prepaid http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8594/all en-US Best Money Tips: Find the Best Prepaid Plan http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-5084027-small.jpg" alt="phone" title="phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on finding the best prepaid plan, common missed fees you need to avoid, and dealing with difficult work personalities.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/how-to-find-the-best-prepaid-plan-and-ditch-your-contra-485042945">How To Find the Best Prepaid Plan and Ditch Your Current Contract for Good</a> &mdash; You might want to go contract-free if you have an unlocked phone. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/04/7-common-missed-fees-that-you-need-to-avoid/">7 Common Missed Fees That You Need to Avoid</a> &mdash; Avoid the fees associated with having a DVR by looking into buying your own DVR option separate from your cable company. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Deal-Difficult-Co-Workers-30103939">How to Deal With These 6 Difficult Work Personalities</a> &mdash; To deal with a micromanager at work, keep him or her in the loop on what you are doing. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/05/10-counterintuitive-things-to-add-to-your-day-to-get-more-done/">10 Counterintuitive Things to Add to Your Day to Get More Done</a> &mdash; Spending time on your hobby or helping others can help you get more done. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/prevent-identity-theft/">Identity Theft: Ain't Nobody Got Time For That</a> &mdash; Protect yourself from identity theft by guarding your credit history. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/can-tipping-really-change-a-waiters-behavior/">Can Tipping Change a Waiter's Behavior?</a> &mdash; Unless you plan on making a statement with a big tip, it may be best to speak to your waiter directly if you have feedback. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/how-to-have-an-unforgettable-summer-vacation-and-not-bust-your-budget/">How to Have an Unforgettable Summer Vacation and not Bust Your Budget</a> &mdash;To have an unforgettable summer vacation, watch your budget but only to a point. [Narrow Bridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://notmadeofmoney.com/blog/2013/04/budget-friendly-graduation-gift-ideas-2.html">Budget Friendly Graduation Gift Ideas</a> &mdash; Consider giving the recent graduate in your life a household toolbox. [Not Made Of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/04/28/8-ways-youre-driving-yourself-crazy/">8 Ways You're Driving Yourself Crazy</a> &mdash; If you are competing with everyone else and focusing on what you don't like, you could be driving yourself crazy. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/the-savvy-parent-s-strategy-for-dealing-with-temper-tantrums">The Savvy Parent's Strategy for Dealing With Temper Tantrums</a> &mdash; When dealing with temper tantrums, remove the irritants and remember to breathe. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">6 Reasons I Still Don&#039;t Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hand-me-down-cell-phones">Hand-me-down Cell Phones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-billion-tax-refund-for-long-distance-phone">$10 billion tax refund for long distance phone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours">Why I was an AT&amp;T wireless customer…for 72 hours.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry">Opt-out of the wasteful $26 billion phone directory industry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips cell phone phone prepaid Thu, 02 May 2013 10:00:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 973836 at http://www.wisebread.com Kick that Cell Phone Contract: Save with a Prepaid Plan http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/528009_72793626.jpg" alt="cell phone" title="cell phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are married to your cell phone, you may not mind paying top dollar for your service plan. For many people, their cell phone has become their primary portal to the world, and that's fine, especially for cell phone companies.</p> <p>But if you want, you can save big money by going <strong>prepaid</strong>. Here's how. First, let your cell phone contract expire. Then shop around for a prepaid plan. A prepaid plan, or pay-as you-go, is just that: a plan for which you pay for the minutes, usually by the minute, <em>before</em> you use them. It replaces the standard contract-based plan and the credit check and termination penalty fee that goes with the contract. Prepaid plans have long been popular in Europe, and are gaining ground here.</p> <p>(But first, what is cheaper and better than a prepaid plan? Being added to an existing family plan. This option will have the most appeal for younger users like college students and 20-somethings. It does, however, require a little family diplomacy and accountability on the part of the user. Mom and Dad don't usually care to rescue you for late payments or lost phones.)</p> <p>Prepaid wireless plans are the fastest growing segment in the market today. Good plans, like Virgin Mobile, can save you $20 a month on a plan that allows 400 Anytime Minutes per month. However, not every prepaid plan is cheaper than a contract-based plan, so it pays to shop around.</p> <h2>Prepaid Benefits</h2> <p>Prepaid plans can get you out from a monthly bill. Prepaid plans offer no hidden costs, don't have termination fees, and don't play to your weaknesses. You don't have to undergo a credit check. All of these reasons, and more, add up to savings if you get out from under that onerous contract. When you think about it, what other service requires you to sign up for years at a time and then penalizes you when you change your mind?</p> <p>And it gets worse. Some companies extend your contract commitment for even minor service adjustments!