Apple Card Monthly Installments vs Apple iPhone Payments: Which iPhone financing plan is right for you?

iPhone 11 Pro in New York
iPhone 11 Pro in New York (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Ultimately, the choice between using the Apple Card iPhone Installation program or traditional Apple iPhone financing is flexibility. The former gives you the flexibility of not being tied to a carrier. Additionally, if you already have an Apple Card, there's no further credit check required. The more traditional option is like any other loan, requiring completing all payments before you can change carriers. It also requires a credit check similar to other loans.

Nearly the same

If you already have an Apple Card, your best choice is to buy your new phone with the card and take advantage of the installment plan option. With this selection, you also aren't tied to a carrier and can switch at any time. The more traditional Apple iPhone payment option limits you to one carrier for the life of the loan.

Regardless, the price is the same.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Apple Card Monthly InstallmentsiPhone Payment Plans
CostStarting at $33/mo for iPhone 12Starting at $33/mo for iPhone 12
Credit checkNo (unless you're new to Apple Card)Yes
InterestZero, same as cashZero, same as cash
Late fees chargedNoYes
Loan lengthNot a loan: 24 equal installments24 months
Upgrade timeAfter 24 payments (unless paid off early)After 24 payments (unless paid off early)
BankGoldman Sachs Bank USACitizens One
AvailabilityUS onlyUS only
Minimum age1818
CarrierNot locked to carrier at any timeLocked to carrier
Eligible for Apple Card 3% Daily CashYesYes
Devices you can buy withiPhone XRiPhone SE (2020)iPhone 12 miniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro MaxiPhone XRiPhone SE (2020)iPhone 12 miniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max

Using Apple Card installments to pay for your phone means you commit to paying 1/24 of your phone each month using your card. To do so, you must have enough spending ability in any given month to make the installment payment. The traditional payment plan shows up as a regular loan on your credit report. Each month, you make a payment, which brings down the total amount due. Neither program requires interest payments.

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Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.