For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Mint Mobile is a prepaid carrier, also known as an MVNO, that offers low-cost plans on the T-Mobile network.
Mint Mobile has been growing rapidly recently, thanks to the hilarious and viral ads put out by the company owner Ryan Reynolds.
And also because, well, the plans are so freaking cheap. They start at just $15 bucks a month.
But jumping head-first into a cheap cell phone plan isn’t for everyone.
So here are 7 things you should know before switching to Mint, and why you may NOT want to sign up for them in the first place.
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for coverage, so if you don’t have good T-Mobile coverage in your area, then don’t get Mint Mobile.
You’re not going to have a good experience.
Instead, stick with a plan that uses either AT&T or Verizon for coverage. Check out the best cheap AT&T plans and best cheap Verizon plans for great low-cost options to choose from. US Mobile is my favorite option on the Verizon network. Their 5GB plan is just $15 per month.
That said, if you watched my recent in-depth T-Mobile review video, you’ll know that I feel T-Mobile has been improving their coverage a LOT recently.
I’m now getting over 400Mbps down in my apartment thanks to their new 5G network.
If you haven’t tried T-Mobile recently, maybe it’s worth giving them another shot. You can try T-Mobile for free by using their new free trial plan––full video here if you’d like to learn more––or by picking up Mint Mobile’s free trial kit to test them out.
If it turns out that you do get good T-Mobile coverage, then Mint can be a good option for you. But yeah, if you simply don’t get good T-Mobile coverage, don’t get Mint.
2. Bulk Plans
This is another big reason NOT to go with Mint Mobile.
In order to achieve such affordable prices, Mint Mobile sells their plans in bulk 3-, 6-, or 12-month packages.
You can think of them like the Costco of mobile carriers. The more you buy, or in this case the longer you sign up for, the better price you get on your cell phone plan.
This system has two big drawbacks.
Number one is that it is a higher cost upfront.
Instead of paying $15, $20, $25, or $30 per month as advertised, you’ll actually be paying $45 to $90 upfront for your first 3 months of service.
And those prices are with an intro-offer for new customers, where you get the 3-month plan at the 12-month price.
So if you want to keep the same overall low monthly rate on your service, where the cost breakdown comes out to $15, $20, $25, or $30 per month, then you’ll want to renew your plan for the 12-month option. That means you’ll be paying $180 to $360 up-front for a year of service.
For some people, this can be a lot of money upfront, and many people may actually prefer going with a low-cost monthly plan instead.
The number two drawback to Mint’s bulk-pricing model is that you are now committed to a plan for 3 months to up to a full year.
Thankfully, Mint does let you upgrade your plan at any time at a pro-rated price if you realize you need more data, so that’s not an issue.
Thhe bigger problem here is coverage.
What if you move cities or move to a new location where T-Mobile coverage isn’t as good?
Well, then, you’re kinda outta luck.
You either need to embrace having poor service until you are ready to switch, or you need to bite the bullet, forfeit your remaining months on Mint, and switch to a new carrier early.
This means Mint is best for people who know they are going to be in the same location for a good amount of time, such as college students, international students doing an exchange program, or anyone else who knows they aren’t moving for at least the next year.
I’ll also add that while some people may not like the higher up-front cost of the service, I will say one nice attribute is you actually don’t have to think about your cell phone bill for an entire year.
Like, it’s really nice not seeing a recurring charge from Verizon or AT&T on my bank account every month.
Instead, Mint just lets you know you’re when your data bucket renews, and they’ll shoot you a quick email with a graphic of a fox enjoying that no-bill chill life.
I’m on Mint right now with my personal number, and I will say that I actually think I prefer their system. I know I’m not moving anytime soon, and I honestly love not thinking about my cell phone bill for an entire year.
But it’s definitely not for everyone, and again I know many people will prefer the flexibility that getting a monthly plan provides.
3. No Truly Unlimited Data Plan
Mint does have a plan that they advertise as unlimited, but it turns out that this plan only includes 35GB of high-speed data. After that, your data speeds are slowed to 512Kbps.
