1. No Contract = Freedom
The biggest advantage of going prepaid is there is no two-year contract. Your plan is flexible. Talking more one month and less the next makes no difference and most plans allow for roll over minutes from month to month.
For those who are commitment shy or who frequently switch phones prepaids are a smart choice. Most providers require you to sign up for a new two-year plan if you want a new phone or if your talking and data needs have changed. Prepaids let you switch your plan at any time.
Most major carriers will even allow you to stick with your existing number. Or, if you’re using a service like Google Voice you don’t have to do a thing to get started.
2. Prepaids are a Budgeters Best Friend
For people on strict monthly budgets prepaids are a godsend. If you go over what you budgeted for you can either pay for more minutes or wait until the end of the month, although you can still call #999 or #911 for emergencies. Some phones will store your missed calls and messages until you have the minutes to view them.
Prepaid phones offer plans that include not only voice minutes, but texting and data as well. It’s the ideal choice for people who don’t use the minimum amount of data that two-year contact providers require. Or, if you’re unsure of how much data or texting you’ll need, use a prepaid phone for a month or two to gauge what you use and what you don’t. Then you can find a plan that accurately meets your needs.
Prepaids are also ideal for parents with teenagers. They can buy a cheap phone and pay for a set number of minutes and texts, leaving the teen to pay for any overages. It’s the best way to never be surprised with nasty overages at the end of the month.
3. No Fees or Credit Checks
Contract plans often come with sign-up fees and then there are the monthly fees if you go over your plan’s minutes. With Prepaids there are no surprise fees, just the upfront cost of the phone. Many stores provide prepaid SIM cards as well if you already own a phone.
Prepaid phones also don’t require credit checks, making it a good choice for those with no credit or bad credit. And since they don’t require a contract, prepaid phones are widely available and easy to buy. Most are ready to use immediately and some phones are even disposable.
As prepaid plans evolve beyond simple calling plans to include texting and data, and as contract plans become increasingly expensive more and more people are looking to prepaids as affordable options. However, before you ditch your contract provider make sure to comb over your calling statements to study how and when you use your phone the most.
There are several prepaid plans—pay for a bulk amount of minutes per month, pay as you go, or pay by the day. However the cost of minutes will vary depending on if they’re in-network or during nights and weekends. Prepaids can end up being the more expensive option for those who use their phone a lot. But for others its good to compare prepaid phone plans against two-year contract plans.