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Best Pay As You Go Phone Plans of 2021

Comapre the cheapest pay as you go plans

Check Coverage

Looking for the best pay as you go plans? You've come to the right place.

With no-contract and flexibility to cancel at any time, this plan can save you hundreds of dollars a year. We've analyzed some great low-cost carrier plans.

Find out how you could save around 50% a month on your cell phone bill, without losing the same coverage and service you've grown to trust.

Best pay as you go plans of 2021

Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Tello - Best cheap pay as you go plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • No contracts

  • Budget friendly family plans

Cons

  • No roaming

  • Coverage in rural areas

Carrier Benefits
  • Service on the nationwide T-Mobile network

  • Money-back guarantee on phones (no refunds on plans)

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own phone or choose from a modest selection of new or refurbished devices

  • Keep your current phone number

  • Use of your plan data as a mobile hotspot through your phone is allowed

  • Use your minutes to call Canada, China, and Mexico

  • Minutes to other countries available as add-on

  • 24/7 customer service

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$8

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$14

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$19

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$24

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$29

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$39

Cheapest Unlimited Data Plans

Mint Mobile - Best pay as you go unlimited plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers the latest phones with 0% finance

  • Prepay months in bulk for more savings

  • Reliable network coverage

  • Works with most GSM phones

Cons

  • No family plans

  • Minimum 3 months

Carrier Benefits
  • Operates on the nationwide T-Mobile network

  • 7-day money-back guarantee

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your phone or buy a Mint Mobile device

  • Keep your phone number

  • Using your phone as a mobile hotspot is permitted

  • Free calling to Canada & Mexico, affordable rates to 160+ other locations

  • Flat-rate international roaming available as an add-on feature

  • Customer service by phone on weekdays and weekends, 24/7 by virtual chat

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Mint Mobile 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$15*

* $45 for 3 Months Service

Mint Mobile 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$20*

* $60 for 3 Months Service

Mint Mobile 15GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

15GB

$25*

* $75 for 3 months Service

Mint Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30*

* $90 for 3 months Service
Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Reach Mobile - Best pay as you go family plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$15/mo*
* 50% Off for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Socially conscious provider who gives back

  • 4G LTE network

  • Hotspot enabled

Cons

  • Small selection of handsets

  • Expensive high data plans

Carrier Benefits
  • Powered by the Verizon network

  • Service is postpaid with no credit check

  • Only upfront payment is shipping for SIM card

  • Bring your own compatible phone

  • Keep your phone number

  • Hotspot enabled on all plans

  • 24/7 customer support by phone or chat

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Reach Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$15*

Reach Mobile 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$23*

Reach Mobile 12GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

12GB

$28*

Reach Mobile 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$33*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Best 5G Phone Plans

Boost Mobile - Best pay as you go 5G plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
2 GB
Price
$5/mo*
* 50% Off 1st Month & Double Data for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • New upgraded network with DISH

  • No annual contract

  • Unlimited music streaming

Cons

  • Coverage in rural areas

Carrier Benefits
  • Owned by Dish and runs on T-Mobile's nationwide network

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or extra fees

  • Bring your own phone (GSM compatible) or choose from a wide selection of new phones

  • Mobile hotspot allowance with all plans

  • International service and roaming available as add-on packs

  • Customer support available by phone - 4am - 8pm PST Monday to Friday, 4am - 7pm weekends

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Boost Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$5*

* 50% Off 1st Month & Double Data for 3 Months

Boost Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$25

Boost Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$50

Best Talk & Text Only Plans

Ting - Best pay as you go talk & text plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
0 GB
Price
$10/mo*
* $5 extra per GB
Editors Take
4 / 5
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Simple plans for light phone users

  • Customer service

  • Nationwide LTE and 5G coverage

  • Good selection of handsets

Cons

  • Not for the data hungry user

Carrier Benefits
  • Offers coverage on both Verizon and T-Mobile

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or start-up fees

  • Bring your GSM or CDMA phone - most devices are compatible - or buy one from Ting

