review: is it any good?

Updated on
April 16, 2021


 in a nutshell

A better way of owning a phone, by not owning it at all? It kind of works. You get the best phones and for cheaper, and with no hassle trying to sell it or trade it in after.

Our rating


 cracked open 🥥

Let’s start with what it is, you get a top of the range new phone, like an iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21, and you get it for cheaper than buying it the traditional way. Could it be as simple as that?

The devil is always in the detail with these types of things. With Raylo you lease your phone instead of buying it outright; you are effectively borrowing it for a while, and then hand it back at the end of the contract. Don’t get scared yet! It’s very common to lease things, lots of cars are leased, and you can even lease things like washing machines and dishwashers. It seems to be the new fancy way of doing things.

Because it’s leased is the reason why it’s a lot cheaper than the traditional way of buying a phone. Imagine a typical phone contract you pay a monthly fee, which is fairly large for a brand new phone, let’s say roughly £60 per month, some of that goes towards the ‘air time’, i.e. your minutes, data, and the fun stuff, and the rest of it goes towards actually paying off the phone – quite a lot of it.

The phone networks, O2, vodafone, EE, all of those giants, are effectively lending you money to buy the phone in the first place, and then you pay them back each month – although try and avoid that phrasing by calling it a phone contract and leaving it at that, but the contract is you agreeing to repay the cost of the phone and the airtime.

With Raylo, they don’t lend you the money to buy the phone, and don’t bill you each month for their money back.

Raylo always ‘owns’ the phones, and you just pay them a fee to use the phone and of course you still pay for the air time (more on this later). That’s how they can bring the costs you pay right down, so that £60 per month now becomes £30 per month (approximate figures, check our example below for real prices). Make sense?

💰 You can now get a free £30 Amazon voucher when you sign up through Nuts About Money. Get started here¹

Interesting, tell me more

You can choose either 1 or 2 years, so very similar to a normal phone contract, but then at the end of the contract, you don’t keep the phone, all you simply do is hand it back to Raylo and then they’ll give you a brand new phone again for 1 or 2 years, and the cycle repeats.

Better yet, instead of your old phone sitting around in a drawer or just thrown out, or if you can be bothered, try and sell it to get a few quid for it – but for a price nothing like the cost of the phone that you just paid for in full – I bet you don’t even know the cost of the phone on your current contract do you? We didn’t! Phone companies are not your friends, they’ll hide anything that may put you off buying, as do almost all large corporations for that matter in any industry.

With Raylo, when you hand back the phone after you’re finished with it, it’s then refurbished and can be used by another customer rather than discarded. Sounds pretty green. And top budgeting tip here, you could also get a refurbished phone from Raylo yourself and save a few pennies.

However, handing the phone back isn’t your only option! At the end of your ‘term’, the 1 or 2 years you signed up for, you have three options:

1. Upgrade: get the latest new phone, brand new, and no fees

2. Keep the phone: you can pay a ‘non-return fee’ and simply keep the phone! Just as you would with a normal phone contract, it’s yours to do with whatever you like. Fees depend on the phone, but your looking at £199 for an iPhone 12. You can also extend for another year and this fee would drop to £1.

3. Cancel: you can simply hand the phone back and walk away

So what phones can you get?

You have two options with Raylo, brand new or refurbished.

The brand new phones are currently:

  • iPhone 12 (plus Pro, Max and Mini)
  • Galaxy S21 (plus S21+ and S21 Ultra)

If you’re after refurbished, your options are:

  • iPhone XS (plus Max)
  • iPhone XR

And then you need a sim...

Raylo give you a brand new phone, but they aren’t a phone network. All phones are unlocked of course, but you’ll need to get a sim card for calls, texts, data etc. All the normal phone stuff.

The good thing is, this is actually the cheaper bit, you pay the networks more for the phone rather than the actual airtime! And a cheap sim is super easy to get, you just order it from a networks website, Raylo even tell you what the best ones to get are. Job done.

Here’s a real comparison of costs

Let’s say we want an iPhone 12, for 24 months and want a fair bit of data for all that TikTok-ing...

Raylo phone cost comparison table
Raylo phone cost comparison table

From O2, we’d be charged £30 up front (who knows why?) and then £58.05 per month(!) in total with airtime of 15GB data.

If we used Raylo we’d pay nothing up front, and then £27.99 per month for the phone, and then let’s pick a sim card from O2 which has 12GB data, which is £12 per month. So that’s £39.99 per month.

