Cash isn't king: Apple limits iPhone purchases

Apple is accepting only credit or debit card payments for iPhones, according to Apple Store employees, in an effort to curb people from unlocking the device.

People looking to walk into an Apple retailer and buy an iPhone with cash will be out of luck. The company is now accepting only credit or debit card payments for the devices so they can track who purchases the phone, according to an employee at the Apple Store in New York's SoHo neighborhood.

The new policy is Apple's attempt to prevent people from purchasing and then unlocking and reselling iPhones, a situation that has been a problem for the company. Apple won't let anyone without a credit card or debit card in their name purchase iPhones, according to an unidentified Apple Store employee in a phone interview.

"We need to track the purchases of the iPhone [because] we have people buying the phones, unlocking the phones and selling them," she said.

A report by the Associated Press last week said Apple was limiting the purchases to two devices and allowing users to purchase them only with credit or debit cards. According to store employees, the two-device limit has always been in place, but the noncash policy is new.

Apple's public relations team did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the new policy. However, it's no secret the company is trying to stem the tide of unlocked and resold phones, now totaling about 250,000. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook mentioned that number last week in a quarterly results conference call as the difference between the number of handsets sold -- approximately 1.4 million -- and those actually connecting via AT&T Wireless, the iPhone's exclusive U.S. carrier.

If one analyst's estimate is correct, those unlocked phones are costing Apple millions of dollars. Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster said that he believes Apple receives US$18 per iPhone per month from AT&T Wireless, based on iPhone-related revenue Apple reported in its latest quarterly earnings, totaling more than US$4.5 million in lost revenue.

iPhones are already widely available online in Australia, despite Apple not having even hinted at a local release date.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?