How Does a Prepaid Cell Phone Work?

By Ezmeralda Lee

Prepaid cell phones have ushered in an easy and convenient option for those who need cell phones for temporary use without credit checks and complicated contracts and without paying a large deposit upfront.

Types of Cards

Prepaid cell phones have three types of cards. The first type has several cards of varying amounts of money for cell phone usage according the number of calls made and the duration of the calls. The Hybrid type of prepaid cell phone has recurring charges that need to be renewed after the expiration of each charge amount. The third type of prepaid cell phone is one that offers unlimited talk time on the prepaid card within a local area. This type of cell phone does not allow roaming. Prepaid cell phone companies offer disposable cell phones with prepaid cards to monitor air time or sell prepaid cards only and the customer buys a cell phone to insert the prepaid card. Prepaid cards are available for local and international usage.

The customer must be very careful before buying a prepaid cell phone because there are many hidden costs. The airtime expiration policies are usually part of the fine print and the cell phone company may be charging more than what the customer bargained for. Some prepaid cell phone companies give discounts and free points. It is important to check for these incentives before buying a prepaid cell phone. The customer must make sure that the prepaid cell phone option gives adequate airtime coverage and adequately covers the area where the customer resides or works.

The convenience of prepaid cell phone cards are that they are easy to get and easy to terminate. There is no credit check required and a person with a bad credit history can get a prepaid cell phone over the counter. There is no contract to be signed or strict terms to adhere to. There are no monthly bills to pay. The customer can terminate using the cell phone after the expiry date or choose to buy minute refill cards for the span of time required. The customer chooses the amount of talk time he requires on the card and buys the card accordingly. Prepaid cell phones are available at electronic stores, office supply stores and agents of the company.

Prepaid cell phones are convenient purchases for travelers, occasional users and customers with a poor credit history. They are extremely useful for emergency use. Parents who wish to purchase a first time cell phone for their teenagers while keeping an eye on the budget generally choose to buy prepaid cell phones. Prepaid cell phones give the customer freedom of choice and they are not tied down to or contracted to a particular cell phone service.

Popular prepaid cell phone companies are Tracfone, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. The prepaid cellular services cost less than $100 and one can obtain cards as cheap as $10, $25 and $50. The customer is given talk time for up to 60 days.

Prepaid cell phones revolutionized communication making mobile telephone technology available to all. They are easily available and easy to dispose off and this is why most cell phone customers consider prepaid cell phone plans the most convenient of all cell phone plans.