Here's a quick rundown on buying a Tracfone card for adding airtime. You can buy most of them at any one of a bazillion
in the USA.
However, some cards are only available online. Either way, it's pretty simple to add your minutes to your Tracfone during the process.
Here's a current Tracfone card list. With the introduction of Android Tracfones, you can now get data cards in addition to the usual airtime cards. The data cards don't appear to have an explicit service period. The data associated with them stays valid as long as your regular airtime has not expired.
Let's start with the . . .
Tracfone airtime Cards are good for 30 days, 90 days or one year. In addition, the minutes rollover, and the service time accumulates.
Make sure you check out the latest promo codes to get a few extra minutes or save a couple of bucks. You can do the same before activating a Tracfone card you buy at store and online.
Given all the different cards you can get as listed below, you might wonder which are the most cost-effective. One way to judge this is to look at the the cost per minute as you can see below.
You can also look at how much it would cost per month to maintain service using a particular kind of card.
This $9.99 30-minute card with a 45-day service period is available online only direct from Tracfone.
This $19.99 60-minute card has a 90-day service period.
The $29.99 120-minute card also has a 90-day service period.
The $39.99 200-minute card also has a 90-day service period.
The $79.99 450-minute card also has a 90-day service period.
The 400-minute card comes with a one-year service period, which is why it costs $99.99. You're essentially paying for the extra service period. There's usually a promo code to bump it up to 600 minutes.
The 800-minute one-year card has a service period of one year, but also includes double minutes for life on all future airtime purchases as long as your service doesn't expire.
You get 1000 minutes that are good for 365 days.
You get 1500 minutes that are good for 365 days.
Most of the handsets are now triple minutes phones. Refurbished versions of the triple minutes phones are offered at a good discount.
If you've had your Tracfone for a while or got it from someone else, there is a chance that it is a double minutes phone. If your usage is very low, you might be okay with sticking with it. Otherwise you should switch it out for a triple minutes model.
The prices of these cards have stayed about the same, but the number of minutes and the service period had increased over time. For example, a while back, the 19.99 card only bought 40 minutes of airtime with a 60 day service period. First the number of minutes increased to 60 and then the service period increased to 90 days. (Some stores still carry these old cards. Avoid them!) After a while they stopped changing them and introduced phones that doubled and then tripled the number of minutes on the cards instead.
When you buy online from Tracfone, during the ordering process you will be asked if you want to further add to your minutes or to the service period as shown in this screenshot:
There are smartphone online cards for Tracfone smartphones or BYOP smartphones using the SIM card kit. These cards have changed recently (and may change again as Tracfone continues to test what works for the prepaid smartphone market.
The new $125 Card gives you 365 days of services and 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and 1.5GB data.
The $35 Card gives you 750 minutes, 1000 texts and 1GB data. This is a 60-day card.
The $25 Card gives you 500 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB data. This is a 60-day card
The $15 Card gives you 200 Minutes, 500 texts and 200MB data. This is only a 30-day card.af
Whichever card you choose, you can alway add to your data and text message allowance by getting one of the cards below.
The Tracfone data cards used to come in denominations of 300 MB for $10, 750 MB for $15, 2 GB for $30 and 4GB for $50. You can still find some of these in stores. These work out to a rate between 3.3 cents per MB to 1.25 cents per MB.
However, they have simplified the pricing structure online where you can purchase data for $10 per GB.
As long as you maintain service via airtime cards, the data does not expire. How much you will use will depend on how often you access data via Wi-Fi as opposed to over the cell phone network.
You can get a text message card online for $5 which adds 1000 texts to your smartphone's text message balance. That works out to half a cent per text sent or received.
Discounts on Tracfone cards are rare. However, there is currently a discount on the 400 minute one-year card, and the charts above do assume the discounted price ($84.99 with promo code instead of 99.99). Depending on whether you know how long you will keep your prepaid phone service and how many minutes you tend to use or just in terms of convenience, it may be better to purchase a Tracfone card with a one-year service period.
Tracfone also offers some good deals on their website on reconditioned phones packaged with airtime cards.