</p> <p>A half-dozen major carriers offer prepaid plans. These include companies like: AT&amp;T, Net10, T-Mobile, Tracfone, Verizen Wireless, and the aforementioned Virgin Mobile. You can access some of these <a href="http://www.wirelessguide.org/plan/prepaid.htm">here</a>.</p> <p>You want to keep the math simple? T-Mobile charges $100 for 1,000 Anytime Minutes that last a year. If you are in the phone-as-a-last-resort crowd, that will last you a year &mdash; at $8.33 a month.</p> <p>Downsides? There can be a few:</p> <ul> <li>Cost-per-minute charges can be higher (at least 10 cents a minute).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepaid minutes expire (but you can keep minutes active for up to a year or more with some plans).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You have to track your own usage.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Texting involves extra charges, can be incoming only, or may not be offered.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As with all cell phone plans, read the fine print first.</li> </ul> <h2>Texting</h2> <p>The word on texting is that major carriers don't offer much. But secondary carriers like Straight Talk Wireless, Cricket, and Alltel Prepaid offer prepaid plans with unlimited texting. They cost more, but if texting is your lifeline and you don't want a contract, they've got you covered for as low as $35 a month with Cricket.</p> <p>If you text often, consider unlimited texting since it can be hard to track your usage.</p> <h2>Select a Plan, Buy Your Own Phone</h2> <p>You can select a company and buy your own phone on eBay. First, choose your plan, because you will need a cell phone that uses the same <strong>network</strong>. Contact a company representative and ask if you can sign up with your own phone. If the company offers a plan that includes a phone, expect a bit of a runaround before you get a straight answer. Obtain the network type name (like GSM) from the representative. Ask if a supervisor can verify the information if you don't trust the representative. Document the call for reference in the event you get a runaround when you go to sign up with your own phone. Then purchase a phone to match the service provider.</p> <p>eBay offers a good selection of phones, and sellers usually provide the network information.</p> <p>Some companies use the <strong>GSM</strong> network, while others use <strong>CDMA</strong>. You must know which protocol your intended carrier uses. Any GSM phone you buy must be <strong>unlocked</strong>. That is, its programming allows it to be used with different GSM carriers. ebay offers a wide selection of unlocked phones, beginning at about $20. Full-featured phones can be had for $50 - $75.</p> <p>Here is a snippet from <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-unlocked-cell-phones.htm">Wisegeek.com</a> that succinctly describes the difference between GSM and CDMA:</p> <blockquote><p>Carriers operating on the <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-gsm-and-cdma.htm">GSM</a> network use SIM cards. In the United Sates, this includes Cingular Wireless, now one with AT&amp;T Wireless, and T-Mobile. Carriers that use the competing <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-gsm-and-cdma.htm">CDMA</a> network do not yet use card-enabled phones. These carriers include Sprint <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-pcs.htm">PCS</a>, Verizon and Virgin Mobile. The <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-cdma.htm">CDMA</a> equivalent of the SIM card &mdash; the <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-ruim-card.htm">R-UIM</a> &mdash; will be used by these carriers in the future.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Caveats and Contracts</h2> <p>Before buying, compare the cost of a prepaid plan with the provider's one-year contract price and <em>read the fine print</em>. The cell phone industry leads even the credit card industry in consumer complaints, so due diligence is advised.</p> <p>If you change your calling habits (location, usage rate, texting, going to Canada, whatever) check your coverage to avoid surprises. <em>Consumer Reports</em> says you can save $100 a year by going prepaid. If you change your habits, even slightly, you can save much more than that.</p> <p>Of course, for all of this to work, you have to get out of your old contract. To avoid paying a fee, stop accepting (or requesting) new phones and do not change the status of your service in any way. Contact your provider to see when your contract is due to expire. Hopefully, the company has a pro-rated penalty fee, so if you are halfway through a contract, you only pay half the full penalty. Or just wait it out. Do your research in the meantime. If you already &quot;own&quot; the phone you have, choose a network to fit it.</p> <p>Prepaid plans require a little more&hellip;planning. But they remain a viable strategy to get out from under the yoke of a big-bucks plan while saving money at the same time &mdash; never a bad idea when times are tight or you just want a little more autonomy in your life.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Steve Klingaman, a nonprofit development consultant and nonfiction writer living in Minneapolis. Read more by Steve:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2010/03/24/four_things_about_health_care_reform">Four Things About Health Care Reform</a></li> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2010/02/11/2010_year_of_the_roth_ira_conversion">2010: Year of the Roth IRA Conversion</a></li> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2009/07/30/finally_student_loan_debt_relief_arrives_for_many">Finally! Student Loan Debt Relief Arrives for Many</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/steve-klingaman">Steve Klingaman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-signal-5-quick-ways-to-boost-your-cell-phone-reception-updated">No Signal? 