  • Keep your current number

  • Tethering/mobile hotspot allowed, speeds limited to 3G for GSM tethering

  • Use your plan minutes to call 60+ international locations

  • International roaming capability (at surcharged rates)

  • Extensive customer service hours by phone, chat, or email

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Ting Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10*

* $5 extra per GB

Ting 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$15

Ting 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$20*

* $5 Off for 6 Months

Ting Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$40*

* $5 Off for 6 Months

Ting Unlimited Pro

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$55*

* $5 Off for 6 Months
Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Twigby - Best pay as you go plan for seniors

Powered by:
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No hotspot/tethering charges

  • International calling and texting

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • Exclusive deals and discounts as a Twigby customer

Cons

  • Limited handset selection

  • Not for the data hungry

Carrier Benefits
  • Runs on both the Verizon and Sprint networks

  • 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee on phones and plans (under 300 minutes, 300 texts, or 300 MB of data used)

  • Prepaid - no contracts, credit checks, or activation fees

  • Bring your CDMA device or choose from a modest selection of Twigby phones

  • Keep your own phone number

  • Use your phone and plan data as a mobile hotspot

  • Use your plan minutes to call Canada, China, and Mexico

  • Free international texting to over 180 countries

  • US-based chat support available weekdays 7am to 9pm CST and 10am to 6pm on weekends

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Twigby 300 Mins & Unlimited Texts

300

Unlimited

0GB

$4.50*

Twigby 500 Mins & Unlimited Texts

500

Unlimited

0GB

$5.50*

Twigby Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6.50*

Twigby 300 Mins & 1GB Data

300

Unlimited

1GB

$7.50*

Twigby 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

Twigby 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$12.50*

Twigby 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$17.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids

Red Pocket - Best pay as you go plan for kids

Powered by:
Minutes
1000
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Nationwide coverage

  • No contracts

  • Latest selection of phones

Cons

  • Account dashboard needs work

  • No 0% financing options on latest phones

  • Customer service

Carrier Benefits
  • Operates on all four networks - AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon

  • Prepaid cell phone plans - no contract, credit check, or activation fees

  • Bring your own GSM or CDMA device and keep your phone number

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering allowed with your plan data

  • Free international calling to 70+ countries

  • Customer service available in English, Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish via chat or phone

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Red Pocket 1GB Data

1000

Unlimited

1GB

$10

Red Pocket 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$19

Red Pocket 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$30

Red Pocket 22GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

22GB

$40

Cheapest Phone Plans for One Person

Pure Talk - Best individual pay as you go plan

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
4 GB
Price
$18.75/mo*
* 25% Off for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • Multi-month discounts

  • US based customer service

Cons

  • No 0% finance plans for new phones

  • May slow speeds at busy times

Carrier Benefits
  • Service provided on the AT&T network

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • 30-day risk-free guarantee on plans- cancel within your first 30 days or 500 minutes/500 MB of data to receive a refund for your plan charges

  • Bring your own compatible GSM phone or buy a PureTalk USA phone

  • Keep your phone number

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering permitted

  • International calling available as an add-on calling card

  • Customer support available by phone 9am - 10pm EST weekdays and 12pm - 9pm weekends

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Pure Talk 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$15*

Pure Talk 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$18.75*

Pure Talk 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$22.50*

Pure Talk 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$26.25*

Pure Talk 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$33.75*

Pure Talk Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$41.25*

* 25% Off for 3 Months

Best International Cell Phone Plans

Gen Mobile - Best pay as you go international plan

Powered by:
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$9/mo*
* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good plan selection

  • Very affordable pricing

  • Free unlimited domestic and international texting

  • 15-days free texting if late on bill

Cons

  • No plans for heavy data users

  • No international roaming

Carrier Benefits
  • Coverage on the nationwide Sprint network

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • 7-day money-back satisfaction guarantee

  • Bring your eligible Sprint, Boost, or Virgin Mobile phone or buy a Gen Mobile phone

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering supported

  • Unlimited global text included; international plans with unlimited talk to 100+ countries, international calling to other countries available at applicable rates

  • Customer support available by phone or chat every day from 8am - 6pm PST

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Gen Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$9*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 300 Mins & 1GB Data

