Mint Mobile is running a promotion on the iPhone SE. For $720, customers can get an iPhone SE and two years of cell phone service on Mint’s 3GB per month plan. Customers who want more data can pay an extra $120 for 8GB of data or an extra $240 for 12GB of data.
Customers have the choice of either paying outright or paying 12-24 monthly installments through Mint’s partner Affirm. If a customer’s credit is good enough, they may not have to pay Affirm any interest. On a 24 month plan with zero interest, a customer would pay about $30 per month for the iPhone SE and Mint’s 3GB plan.
I recommend avoiding paying for phones on installment plans, and this latest promotion isn’t an exception. That said, there is something unusual worth pointing out here. Typically, I think Mint only lets customers finance phones through Affirm. With this promotion, customers can effectively finance both their phones and their service with Affirm.
The iPhone SE is usually priced at about $400. Mint’s promotional bundle has a base price of $720. Two years of Mint’s 3GB plan would typically cost $360. You can think of the promotion as discounting the iPhone SE’s price by $40 (from $400 to $360).
While I’m a big fan of Mint, I don’t think this promotion is a great deal. In most situations, I don’t think a savings of $40 justifies locking yourself into a long-term arrangement with a wireless carrier.
If you take advantage of Mint’s promotion, you’ll be charged a $32.50 recovery fee during checkout. This fee isn’t for the iPhone SE. It’s consistent with the recovery fee Mint usually charges on wireless plans.1
- The current recovery fee on annual plans is $16.25. The $32.50 fee is consistent with two years of that fee. An excerpt from Mint’s Plan Terms & Conditions page about this fee is copied below.
“The Recovery Fee is assessed to help recover Mint Mobile’s costs to comply with various federal and state programs, taxes and fees including, but not limited to, (i) state and federal Telecommunications Relay Service Programs, (ii) Federal Universal Service Fund Program, (iii) international, federal, state, municipal, local and/or other governmental franchise, excise, public utility and other telecommunications taxes, fees and charges now in force or enacted in the future, and (iv) other costs we incur to comply with government regulations and programs, which are not taxes or fees that local, state or federal governments require Mint Mobile to collect. The Recovery Fee is calculated as a flat fee of $1.25 for a one-month plan; $3.75 for a 3-month plan; $6.75 for a 6-month plan; and $11.75 for a 12-month plan. A flat per transaction fee ($0.50 for service charges of $10.00 or less and $1.00 for service charges of $10.01 or more) may apply for non-plan service purchases (e.g., 4G LTE data bolt-ons). A flat fee per transaction of 2.5% will also be applied to help recover other administrative fees.”