Prepaid Wireless Phone Services

Written by Liza Hartung
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Prepaid wireless services are a little different than regular cell phone plans. First, many companies don't make you sign a contract with pre-paid services. This is good for two reasons. It means the company has to keep good rates in order to keep you as a customer, and you don't have to pay crazy fees to leave the company. This kind of plan is a good idea for people who switch companies often or don't think they're going to have a cell phone for that long.

How Prepaid Services Work

Each company has a slight variation on prepaid plans (for those that offer these plans), but you're basically working with your money as opposed to minutes. You don't have pre-set minutes, per se. You do have a pre-set monthly bill. As you use your phone, your money ticks away. Instead of checking how many minutes you have left, you check how much money you have left.

Most companies will usually take any left over money at the end of the month and roll it over to the next month. In addition, you'll get a warning when you have a certain amount left, such as $5.00. This kind of plan is simple and clear. When you don't like being tied up with contracts and extra fees for this and that, check out the prepaid plans.

There is another kind of plan, called pay-as-you-go, that's similar. Instead of having a monthly fee, you can pick up cards for certain monetary denominations like $5, $10, $20 or $50. You enter a code into your phone and you now have more money to work with. You never get a bill in the mail. Few companies in the United States have this right now, but it's all over Europe.

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