300

Unlimited

1GB

$9*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$13*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$17*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$20*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$24*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO
Best Mobile Hotspot Plans

US Mobile - Best pay as you go hotspot plan

Powered by:
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/mo
Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Flexible, no contract plans

  • 24/7 customer service

  • 5G coverage available

Cons

  • No international calling

  • Phone selection

Carrier Benefits
  • Coverage on either the T-Mobile or Verizon network

  • Risk-free trial: Full refund within 14 days or before 1000 talk, text, or MB's is used

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own GSM or CDMA phone or choose from a small selection of phones for sale

  • Keep your own phone number

  • Mobile hotspot use available as add-on option with unlimited data plans

  • International roaming plans available with eSIMs

  • Add-ons available for talk, text, and data, with rollover

  • 24/7 customer support

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

US Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10

US Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$12

US Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$15

US Mobile 12GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

12GB

$20

US Mobile 18GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

18GB

$25

US Mobile 30GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

30GB

$30

US Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$45

Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

The best pay as you go plans in April

Check Carrier Coverage

Pay as you go phone plan benefits

Take back control of your cell phone bill with a pay as you go plan. Only pay for what you use, not a cent more.

You'll find a great choice of pay as you go plans from Mobile Virtual Network Operators, (MVNOs for short). Choose which features to pay for each month, get more flexibility and control, and save a ton of money while you're at it. It's one of the many reasons we love smaller carriers.

If you're on the lookout for a cheap pay as you go plan an alternative carrier is the best route to go down.

Let's take a look at the benefits.

  • Same great nationwide coverage: Pay as you go carriers operate on the very same networks as the big guys.

  • Much lower prices: You could save up to $600 per year on your cell phone plan. How are MVNOs so much cheaper? They don't have the huge overhead costs that come with running retail stores or maintaining the network. Plus, they don't fork out for advertising campaigns like the big guys do.

  • No contracts: Don't get trapped in a long-term commitment. Switch when you decide the time's right.

  • Same cell phone service: Paying less doesn't mean scrimping on features. Plans with unlimited everything are easy to find. Plus, you'll usually get unlimited talk and text as standard, high speed 4G LTE data, and even mobile hotspot features.

  • Keep your phone and number: Save more by taking advantage of the bring your own phone feature. Your old number will be ported over to your new plan, no problem.

  • Control over your plan: With a pay as you go plan you customize everything to suit your needs. Decide how much data you need, go unlimited or opt for no data. Tailor your message and call allowance, get minimal minutes or unlimited talk text and data. With alternative carriers, you build a plan to fit.

  • Great customer support: Smaller providers pay attention to their customers. You're more than a number to them. Check out our carrier user reviews before switching.

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $540 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

Unltd*

$60/mo

$720/yr

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

4GB

$15/mo

$180/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$45/mo$540/yr

Pay as you go phone plans features

  • 4G LTE data speeds: MVNOs operate on the big cellular networks, so you don't sacrifice speed. As 5G coverage is rolled out, more low cost alternatives are adding this to their offering too, so you can expect high-speed data with your next carrier.

  • Unlimited talk and text messaging: It has never been easier to find a new unlimited plan. Pretty much every plan from a small carrier includes unlimited text and calls. Compare cheap talk and text plans and opt for, or go without data.

  • International calls to Canada and Mexico: You shouldn't have to pay more to keep in touch with loved ones abroad. Alternative carriers offer the best international phone plans. Many come with free calling to Canada and Mexico, and offer affordable add-ons for more countries.

  • Multiline discounts: If you're looking to switch multiple lines over to a new plan, low-cost carriers offer the cheapest family cell phone plans out there. With most of these plans the more lines you add, the less you pay.

  • Wi-Fi calling: This feature is super handy if you find yourself in a signal shadow with no cellular connection, but do have WiFi. Simply make calls over the internet instead.

  • Tethering/hotspot data: Use your set data allowance to get more devices online. Most low-cost carriers will allow you to use your phone as a hotspot as no additional cost. Browse some of the best mobile hotspot plans.

