Buying a cell phone and choosing a phone plan can be a major headache. After all, you have a lot of options to choose from. One of them is Affinity Cellular. Founded in 2010, Affinity Cellular offers low-cost, postpaid plans that run on Verizon’s nationwide network. Plans start at $12.99 per month and phones start at $34. For comparison, Consumer Cellular, another provider we reviewed, has plans starting at $15 per month and devices starting at $59.
Anyone can use Affinity Cellular, but the company’s affordable plans — especially those without data — make sense for many seniors. Other perks, such as no contracts, a 30-day guarantee, and the option to switch your plan at any time, give older adults flexibility as their needs and phone usage change. For this year’s review, I tried Affinity Cellular’s plans and phones to see what they’re all about. Below I outline the details of Affinity Cellular’s plans and phones, as well as my experience with them, to help you decide if they’re the right fit for you.
Pros & Cons
Pros About Affinity Cellular
Affordable phone-and-service bundle options
Discounts for multiline plans
Straightforward online ordering process
Simple, senior-friendly phones
30-day money-back guarantee
Cons About Affinity Cellular
Pricey unlimited data plan
No online live chat support
Multiline plans have shared data
Inconsistent customer service
No rollover minutes
Comparing Affinity Cellular to Top Cellular Carriers
Affinity Cellular offers affordable, straightforward phone plans for seniors. Not only can you bring your own device when you get an Affinity Cellular plan, you can also spend as little as $12.99 per month — with no contracts. That said, you may not like the data caps or the limited customer service options. If you want to see what else is out there, be sure to consider some of the other top-rated carriers we have reviewed.
Choose how many lines you’d like. The more lines you choose, the more you save per line.
Select your monthly plan.
Type in your ZIP code to confirm coverage in your area.
Select the phone you want to purchase or indicate that you want to bring your own phone.
Review the price and your purchase.
Provide your payment and shipping information.
Phones and SIM cards ship for free. Activation is free too. Affinity even automatically applies any relevant promo codes at checkout, so you know you’re getting the best price available.
Since Affinity phones are only sold online, you won’t get to test the phone or see it in person before you buy it. You get 30 days upon receipt, however, to decide if the phone is right for you or if you’d rather exchange it. The only caveat is that you can’t receive a full refund if you’ve used more than 30 minutes, 30 texts, or 30 MB of data.
Affinity offers customer support via email or telephone. Similar companies, such as Consumer Cellular, also offer a live online chat feature, which I would’ve liked to see with Affinity Cellular.
I reached out to Affinity Cellular’s customer service team via email to ask some questions about pricing. Affinity offers multiline discounts for up to five lines, but only publishes pricing for up to three lines online. In my email, I asked about pricing for four and five lines. The response was prompt, but it wasn’t very helpful. Instead of answering my question, they just asked me questions. When I tried to respond again, I was unable to because Affinity had deemed my question “resolved.”
I decided to give Affinity’s customer service team a call. Within 40 seconds, I was speaking with a very polite representative. Unfortunately, she was unable to answer my question about the multiline discount. Instead, she took my contact information so a supervisor could call me back. Since the website advises calling in for that information, I was a little disappointed that the customer service team wasn’t able to give me an answer.
Choosing a Cell Phone
Affinity Cellular offers the option to bring your own phone or buy a new one. Not all the phones the company sells are “new.” Many are certified preowned, which brings the cost down. If you want to bring your own phone, check with Affinity Cellular before purchasing to make sure it’s compatible.
Apple iPhone 7 (32 GB)
Apple iPhone 7
iPhones are a great choice for older adults, and the iPhone 7 is no exception. This smartphone isn’t Apple’s latest technology, but it has excellent value for older adults. It offers essential smartphone features and access to the App Store and Siri at a budget-friendly price. Check email, browse the web, stream media, take high-quality photos, and more.
You can’t beat the iPhone 7 bundle Affinity Cellular offers. For only $114.99, the bundle includes an Apple iPhone 7 (32GB); five months of service with unlimited talk and text, and 3 GB of data each month; a car adapter; free activation; and free shipping. Five months of service alone would cost $125, so this is a steal! I recommend it to seniors who want to give smartphones a try without breaking the bank.
