How Prepaid Minutes Work

Purchasing a prepaid cell phone can be a good deal for someone in need of a second phone or even a primary one. Inexpensive cell phones and smartphones take little time to set up and work reliably. One benefit of these phones is you don’t need to stay on top of any monthly billings. Instead, prepaid minutes cover the usage of the phone.

Someone new to prepaid cell phones, however, might be a bit confused about the whole process of prepaid minutes. Everything really is simple. In fact, the manufacturers of prepaid cell phones made everything simple on purpose. They want to reach the largest number of customers by providing a service that doesn’t require jumping through too many hoops to use.

Paying in Advance

Different prepaid cell phones have their own individual requirements, but most follow a similar payment plan. For a set amount of money, you would be given a certain number of minutes per month. In addition to calling minutes, a specific number of monthly texts and a finite amount of data would be provided.

Since different customers may require more or less use of a phone per month, more than one plan can be selected. Paying for a $40 per month plan gives you more minutes than a $20 plan would. What happens if you deplete all your minutes or data before the month is up? Usually, you can reload extra minutes, data and texts by paying a little extra.

The Month Expires

The end of the month may lead to questions about unused minutes on the phone plan. Specific answers depend on the policies and terms associated with a specific prepaid phone company. The remaining minutes could expire. Or, for a fee, they could roll over and be added onto the next month’s allotment. Of course, you would need to purchase another month’s worth of text, data, and minutes for the rollover to occur. Again, customers do need to check the terms and rules associated with their prepaid phone to find out what happens when the month expires.

Sign No Contracts

A huge selling point with prepaid phones is the lack of a contract. With traditional cell phone service, you may be locked into a 12-month agreement that you can’t get out of. If you do cancel, you must pay a cancellation fee. With prepaid phones, no obligations exist and you don’t need to sign any service contracts.

Keeping Your Phone Number

When you cease paying for the phone, it goes dormant but you can reactivate at any time. Your assigned phone number, however, expires and will be reassigned if you don’t reactivate the phone within a set period. Once the phone number is reassigned, you can turn the phone back on but you will get a new number.

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