Credo Mobile plans, phones and coverage: Everything you need to know

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Nov 4, 2020 — 8 min read

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  • Credo Mobile is an MVNO with a commitment to progressive causes
  • Because Credo Mobile donates a portion of monthly revenue to nonprofits, it is more expensive than other prepaid carriers
  • Credo sells very few phone models, but you can bring your own
  • Credo has excellent coverage since it uses the Verizon network

Credo Mobile is a prepaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the Verizon network. That gives Credo customers great coverage, since Verizon has the best coverage in the country. Despite prepaid MVNO carriers typically being cheaper than the big carriers, in the case of Credo, the plans can actually be more expensive.

The reason for this is Credo’s commitment to progressive causes, such as environmental issues and women’s rights. This appeals to many of Credo’s liberal customer base, who don’t mind paying more for their cellphone plan when that extra money is going to a good cause.

The mission statement of Credo Mobile is “We provide great products that fund progressive causes and power social activism.” They put themselves forward as an alternative to big corporations that often don’t share liberal political, social and environmental values. Credo lives up to their mission by donating a portion of their revenue to three nonprofit organizations each month. Since 1985, the company has made donations of more than $89 million.

Credo Mobile phones

Credo Mobile has a limited selection of phones for sale — none of them discounted — but they do allow you to bring your own phone.

Credo has a limited number of phones available, and most of them are iPhones, but you can always bring your own unlocked phone as well. The several models of Samsung Galaxy handsets offered aren’t new either, but are certified pre-owned. There’s also a couple Google Pixel devices and the ZTE Cymbal. And that’s about it.

While some people might balk at the small number of Credo phones available, the fact is that since you can bring your own unlocked phone, it makes it easy to find the best deal possible on whatever phone you like — just buy it elsewhere and bring it to Credo. Or you can take advantage of some of the specials and deals offered directly by Credo.

Contract buyout credit

Credo will credit your account for up to $350 per line (as many as five lines) when you switch from another carrier and send the contract buyout credit form to Credo Mobile along with proof of equipment charges and termination fees from the previous carrier. You are required to stay with Credo Mobile for at least 30 days to be eligible, and the contract buyout documentation must be submitted within six months of enrolling with Credo Mobile.

Device trade-in

Credo Mobile will credit your account for as much as $300 when you trade in an existing device. You can get an estimate of the trade-in value of your device on Credo’s website. The actual trade-in value will only be determined once Credo receives your device and is able to evaluate the condition and quality of the device.

Credo Mobile plans

Credo’s mobile plans are just as pricey as the major carriers, but you can get a significant discount when adding more lines.

As you can see from the chart above there are four levels of monthly plans at Credo Mobile which can include 3GB, 9GB, 15GB or unlimited data. All of the plans come with unlimited talk and text. All the plans also include international calling to Canada and Mexico, as well as DVD quality (480p) video streaming. For plans that don’t include unlimited data, a $15/GB charge is assessed when you go over your monthly data allotment.

There are discounts for multiple lines at Credo Mobile, and the discount when you go from one line to two is actually quite significant. For the 3GB plan the price per line drops from $50 to $35/mo. when going from one line to two. And in the case of the 15GB plan, the price per line drops from $70 to $45/mo.

In the case of the unlimited plan data used in excess of 20GB per line in any monthly billing cycle is reduced in speed to 128 Kbps — enough to load a web page (slowly) but not much else.

Family plans

Credo Mobile’s prices drop significantly when you add more lines, making it a better choice for families than singles. Even couples will do much better as the price decrease from one line to two lines is pretty hefty. And by the time you get to four or five lines, the price is basically half the cost of one line.

How do Credo Mobile’s prices compare?

On a price per GB basis, Credo is one of the most expensive options, and is even more expensive than T-Mobile and Verizon prepaid plans.

If you want a mobile provider with a cause, you’ll find that philanthropy doesn’t come cheap. Credo Mobile is one of the most expensive prepaid providers, and its unlimited plan is just as expensive as a plan from a major postpaid carrier. And unlike the postpaid carriers, you’re not going to get a great deal on a new phone from Credo.

