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Prepaid SIM Card: Plan Comparison

Nationwide Coverage4G LTE Data SpeedKeep Your Phone & NumberNo Contract
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Saving Example - T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile

Network: T-Mobile 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited*
Monthly Cost: $70
Annual Cost: $840
Network: T-Mobile 4G LTE
Data: 8GB
Monthly Cost: $20
Annual Cost: $240
Switch & Save: $600/yr
Don't waste money on data you don't use!*average data usage of unlimited data plan customer is 3-5GB

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Showing cheap plans compatible with

1Tello - 1GB Data* Free Double Data until May 29th
Tello
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
2 GB4G data
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days
2Reach Mobile - 3GB Data* $15 Off for 3 Months
Reach Mobile
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
Powered by:Verizon
Reach Mobile SIM Card
NetworkAT&T, Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
3PureTalk USA - 5GB Data* 25% Off for 3 Months
PureTalk USA
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
5 GB4G data
Powered by:AT&T
PureTalk USA SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
4Twigby - 3GB Data* 25% Off for 6 Months
Twigby
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
Powered by:VerizonSprint
Twigby SIM Card
NetworkVerizon & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 30 days
5Mint Mobile - 3GB Data* $45 for 3 Mths Service
Mint Mobile
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
Powered by:T-Mobile
Mint Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - 3 mths prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico & Canada
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 7 days
6h2o Wireless - 5GB Data* 50% Off: $15 in 1st Month
h2o Wireless
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
5 GB4G data
Powered by:AT&T
h2o Wireless SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
7Ting - 500 Mins & 500MB Data* $20 Off for 6 Months
Ting
500mins1000texts
0.5 GB4G data
Powered by:SprintT-MobileVerizon
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
8Boom! Mobile - Xtreme* 50% Off: $239 for 12 Months
Boom! Mobile
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
5 GB4G data
Powered by:VerizonAT&TT-Mobile
Boom! Mobile SIM Card
NetworkAT&T, Sprint, Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA, GSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
Average Customer Rating1 Star2 Star3 Star4 Star5 Star4 User Reviews
9Tello - Unlimited Data* Free Double Data until May 29th
Tello
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
Unlimited4G data
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days
10Twigby - 5GB Data* 25% Off for 6 Months
Twigby
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
5 GB4G data
Powered by:VerizonSprint
Twigby SIM Card
NetworkVerizon & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 30 days
11PureTalk USA - 3GB Data* 25% Off for 3 Months
PureTalk USA
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
Powered by:AT&T
PureTalk USA SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
12h2o Wireless - 10GB Data* 50% Off: $20 in 1st Month
h2o Wireless
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
10 GB4G data
Powered by:AT&T
h2o Wireless SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a
13Mint Mobile - 8GB Data* $60 for 3 Mths Service
Mint Mobile
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
8 GB4G data
Powered by:T-Mobile
Mint Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - 3 mths prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico & Canada
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 7 days
14Ting - 500 Mins & No Data* $20 Off for 6 Months
Ting
500mins1000texts
0 GB4G data
Powered by:SprintT-MobileVerizon
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
15Ting - 100 Mins & 500MB Data* $20 Off for 6 Months
Ting
100mins100texts
0.5 GB4G data
Powered by:SprintT-MobileVerizon
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo

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MoneySavingPro is a free price comparison service but we do not provide service directly. We do our best to keep all the information up to date but there may be some discrepancies between the price you pay.

Find the Cheapest Prepaid SIM Plan

Michelle McLean

Michelle McLean

The prepaid SIM card is an option for those who would not prefer to make a commitment to a carrier network. Not only that but a prepaid SIM card is perfect for those with mediocre or below credit or who don't want to pay a hefty postpaid plan deposit.

So you may be a little confused as to what a prepaid SIM card is in comparison to a subscription-based SIM card. Well, we're here to explain that to you.

We're also here to compare prepaid SIM cards. Inside this guide, you'll find information on not only the definition of a prepay SIM card, but also what prepaid SIM cards are compatible with the Apple iPhones, Android phones, and Samsung Galaxy devices. We'll also show you a step-by-step guide on how to activate a SIM card, and SIM cards in relation to the Internet of Things.

Switch & Save $600/yr - Calculate Your Savings

What Is a SIM Card?

