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Prepaid cell phone service is becoming a more affordable alternative to contract plans, as many major cell phone carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, offer comparable plans without the hassle of a two-year contract.
With so many choices out there, though, it can be hard to choose the best plan that’s right for you. Ask yourself these questions, and you’ll be better equipped to get the phone you need.
Is your cell phone your main phone, or will you just supplement your home phone with it? Will you use your cell phone whenever you’re in your car, or for emergencies only? If you plan on using your phone as the only phone you have, you’ll need more flexibility in minute plans than if you use it for emergencies only. Opt for a high minute or an unlimited plan.
If you plan on using a smartphone for your pay as your go phone, you’ll need a data plan in order to use the Internet. Some pay as you go phones include a certain amount of data in their plans, while others will allow you to add a data package, and still others, will allow you to do a pay as you go based on your actual data usage.
If you’re opting for a pay as you go phone, you’ll have to pay full price for the phone (or something close to it.) Smartphones, such as the iPhone are available, but you may spend $400+ to get it. However, many companies run online specials that will allow you to get a smartphone for under $100. Sometimes, phones will be available for under $50, or even free, but typically those are not smartphones.
Many prepaid cell phone companies offer plans for $50 or less a month, if you prefer a monthly commitment. This way, you have a guaranteed service, but your credit score is not penalized if you cannot pay your bill one month. If you’d rather not have a monthly bill, many companies also offer the ability to add funds to your account on an as needed basis, where funds do not expire for at least 30 days (sometimes 90, depending on company.)
Do you need to run more than one phone on a prepaid basis? Some cell phone companies are now offering the equivalent of a prepaid family plan, where the first two lines are $X/month, and each additional line (up to five total lines) is slightly cheaper per month. While you’ll have to purchase more than one phone out right, and the initial investment can be a hefty sum of cash, you’ll have the freedom you need because you won’t be tied to a contract, or any particular phone.
No matter how you answered the above questions, there is a pay as you go phone out there for you. Choose plans in your available price range, and then go for the plan that will best suite your needs. From there, browse the phone selections, and choose the phone that will best suit you budget. Even if you have to start with a cheaper phone because you need service right now, you can upgrade to a better phone any time!