5 Perks of Buying a Smartphone at Costco

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  • Comparing phone prices can save you money.
  • Visiting a Costco kiosk means not having to wander around the store, looking for help.
  • Potential bonuses also make shopping for a smartphone at Costco worthwhile.

As it turns out, Costco really does sell just about everything.

Smartphones are full of useful technology. You can do anything -- from sending emails to working on your monthly budget. But when you're in search of a new smartphone, your first thought may not be to run by your local big-box store. However, once you learn more about the perks of buying a smartphone at Costco, you may just change the way you shop for a new phone. Here are five of the top perks of buying a smartphone at Costco.

1. Costco gives you the opportunity to compare prices

Unless you need a new smartphone at this very moment, being a Costco member means you can compare its price on the model you want to the price offered by your cell phone carrier. It's important to know that you can't buy a smartphone at Costco without also buying a cell phone plan. But as long as you're willing to work with Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile, you're in luck.

Even if you pay less for a phone at Costco, the plan prices are identical to those offered by the carriers. The difference is, when you're shopping at Costco the sales rep will help you figure out the best carrier and plan for you.

2. You're not looking at last year's models

You'll find the most up-to-date smartphones at Costco. While cell phone stores frequently sell older models at discounted prices, Costco offers discounts on the latest models. In addition, many models come with a device payment plan so you can pay the phone off in interest-free installments.

If you're concerned that your credit score may prevent you from buying a new phone on installment, take these steps:

  • Order a copy of your credit report from the big three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Until the end of 2023, you're legally eligible for free weekly credit reports. You can order them all online through AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Carefully review each report, searching for any inaccurate or outdated information. If you find a mistake, dispute it with the credit reporting agency in question. They have 45 days to either prove the information in the report is correct or to remove it from the report. (No mistake on your report is too small, as each negative remark drags down your credit score).
  • If you have no credit history or a limited credit history, take these steps to boost your score.

3. You don't have to wander through the store

If you're a regular at Costco, you've probably noticed a kiosk operated by a company called Wireless Advocates. That's where you'll find smartphones and plans. There's no wandering through the store looking for someone to help. It's all right there.

One word of caution: With just one employee working the kiosk, the line can get long. Try to visit at a time when you're not in a hurry.

4. You'll have access to potential bonuses

Costco frequently offers members-only bonuses. For example, you may receive a Costco Cash gift card, waived activation fees, or discounted phones. If you need a new smartphone anyway, why not score a sweet bonus at the same time? If you're not in a hurry to buy, go ahead and ask the Wireless Advocate employee about upcoming specials. The goal is to buy a new smartphone and leave money in your bank account.

5. Costco gives you 90 days to decide if you like the smartphone

Buying a smartphone at a Costco kiosk means having 90 days from the day you make the purchase to return the phone. The fly in the ointment is that you can't take it back to a Costco store but need to make the return directly to Wireless Advocates. Read your contract carefully before signing up, though. You may still be responsible for early termination if your trial period has expired. The trial period typically lasts 14 days.

It seems that everyone has a smartphone. If it's time for you to upgrade, Costco offers the kinds of perks that make checking them out worth your time.

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