A SIM card, or subscriber identity module card, contains your profile and other information, including text messages, contacts, and more. Not only does a subscriber identity module card features your unique identity, but it also allows you to use a tower specific to the carrier you are with. Without a SIM card, you won't be able to operate your phone with the carrier.

There are also various forms of SIM cards - for instance, the global SIM card or the local SIM card.

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Switch & Save:$601/yr

With a prepaid individual or monthly plan, the SIM card records all the details regarding said prepaid plan and helps the carrier and consumer adhere to the prepaid agreement. For instance, if more minutes than what are agree upon are exceeded, then the SIM card sends the message to the carrier to stop the service.

As a result, if a consumer wants to continue service, then they need to purchase more cell phone minutes, known as buying more air time or topping up minutes. The SIM card then registers the new amount of minutes and tells the carrier's computer servers to turn the cell phone back on.

Nowadays, there are several prepaid carriers and prepay plans complete with SIM-only service, allowing you to purchase a SIM card for your phone, pop in said SIM card, and activate service without a second thought.

Compatible Devices

Below, you'll find what SIM Cards are compatible with Apple iPhones, Android phones, and Samsung Galaxy phones:

Apple iPhone SIM

All of the latest iPhones - between the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone SE - sport the Nano SIM card size. Check out Apple iPhone SIM cards here.

Android Phone SIM

Many recent Android models - like the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, LG G5, LG G5 SE, LG G6, LG V10, and LG V20 - sport a Nano SIM card slot. However, some models still retain the Standard SIM card size.

One such model happens to be the HTC Desire. Not only that, but it is important to note that entry-based or mid-range phones are likelier to feature the Micro-SIM card size.

To learn more, go to our guide on Android SIM cards.

Samsung Galaxy SIM

Some Samsung Galaxy series phones sport the Micro-SIM card (Micro-SIM is the third generation of SIM cards), while others feature the Nano SIM.

For instance, the 2016 version of the Samsung Galaxy J3 and the 2016 version of the Samsung Galaxy J7 both host Micro-SIM card slots, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Note 7, Note Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 edge+, S7, S7 edge, S8, and S8+ all have a Nano SIM card tray.

To see the entire table of Samsung phones and their compatible SIM cards, go to our Samsung Galaxy SIM card guide.

Network Compatibility

Here is where you'll find the prepaid SIM cards offered by a few prepaid carriers.

T-Mobile Network

This no-contract cell phone carrier features a prepay SIM card for purchase.

All you need to do is bring your own device - that way, you'll skip the credit check. Not only will you keep your existing phone number, be able to use your device with any prepaid plan, and retain your existing apps and contacts, but you won't have any commitments whatsoever with the T-Mobile network.

What you need to do is check your device's compatibility with the T-Mobile network, buy a SIM card, which will be shipped to you, and then insert the SIM card into your phone. The SIM card will then activate a starter Pay As You Go cell phone plan, complete with 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts (or any combination of the two that adds up to 30). If you dislike the plan, you can always compare prepay plans and instead adopt a prepay plan with unlimited talk and unlimited text.

Sprint Network

Sprint network does not offer a prepaid plan for bringing your own phone. In other words, the mobile phone carrier doesn't offer prepaid SIM cards.

SIM Card Activation

While the process may differ slightly when activating your SIM card, overall it's very much the same, no matter which carrier you decide to go to.

  1. After receiving your SIM card, remove the slot from your no-contract cell phone. On a GSM phone, the card tray is normally located near the battery. It's another story for CDMA phones. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SIM card slot is located on top of the mobile phone.
  2. Head over to the activation page provided by your carrier's site. You may also dial the carrier's phone number to have a representative walk you through.
  3. Typically, you input the SIM Card ID and the Device ID into the boxes.
  4. Then follow the instructions for activation.
  5. Et voila! Your phone should be activated!

To find compatible SIM cards for your network, check out our guides on GSM SIM cards and CDMA SIM cards.

How Much Does a SIM Card Cost?

A SIM card isn't even that expensive. A SIM card can run you anywhere between free of charge and - if you buy one with a plan attached to the SIM card - $45. In other words, you're hardly paying anything for the SIM card itself. If you're looking for a carrier that provides free SIM cards, you should check out our comparison guide to free SIM card carriers.