Touch ID for unlocking the phone with your fingerprint
Siri assistant for hands-free use
Did You Know?
Did You Know? Of the 92 percent of people ages 65 and up who own a cellphone, 61 percent own a smartphone.1 Smartphones help you stay connected with friends and family — and even your medical providers — thanks to social media, video calls, and telehealth apps.
ZTE 233 Cymbal Flip Phone
Home screen on the ZTE 233 Cymbal flip phone.
Affinity sent me the ZTE 233 Cymbal flip phone to test. It’s a simple flip phone with a large screen, sizable buttons, and easy-to-learn navigation. At just $34.99, it’s great for seniors on a budget who just want to text and make phone calls. If internet browsing and checking email is what you want, I recommend considering an iPhone or one of Affinity Cellular’s other internet-enabled phones.
The first thing I noticed when opening the box was the empty SIM card holder. Affinity already had the SIM card installed, which is great for older adults with limited dexterity or vision difficulties. The box also contained the flip phone, charging cord, wall charging block, and a nifty instruction manual that explained how to use the phone.
I pressed the red “End Call/Power” button to turn on the phone. I was happy to see the phone arrived fully charged and ready to go. Within seconds, I could start testing the phone’s features.
Testing the Phone’s Features
Flip phones are typically called “dumb phones” because of their limited features, so I was surprised that the Cymbal flip phone can actually do a lot. Notable features include:
Front screen: Displays time, battery life, and cell service.
Rear-facing camera: The 2-megapixel camera quality is nothing to brag about, but the pictures turned out all right. A camera button on the keypad makes opening the camera app a breeze.
Radio: Plug in wired headphones and enjoy listening to the radio. I gave NPR a listen, and the broadcast was crystal clear.
Music: Connect the phone to your computer to put your favorite MP3s on it.
Texts: You can send only regular texts, and you can’t send and receive picture messages (MMS).
Talkback: When activated, the device gives spoken feedback to help blind and low-vision users. A voice will describe what you select, type, and activate. I gave the feature a try and was impressed by how detailed it was.
Easily check the time on the phone’s front screen.
Deal Alert: Save more than $100 with the Affinity Wireless Flip Phone Bundle. For only $34.99, you’ll get the ZTE 233 Cymbal flip phone; five months of free service with 500 minutes and 500 text messages per month; and a free charger, activation, and shipping.
Making Test Calls
I gave my mom a call with the ZTE 233 Cymbal flip phone. She didn’t answer at first, so I left a voicemail. I had trouble hearing her when she finally picked up, so I turned up the volume all the way. It was still hard to hear her, and I even had my hearing aids in!
My mom had trouble hearing me on her end, too, unless I bent the phone at an angle toward my face. That wasn’t too comfortable because the phone stays put only in a fully open or fully closed position. Later she let me know the voicemail I left was very hard to hear and understand.
Since that test call didn’t go well, I did a second one a bit later. I gave my husband a call. I could hear him clearly, but he said my side was quiet and muffled, so he couldn’t understand me.
It’s hard to know for sure whether it’s the cell phone itself or the service in my area that caused the issues. I had four out of five bars of service at my house, which, in my experience, is more than enough to make and receive calls clearly.
Affinity Cellular relies on Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G wireless network, which covers 98 percent of U.S. households. Use the wireless coverage map on Affinity’s website to check coverage for your ZIP code. Large cities have the best coverage, but Verizon reaches most rural areas too. The spottiest coverage areas include parts of Nevada, Maine, New Mexico, and Texas.
There aren’t any contracts with Affinity. Plans are month-to-month, so you can end your service at any time. Just keep in mind that the free flip phone Affinity provides in the Affinity Wireless Flip Phone Bundle must be returned if you cancel your service. Affinity also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is on par with other providers such as Consumer Cellular. If you’re not happy with the phone or service, simply return the phone within 30 days to receive a refund.
Affinity Cellular phones come with a lifetime warranty as long as the defect is from normal use. If you drop your phone, scratch the screen, or experience water damage, it’s not covered. Replacement phones aren’t guaranteed to be new and may have physical imperfections. Customers must pay the activation fee, shipping, and handling for replacement phones.
