Instant rebates are easier to deal with than mail-in rebates. You don't have to wait for months for a check or jump through hoops applying for a rebate. Instead, you present your credit card, it gets charged and then immediately rebated back to you. So why do the cell phone providers make you go through this? To perform an instant credit check. They want to see that you have enough money to cover the cost of the phone, which gives them an idea of whether you have the resources to pay for the service.
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