A guide to Verizon's early upgrading plan

12 November 2015

Verizon Edge was once an equipment payment plan that allowed Big Red customers to spread payments for a new tablet or cellphone over the course of 24 months, with the option to trade in their device early and upgrade to a hotter handset. Sadly, Edge has recently been killed off as Verizon overhauls its pricing and plan structure and ends the traditional two-year contract with a subsidized phone.

For now, you have the option of either buying your phone at full price upfront (and signing on for a month-to-month Verizon plan), or paying your device off over 24 equal monthly installments in the next two years. Either choice means you'll pay the same amount for your phone, but you can decide whether to pay it all at once or over 24 months. Unless, of course you want the newest iPhone.

The iPhone exception

While the Edge we knew and (didn't really) love is gone, Verizon has brought back a variation of early upgrading for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Buy either device in any storage size on the two-year Device Payment Option, and you can upgrade to a brand new phone in as little as six months.

The catch? You'll need to pay off a minimum of 50% of your iPhone's full purchase price before you can upgrade. You'll also need to trade in your current iPhone to move up to a new device, so for the 16GB 6s you'll pay at least $325 to temporarily use your iPhone, and then hand it back to Verizon when you want to upgrade.

Early upgrades for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at a glance

Monthly fee 1/24th of the purchase price, or around 4%
Repayment period 24 months
Upgrades After six months, so long as 50% of the purchase price has been repaid
Subsidy still included in service plan? No
Device downpayment required? No
Insurance included? No
Available for all plans? No
Available from Now

How it works

The phone’s full retail price is divided into 24 equal monthly installments, with each payment being added to your monthly cell plan bill. You’ll need to pay the first month’s installment at the time of purchase – which works work out to be between $20 and $30 each month, depending on the phone you choose.

Things to remember

Verizon doesn't give subscribers an option to make larger repayments in order to pay off their device quicker. You can only pay extra if you have decided to upgrade, and need 50% of the phone's balance paid off, or if you wish to pay the full amount owing to keep your device and cancel your Device Payment plan.

So although the 'early upgrade' claim made by Verizon is technically true, you'll need to pay up to make it happen.

Verizon calls its re-jigged upgrade option 'simpler and easier', and for many customers buying the new iPhone it will be - but if you're a fan of the old version of Edge, and want to purchase a different device, you may not be pleased by its transformation into a standard phone financing plan.

Customers new to Verizon will need to pass a credit check and pay a $40 activation fee. Upgrading is only available for customers on postpaid plans and, in case you were wondering, the Device Payment Plan doesn't include cellphone insurance.

Still on an old Edge plan?

Are you a current Verizon Edge user worried about your upgrade plan? From what we’ve learned, your ability to upgrade depends on when you first entered into your Edge agreement.

  • If you signed up for Edge prior to May 31 of this year, you can make a final upgrade whenever you’re eligible; that is, once you’ve repaid 75% of your current device’s full price.
  • Customers who joined the Edge plan between June 1 and October 15 of 2014 can upgrade once 60% of their phone is repaid.
  • If you signed your Edge agreement before June 1, 2014, you can upgrade from your current device once 50% of the full price is repaid.

Unfortunately, once you’ve made your final Edge upgrade, it seems you’re then automatically switched to the new device payment program. After this, you can only upgrade after your 24 monthly payments are made, or if you pay out the full balance of your device early.

If your Edge agreement started after May 31, 2015, you already needed to pay 100% of the device cost to upgrade, so the changes won't affect your Edge plan.

Original gift box image via Shutterstock

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