These data speeds can be fast enough for some super-light tasks, like sending an iMessage, replying to an email, streaming some music, or maybe basic Google Maps navigation, but for all intents and purposes, I would say this plan is a 35GB plan.
Check out my throttled data speed test video below to see what the experience is like:
Thankfully, 35GB is still plenty of data for most people.
Cisco’s annual report found that only 4% of people use over 50GB of data per month, which means that around 90% to 94% of you reading this right now would be totally fine with a 35GB plan.
You could use your phone exactly as you currently do, watching the same amount of YouTube videos, streaming the same amount of music, and spending the same amount of time getting directions in the car, and never notice a difference.
However, if you are in that like 6% of people who use over 35GB of data per month, then don’t get Mint Mobile.
Instead, check out one of the best unlimited data plans we recommend.
T-Mobile Prepaid offers the best low-cost unlimited plans on the T-Mobile network for single-line users, and I think you’ll be really happy with one of their options.
4. No Physical Stores
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
If you enjoy going to a physical store or location for getting help and support, don’t get Mint Mobile.
Mint is an online-only carrier, so your only methods of getting support are with the chat widget in the mobile app or website, or by calling their support line.
Oh! And also on Reddit. Mint is pretty good at responding to Reddit comments, too.
I’ve honestly had good experiences when I’ve reached out to Mint support, but yeah, if you prefer that in-store experience for getting help with your service or device, then Mint Mobile isn’t for you.
Speaking of devices…
5. Device financing
Many people like going with postpaid plans because they can take advantage of trade-in deals and promotions, and also finance their new iPhone or Galaxy phone with low monthly payments and 0% interest.
Instead of paying $800 up-front, you can get that new iPhone 12 for $33.33/month for 24-months from Verizon.
Unfortunately, these same great financing options are not available for MVNOs.
Now, Mint does offer monthly financing options, but they're doing it by using Affirm as opposed to having you finance with Mint directly.
And the problem is that Affirm is a company that wants to make money, and they charge high-interest rates for using their service.
I have a credit score of 816.
When I tried financing through Affirm, they offered me a rate of 11.99% APR.
That came out to between $54.84 and $107.56 in interest depending on the financing term I selected.
Now I don’t know about you, but I personally would rather NOT pay up to an extra $107 for a 24-month financing agreement.
What’s interesting is that if you compare financing on Mint vs the major carriers, Mint still ends up saving single-line users over $740 for a 2-year agreement.
But the point remains: if you finance on Mint through Affirm, expect to pay less on your service but more on your device itself.
6. No Apple Watch Support
This is another one that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Almost no prepaid carriers support the Apple Watch, Mint Mobile included.
The only prepaid carrier to currently offer Apple Watch support is Visible.
They literally just launched support last week, so it’s still early on for them. And other smartwatches like Galaxy Watches aren’t supported.
So if you’re someone who’s gotta have your Apple Watch connected to cellular data, don’t get Mint.
Go with one of the officially supported carriers you see here:
7. Mint is Expensive for International Traveling
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Most prepaid carriers are terrible for international traveling.
They either don’t support international data roaming at all, or they charge super expensive rates.
Mint is in the category of charging super expensive rates.
Their pay-as-you-go international rates come out to $200 per GB in many popular countries across Europe.
Instead, I recommend getting an affordable international eSIM data plan from Airalo.
They support a huge selection of countries and offer low-cost rates for 7-day to 30-day trips.
Or you could consider carriers like Google Fi or US Mobile, which include international data roaming at no extra cost.
Those are 7 reasons why NOT to get Mint Mobile.
Honestly though, despite all of those, I still use Mint Mobile as my personal provider and I like their service.
They support premium features, like VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, hotspot, 4K video streaming, and even 5G access on T-Mobile’s 5G network, it’s low-cost, and it works great for me.
Check out my Mint Mobile review to learn more, and you can sign up for Mint Mobile here.
I’m all about helping people save money, and I think Mint can be a great, affordable option for a lot of people.
And I hope this article helped you better decide if Mint Mobile can be a good choice for you.