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Cricket Wireless intros financing and leasing options for prepaid phones

The AT&T brand is the first national prepaid carrier to offer three different financing options for smartphones.

Cricket customers have new financing options for smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S6. Josh Miller/CNET

Cricket Wireless became the first US carrier to give prepaid smartphone buyers the option to spread out payments over the course of several months.

The three new payment plans, announced Wednesday, qualify for any device that costs $200 or more and include financing and rent-to-own leasing.

Cricket will allow customers to finance up to five devices per account, as well as accessories.

The first option, Tier 1, requires a standard credit check and allows you to pay for the device in 20 increments, once per month. Cricket requires a $20 down payment, but no interest.

The Tier 2 plan also requires the initial payment of $20, but it includes a six-month deferred interest offer. In short, pay the smartphone off in the first six months and you'll have no interest.

On the other hand, if you don't pay off the phone within the first six months, that interest kicks in, starting at the first day you own the phone. At that point, you're looking at a 30 percent APR on an 18-month financing term. Monthly options are determined by loan size; a standard credit bureau check is required.

Tier 3 is different from the other two options and does not require a credit check. Simply pay $50 up front and you can rent-to-own the handset over three months.

For a limited time, Cricket will give T-Mobile, Metro-PCS, Sprint and Boost customers a month of free service for porting their number over. Available through the end of April, the deal requires customers to complete two months of service on a $50 or $60 plan.