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Free iPhone 7 deals: What's the catch?

Free iPhone 7 deals: What's the catch?

iPhone 7 day is tomorrow! Apple is releasing the much-anticipated latest version of their popular smartphone. Avid fans buy every single version of the phone as it's released, but many people don't have an extra $650-$850 lying around to keep up with the Joneses.

Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program is one solution to your financial troubles. All four major cellphone carriers have followed suit by offering "free" phones. But nothing in life is free so it's still going to cost you something!

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile each have their own "trade-up" system where customers can turn in used phones (in good condition only) in exchange for a new iPhone7. However, this deal puts you under contract with the cellphone carrier for up to two years. Turning in an older phone only results in credits to your bill, which is what makes the new device "free." But again, it's not really free since you must turn in your old phone. And if you cancel the contract, you're responsible for the phone's remaining balance.

AT&T is accepting iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus versions in exchange for a 32GB iPhone 7 (retail price of $650). You must pay the tax on the phone at checkout and the $650 will be credited back to your phone bill over the course of two years. If you want an iPhone7 with more storage or a Plus, those versions cost more so you'll need to pay the difference. Click here to read more about this program and select "Check out how to get an iPhone 7 for $0" at the top of the page.

In addition to accepting all iPhone 6 versions in exchange for an iPhone 7, Verizon is also accepting lots of other phones and offering credits toward the $650 retail value.

  • iPhone 5, 5s and 5C can be traded in for a $400 credit.
  • Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note 5, LG G4 or V10 and HTC One M9 can be traded in for a $300 credit.
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4, LG G3, HTC One M8, Droid Maxx 2 and Droid Turbo 2 can be traded in for a $200 credit.
  • Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2, HTC One M7, Apple iPhone 4 or 4s, Droid Maxx and Droid Turbo can be traded in for a $100 credit.

Customers will pay the difference; within two to three billing cycles they start to see the credits on the bill. For more details about his program, click here.

Sprint is also accepting Apple and Samsung phones for their program. They will take iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus and the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Over 24 months, your bills will show a credit of $27.09 after two billing cycles. The sales tax is due at checkout. Click here to read more details about this option.

T-Mobile is accepting iPhone 6 and 6s in exchange for an iPhone 7 32GB when you sign up for T-Mobile ONE, their new unlimited data plan. If you want the 128GB phone, you need to pay an additional $100 upfront and an additional $200 upfront for the 256GB phone. For more details about this plan, click here.

If your iPhone 6 version is a 16GB, this truly is a "trade-up" scenario for you. But if it holds 64GB or 128GB, then exchanging your phone for an iPhone 7 32GB is a downgrade in at least one regard and you need to pay an extra upfront cost to have the same storage size.

The other major caveat is that you must stick with your carrier in order to receive all the credits. For that reason, maybe this is the perfect time to make the switch to a different carrier. To help you choose, you should compare 2016 mobile data plans and see which carriers offer the best service in your area.

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Source: CNBC
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