Learning how to check if a phone is paid off could save you a lot of frustration.
If you are buying a brand new phone or even a used handset, there are some important considerations you should make before handing over your cash.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers who may be selling stolen smartphones to unwitting buyers.
That’s why you should always do a little bit of research before committing to buy a new phone.
Probably the best thing you can do is to find out if the phone you want to buy has been fully paid off.
Let’s be clear, you want to avoid buying an expensive piece of tech only to find there is still money owed on the device!
Why Paying off a Phone Is Important?
For customers in the U.S., it is possible to purchase a smartphone over payment plans with popular carriers Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and even Sprint.
Some scam artists will attempt to sell you a phone before the handset has been paid off, which could leave you picking up the bill.
Even if you are not in the United States, these carriers have service throughout the world.
So, you could end up buying a phone with a network from one of the companies.
To help you avoid buying a phone that has not been paid off, our following guide for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will help you easily find out if the device is paid off.
It’s a question we are often asked, with many customers wanting to know if their phone is paid off.
Whether you are on an iPhone, Samsung, or any other smartphones on iOS or Android, our guide can help.
So, let’s jump right into the article, where will show you the steps for checking if your phone is fully paid.
The good news is this is an easy task whatever network you’re on and you just need is the IMEI number.
What is an IMEI and Why is it Important?
Whether you are buying a new phone or are trying to sell your current handset, there’s always something you need to remember.
Check it has been fully paid for or that it is not carrying any charges from a mobile network… even if there is a balance in your favor.
If you sell a phone or buy a new one, it will only work properly if all network balances have been fully paid.
You can avoid any confusion by simply checking beforehand, and to start you need to check the IMEI.
The International Mobile Equipment Identity (EMEI) number is a serial number that is assigned to all mobile phones.
Each device has its own unique EMEI number. While there are some exceptions, 99% of all IMEI numbers are 15 digits long.
How To Check If a Phone Is Paid Off Using the IMEI Number?
There is no universal way to find out whether a mobile phone has been paid for and the process can change significantly depending which network that phone is attached to.
However, the important factor for every network is the IMEI number, which is why the information about is important.
Because there is no single guide that works across all networks, we are focusing on the four biggest carriers in the United States.
The so-called “Big Four” carriers are used by hundreds of millions of people within the US and around the world.
Many carriers around the world use a similar process to the Big Four in the US.
If you happen to be on a different carrier, one of the solutions below should work on your network.
How to Find the IMEI Number for Your Phone
Finding the IMEI number on your phone is easy enough, although the location varies depending on the manufacturer or device model.
On smartphones with removable batteries, the IMEI is often found on a sticker under the battery or back cover.
Smartphones without removable batteries are different and the IMEI is usually on the box the phone arrived in.
You may also be able to locate the number on the device and it is often also listed in the documentation that comes with the phone.
Remember, for many modern smartphones with fixed batteries, the most common location for the IMEI number is on the box.
That is why it is important not to throw away the box your device shipped in.
Top Tip – Finding the IMEI Number by Dialing
If you have misplaced the original phone box or cannot locate the IMEI number on the handset, we have the cool workaround to help you find the number easily.
Simply dial “*#06#” on your phone and some numbers will appear on the screen. The IMEI number is the one that has 15 digits.
How to Check if a Verizon Phone is Paid Off?
To check follow these steps:
- Visit this official link.
- Select the option “Continue as a Guest” in the pop-up window.
- Move through steps choosing your phone manufacturer, model, and then memory size.
- Enter the IMEI number of your phone.
If there are any problems with your phone, including outstanding balances or non-payments, Verizon will now inform you the page.
If will say something like “you cannot sell this phone because of a negative balance” or something similar.
How to Check if an AT&T Phone is Paid Off?
To check follow these steps:
- Visit this official AT&T Link.
- Navigate to the section “Unlock your device.”
- Select the option “No” when the site asks, “Are you an AT&T wireless customer?”.
- Now add your device IMEI number into the available form.
If for some reason the phone has not been paid off, AT&T will display the following message:
“This device is not eligible to be unlocked now because all of the installment payments have not been paid.”
You have done it, you now have the information necessary to decide whether to buy a phone before it is paid off.
How to Check if a Sprint Phone is Paid Off?
Sprint no longer exists as a singular company since its merger with T-Mobile in 2020.
However, some customers still have smartphones attached to the Sprint network. The network still exists even if the Sprint name does not.
Because there is no longer a Sprint website, you can check your phone status using a third-party solution:
- Visit Sprint website link.
- Fill in your IMEI number.
- An error message will appear if there are any problems with your phone or billing.
How to Check if a T-Mobile Phone is Paid Off?
To check follow these steps:
- Visit the official T-Mobile website link.
- Head to the form.
- There is a specific place for the IMEI number.
- Add the IMEI into the “IMEI Status Check” section.
If there are any balances or missed payments associated with the device, the website will surface a message telling you the problem.
While it may seem that buying or selling a phone is as simple as exchanging money, there are some important considerations to make.
You can avoid buying a phone that has not been paid off by following the steps above.
Similarly, if you are selling a phone and are unsure whether it still has an outstanding balance, the solutions above can help.
That’s why it is essential to know how to check if a phone is paid off.
Avoid buying a useless phone by simply checking if there are any problems.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.