<![CDATA[No-contract wireless prepaid plans have become more and more common and it seems like all of the four major carriers have monthly plans, prepaid brands or both. But as the prepaid consumer base grows, I have noticed a divide between the types of plans offered: pay-as-you-go reloadable accounts and prepaid monthly accounts. While the trend is quickly moving towards the latter, it is still possible to find pay-as-you-go plans without being grandfathered in. And that leads to another question: Which is right for you? Here are some pros and cons of each so you can decide.
Pay-as-you-go PlansAs the name implies, pay-as-you-go plans involve buying credit for minutes, texts or data as you need them and then paying a set rate for every minute, text or MB used. Back in the day, this was the primary way that prepaid phone plans were set up and how much you paid per minute or text depended on your carrier. When you run out of minutes, your phone turns into a paperweight until you could afford to reload it. But, for people who seldom use their phones, this type of plan is excellent.
- You only pay for exactly what you use. No more, no less.
- No commitment–if you don’t have money, don’t buy minutes
- Good for kids, because there are no dangers of overage
- Unused minutes/texts/data will roll over until expiration
- Prices can stack up pretty quick for long calls
- Higher risk of losing your number
- Data plans are oftentimes not reasonable
- Short expiration dates can cause trouble for low users
Prepaid Monthly PlansUnlike the pay-as-you-go plans, these plans are set up very similar to postpaid services, but they require no contract. Instead, you pay a flat fee every month and can use whatever services they offer for your payment tier. Most prepaid monthly plans include unlimited minutes, texts or both–but not all. You can usually add services as you need them, and they will expire eventually. A lot of times, these types of plans will include data as well, but they can be more pricey than the pay-as-you-go alternative.
- No worry about running out of minutes/texts a month
- Bill is the same every month
- Data is usually available for a bit more
- Not as much danger of losing your number
- Prices are higher than pay-as-you-go
- It’s easy to end up paying for a lot of minutes/texts you don’t use
- Data plans are often deceptively worded
- Some plans/carriers allow you to go over allotment and put it on the next bill
- Unused minutes/texts/data do not usually roll over