The giffgaff phone store has become one of the best places to buy a new unlocked smartphone. You can either pay today or you can pay monthly by spreading the cost of your handset over 24 months.
This month, the giffgaff phone store will see its second birthday. In the two years since it originally launched, giffgaff has become one of the best places to buy an unlocked smartphone online. There’s competitive pricing compared to other online retailers and there’s also the option of paying on a monthly basis.
In this article, we review the giffgaff phone store. We’ll start by looking at the handsets available on giffgaff before talking about financing and how it compares to a contract. Finally, we’ll discuss a couple of other elements of the giffgaff handset offering: delivery of your phone, inclusive warranties and returning your handset.
At the time of writing, giffgaff sells 29 handsets through the giffgaff phone store. They include the latest devices from Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung and Sony. The handset can all be purchased with a one-off lump sum payment. Alternatively, most of the handsets are also available on a pay monthly basis.
Some of the popular devices currently available include:
|Handset||Pay Today||Pay Monthly|
All handsets sold by giffgaff are permanently unlocked: you can use them on any network you like. This includes the Apple iPhone (an iPhone purchased from giffgaff will not lock itself to the first network used like with SIM-free iPhones bought from the Carphone Warehouse).
You’ll be sent a giffgaff SIM card along the handset. On this, you’ll need to buy a one-month giffgaff goodybag (these start from £5). There’s no obligation to buy the same goodybag again (you can change your goodybag at any time or you can cancel the goodybags if you want to use another network). The initial goodybag on your SIM card will only start from when your handset arrives.
The ‘Pay Monthly’ Option
A notable feature of giffgaff’s phone store is the option to ‘pay monthly’ for your handset. Rather than paying the full amount for your handset upfront (which can be more than £500 on the latest iPhone), the ‘pay monthly’ option allows you to split up the cost of the handset. You can choose a term of between 6 and 24 months.
The handset financing option is provided in conjunction with RateSetter. You’ll pay a certain amount of interest depending on the length of the payment plan and the cost of your handset:
|Length of Payment Plan||Interest Rate||Total Cost Of Financing|
|6 months||25.8% APR||£7.66 for every £100 borrowed|
|12 months||14.7% APR||£8.14 for every £100 borrowed|
|18 months||11.4% APR||£9.27 for every £100 borrowed|
|24 months||9.7% APR||£10.42 for every £100 borrowed|
Of course, the cheapest way of buying a handset is to ‘pay today’ and to avoid taking the payment plan. If you do choose the ‘pay monthly’ option, you can minimise the costs by paying more upfront. The following table gives an illustration for someone buying the iPhone 6s with giffgaff’s £12 goodybag. The total cost is assuming you keep the same plan for 24 months:
|No price plans could be found matching this criteria.|
As the final column shows, you’ll pay less in total over the next 24 months when you choose to pay more upfront.
Another way of reducing your costs is to reduce the length of the payment plan you choose (e.g. to 6, 12 or 18 months). Alternatively, you can always choose to pay off the payment plan early (see section 6 “Early Settlement” of the giffgaff loan agreement).
Comparison To 24 Month Contracts
Though the handset financing option has an additional cost, it really comes into its own as a cheaper alternative to getting a 24-month contract. By splitting up the cost of your handset over 24 months and by buying a giffgaff goodybag for your airtime each month, the total cost of ownership over 24 months is often much lower than on a Pay Monthly contract.
The following table gives an illustration for someone buying a 16GB iPhone 6s:
|No price plans could be found matching this criteria.|
With giffgaff, you can save more than £100 over the next 24 months compared to getting a contract. You also get the flexibility to change your network or goodybag at any time (you’ll still need to pay for the handset but you’re able to change your airtime package or provider).
Credit Checks For Financing
In order to use giffgaff’s handset financing option, you’ll need to be 18 or over. You’ll also need a UK bank account in your own name. As part of the process, you’ll undergo a soft credit search (this is one that doesn’t appear in your files). As part of the credit search, you’ll need to provide the addresses you’ve lived at for the past 3 years.
The credit search will only apply for people who buy a handset through the ‘pay monthly’ option. If you choose the ‘pay today’ option, you won’t be credit checked when buying the handset.
With giffgaff, you’ll get free delivery on the next working day providing your handset is ordered before 10pm (7pm if you order on a Sunday). Your phone will be sent via UK Mail: there’s some information here on how to track the delivery.
Warranty, Returns & Repairs
With giffgaff, you’ll get a brand new phone of “UK specification, complete with the accessories you’d get buying the same model from a retail store”. The only exception is for refurbished handsets (refurbished devices will be clearly marked on the website).
You’ll get a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 24 months on your new handset:
|Handset||Length Of Included Warranty|
|Apple iPhone||12-month warranty|
|Google Nexus 5 & 6||12-month warranty|
|Refurbished Devices||12-month warranty|
|All Other Devices||24-month warranty|
From when the handset arrives, there’s also a 30-day period where you’re able to return the phone (e.g. if it isn’t quite what you wanted). For more information, see the return and refund policy on giffgaff’s website. You can also see the FAQs in the giffgaff knowledge base.