PrePaid Cellphone Plans

Sometimes called pay as you go or prepaid wireless, prepaid cellphones require users to purchase cellphone credit in advance as opposed to being charged with a fee at the end of the month. When a user runs out of credit they are denied access to the network services and must purchase additional credit.

Advantages of Prepaid Cellphone Plans

As opposed to other types of cellphone plans, pre-paid cellphone plans have a number of unique advantages which make them an increasingly popular choice in the USA. One of the major advantages of this type of plan is that they often work out cheaper than buying into a contract for a set amount of minutes, data and texts a month. This is because customers are only paying for the service which they actually use.

Another great thing about prepaid phones is that customers are not tied into a contract. This gives them the freedom to change providers should they find a better deal being advertised elsewhere.

In addition, as there is often no formal contract, prepaid wireless is a popular choice with those under the age of majority or those who do not have a credit card or permanent address.

Disadvantages of Prepaid Cellphone Plans

While there are a number of advantages associated with these types of cellphone plans, there are some drawbacks that need to be taken into account. One of the major problems with prepaid cellphone plans is that customers who use their phones a lot to call international numbers or premium numbers may find it less economical than purchasing a cellphone contract.

In addition, with prepaid plans, users will have to think carefully about how many minutes they use and will have to remember to top-up their cellphone on a regular basis.

Another problem is that not all prepaid cellphone providers allow their customers to use their phones abroad.

Monthly Prepaid Cellphone Plans

In addition to simply paying for usage on a pay as you go basis, some wireless providers offer prepaid customers special packages. After paying upfront for the package, they have a set amount of minutes, texts and data to use within a month, a bit like a regular cellphone contract. However, the advantage of this type of prepaid plan is that it offers more freedom as customers are not tied into a contract. Therefore, if a customer sees a better deal elsewhere, they won’t be faced with any early termination fees.

For super short-term use, some companies such as T-Mobile offer these prepaid plans on a daily basis. For $3, T-Mobile offers their customers unlimited talk, unlimited texts and unlimited data for a whole day.

Top US Prepaid Deals

Wireless Provider Contractless Prepaid Packages? Pay as You Go Details
T-Mobile ▸ 10¢ per text
▸ 10¢ per minute
Verizon ▸ 20¢ per text
▸ 25¢ per minute
Sprint N/A
Tracfone ▸ User buys individual data, minutes and text bundles

*Rates verified at time of publishing but are subject to change.