6 Most Cost-Effective Ways to Get Apple’s iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12 Singapore price

Earlier this month, Apple unveiled the iPhone 12 — which comes in 4 models: iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max — along with new updates such as 5G connectivity, a faster processor, improved Night Mode, a new Ceramic Shield glass display and MagSafe wireless charging system.

As usual, the internet has gone to town with it (memes included), with some saying it looks like a rehash of the iPhone 5, while others wondered what happened to the power charger and earbuds.

Okay, we’ll stop here. Because after all, we are personal finance writers and not tech experts.

But what we CAN write at length about is how you can get your hands on an iPhone 12 model (from $1,149 for the mini / from $1,799 for the Pro Max) — and the most cost-effective ways to do so. Here we go!



1. Pick the right credit card to earn perks with your purchase

Spending is always a strategically planned out activity, especially if you’re someone with access to a list of MCC codes and a detailed Excel sheet that documents all of your spending. Your wallet has the full arsenal of credit cards for every type of spending activity, from groceries to petrol, so that you can reap rewards, air miles, cashback and so on…

The gameplan: To maximise every single dollar charged to your credit card.

It’s the same with your iPhone 12 purchase. You’ll pick the best credit card to reap the benefits — which is what we here at MoneySmart always do with our big-ticket purchases to “earn” back a portion of money spent.


2. Pair it with a cashback programme

Here’s another strategy: Link up your preferred credit card with a cashback programme to enjoy both your credit card spending perks AND cashback.

For example, if you buy the iPhone 12 with the Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard® (unlimited cash rebates with no expiry on cashback earned, btw) from the Apple Online Store via cashback platform ShopBack, you can get:

  1. 1.6% cashback from your credit card; and
  2. 1% cashback from ShopBack

If you’re getting the iPhone 12 Pro Max, that’s about $28.78 + $17.99 = $46.77 cashback in total, or the price of a cafe meal for 2. Whoohoo~


3. Look for FREE gifts to value-add to your purchase

If you want to stretch your dollar even further, pay for your iPhone 12 with a credit card that comes with free sign-up gifts. This way, you can get the freebie and also earn the credit card perks.

Just apply for an eligible credit card with us and use the same card to make a purchase (you could buy the iPhone 12) to redeem your freebie.



4. Break the cost into manageable monthly instalments

Coughing out a 4-figure sum all at once may not be easy for all of us, especially during these uncertain times where we want to ensure that we have enough cashflow. But you really want that iPhone 12, so how?

Enter your friendly neighbourhood credit card, which has the power to shrink this large payment into smaller instalments for you to better manage your money AND be the proud owner of an iPhone 12.

For example, Citibank’s Equal Payment Plan (basically an interest-free instalment plan with no service fee) is available at over 1,000 locations islandwide. Just check that the store you intend to buy the iPhone 12 at lists your credit card as a partner.

Or, too late, you’ve already paid in full for the iPhone 12 but now worry about being able to pay your credit card bill, there’s always a post-purchase way to transform your credit card buys into instalments. For example, Citibank’s PayLite can turn any big purchase (if you buy from a store that doesn’t do instalments) into small payments. You’ll incur a small fee for this service though.


5. Recontract or sign up with a telco

Before I signed up for a SIM-only, no-contract plan, I used to get mobile phones through my telco. If you’re still on a contracted phone plan and due for a renewal soon, recontract to buy the iPhone 12 at a lower-than-retail price (even $0 for higher-tier contract phone plans).

A couple of telcos are offering limited sets of the iPhone 12 models for online pre-order/pre-registration, on a first-come-first-served basis. If you don’t mind staying on your current phone plan, or porting in to another telco to enjoy a better offer, do this to get your iPhone 12 for cheaper.


6. Trade in your existing smartphone with Apple

Last but not least, Apple has this Trade In programme where you can get credit via bank transfer towards a new iPhone when you trade in an eligible device. According to the website, it can also be a non-iOS smartphone, but my Samsung S10e didn’t seem to be eligible (was only worth “free recycling”, sigh).

Entering in the serial number for my MacBook Pro, it seems that I am eligible for a $340 trade-in. The highest valued smartphone for trade-in is eligible for $780 credit, so I’m guessing that is the iPhone 11-something.

If you’re ready to part with your current device (sorry, I still love and need my MBP for work), this is an excellent solution that gives you an instant discount off the iPhone 12 and also helps our planet. 🙂