounce to a different network whenever you like, with no penalties or fees.

Contract Phones: Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, you might still be able to get a contract phone – but you may need to go about it in a slightly different way. In some cases, you may be able to get accepted for a contract phone if you are willing to pay a higher upfront cost or a larger deposit. But there are usually some caveats – including the fact that the range of phones you may be eligible for is likely to be smaller, and providers may be less willing to let you walk away with the latest flagship handset.

Instead, you may want to consider purchasing a refurbished handset to use with Lebara using a different credit option, such as a personal credit card or, if you have access to one, a Buy Now Pay Later service like Klarna, Zilch, or Clearpay. This allows you to spread the cost of getting your new phone without the need to apply – and risk being rejected for – a smartphone contract. Plus, you will have access to a wider range of handsets, and the phone will be yours rather than the network’s as soon as you buy it.

Once you’ve found a phone you like, pair it with a SIM-only, monthly rolling deal from Lebara starting from just £5 per month. This gives you the flexibility to change your allowance and price each month based on your changing needs, rather than risking missing payments if you’re not able to keep up with a monthly contract fee. Plus, with no credit checks, you won’t be penalised with a drop in your credit rating if you can’t make a payment – simply don’t buy a bundle that month and start it up again when you can.

Contract Phones: No Credit Check Next Day Delivery

In the UK, it’s rather difficult to find a network that offers no credit check and next-day delivery. While you might be lucky enough to get accepted online and have your phone delivered the next day or be accepted in-store and able to walk away with your new phone, there is no guarantee – especially if you have a poor credit rating. While you can use comparison services to find the phone contracts that you are more likely to be eligible for, there’s also no guarantee that you will actually be accepted once you apply.

For most people, it’s simply not worth the risk of damaging their credit rating any further by putting credit rejections on it. Plus, if you have already been rejected for a phone contract, this might affect future applications you make, meaning it could be weeks before you can realistically try again.

If reducing your monthly payments with a new contract is your main concern, then it’s worth considering one of Lebara’s SIM-only deals. For example, for just £15, you can get 30 days of unlimited UK minutes and texts and a massive 30GB of 5G data to use with your existing handset or a new one. If your existing phone is still functioning well, it might be worth switching now to save money and use your savings to purchase a new phone in the future.

Or if you need to get a new phone tomorrow, consider another option for buying, such as a credit card, savings, or Buy Now Pay Later. Using credit that you have already been accepted for will reduce the risk of damage to your credit score by being rejected for a contract, and you can improve your credit score by repaying it on time.

High Acceptance Contract Phones – Are They Worth It?

You may be considering high acceptance contract phones if you have a poor credit rating and want a new handset. But are they worth it? While you might have a higher chance of being accepted with these phones, there are some drawbacks to consider.

Firstly, you will often be required to pay a higher amount upfront to get the contract. This could be hundreds of pounds – in fact, it might not work out any more expensive to purchase a refurbished handset outright! So, consider if paying the extra is worth it to you, and shop around for alternative options.

Secondly, you may not be able to access the latest handsets. Providers will assess your level of risk, and if you have a poor credit rating, they may not be comfortable selling you an expensive, new handset like an iPhone 14 Pro on contract. While this might not bother you if you’re happy with an older phone, it might not be worth it for you if you want the latest and best.

And finally, consider the potential future impact on your credit score. If you already have a lot of monthly outgoings or debt repayments, a high acceptance contract phone might mean you have a new handset – but it could add even more to your monthly outgoings. And with no flexibility until the end date, you will be required to make those payments or experience further credit rating blows that could damage your ability to get credit even more.

While it is possible to get a contract phone with a poor credit rating, it’s worth looking into all the alternatives. Poor credit phone contracts often include high upfront fees, high monthly fees, and a narrow selection of phones to choose from. Thankfully, with alternatives like refurbished phones, other credit options, and rolling 30-day SIM-only deals, you can get the handset you want without the need to worry about your credit score holding you back.