Xbox All Access is a sure-fire way to get an Xbox Series X, but is it worth it?
The hunt for Xbox Series X restocking is, charitably, an absolute nightmare right now. Retailers hardly ever get new inventory, and when they do, they often sell out within minutes, even when stuck behind expensive and inconvenient premium subscriptions.
However, there is an alternative to the blinking replenishment madness and you’ll miss it, and it’s called Xbox All Access. For $ 35 a month, you’re guaranteed an Xbox Series X – and, as of this writing, it’s been in stock at Walmart for much of the day. That’s absolute eons in terms of restocking the next-gen console.
Xbox All Access: what is it?
Tom’s Guide has written about Xbox All Access before, but we never discussed it in detail. In case you didn’t know, Xbox All Access is basically a fundraising option, but for a gaming console rather than a larger purchase, like a car or a house. You apply for a line of credit from Citizens Bank, which charges you $ 35 per month for 24 months.
While we are normally wary of fundraising plans, I have gone through the fine print of Xbox All Access with a fine-tooth comb, and it seems pretty safe. However, you are going to be locked into a long contract and you might end up with services that you don’t want or need.
If you’re wondering if Xbox All Access is a good way to get an Xbox Series X, I’m here to tell you it is – and it isn’t. Read on to find out whether you should request unlimited access or wait for a more traditional replenishment.
Xbox All Access: Benefits
As mentioned above, Xbox All Access is a way to fund an Xbox over two years rather than buying a console up front. Here’s how it works: You apply for a line of credit with Citizens Bank, much like you would with a credit card. If Citizens likes your credit, they’ll provide an Xbox Series X, along with a monthly Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership, and charge you $ 35 per month for them.
(You can also use Xbox All Access to get an Xbox Series S, but Series S consoles are generally easy to find stand-alone, so I’m not sure if All Access is necessarily worth it. If you want an Xbox Series S, you can get one at GameStop for $ 300 right now.)
First and foremost, the Citizens Bank line of credit is not as punitive as a traditional credit card would be. Xbox All Access has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 0%, which means you won’t pay any additional interest on top of the $ 35 per month. Plus, there are no annual fees, penalties or late fees.
To be completely honest, I was surprised to learn about the 0% APR, as well as the absence of late fees and penalties. Typically, credit companies make money by charging people interest if they don’t pay their bills in full each month, and make extra money by charging administrative fees on top of that. But, as far as I know, if you pay $ 35 on time every month, for 24 months, there is no additional charge. Plus, if you miss a payment, you won’t have to pay any additional fees or interest, at least for the first two years.
Now let’s do some math. Thirty-five dollars a month for 24 months comes to $ 840 in total. An Xbox Series X costs $ 500; an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription costs $ 15 per month. Fifteen times 24 equals $ 360. As such, you are essentially getting $ 860 worth of merchandise for $ 840. It’s not a huge discount, but the important thing is that Citizens Bank doesn’t charge you too much either.
In short, if you are comfortable applying for a new line of credit, you are absolutely certain that you can spend $ 35 per month for the next 24 months, and you want two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, then Xbox All Access. makes sense. You can continue and apply for the program now through Walmart, while there are still Xbox Series X consoles in stock.
Xbox All Access: Cons
I read the fine print on the Xbox All Access deal with Citizens Bank, and generally liked what I saw. But it’s important to remember that credit companies are great at hiding additional fees behind technical details.
For example: the Xbox All Access agreement promises 0% APR and no late fees. However, the agreement also claims that failure to pay on time could void promotional incentives – and, in this case, those incentives include 0% APR and no late fees. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and I don’t know how citizens could apply it.
The “$ 35 per month, no extra money” offer also only applies for two years. As such, if you don’t pay the full amount after 24 months, Citizens Bank can (and most likely will) start charging as much interest and administrative fees as possible. While I don’t want to be too cynical, credit companies usually make money by charging interest and fees. Charging customers less than the retail price for two (admittedly expensive) products doesn’t seem as profitable as charging them more after the fact.
There’s also the fact that not all applicants will qualify for Xbox All Access. If your credit is bad – or even if your credit is good and Citizens Bank doesn’t like the appearance of your credit history – they might deny your application. Your credit score could also take a hit if this happens. (On the other hand, if he accepts your application, your credit score might improve by paying off a small debt each month, so your mileage may vary.)
The main reason to avoid Xbox All Access, however, is that 24 months of high-priced Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is insanely expensive and potentially unnecessary.
I’ll be the first to sing the praises of Game Pass Ultimate, as it gives you access to hundreds of games, both download and stream, including day one Microsoft versions like Halo and Forza. On the flip side, Microsoft frequently cuts Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You can also get Game Pass access promotions with certain games and hardware. Simply subscribing to the full price each month is not the most cost effective way to join.
Plus, if you’ve never tried Xbox Game Pass Ultimate before, you might not need it, or even like it. While it has an excellent library of games, these games rotate frequently, which means you might be better off just buying the games you want. Ultimate also offers downloadable games for PC, as well as streaming games for Android and iOS. If you don’t need these options, you can buy a cheaper Xbox Game Pass only subscription.
To recap: if you’re not 100% sure you can spend $ 35 per month for 24 months, or if you’re not completely convinced with the concept of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, then Xbox All Access probably isn’t. not the right option for you.
How else to get an Xbox Series X
Of course, much of this analysis sidesteps an important issue: at the moment, it’s nearly impossible to get an Xbox Series X without Xbox All Access, and relatively easy to get an Xbox Series X with it. But remember, once you have your Xbox in hand, you can’t just pay it off up front and be done with it. Citizens Bank will charge you for the next two years, and a lot can happen during that time.
Personally, I would feel more comfortable buying a console upfront, although that meant I had to wait a few more months to get my hands on one. Plus, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate goes on sale quite often; you could almost certainly get two years’ worth for under $ 360.
Still, if you get Xbox All Access, remember to pay on time and in full, every month. As long as you do this, Citizens Bank should be happy with you, and you should be happy with your Xbox.