9 Ways You Can Get a Free Cell Phone Right Now (Seriously!)

Unlock the secret to scoring a free cell phone today with these game-changing strategies.

point finger on screen mobile phone
Updated June 6, 2024
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Cell phones can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to keep more money in your wallet or want one that does more than just make calls.

So you might be surprised to find out there are ways to get a new cell phone for free. You just may have to meet certain qualifications or do some legwork.

Check out these potential options to see if you qualify so you can save money on your next cell phone.

Earn 2% cash rewards at grocery stores and Costco

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card(Rates and fees) is a powerful rewards card that allows you to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases — including on groceries, even at warehouse stores like Costco.

New cardholders can also earn a one-time cash rewards bonus — $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months!

If you’re looking for a powerful rewards card that offers an extended intro APR period, look no further, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card checks that box too!

This card also offers an intro APR of 0% for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable). Which is great for someone who wants a break from high interest rates, while still earning rewards.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply for the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card now.

Switch carriers

sdx15/Adobe hand holding smartphone with verizon logo

Carriers want to lure you away from their competitors, so they’ll use enticing deals like free phones or discounts to get you to switch.

Check with the carriers you’re interested in to get details if you qualify for a promotion like this and what kind of discount or free phone you can get when you change carriers.

Take online surveys

MclittleStock/Adobe woman sitting outdoor using smartphone to fill online survey form

Online survey companies want your opinions on various topics and may allow you to earn points in exchange for gift cards that you can use to buy a new phone.

Sites like SurveyMonkey, Swagbucks, or YouGov will ask you for your opinions on products, current events, and other topics that will allow you to earn points. You can then exchange those points for gift cards to shops like Amazon or Apple.

Each online survey site may have different options for gift cards, so check the sites before you start answering surveys to see if they have the stores you want.

Lifeline programs

leungchopan/Adobe woman uses cellphone

The U.S. government operates a program to overcome the digital divide faced by Americans who can’t afford a phone but may need one to communicate or get a job.

The program is run through the Federal Communications Commission, and there may be specific criteria you’ll need to meet to qualify.

Check with the FCC or your state’s Lifeline services to see if you qualify for a free phone along with free data and texts.

Stop overpaying when you shop online at Costco

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

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Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!1

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Find an upcycled phone

fizkes/Adobe woman uses smartphone

Electronic waste can be challenging to deal with, and some phone users may have trouble giving up their phones, knowing they'll end up in a trash heap and not recycled.

Upcycle groups on social media are a great way to give things away or find stuff for free that you can give a second life instead of ending up in a landfill.

Join local upcycle groups and watch for people giving away their old phones. You can’t be picky about the model of the phone, but it can be an excellent way to get a free one if you need one.

Use rewards points

InsideCreativeHouse/Adobe young woman using smartphone

Some retailers like Amazon will allow you to use the points you’ve earned with the rewards credit cards and convert them to cash to buy items.

A Prime Visa, for example, can help you earn up to 5% cash back on selected items you buy on Amazon’s website. You can convert that cash back into the purchase of a phone from the retailer’s site.

Check with Amazon to see if phones listed by retailers like Apple or Samsung qualify for purchase with rewards points.

Turn in your old phone

Scanrail/Adobe modern touchscreen smartphones

Some retailers offer trade-ins for your old phones and other electronics in exchange for credit in their stores for a new phone. Apple, for example, allows users to trade in their old devices for credit toward a new device. 

You’ll have to factor in how much you can get for your old equipment and how much you’re willing to spend on new equipment to determine if you can get a new phone completely free with your trade-in.

Ask someone you know for their old phone

mimagephotos/Adobe young woman looking at cellphone

You’re not the only one getting a new phone. Plenty of people around you are probably holding a new phone in their hands.

Ask your friends and family with new phones if they wouldn’t mind giving you their old ones. You can use the phone or take it to a store and offer it as a trade-in to get credit toward the purchase of your new phone.

Sign up for sales alerts

leungchopan/Adobe using mobile phone

Some carriers may be willing to give you a new phone if you sign up for a new contract. Or they may include a free phone as part of a specific deal.

Sign up for sales alerts from carriers and phone providers to see if you can get a discounted or free phone if you take advantage of special deals.

Check with your employer

Martin Villadsen/Adobe Happy woman using smartphone at office with boss standing behind her

You may need a new phone because you have to use it for business and are trying to find some money to pay for a phone that can keep up with your work.

Check with your employer before you buy a new phone to see if it’ll cover the cost. You may be surprised that your company will cover the cost of a phone and mobile coverage if you’re using the phone entirely for work.

Your employer may also pay for part of your phone or coverage if you need it for personal and professional use.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote

Bottom line

tashatuvango/Adobe smartphone on wooden table

There are still ways you can get a cell phone even if you don’t qualify for a free cell phone.

Consider opening a high-yield savings account instead of using a typical savings account. The high-yield account can help you earn extra money you can use toward your purchases for things like a cell phone.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of your budget to find extra ways to save cash here or there that could add up to the new phone you want.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.