In order to continue using your prepaid plan, you must have an available balance from which to draw your per minute charges and you also must have time available. Unlike annual contract wireless phone service, prepaid cell phone plans must be funded up front (thus the term pre-paid). The amount of available funds on the account in conjunction with the amount of available time tells you how much talk/text time you have.
Here are the Verizon time purchase options:
|Amount Purchased||Activation Time|
From an economical standpoint, it makes sense to purchase $100 up front to secure 1 year’s talk time for your cell phone plan. Of course you will have to replenish the account once the available minutes are used up, but at least you are guaranteed to keep your phone service (and phone number) for the entire year. Purchasing time cards of $15 per month in order to keep the phone activated will cost you $180. This is especially important if you only use your cell phone for emergencies. There’s a chance that you’ll still have an available balance to make calls, but no available time.
Funding the Phone:
There are several ways in which to fund your Verizon prepaid cell phone plan:
- Purchase a phone card from participating retailers
- Purchase time through Verizon wireless phone
- Purchase time online and activate online from the Verizon Wireless website
- Call the Verizon Customer Service center and either use the automated service or speak to a customer service representative.
- Auto pay option whereby automatic payments are deducted from your debit or credit card. You choose whether or not to deduct monthly or only when your balance is getting low.
Word of caution: It has been this author’s experience that even when you request Verizon to remove your credit card information and not store it for future use, they do not always honor your request.
The Account Balance Depletion Theory
Here’s how the balance works. Let’s say on January 1 you purchase one year’s worth of time for $100 and elect to add the $20 per month text messaging feature to your prepaid phone plan. We’ll also say that you use your phone an equivalent of $15 in talk time each month. That means that from the $100, $35 will be deducted each month until your balance gets to about $5. At that time Verizon will notify you by text and/or cell phone call of your low balance.
Although technically, your cell phone account is still active because it only took you a little over 2 months to use your available balance, you must still fund your account. If you don’t fund your prepaid account, you won’t be able to make calls or send text messages. Once you add funds to your account before the January 1 expiration, you’ll be able to continue using the phone keeping same phone number.