So with O2 directly, we’d be paying £58.05 per month, plus £30 one-off fee.

With Raylo, we’d be paying £39.99 per month (plus they’ll give you £30, more on that later).

That’s a monthly saving of £18.06 per month for using Raylo. Not bad at all.

So after 24 months, you would have paid:

O2 - £1,393.20
Raylo - £959.76

That’s a pretty big saving of £433.44 over 24 months. But you’re thinking, well you don’t keep the phone with Raylo? Let’s get into that.

With O2, you’d keep the phone, and at this point it’s 2 years old, but with Raylo, you would either hand the phone back and get the latest new one, or you could pay £199.99 to keep an iPhone 12, so let’s add that on to get £1,159.75 total cost with Raylo – still a saving of £233.45.

And better yet, if you kept the phone for another year with Raylo, you could buy the phone for just £1.

So with Raylo you pay less each month, and if you wanted to keep the phone you’d also pay less in total. Have we been getting conned by phone networks all this time? Believe it or not, sending a text message used to cost 50p… so we’ll let you make up your own mind.

What else do you need to know?

Free case and screen protector: you don’t just get the phone, you get a top of the range phone case too, that’s super nice to hold and environmentally friendly, plus a screen protector.  

🙋‍♂️Customer service: good customer service from a phone company? Surely not? Actually yeah! With the live-chat feature on the website you can actually speak to someone whenever you want without waiting on hold for hours. And there’s no hidden agenda to get you to upgrade your phone as there normally is with the phone networks. It’s not revolutionary, but it works, plus there’s a help centre with everything you’d want to ask too. And you’ve still got the phone number and email if you prefer.

Credit checks: there will be a credit check when you apply as you’ll be making monthly repayments, so Raylo need to know you can afford them.

You have 30 days to cancel: if you change your mind after you go ahead, you’ve got 30 days to change your mind and cancel.

🌱 They’re pretty green: leasing your phone is pretty green as they’ll be reused after you’re done with them. And, the packaging is plant-based, deliveries are by electric vehicles and they support environmental charities.

Warranty: the phone is of course covered by a warranty, which means if the phone itself goes wrong it will be taken care of. More than likely, you’ll just get a new phone.

Insurance: you can get insurance too, and it’s pretty comprehensive, with cover against your phone getting lost, stolen or damaged, and it’s worldwide. Better yet, it’s only £4.99 per month. The excess (what you’ll pay to claim) is £89 for accidental damage and £125 for theft.

🏎 It’s next day delivery: everyone gets excited when ordering their new phone don’t they? It’s like Christmas is coming. Raylo get this and send it to you as fast as possible! Free of course. Is that a reason to pretend it’s Christmas Eve once you order?

What do ‘the people’ say about it

It’s got a pretty damn good rating on Trustpilot. It’s rated excellent, 4.8/5, from well over 1,000 reviews. We love reading reviews where people give a tiny bit of insight into their life too, here’s one of our favourites:

“I have never found the process a new phone so straightforward. Within days of visiting the Raylo site, I now have the latest iphone which arrived fully insured with a free high quality cover and screen protector... and I also received a £30 shopping voucher. If I had gone the network route, I would still be at the stage of trying to figure out a good deal and feeling very overwhelmed. Would thoroughly recommend it. I've saved so much money and time.”

Our thoughts

A brand new top of the range phone, lower monthly payments, lower cost of the phone overall if you wanted to keep it, cheap insurance, great service, free case, basically everything you’d want with the phone comes with it. Why has this never been an option before?

Better yet, you don’t even have the hassle of trying to sell it or trade it in after the contract ends, you just get another brand new top of the range phone sent to you in the post.

We’re really struggling to find any negatives here. Even the whole process is also environmentally friendly, from delivery to recycling the old phone. So let’s just leave it there, and give it a massive 5 stars. This really is the future of phones.

Is there a deal?

You lucky thing. We’ve got a pretty good deal for you – a £30 Amazon voucher when you sign up! Just get started here, and voilà, it’s all yours. Full disclosure, we’ll get one too! Thanks! It really does help us keep this awesome website running 🤓

If you don’t fancy that, or want to learn more. Here's their website to check out. You can always come back and get the deal later.

Like the sound of Raylo?

Here's a £30 Amazon voucher for free when you buy.

Learn more¹

Share with a friend

Need more help?

Nuts About Money Logo

We’re here to help ease money worries for everyone by providing an easy to use website for all things money related.

About us