Mobile phone companies check the credit history of new customers in order to make sure they can pay their bills. Most international students will not have an established US credit history, and will therefore be asked to pay a deposit, which is returned to you after a year (plus interest). Canadian students have had some success in the past at using their Canadian credit history. Note: A Pay As You Go plan does not require any deposit.
In terms of low/no-cost communication with friends/family back home, your PAs encourage you to take advantage of the following:
- Skype (make free computer-to-computer video calls, or low-fee phone calls; iPhone app also available)
- Cellular ID (pre-paid calling card service offered by Columbia)
- What’s App (cross-platform application, free SMS service)
- HeyTell (for iPhone & Android only, leave free voicemails for your friends abroad)
**Additional application recommendations will be added soon!