  • HD video streaming: Fancy features like high definition video streaming come with plans from MVNOs. As it is with the big networks, some smaller carriers offer this feature, others don't. Check with their customer support people if you're not sure.

Pay as you go phone plans comparison

Carrier

Network

Data

Price

Tello

T-Mobile

1GB

$10

Reach Mobile

Verizon

3GB

$15** 50% Off for 3 Months

Pure Talk

AT&T

4GB

$18.75** 25% Off for 3 Months

Ting

T-Mobile & Verizon

5GB

$20** $5 Off for 6 Months

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

$30** $90 for 3 months Service

Carrier coverage comparison

Which pay as you go carrier is best for coverage depends which network has the best coverage in your area.

Whether you choose a GSM carrier (T-Mobile and AT&T) or a CDMA carrier (Verizon) you'll enjoy the same coast-to-coast coverage you'd expect from a major carrier.

Network performance ratings

NETWORK

OVERALL

RELIABILITY

SPEED

DATA

CALL

Verizon Coverage

95

96

94

96

94

AT&T Coverage

94

94

95

96

92

T-Mobile Coverage

86

88

82

89

82

Source: Rootmetrics

Best pay as you go carriers by network

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Pay as go phone plan types

  • Unlimited plans: It's super easy to find unlimited talk text and data plans from alternative carriers. Their unlimited data plans come at a much better price. It's worth checking whether you even need to go unlimited though, as you can save a heap more by opting for a set-data plan. Use our data usage calculator to see how much you need each month.

  • Basic plans: Only use a cell phone to make a few calls, send a couple of messages and rarely go online? Go for a simply prepaid plan. You'll get basic cell phone functions, a set amount of minutes of talk, and around 2GB of data. If your data allotment runs out adding more is simple.

  • Family plans: You'll find a great number of MVNOs will offer group plans. So if you need four lines or more, compare the cheapest family phone plans and tailor the plan to your family.

  • Bring your own phone plans: Smaller carriers make it east for you to bring your own device. In fact, BYOP plans are the norm. Porting your number and data to a new plan is seamless.

  • Single line plans: You no longer ned to pay a premium for a single line plan. Here are some of the best phone plans for individuals.

  • Talk and text only plans: You or a loved one rarely use data? Get a cheap talk and text plan instead. You'll save a ton of money by opting for no data.

  • Tablet plans: Alternative carriers aren't just for cell phone plans. You can find cheap data plans for your tablet or iPad too.

  • Kids plans: Pay as you go plans are perfect for kids because you can customize them. We think smaller carriers have the best phone plans for kids. You have control over the features your child has access to.

  • Senior plans: Older folk may have different cell phone needs, and there are plans to suit. Find cheap cell phone plans for seniors and discover the perfect fit.

Considerations when comparing pay as you go plans

  • Coverage: low-cost carriers we recommend hook onto the major networks; Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Use our cell phone coverage maps to find the best coverage in your area.

  • Budget: prices vary, but one thing is for sure, pay as you go plans are super budget friendly.

  • Plans: only pay for what you need. Whether you're a heavy data user, or you just want a couple hundred minutes in case of an emergency, there's a plan to suit you.

  • Number of lines: family cell phone plans include multiple lines, and many come with intuitive apps to help you manage your account.

  • Features: international coverage and mobile hotspot data are useful features for those often on the move. You can usually find these come as standard, or as a low cost add on, with alternative carrier plans.

  • Bring your own phone: save more by bringing your own device. You'll need to check whether your phone is compatible. Use our IMEI checker to figure this out fast.

Pros and cons of pay as you go phone plans

Pros

  • Contract free: feel the freedom with a pay as you go plan. If your needs change, you can change your plan. And forget early termination charges, leave at any time. Most come with 100% money-back guarantees. Be aware through, you can bag a bigger discount by signing up for more months at a time. Mint Mobile, for example, offer a bigger bargain with their 3 or 6 month plans.

  • Plans to fit you: know how you use your phone and customize the plan to suit you.

  • Cheaper plans: take control of your budget. Get features you need, network coverage from the big guys and save money.

