That shiny new Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge is really nice, but it won’t have the same “new car smell” when the next Galaxy phone gets announced. You’ll probably want to buy it, but you will likely have another year of payments before you can upgrade. Cheer up because Verizon’s new Annual Upgrade Program lets you trade in that old phone, and get that new phone whenever you want.
All you have to do is buy a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge under a device payment agreement, and you can trade it in anytime for a new phone as long as it’s at least 30 days old and at least 50 percent of it is paid off. Whatever you owed on the old phone will be forgiven, and you’ll enter into a new 24-month installment plan for the new phone.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 review
What’s cool about this program is that it’s not a typical lease. If you decide that you want to keep your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, you can continue to make payments and own the phone outright once it’s paid off. Other similar programs require you to enter into a monthly lease in which you never own the phone and you’re required to trade it in and continue to make payments. Verizon’s plan gives you the flexibility to do whatever you want.
Whether you plan on trading in your phone or keeping it for the full 24 months, the device payment agreement is the same for everyone. So there isn’t any hidden interest or even a special contract to sign. The Galaxy S7 goes for $28 per month and the S7 Edge goes for $33 per month. Anyone that has pre-ordered, purchased, or plans on purchasing the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge will automatically be enrolled in the program.
Samsung is advertising this as a new Galaxy phone every year, but the press release and FAQ don’t specify that you have to upgrade to a Galaxy phone. Instead it says you can upgrade to an “eligible smartphone.” Since Verizon has a similar program for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, it appears those phones will be included too. It’s unclear how many different phones Verizon will allow as part of the program, but it’s likely that future iPhones and Galaxy phones will be included.
Verizon is also offering current customers with any other smartphone to trade in their phone for a new Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, iPhone 6S, or 6S Plus. If you own a phone that is currently under a device installment plan and it was active before May 31, 2015, you’ll need to pay off at least 75 percent of your device. It’s 60 percent for customers who own a phone active from June 1, 2015, through October 15, 2014, and 50 percent for those with a device prior to June 1, 2014. In all cases, the phone you’re trading in must be in good working condition.
If you happen to own your phone outright, you also have the option of trading it in towards a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. For a limited time, Verizon will give you $200 for an iPhone 5S, Galaxy S5, Note 4, Motorola Droid Turbo, or Turbo 2. You can also get $300 for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, Note 5, or LG V10. Any other phone will yield $100. Again, these phones must be in good working condition.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
If you’re on another carrier and willing to switch to Verizon, you’re eligible for up to a $650 prepaid card (less your trade-in value) to payoff any installment plan you already have on another carrier. Or if you happen to be under contract, the carrier will give you up to a $350 prepaid card (less your trade-in value) to payoff an early termination fee. On top of that, you’ll get 2GB of extra data per month if you sign up for a 12GB monthly data plan or larger.
Keep in mind that under Verizon’s Annual Upgrade Program, your effective trade-in value is whatever you owe on the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. You need to determine if you can get more by selling it yourself. For example, if you buy a Galaxy S7 under the device payment plan, you will have paid $336 toward the phone after 12 months, and you would still owe $336. If you can sell the phone for $400, it might make more sense to sell it instead. Either way, Verizon’s plan gives you the flexibility to do whatever you want.