Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., has been picked by Apple to provide financing to customers who want to upgrade to a newer model iPhone.
Its $107 billion-asset Citizens Bank unit will provide 24-month, unsecured installment loans for the program. Applicants for the iPhone Upgrade Program must have a U.S. credit card and an activated iPhone with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon, according to a news release Wednesday from Apple.
The price of the newest model starts at $648 and goes higher if more advanced features are included.
A Citizens spokesman confirmed the agreement with Apple and was unable to immediately provide additional comment.
Citizens will be competing with the phone carriers themselves, which already offer financing plans to upgrade phones, Ken Zerbe, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a Thursday research report. A consumer choosing the Citizens plan will pay $32 per month, compared to $15 per month for Sprint's cheapest one-year upgrade lease plan. However, Citizens' financing plan comes with Apple's technical-help package.
Citizens projects that loan balances from iPhone upgrades will total between $400 million and $500 million within 12 months, Zerbe said.
Citizens Bank already is a financing partner on sales of Apple's iPad, laptop and desktop computers to educators. Consumers can apply to the Citizens One Payment Plan online and can receive up to $4,000 for a purchase. The annual percentage rate ranges from 11.99% to 19.99%.
Apple on Wednesday introduced new models of its iPhone 6 smartphone. The new models feature stronger glass displays, enhanced touch screens and improved cameras.