Cons

  • Deprioritization: MVNOs piggyback off the major telecom networks. If their network gets busy, they may slow your data.

What to look for when comparing plans

Of all the pay as you go plans we've covered above, only a few will be the best fit. With so many features to compare, and so many carriers to choose from, it can get overwhelming.

That's where we come in.

Use our tools and articles to get a clearer idea of how you're using your phone and which features you really need. This will help narrow your search. Let's run through some things to consider when comparing plans.

Coverage

One of the concerns we hear is that coverage might be worse with a smaller carrier. It's simply not true. Smaller carriers are on the exact same network infrastructure as the big guys, so you get the same great coverage.

We know coverage is personal. Love the service you get right now? Whether you're with T-Mobile or Sprint, AT&T or Verizon, there's a whole heap of alternatives operating on the same network for you to choose from.

Fed up with the coverage you get right now? Put your ZIP code into our coverage checker and find a new carrier on one of the other big networks that'll improve your service.

Data allowance

Work out how much data you need before paying more for unlimited. If you use your cell phone to regularly stream HD video or as a mobile hotspot, a larger data allowance might be for you. Mint Mobile, Tello, US Mobile, and Red Pocket are just a few carriers offering cheap unlimited data plans.

However, we don't see the sense in opting for an unlimited data plan if you don't need it. Use our data calculator, see how much you need and if, like most people, you only use 3 to 5GB, opting for a set-data amount will lower your monthly bill.

Number of lines

Many alternative carriers offer multi line plans. Some, like Mint Mobile, have an app to make managing multiple accounts easier. And whether you're switching a single line or multiple lines over to a new carrier, it's a seamless process.

Consider why we're so attached to multi line plans though. It tends to be the best way to bag a bigger deal, right? With a low cost carrier, the value you get on a single line plan might be enough. Before discounting single line carriers, see how much you could save switching all lines across to separate plans.

How to pick the right plan

Still not sure? There's no one size fits all when it comes to finding the best plan or carrier, so here are some questions to ask to check it's the right one for you.

How do you use your phone?

First, you need to know what you need from your cell phone plan. Basic plans are great if you need a phone to make a few calls and don't use your phone to go online, for example. Do you need international features to keep in touch with loved ones? Do you really need unlimited everything, or could you save more with less talk text and data by going for a set data plan instead?

What's your budget

Again, knowing how much you want to spend will help narrow down your search. There are MVNOs on the super cheap end of the scale, and those that have pricer plans but one thing is for sure, they're all more affordable than the big guys.

Unlimited data isn't for everyone

It's normal now to be offered unlimited data with your plan from a major carrier. We aren't fans of unlimited data because know it's not usually necessary. Most of us only use 3 to 5GB of data a month. Check your estimated data use with our data calculator and see how much you could save opting to pay only for what you need.

More and more MVNOs are offering unlimited everything plans these days. Ting, Tello, Mint and PureTalk, for example. Make sure to check with the carrier what your unlimited allowance is. Unlimited doesn't always mean unlimited (even with the big guys). Normally it just means you get a large, set amount of data at high speed, but once you burn through that your unlimited data runs at much slower 2G speeds.

Switching to a pay as you go carrier

Switching has never been simpler. It's easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Customize your plan. Find a plan to suit your cell phone needs.

  2. Prepare to make the switch. Pay old bills and get your phone unlocked.

  3. Set up your new plan. Keep your current carrier account open until your number has ported over. A new device should be ready to use when it arrives. If you're bringing your own device you'll need to follow instructions that come with the new SIM card kit.

