iPhone fans who eagerly anticipate each Apple upgrade may need to go through Citizens Bank to get their fix.
The Providence-based bank is the sole financing partner for Apple’s new installment plan, which allows customers to buy their phones on directly through Apple, rather than wireless carriers. The plan, introduced Wednesday at the technology giant’s new product event, allows consumers to upgrade their phones every year and get Apple’s technical support service.
Citizens was a footnote – literally – in the hoopla over the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Apple TV, and iPhone 6s. Apple mentioned Citizens Bank in the last footnote of its press release.
Citizens will provide two-year, no-interest loans for consumers who would pay between $32 to $45 a month for two years depending on the type of phone. The details of the loan and any associated fees were not immediately available.
Apple has introduced this upgrade program as wireless carriers move away from the traditional two-year contract that heavily subsidized the cost of the phone for customers. Many carriers have also started offering installment plans.
Citizens Bank declined to comment on the program, directing all inquiries to Apple. Apple said it doesn’t comment on its specific partners and why it chose Citizens. But for several years, Citizens has offered a financing program for college students and teachers to purchase Apple products.
This is a low risk partnership for Citizens, said William Stofega, a mobile analyst for IDC, a market research firm based in Framingham.
Most of the iPhone users who will participate in the subscription program will probably be higher-income consumers who want a new phone every year and likely to pay their loans, Stofega said. It also allows the regional bank a chance to introduce themselves to these customers.