Xbox All Access: How to purchase an Xbox Series console for as little as $25 a month - CNET

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Get a new console for a small monthly payment. 

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Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Series S consoles launched last November with the PS5 and are still hard to find. What's even harder to find is a retailer that lets you use the monthly installment plan called Xbox All Access. On Wednesday, GameStop will hold a restock event at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT letting customers buy their new console on the special payment plan. 

Xbox All Access is Microsoft's monthly payment option to purchase a new Xbox Series X or S. Qualified buyers receive the console and 24 months of Game Pass Ultimate for one monthly fee. 

To cut to the chase: If you're already going to buy the hardware and the monthly Game Pass Ultimate subscription, going the All Access route can save you as much as $60 on the total outlay for a Series S and $20 for a Series X over two years. 

Let's take a deeper look at Xbox All Access, including the positives and negatives.

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What is Xbox All Access and when did it start?

Microsoft created a payment plan in 2018 to let customers buy an Xbox One X ($889 at Amazon) or S via monthly installments. Two new plans will be available for the Xbox Series X and S. 

How does the payment plan work?

Customers will need to apply for a Citizens One Line of Credit from Citizens Bank at one of the selected retailers. If qualified, they will receive the console of their choice and get access to Game Pass Ultimate. They will then be billed for their selected plan for 24 months at 0% interest. 

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What's the better deal? Xbox All Access or buying the console and subscription separately? 

That depends on whether or not you have a current subscription to any of the Xbox subscriptions. The more dedicated Xbox gamer likely already subscribes to Game Pass Ultimate with an expiration date that is months after the Series X/S launches, which makes this deal slightly less attractive. 

Aside from them, everyone else interested in a Series X/S could actually benefit from Xbox All Access, as the amount paid over time is less than buying the console and paying the $14.99 subscription for Game Pass Ultimate for 24 months. Moreover, the 0% interest for All Access is a big improvement over the 15% to 22% interest rate you'd get by charging a new $300 to $500 Xbox on your credit card.

Where can I sign up for Xbox All Access?

Best Buy GameStopMicrosoft StoreTargetWalmart

What's included in the Xbox All Access plan? 

It's $25 a month for 24 months to get the Xbox Series S -- retail price is $300 -- and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If you want to jump up to the Xbox Series X -- with its retail price of $500 -- that's going to cost $35 a month. 

Game Pass is Microsoft's game subscription service that has more than 100 games available and can be used on both an Xbox and PC. Xbox Live is required for console multiplayer and it comes with two free games a month along with various deals in the Microsoft Store. Both are included in the Game Pass Ultimate subscription. 

Are there any fees or interest? 

No. There are no application fees, annual fees or late fees. All plans come with 0% APY, meaning there is no added interest. 

What are the total costs for each plan? 

Here's a breakdown of the total costs of the Xbox All Access for both the Series X and S along with buying the consoles upfront and paying for Game Pass Ultimate for 24 months. 

Retail vs. All Access (over 24 months)


Retail price All Access price Best deal Xbox Series S Xbox Series X
$660 ($300 + $15/month) $600 ($25/month) All Access (save $60)
$860 ($500 + $15/month) $840 ($35/month) All Access (save $20)

Something else to keep in mind with this breakdown: Buying a console means you'll most likely have to pay sales tax. That's up to an extra $30-$40 you'll have to pay depending on your state. 

What info do I need to give for approval? 

You'll need to provide: 

Name Contact info (address and mobile phone)Date of birthAnnual incomeSocial Security number

Is there a credit check?

Yes. The FAQ for the payment plan details that you would need to be approved for a Citizens One Line of Credit from Citizens Bank. When signing up, the bank will do a credit inquiry on you. This means they'll check with the credit agencies to confirm you are credit-worthy. If you are then the bank does a hard credit check, which will show up on your credit report. The bank will also take into account your annual income for the final approval. 

Will this lower my credit score? 

Yes, but not much depending on your actions. To start, credit inquiries, or soft pulls, don't negatively affect your credit score. It will get listed on your credit report as an inquiry, but your score will stay intact. Hard pulls on your credit can show up on your report. There could be a slight drop of five points or less, but they get cleared up in a month or two. 

On the other hand, if you do multiple applications for some reason -- say you get declined and keep trying -- that can show up on your credit report as a negative mark since it looks like you're desperate for credit. Make sure that if you're declined, you do not immediately try again. 

What will cause your credit score to tank considerably is missing a monthly payment. According to the Xbox All Access FAQ, late payments can be reported to the credit bureaus. This will definitely cause a drop in your credit score. Things can get worse if the account is sent to collections for a continued lack of payment. 

What if I'm partially through an All Access payment on an older Xbox, but I'd like to upgrade?

Since Microsoft created the All Access program to sell more Xbox One consoles, there are some people who are still paying off their systems when the Xbox Series X and S launch. An upgrade option will be available for those currently on a payment plan that will let them continue their monthly payments with the newer console and trade in the older one as long as they've paid a certain amount off on their Xbox One. All Access customers can check their upgrade status to see where they stand. 

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