Pay as you go companies list

AT&T

T-Mobile

Verizon

Red Pocket

Mint Mobile

Twigby

Pure Talk

Ultra Mobile

US Mobile

h2o Wireless

US Mobile

Ting

Good2Go Mobile

Ting

Red Pocket

Unreal Mobile

Tello

Reach Mobile

Cricket Wireless

Red Pocket

Spectrum Mobile

Straight Talk

Boost Mobile

Total Wireless

FreeUP Mobile

Gen Mobile

Xfinity Mobile

Altice Mobile

GoSmart Mobile

CREDO Mobile

Freedompop

Republic Wireless

Affinity Cellular

Simple Mobile

GreatCall

Lycamobile

Walmart Family Mobile

Selectel Wireless

yahoo! Mobile

Wing

easyGO Wireless

Speedtalk Mobile

Pay as you go cell phones

Want to upgrade your phone? No problem. Here are a couple of great money-saving options:

  • Buy a new phone from the carrier: More and more carriers are offering a selection of affordable phones. Some offer the choice of making device payments, rather than paying all at once. Here are the best cell phone deals all in one place.

  • Buy a refurbished cell phone: Rather own your phone outright? Compare refurbished phone deals ad you could save to save 50% on recent releases.

Best pay as you go cell phone deals

Phone

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

Unlocked

iPhone 11

$349

$599

$599

$349

iPhone 11 Pro

$649

$899

$899

$649

iPhone 11 Pro Max

$999

$999

$999

$999

iPhone 12

$579

$829

$829

$579

iPhone 12 Mini

$479

$729

$729

$479

iPhone 12 Pro

$749

$999

$999

$749

iPhone 12 Pro Max

$849

$1,099

$1,099

$849

iPhone SE

$149

$349

$349

$149

iPhone XR

-

$409

$409

$409


Pay as you go phone plans FAQ

How does pay as you go work?

With pay as you go you purchase your talk, text, and data upfront. So there's no surprising bills at the end of the month. When you reach your limit, you top up with what you need.

What is the best and most affordable cell phone plan?

MVNOs provide plans to suit any budget. Whether you're looking for unlimited data, international calling, or just a basic phone plan.

Which is the cheapest pay as you go SIM card?

Powered by T-Mobile, Tello offers one of the cheapest pay as you go SIM cards. With a low starting cost you can customize the plan to your needs.


Recap

Pay as you go plans are the perfect fit for anyone wanting to take back control of their cell phone bill. Build a plan to suit you, not the one your carrier tells you to pick.

You can choose your data allowance, pick the features you really need and pay less. No more horrible bill-shaped surprises at the end of the month. Finding your next pay as you go cell phone plan from a lowcost alternative has never been easier.

Still not ready to switch? We get it. The big networks have dominated the telecoms world for a long time. Perhaps till now, you'd only ever heard of smaller carriers like Cricket Wireless or Metro by T-Mobile. Today, there's a huge range to choose from. And however you use your cell phone, there's a pay as you go carrier with a plan to match. We're here to help you find the best one tailored to your specific needs.

MoneySavingPro methodology

We're here to bring transparency to telecoms, putting power back in your hands. This guides everything we do.

  • We've got high standards. We use our industry expertise to find carriers that reach these standards. We all deserve the best value for money, choice and customer experience.

  • We care about accuracy. MoneySavingPro is run by cell phone geeks and money saving obsessives. Our content team researches everything thoroughly so that information you read here will give you the whole picture. Everything we do is backed up by the data.

  • We keep things simple. It's our job to break down what you need to know, so you can make informed choices.

Carrier

Best for...

Mins

Texts

Data

Price

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap pay as you go planTello

Budget

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go unlimited planMint Mobile

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go family planReach Mobile

Family

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$30/mo

Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go 5G planBoost Mobile

5G

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$10/mo

Ting SIM Card - Best pay as you go talk & text planTing

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10/mo

Twigby SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for seniorsTwigby

Seniors

300

Unlimited

1GB

$16/mo

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for kidsRed Pocket

Kids

1000

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Pure Talk SIM Card - Best individual pay as you go planPure Talk

Individuals

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$25/mo

Gen Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go international planGen Mobile

International

300

Unlimited

1GB

$9/mo

US Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go hotspot planUS Mobile

Hotspot

0

0

2GB

$10/mo

Rob Webber
Rob Webber

Rob has 15+ years experience in the US and UK running price comparison sites for cell phone plans, smartphone deals, TV, and internet. He loves thinking outside of the box to build tools that empower consumers to make more informed decisions.

The Best Prices on the Best Networks