6 Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Reception</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology cell phones prepaid wireless Sun, 30 May 2010 17:00:03 +0000 Steve Klingaman 102862 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I was an AT&T wireless customer…for 72 hours. http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thankscell.jpg" alt="Cell suck" title="Cell suck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="347" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the last 7-8 years, I have been a loyal Virgin Mobile customer. I liked the prepaid pricing plan, the customer service, I didn’t want a large monthly bill or overage charges. Everything was perfect. Well, almost everything. </p> <p>The phones sucked. Completely. While everyone around me had the latest, greatest phones from Nokia and Motorola, I was stuck with cheap, archaic-looking models with limited features and horrible battery life. So, a few weeks ago my wife and I started looking around and decided on prepaid GoPhone, from AT&amp;T/Cingular wireless. </p> <p>We chose AT&amp;T because they’ve been around forever. My wife had tried Amp’d Mobile last year for a few months, but when they went under she came back to Virgin. She didn’t want to switch unless it was a big name with big staying power. And they don’t come much bigger than AT&amp;T.</p> <p>I found us some great “refurbished” phones at att.com. I say “refurbished” because they looked brand new to me, and I suspect they were (a great article for another time) Probably just a slightly older model or maybe a display model. I used the website to complete the deal and filled out the form to carry over our current numbers. </p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/338699_talking.jpg" alt="Go away" title="Go Away" width="300" height="224" /></p> <p><em>&quot;You talkin&#39; to me? Not for long, I&#39;ll transfer you...again.&quot;</em></p> <p><strong>The problems begin.</strong><br />I spent a grand total of 6 hours on phone calls trying to complete the number transfer, also known as porting. I was passed from one department to another. One annoying feature of AT&amp;T customer service that immediately became apparent is that GoPhone customers are treated like second-class citizens. It was impossible to get straight through to a GoPhone rep, I often had to punch or say my phone number 3-4 times before I got to anyone, and on three occasions the phone went dead on me. Nice.</p> <p>Unlike any other company I have ever dealt with, AT&amp;T requires your prepaid account number to complete the porting process. Do you know what your prepaid account number is? Doubtful, it’s usually something you have to call and ask for because you never need to know it. You buy it from the store, you top up with cards, as far as you are concerned your account number is your phone number. Not so.</p> <p>So, after doing a whole bunch more calling, I got the info and completed the port. End of story? Not quite. When my wife had left that morning, she had $10 in credit on the phone. She called me a few hours later, it was almost gone. “$10 in a few hours, what have you been doing?” I said. It turns out that unlike Virgin Mobile, AT&amp;T charges you 25 cents/minute per call for everything. That means not just regular calls, but calls to check your messages, your balance, anything. 25 cents comes out the first second you make a connection, which didn’t surprise me. If you receive a call, 25 cents/minute also applies. Again, not so shocking. Then I found out that a call to 411 for 30 seconds had cost over $2.30! Ouch. We burned up a further $30 between us in the span of 3 days, although I was double-billed and I&#39;m disputing one $15 charge. We also discovered that, unlike Virgin, your money expires. $15 lasts only 30 days, regardless of how much you use.</p> <p>I know, I know. I should have read all that small print, so that’s my fault completely. I just couldn’t believe how expensive this no-contract phone was. So, we decided to bite the bullet and get a contract plan with T-Mobile, which came with great free phones and the most minutes around for the price. </p> <p>But then we needed to carry over our numbers from AT&amp;T. Now, guess how easy it is to get your prepaid account number from AT&amp;T? Well, when you realize that the only reason you need an account number from a GoPhone is to switch to another cell phone carrier, you quickly understand that the process is not simple. In fact, I spent an enormous amount of time on the phone, again, before finally being transferred to an office in India (big surprise). And the whole time, I was questioned about why I was leaving. </p> <p>Is there a moral to this story. Most definitely it’s READ EVERY PIECE OF SMALL PRINT YOU CAN. If I had done so, I’d probably have saved myself almost a full day on the phone and at least $30 in airtime that lasted less than an hour. Also, if you do go prepaid, use it sparingly and it makes all kinds of sense. But use it more often than that and you’re eating up money. From what I can understand, Virgin is still way ahead of everyone else in the prepaid arena, apart from the crappy phones.</p> <p>So, my apologies to Virgin. You’ve always been great and I’m sorry I had to leave you (update your phones and I&#39;ll be back). And to AT&amp;T, I’m saying nothing. I’ve quickly discovered that talking to AT&amp;T can be a costly affair. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-cell-phone-number-is-no-longer-unlisted">Your cell phone number is no longer unlisted</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">6 Reasons I Still Don&#039;t Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-some-lives-so-empty-that-an-iphone-g3-will-fill-the-void">Are some lives so empty that an iPhone 3G will fill the void?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">Kick that Cell Phone Contract: Save with a Prepaid Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones">Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs AT&T cell phone Cingular prepaid wireless Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:38:35 +0000 Paul Michael 1665 at http://www.wisebread.com