Credo Mobile deals

If you’re looking for add-ons and perks, Credo may not be your best choice.

Many mobile providers have added perks to their plans to help attract new customers. Things like a free year of Apple TV+, a Netflix or Prime subscription, or maybe discounts on renewals. Credo Mobile plans have none of that. What you do get is a mobile phone company with a social conscience and a penchant for donating to progressive causes.

Credo Mobile coverage

Because it uses Verizon’s network, Credo shares the best 4G coverage in the U.S.

With the Verizon network powering Credo’s experience, customers can expect the best 4G coverage in America on their Credo phone. They’ll also find good consistency in their signal and download speeds. Overall, the user experience with Credo Mobile is quite good, thanks primarily to their choice in using the Verizon network.

One potential downside to look out for is the deprioritization that occurs with MVNO providers like Credo. This is when the network operator, in this case Verizon, slows speeds for MVNOs as they prioritize their own customers. It can happen with any MVNO, but you should be aware of it so you don’t get blindsided if it happens to you when using Credo Mobile.

How is Credo Mobile’s 5G network?

Based on data from OpenSignal, the Verizon network has the fastest 5G download speeds of any mobile network by far. Measured download speeds were 506.1 Mbps. You’ll also get that from Credo since they use the Verizon network. Another thing you’ll also share with Verizon subscribers is the very spotty 5G connections. Data showed users able to connect to the 5G network only 0.4% of the time.

How does Credo Mobile compare to other prepaid phone companies?

So, how will Credo Mobile stack up overall against other prepaid mobile providers? Actually pretty well, if you aren’t troubled by the high cost compared to many of the other prepaid MVNOs. Of course, you can feel better that part of your cost is going to fund nonprofit organizations that give back to communities.

Outside the cost factor, you’ll likely be very pleased with Credo Mobile. It provides excellent coverage across the U.S., and blazingly fast 5G speeds. It also has a highly-rated customer service team, so if you run into any issues, they should be handled quickly and professionally.

You may miss some of the perks you can get from other providers, such as free Netflix or a year of Apple TV+ or Disney Plus, Hulu or ESPN+ included in your plan.

Credo Mobile customer service

Credo Mobile rated “very good” in customer service according to data from Consumer Reports. You can reach them in a few different ways: 

Credo Mobile FAQs

Who owns Credo Mobile?

Credo Mobile is a division of Working Assets, a San Francisco-based U.S. corporation. Credo Mobile was known as Working Assets Wireless prior to November 2007.

How do you unlock a Credo Mobile phone?

All the phones that Credo Mobile sells are already unlocked, so there is no reason to unlock a Credo Mobile phone.

What network is Credo Mobile on?

Credo Mobile uses Verizon’s mobile network.

What causes does Credo Mobile donate to?

Here are some of the causes that Credo Mobile has given to:

  • More than $19 million to climate justice groups like 350.org, Rainforest Action Network, Earthjustice and Friends of the Earth.
  • More than $14 million to civil rights groups like the ACLU, Transgender Law Center, Cosecha and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
  • More than $14 million to economic justice groups like the Economic Policy Institute, Americans for Tax Fairness and Social Security Works.
  • More than $10 million to groups fighting for peace including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Win Without War.
  • More than $10 million to women’s rights groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, UltraViolet and Women’s March.
  • More than $9 million to voting rights groups like She the People, the Voter Participation Center and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Should you switch to Credo Mobile?

Switching to Credo Mobile plans could cost you more if you’re already with another prepaid mobile provider, but it could also save you some money if you’re switching from a major carrier. If you care about some of the same causes as Credo Mobile, then switching could be another way to help support those causes.

You can’t expect to get a good deal on a new phone from Credo, but you will be able to bring an existing unlocked phone with you to Credo, which can help you save some money. You also won’t be getting any additional perks, so if you’re losing a Prime or Netflix subscription by switching, you might want to factor that in as an additional cost.

You will get the excellent coverage and fast 5G from the Verizon network. All together, we think the best reason for switching to Credo Mobile (or not switching) is the focus on nonprofit causes the company takes.

By Steven Walters