You can also purchase an extended service plan for additional coverage. Monthly pricing ranges from $1.49 to $9.99, depending on the value of the phone. The plan provides coverage if your phone cracks, shatters, or has water damage. It doesn’t cover lost or stolen phones. Affinity Cellular will repair or replace your phone after you pay a small deductible. The protection plan may not be cost-effective for Affinity’s cheaper phones, but it may be worthwhile if you purchase a pricey smartphone.
Affinity Cellular Phone Plans at a Glance
Affinity Cellular offers plans with data and without data. Choose from seven plan options, many of which come with discounts if you purchase more than one line.
Monthly price for 1 line
Monthly price for 2 lines
Monthly price for 3 lines
Talk and text
1 GB Data Plan
$20 per line
$17 per line
$16 per line
3 GB Shared Data
$25 per line
$19.50 per line
$17.67 per line
3 GB shared
7 GB Shared Data
$35 per line
$24.50 per line
$21 per line
7 GB shared
15 GB Shared Data
$45 per line
$29.50 per line
$24.33 per line
15 GB shared
Unlimited Shared Data
$55 per line
No Data Plan 1
$10 for first 3 months; $12.99 afterward
350 text messages; 350 minutes talk (call AAA roadside assistance without using your minutes)
There isn’t an Affinity Cellular plan designated as the “senior plan.” Instead you can choose from the options outlined above. Below we’ll take a look at some of the plans we feel work best for older adults.
No Data Plan With Unlimited Talk and Text: Best for Basic Cell Phone Users
One of Affinity’s two no-data plans, this plan includes unlimited talk and text. Since it doesn’t include data, you can’t send or receive picture messages (MMS). We like the unlimited talk and text option for seniors who don’t have a landline or who want to use their phone without worrying about overages or running out of minutes.
The plan costs $15 per month per line. That’s on par with unlimited-talk-and-text plans from other providers such as Consumer Cellular, Snapfon, and Lively. It’s also the same per-month price you could pay for a plan from Mint Mobile with unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 5 GB of data. Companies like Mint Mobile are prepaid, however, meaning you’d need to pay for multiple months of service up front. Affinity Cellular is postpaid, so you receive a bill for a month of service at a time. It can be helpful if your monthly budget is tight.
3 GB Shared Data Plan With Unlimited Talk and Text: Best for Smartphone Users
Affinity Cellular’s 3 GB shared data plan comes with unlimited talk and text and 3 GB of shared data. That’s more than enough data for browsing the web, checking email, and using Google maps. If you plan to stream videos or music using data, you’d be better off with the 10 GB, 15 GB, or unlimited data plan. If you want the multiline discount for this plan, all users share 3 GB of data.
Affinity Cellular charges $25 for a single line on this plan. It’s postpaid, so you receive a bill each month. That’s fairly rare, and it’s helpful when you’re budgeting. Close competitors that also use Verizon’s network charge more for similar plan benefits. Lively’s unlimited talk, text, and 3GB data plan, for example, costs $29.99 per month. With Affinity, you get the same service for $5 less each month.
New customers can save even more by bundling this plan with an iPhone 7 — pay just $114.99 for an Apple iPhone 7 (32GB) plus five months of this plan. That’s an excellent deal for seniors who want to use a smartphone. You will need to pay the $114.99 up front though.
Affinity Cellular’s phone plans range from $12.99 per month to $55 per month, giving seniors options no matter their budget. Some plans are pricier than those from other providers, but you can’t beat Affinity Cellular’s phone and service bundles. They offer the best bang for your buck, whether you want a smartphone or a simple flip phone.
Affinity Cellular’s customer service is fairly limited though. It may take a little extra effort if you need help with your phone or plan. Fortunately, Affinity offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always get your money back if you’re truly unsatisfied with your phone, the plan, or the service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Affinity Cellular
Sarah covers a range of senior lifestyle topics, from reviews of walk-in tubs and hearing aids to overviews of Medicare and Medicaid. Her close relationship with her grandparents gave her a firsthand look at the evolving life needs of older… Learn More About Sarah Goldy-Brown