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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple launched its iPhone Upgrade Program today in the U.S., enabling customers to purchase the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with AppleCare+ coverage included for 24 equal payments of between around $30 and $45 per month depending on the model. After at least 12 monthly payments, the customer can upgrade to a new iPhone and restart the 24-month payment cycle.


Apple stipulates that the iPhone Upgrade Program is available to qualified customers only with a valid U.S. personal credit card, since the program is based on a 24-month installment loan with a 0% APR from Citizens Bank. For customers with good credit, most did not expect this requirement to be an issue. But, as launch day unfolds, some customers have had frustrating experiences.

MacRumors user onujpt writes that he was declined from the program, despite having good credit and an Apple Barclaycard with a $4,000 available balance, in the iPhone Upgrade Program Experience Thread in our discussion forums. Many other users shared similar experiences in the thread.
Signed up for a reservation. Got there. Front of the line quickly. Got the phone and began the checkout process and notified them I wanted to do the iPhone Upgrade Program.

I have a 724 credit score, a Barclaycard through Apple, and a $4,000 available balance on that card with a combined household income of over $80,000.

I was declined. At first everyone was getting declined. Then some started to work. Mine didn't. They attempted 3 or 4 times with absolutely no luck.

It immediately added a hard inquiry to my credit score. Although we attempted four times, for now it appears that it only hit my credit score once.

I'm beyond upset and will anxiously be awaiting my letter from the bank to find out why I was declined. I personally believe it was a system communication error. And that maybe I was approved but the system just didn't show it. I'm tempted to go back and try again tomorrow just to see if it was a launch-day-8-am issue or not.
MacRumors user inkyoto echoed similar frustration in his thread Nightmarish Experience With Apple Upgrade Program in our discussion forums, noting that he was denied approval for the iPhone Upgrade Program with both Chase and Bank of America credit cards despite having "flawless credit."
Chase call #1 -- Chase said they didn't even receive an authorization for the purchase, but put on a high spending note anyway. Tried it again, no dice - same error message.

Trying another card -- Okay, trying another credit card, this time from Bank of America. Went through the entire process again. Same error message.

Chase call #2 -- This rep has no idea what is going on and is confused about why I'm financing a purchase on my credit card. Tells me to contact Citizens One (the bank financing the iPhone upgrade program) because the error isn't on their side - they aren't even seeing an authorization.

Citizens One -- Rep says I have 3 tries per card before I have to wait 30 days. Says that their financing limit is $4000 so as long as I'm under that, and my credit can accommodate the next 3 months of payments, it should go through. Tells me to contact Apple. Gives me a phone number for Apple Financing that goes to "not in service". Nice.

Trying again -- Decided to give it another shot with my Bank of America card so we could get another look at the error message. This time it changed. Now it says "Customer ineligible for Apple Offers."

Apple -- Enter the twilight zone. Apple rep has no idea what is going on. When I ask to be transferred to whoever is responsible for Apple financing, they say it's the person in the store. Oh yeah, brilliant! I ask again to be transferred and they say they don't have anyone to transfer me to and that I need to contact Citizens One about why it's not going through.
It is possible that iPhone Upgrade Program approvals have been experiencing problems due to the high volume of traffic today in Apple Stores, but in the meantime some customers with good credit may be forced to pay upfront or walk away empty handed. Alternatively, some customers may opt for a carrier financing plan from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile.

Enrolling in the iPhone Upgrade Program requires visiting an Apple Store. Apple states you must be at least 18 years old and bring your current iPhone, a valid personal credit card, your personal information and two forms of identification and your carrier information, such as your wireless account password. The full terms and conditions are posted on Apple's website.

Article Link: iPhone Upgrade Program Causing Headaches for Some Launch Day Customers
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macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2011
I'm trying to figure out why I was charged $150 on my AMEX when I used it to authorize this program.
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macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2014
Denver, CO
Had absolutely no problems signing up for Apple's upgrade program. Used Citi Mastercard and T-mobile. And yes you pay taxes plus first month which if im not mistaken puts the 12th payment in August next year and right on track for the next IPhone


macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2009
Yeah. I tried multiple times and multiple cards to try and get the iPhone Upgrade Program. Finally just got AT&T Next it saved me money but I don't get Apple Care. After this makes bigger news ill go in and complain and either get them to switch me or give me Apple Care.


macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2015
Wow, way to drop the ball Apple. They should have made sure that their finance company was ready, and well trained for problems. Seems like Apple should have had a great launch. Glad I went with AT&T Next again. Never any problems with that.


macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2006
Chiming in to say I, also, had no issues getting this setup. My credit card presently shows a charge and credit in the same amount, but both are pending so it'll likely sort itself out shortly.

My bank did balk at the charge initially, but I replied "YES" to a text, the Apple Store employee re-ran the charge, and all was rosy from there on out.


macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
Central U.S.
My appointment to sign up for this program is at 6pm. Now I'm getting worried because I have to drive 120 miles to the nearest Apple Store. I thought this program sounded neat. Then I just had to accept that I needed to go to the store to set it up. Now it sounds like a big pain. I'm going to be furious if I get declined when I get there. My credit is pretty good but not perfect, although I don't think I've ever had a late payment. I've only got a mortgage and a credit card that I pay off monthly. I could buy the phone outright but liked the idea of trading in my device to Apple every year instead of some shady website and the bonus Apple Care and no upgrade fee from Verizon made it worth it. I'm going to go look into my Verizon options really quick before I have to head out at 4! Didn't they drop their prices last night?

One other thing—when I spoke to the rep on the phone about this program on afternoon of September 10th I was specifically told "It's a soft credit inquiry only used for analytics purposes." Yes, really. Apple customer support is going downhill if they don't even know the basics of how their program works.
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macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2009
We pay $950 upfront then sell the old phones for $550. So we pay $400 per year and don't have to worry about these programs.
Yeah if you sell it for the money then sure.
This is the first year I have signed up for one of these programs.
Normally just pay $199 and pay AT&T for the plan, then sell it.
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macrumors 68040
Jun 8, 2009
Had the same issue this morning and ended up having to go with stupid AT&T next... i was pretty upset

hahahahaha! "stupid" at&t next is the same thing as apple's upgrade program... EXCEPT you don't have the credit check issues and you don't have one extra bill to worry about since it's added into your phone bill!

BOTH come out to the same price whether you trade in or not!


macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
How about just once in a decade we'd have o issues launching a product. How about that.
I had no issues at all. Apple has handled thousands of these transactions so far today. They are bound to run into a few issues that might not be related to them, at all. Perhaps Citizens One has an issue on their end.


macrumors member
Sep 25, 2015
If someone needs to finance the phone they should not buy one. Pay cash upfront and keep it simple....

Note: There are so many plans and options that we (all of us) don't really understand. I remember when a worker at ATT tried to explain Next... They finally said they didn't really understand it themselves. So I think it keeps it simple to just buy the phone outright.
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