Secrets & Short Cuts
you won't get from your wireless carrier
| MAKING PREPAID PAINLESS
You can save buckets of money by switching to Prepaid. One
of our biggest objections to Prepaid was the cumbersome payment
cycle required by prepaid refills. You didn't pay the bill once a
month like the electric bill, you paid at or near an exact payment date
or you lost your account value, and
your service, even if you were only one day late. If you paid too soon you could lose
some of the time you already paid for, increasing your total cost.
These types of
payments still exist but now most Prepaid operators offer some form of
"Auto-Refill", or "Auto-Pay", where your monthly payment is
automatically deducted from a
credit card, debit card or checking account.
The upside with Auto-Refill is that it becomes easier
to pay than
the electric bill because the payment is made without any hassle.
In most cases you get an Text or email that the charge to
your card or checking account is
being made, but no action is required on your part. Having an
associated account also makes it easy to change features or add-ons to
downside includes the challenge of stopping
Auto-Refill. Some carriers don't make it easy by
making you go through a menu of choices before you find a way to cancel
the process. Additionally, credit cards have expiration dates
that can interrupt the Auto-Refill process and you can suddenly find
yourself with no wireless service. Some carriers will encourage you to
sign up for Auto-Refill by offering a discount, usually around $5 per
Some carriers are better than others in making the Auto-Refill function
consumer-friendly. There are carriers that offer a discount
when you sign up for Auto-Refill. In some cases you can
credit card number or an alternative notification method.
Most carriers offer both online and app access to your
account. Several will notify you long before there is a
problem including an upcoming credit card expiration date.
is an automated process, you may want to consider a Prepaid service
that includes a convenient way to correct any inevitable problems.
Our advice sometimes includes backing away and allowing for
the fact that something will cause your account to be charged a
slightly different amount, and it may cause less trouble to grin and
bear it than pressing the issue to get back a few dollars.
one more heads-up. Auto-Refill isn't 100% fool-proof. It helps to know
your refill date and to be suspicious if you don't hear from your
carrier around that date.
DON'T WASTE LEFTOVER PREPAID MINUTES
you change Prepaid accounts from time to time, there are almost always
leftover minutes you'll lose. Donate the dollar value of those
minutes to organizations like the
Red Cross and Make a Wish by texting to their "donate" Text
number. Careful, those donations won't cost you anything, but only for
actual minutes you already paid for such as with a pay-as-you-go
plan...if you have unlimited minutes they'll just add the donation to
your next monthly charge. Here is a list of text donation numbers. Or, charity begins at home...call your mom.
and Short Cuts