CREDO Mobile is an MVNO that operates on Verizon’s network. Verizon boasts the best coverage in the country, and going with CREDO gives you access to it. That’s the good news.

The bad is that CREDO Mobile has rather expensive cell phone plans for an MVNO. The cheapest CREDO Mobile smartphone plan starts at $50/month and with it, you receive unlimited text and talk and just 1GB of data. That’s a pretty hefty cost for only 1GB of data, considering some competitors, such as Twigby, US Mobile, and Red Pocket, charge half or even a third of that price for the same data allowance.

CREDO Mobile’s unlimited data plan costs $85/month, which is actually $5 more than Verizon’s Play More Unlimited and Do More Unlimited plans. Not to mention, CREDO Mobile’s plan is not a true unlimited data plan because they slow the user’s speeds after 20GB. Typically, plans through MVNOs are supposed to be less expensive than those through the big four—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile—because the MVNOs buy their data, talk, and text in bulk at wholesale prices.

What separates CREDO Mobile from other MVNOs is their commitment to progressive causes, such as women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and environmental issues. Many liberal customers may find this appealing in a cell phone plan, but you might be surprised to learn just how little of your money is donated to these causes.

The cheapest Credo Mobile smartphone plan costs $50/month and you only get 1GB of data with it

CREDO Mobile’s Mission: Progressive Change

CREDO Mobile’s mission is to “bring social change through everyday acts of commerce.” They state that they provide progressive cell phone customers an alternative to doing business with large corporations that don’t share these same environmental, social, and political values.

They do this by donating a portion of their revenue to three different nonprofits each month, or 36 per year. They have donated over $87 million since 1985. Check out the list of nonprofits funded below:

  • Planned Parenthood
  • Women’s March
  • Restaurant Opportunities Center United
  • Win Without War
  • Color of Change
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Women’s Refugee Commission
  • National LGBTQ Task Force
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Free Press Action Fund
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance

You can peruse the full list of organizations CREDO Mobile has funded here. It only dates back to 2015, but you can check out their history here.

CREDO Mobile creates community by referring to CREDO Mobile customers as “philanthropists,” a term which empowers progressive cell phone consumers and makes them feel good about the carrier choice they’ve made. Their message: when you do business with CREDO Mobile you are fighting for social change.

They also cultivate a strong sense of community by allowing customers to nominate organizations to donate to— then each month invite CREDO members to vote among the featured nonprofit groups. Members have a variety of easy voting options to support the group of their choice: online, phone, or text.

You’re getting quality cell phone service that runs on Verizon’s network and you’re helping to change the world. Sounds great, right? Well, the answer is a bit complicated.

The Reality

CREDO Mobile’s service plans are much more expensive than other Verizon MVNOs, such as Twigby, Red Pocket, and US Mobile. They list their cheapest smartphone plan as $30/month but it’s actually $50/month because they charge an extra $20/month for each smartphone on the plan. The plan offers unlimited talk and text and a mere 1GB of data.

Conversely, Twigby offers this same exact plan for $14.25/month. Likewise, Red Pocket offers a comparative plan for $19/month. That is a major difference in price. If this huge price difference accounted for the money being donated to charity, that would be one thing but it doesn’t.

As it turns out, CREDO Mobile only donates 1% of their revenue to charity.

What this means is that if you’re on the cheapest smartphone plan that runs $50/month, then only $.50 of your money goes toward their monthly donation to charity. That comes out to a whopping $6/year in donations. Say you choose the unlimited data plan for $85/month, that still only comes out to $0.85 in donations per month and just over $10/year.

Of course, it’s better than nothing, but ultimately, if their progressive platform is the reason you chose a service plan through CREDO Mobile, then the higher price may not be worth it. You may want to consider a more affordable plan through a different small carrier—that way, you can donate the difference to the nonprofit or nonprofits of your choosing.

Credo Mobile only donates 1% of their revenue to charity. You’ll wind up donating between $6 and $10.20/year.

Cheaper Alternatives That Free You Up to Donate More

Since CREDO Mobile operates on Verizon’s network, we decided to compare CREDO Mobile’s plans to those of other Verizon MVNOs. Our thinking was that if you chose a cheaper service plan, then you could use the extra money you save to donate directly to whatever causes are important to you. That will give you the ability to control how much money you donate to various nonprofits, as well as which organizations you support.

Verizon MVNO Unlimited Plans Compared

Carrier Cost Notes
US Mobile $42/month *this is the price for standard data speeds
Spectrum Mobile $45/month *data speeds slowed after 20GB
XFINITY Mobile $50/month *only available to XFINITY Internet customers
Page Plus Cellular $50/month on Autopay *use of more than 60GB may warrant account review
Straight Talk $50/month *use of more than 60GB may warrant account review
GreatCall $59/month *includes Health & Safety package
CREDO Mobile $85/month *data speeds slowed after 20GB

If you chose the Page Plus Cellular plan for $50/month, you’d be saving $35/month. That’s an additional $420/year you would have leftover for charitable giving. Even donating a fraction of that would still make more of an impact than a CREDO Mobile plan. You can check out the full list of Verizon MVNO plans below.