The Quick Guide to How Prepaid No Contract Phones Work

If you’re tech-minded and don’t mind troubleshooting with limited help, prepaid is a great choice. Find yourself easily confused and don’t have someone in your family that can help you reporting partnership tax basis out? Mint Mobile’s free trial lets you sample the service for seven days. You’re given 250MB of data, 250 minutes of talk time and 250 texts to see what Mint’s service is all about.

If your goal is to improve your credit score, you may want to consider becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card or applying for a secured credit card. The thing about prepaid is there is no shortage of options, and some services come very close to postpaid such as Google Fi Wireless, as it’s a bit of a hybrid. You pay for your data after the month is up unless you’re on an unlimited plan. Picking a good prepaid plan is all about doing your homework and finding something that offers exactly the benefits you’re looking for. Also, remember the greater the savings, the more likely you’ll find big compromises.

How to Activate a Prepaid SIM Card

Tello Mobile is a US mobile operator designed to save you money. With Tello, you can build your own phone plan by mixing minutes and data as you like, from $5 to $25 per month. If you know any friends or family in your area that already use the carrier you’re considering, ask about their experience. You could also go to a carrier’s store and see if they offer any free ways to try out the service before switching over, such as T-Mobile’s Network Pass.

  • A prepaid card offers the convenience of having your money available to spend without the potential issues of using cash — the risk of total loss if it’s stolen or misplaced.
  • This makes them popular among travelers and students away from their hometowns.
  • Even geographically, some areas have better AT&T coverage while others work best on Verizon or T-Mobile (and vice versa).
  • Additionally, they are popular with parents who wish to have a way to stay connected with their college age students and have some control over the costs.

By paying $300 up front, you reduce your monthly cost to just $25, and you get a ton of data — 16GB before your speeds are throttled — on a great network in return. If your goal is to establish credit, you might consider applying for a traditional credit card. If that’s not an option, there are other ways to build credit from scratch, like applying for a secured credit card.

What is a prepaid debit card?

If you’re a fan of this card’s savings account option, Brink’s Armored™ Account offers a similar benefit and the ability to earn some ongoing cash back rewards. Through Netspend Payback Rewards, you can earn cash back on select qualifying purchases, something rarely seen with easy-to-attain cards. The rewards program also gives cardholders personalized offers as an extra incentive. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for how we make money and how we rate our cards . is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service.

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And if you’re looking for a prepaid card for international use, we have a bonus — the Wise card. We’ll introduce how Wise can cut your costs as you travel and spend in foreign currencies, a little later. Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate. If you’re seeking access to a physical card immediately, the Blue Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is a solid choice that offers potential rewards, albeit one that carries a series of fees.

The businesses might say prepaid cards are a good way to manage your money. With the ZEN Mastercard, for example, you can manage and monitor your balance through a mobile app. When you want to load money onto the card, you can do so using bank transfer, Visa, Mastercard, and Apple Pay or Google Pay. So, if you’re looking for a flexible, affordable, and hassle-free cell phone solution, consider getting a prepaid SIM card. With their ease of use, variety of plans, and cost-saving advantages, prepaid SIM cards are an excellent choice for staying connected on your own terms. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a prepaid card, especially those who want a card with a credit line or a boost to their credit score.

When you should get a prepaid card

As with TracFone, payment is automatically deducted from a credit card or checking account. One of the biggest advantages of a secured credit card, especially as a beginner card, is that the card issuer reports your credit information to the three credit bureaus. This allows you to build a positive credit history once you start making regular purchases and paying them off on time. These cards tend to be better for your credit than prepaid cards, but there are some drawbacks to keep in mind.

In this guide, we take a look at prepaid vs postpaid plans to help you understand the differences and the advantages of each so you can decide which service is right for you. That said, there are prepaid cards that have minimal fees, such as Bluebird by American Express. Bluebird has no card opening fee when you open an account online (otherwise it costs up to $5), no monthly fee and no foreign transaction fee. When we pick the best plans, we put a premium on the monthly price, though we also pay attention to how much data comes with that plan. After all, a carrier may not charge you a lot for data, but it also may not provide enough data for your needs. We’re picking plans that offer the best mix of cost and data.

Is a prepaid card debit or credit?

However, this usually means they’re free to get — but not necessarily free to use. That makes it very important to check over the full range of costs you might pay when you transact. Prepaid cards usually don’t require any credit check — that makes them accessible for individuals with little credit history in the US, or with a poor credit score.

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