Pay As You Go SIM Cards

Unfortunately, there aren't many US carriers who sell Pay As You Go SIM cards. One such carrier that does, however, is T-Mobile. As I've mentioned in an earlier section, if you buy a prepaid SIM card, you'll have access to the Pay As You Go Plan, which grants you 30 minutes or 30 texts (or a combination of both). However, you can always top off your plan if you've run out of minutes and/or texts.

Smart Device SIM

SIM cards have increasingly become more valuable with time. Not only are they part of the mobile phone, but they have made their homes in data-only devices like smartwatches, tablets, alarm systems, GPS trackers, and more. In other words, SIM cards have only become more integrated into your life.

Specialty SIM Cards

There are some SIM cards that are designed for specific devices or functions. Many of these special SIMs I mentioned above, but there are a few more.

  1. 4G LTE: The 4G LTE SIM card is designed to give you talk, text, data, and any other feature of your cell phone plan but at the fastest possible speeds of our current technological generation. Unless specified, a SIM card you purchase may not be 4G LTE.
  2. Data Only: The Data Only SIM card is pretty self-explanatory. Because this type of SIM card only gives you an Internet connection and an allotment of data, you won't get any minutes or texts. This isn't a nail in the coffin, however, as they are plenty of free, third-party apps that allow for WiFi calling and texting.
  3. Micro SIM Cards: The Micro SIM card is simply a smaller version of its standard predecessor. Although the regular SIM card is quickly becoming obsolete, the micro variant is still in use, albeit in older generation phones and connected devices.
  4. Nano SIM Cards: The Nano SIM card is the smallest iteration yet. Many of the latest smartphones and devices use these.

Recap

While the prepaid SIM card isn't as popular in the states as it is in the United Kingdom, it has begun making its home, with many people opting for the service - for instance, Straight Talk offers prepaid SIM cards, complete with high-speed mobile internet, and there have been a few people who have opted into it.

Hopefully, with time, the service will grow to where it is a more commonplace option (the international SIM card is in the same boat), even when compared to postpaid SIM cards.

SIM cards are used for a plethora of connected devices. For more guides, reviews, and comparisons check out our connected devices directory!

Prepaid SIM Card FAQs

What is a Prepaid SIM card?

A SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card is a removable memory chip that stores information unique to the cell phone user.

What does a Prepaid SIM card do?

Cell phones need a SIM card in order to connect to a phone network in order to make calls.

How do I remove a Prepaid SIM card from my phone?

The position of the access cover varies by phone but it’s usually on the side of the device. To remove the SIM card, use an eject tool or paper clip and push to release the SIM card tray.

How do I insert a Prepaid SIM card into my phone?

The position of the access cover varies by phone but it’s usually on the side of the device. Place the new SIM card into the SIM card tray and slide the tray into your phone.

What SIM card size do I need?

There are 3 SIM card sizes: standard, micro and nano SIM. All phones released since 2014 (Apple iOS and Android) now support the nano SIM card. Older phones will require either the standard or micro SIM card but most MVNOs will send out a SIM card that can be adapted to all 3 sizes.

How much does a Prepaid SIM card cost?

The cost of the Prepaid SIM card varies between carriers. Typically, the cost is $4-5 but some carriers offer free SIM cards with their prepaid cell phone plans.

Where can I buy a new Prepaid SIM card?

You can purchase a Prepaid SIM card online or in a cell phone or electronics store.

How do I activate my new Prepaid SIM card?

Activating your new Prepaid SIM card is straight forward. When you receive your SIM card, contact the carrier and they will talk you through the activation process.

How do I configure my new Prepaid SIM card?

You may need to adjust the APN settings on your phone. The carrier will help you with this during activation.

Will my device work with a Prepaid SIM card from another carrier?

Any unlocked device with a Prepaid SIM card slot should work. However, phone compatibility does vary by exact device and carrier, so it’s important to check that your phone is supported on the carrier website, prior to ordering a new SIM card.

Can I keep my phone number when I switch the SIM card?

Yes, it’s simple to transfer your phone number when you bring your phone to a new carrier.

Do these low-cost carriers provide cell phone coverage in my area?

Although you may not be familiar with some of the carriers, all MVNOs are powered by one or more of the 4 major networks (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint). Therefore, you should not experience any loss in service.

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All low-cost carriers are powered by the major US networks

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