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TracFone Product Review - What is a TracFone? How Does a Trac Phone Work?

Updated on December 4, 2014

What is a TracFone?

What is a TracFone and how does it work? First of all, a TracFone is a pre-paid phone plan that does not require signing a contract. It is probably best for users who do not use cell phones often, or else buying minutes very often could become expensive.

I recently helped a friend to activate the TracFone he had just purchased. He was planning to take a cross-country trip and doesn’t own a personal cell phone.

First, the phone has to be charged. Next, by following the instructions that came in the package, I found the activation process to be pretty easy, consisting basically of punching in a code and waiting for the code to activate. Activation took less than an hour.

Next, we put in some key phone numbers, and my friend’s cell phone was ready to go. He took it on his trip, used it many times, having no trouble with dropped calls, poor reception, or anything else. The phone did everything to fulfill his basic cell phone needs. Good report!

When is TracFone a good choice?

For someone who doesn’t use a cell phone often, the TracFone is a good choice. Like my friend did, you could buy only 100 minutes to last you for several months. Be sure to check when your phone deactivates if you don’t purchase additional minutes. This time frame is usually three months. If you let your phone go inactive, you will lose your remaining minutes, as well as your cell phone number. Basically, at this point, your TracFone is dead, and you will have to reactivate your service and set up your phone with a different number, which could be an inconvenient pain. However, if you don’t plan to use the phone again until your next cross-country trip, then letting your phone deactivate might be just the right option until you need a cellular phone again.

Comparison Shopping of Cell Phone Plans

If you would like something more than what the TracFone offers in terms of minutes, you can shop online to compare plans and activate discounts. StraightTalk is another cheaper mobile service with no-contract plans starting at $30, with unlimited minutes at only $45. BoostMobile often offers unlimited minutes for $50 per month, but online discounts sometimes lower that to $30. TMobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Cricket, all well-known mobile providers, offer online discounts as well, plans with or without contracts. AT&T currently has an amazing online deal of 75% off the popular iPhones,

Rate this product!

3.4 out of 5 stars from 25 ratings of TracFone

Save on Mobile Plans with Online Coupons

Many of these mobile telephone providers offer prepaid plans while others require contracts. You can do side by side comparisons online, using online coupons to save on the plan of your choice. With Telecommunications Promo Codes, save online on the TracFone or any other provider you choose to fit your needs.


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    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Dani, that sounds like a good deal. It would depend how much you use the phone. I think $20 will get you about 60 minutes or more on a TracFone. So if you hardly use it, those minutes might last more than a month. It really depends on how much you use it. What you have sounds great if you don't have to worry about keeping up with minutes and buying more.

    • profile image

      Dani 3 years ago

      I currently pay $20/month for my cell phone with a provider. No contract. I only use it to talk and I don't talk all that much. Don't need data or texting or apps. Would a Tracfone be even more economical for me? Thanks.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Bobbi--I'm behind, too. I've actually been thinking about a smart phone, one of the cheaper ones, perhaps refurbished. Whatever I do, I'm not going to spend tons of money on it! :-)

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida


      Thanks for the information on Tracfones, and since I am the cow's lately always dragging behind everyone else. I am trying to save money and still be able to communicate.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      HI, Lisa! That's about what I do with texting; I don't use it for conversations much. I think that all phone plans will bill you for any texts received, but, like other phones, I'm sure you can block numbers. At least I would think so. With a lot of phones, you can use different services. I'm not familiar with Verizon Pantech Jest, but it's possible. I would definitely check into it, as it's probably a better phone than the entry level TracFone. I'm sorry I couldn't be more definite with some of my answers, but I think checking into it is definitely worth a try, as the TracFone service is quite cheap!

    • profile image

      Lisa-ArtisticFunk.NET 4 years ago

      Hello! Thank you for all the great info on the TracFone. I currently piggy-back on hubby's Verizon Cell Phone Family Plan...$9.99 but I end up paying +$23 (up to $33 total) just for mine w/texts. I barely use my cell phone for phone calls...and I minimally text...just to confirm meetings w.people & a quick 'hello, how r u?' type of thing...So I'm considering the Tracphone so I can better manage my costs and just pay for minutes I actually use. My QUESTIONS:

      1) My minutes get upped b.c advertisers have got a hold of my cell # and text me....I get billed for texts rec' that same for TracFone?

      If yes, can I block certain nos. from texting me?

      2) I currently have Verizon Pantech Jest...can I use that w.TracFone's service or do I have to buy a new phone?

      Thanks in advance for any advice :) Best, Lisa

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Lois--TracFone's don't work well in a mobile phone? That's good to know for people. Thanks for the information. :-)

    • profile image

      Lois 4 years ago

      I live in a mobile home and I was told they don't work or get lousy reception.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Effer, thanks for the input! Just Ask Susan--does that help? Effer is on the payroll now for answering my questions. (It doesn't pay much, though! :-))

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Just ask Susan......The trac fone concept is "pay as you go" since you purchase minutes to add to your monthly fees or contract whatsoever......but I am not familiar with the actual phone or plan for a "pay as you go" cell......It sounds as if it's the same...unless there are additional charges for something.......Absolutely love our trac fones!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Joyce, for the comments. Glad you liked the hub!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I agree, rfmoran. People think they have to have the latest and newest in everything technology-wise, it seems!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Yes, Susan, I believe so. You just add minutes as you need them. :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Effer--Great comments. Thanks for adding to my hub--that's awesome to know how well the tracfone works for you! I have Straight Talk, but the TracFone might be even cheaper. I mostly use my cell for away from home and for long distance. I prefer to use a landline when I'm home.

      No way could I pay what many people pay for a cell phone per month! Geez!

      And yes, you can answer Susan's or anybody else's questions, even though it isn't your hub. I give you permission--LOL. Maybe I'll hire you to save me some time. LOL. Thanks!! I love your comments. :-)

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Good read, we have cell phone that do nothing but phone calls. This is okay with us because we don't have any children or grandchildren to call.

      Voted up and interesting, Joyce.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Vee...Is it OK if I answer a question in your hub? I was about to answer Susan's question when I thought..."Oops! this isn't my hub!!" lol

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      A lot of us probably blow a lot of money on plans that we don't need. Voted up and useful

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Is a Trac-Fone basically the same as a Pay As You Go?

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Vee.....My husband and I have been Trac-foners since they came onto the market. (Because of 2 Home-Businesses, we would never be without a home phone/office phone, as so many people have gone strictly "cell phone.")

      For us, a mobile phone is precisely that.....used only when not at home or in our office. In this type of situation, trac fone is without a doubt the most economical way to go! We love our tracfones.

      There is a variety of models to choose from. They have all the extras of any major company contract cell phone service...all the options & conveniences.

      Our tracfones NEVER drop calls....we have clear, perfect connections in areas where our friend's elaborate, expensive cells can't operate.

      You can buy the "double minutes" plan...(a one-time purchase) and there are always monthly promotional codes that offer FREE 40 to 60 minutes. They are simple add minutes to....and they have 24-hr cust service......via 800# or online support.

      Thanks for this hub. I don't think a lot of people realize how easily and cheaply they can have a cell phone....when used for the purpose of "away from home" periods. UP +++


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