Best prepaid cell phones in January 2021
Prepaid phones are great way to avoid commitment, overage costs, and early termination fees.
The plans are affordable and widely available - but how do you go about getting a good quality phone to use with your prepaid plan?
We'll help you find the best prepaid phone for your budget and how to save up to $600 per year on your cell phone bill!
Best prepaid iPhones
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best cheap prepaid iPhones
iPhone 12 mini
Prepaid iPhone price comparison
|Phone||AT&T||Verizon||T-Mobile||Unlocked||iPhone 11||$349||$599||$699||$349||iPhone 11 Pro||$649||-||-||$649||iPhone 11 Pro Max||$749||-||-||$749||iPhone 12||$579||$829||$829||$579||iPhone 12 Mini||$479||$729||$729||$479||iPhone 12 Pro||$749||$999||-||$749||iPhone 12 Pro Max||$849||$1,099||-||$849||iPhone SE 2020||$149||$399||$399||$149||iPhone XR||-||$499||$499||$499|
Best prepaid Samsung phones
Galaxy Note 20
Best cheap prepaid Samsung phones
Prepaid Samsung Galaxy price comparison
|Phone||AT&T||Verizon||T-Mobile||Unlocked||Galaxy A11||$50||$229||-||$50||Galaxy A21||$50||$279||-||$50||Galaxy A51||$150||$400||-||$150||Galaxy A71||-||$650||-||$650||Galaxy Note20||-||$600||-||$600||Galaxy Note20 Ultra||-||$899||-||$899||Galaxy S20||$750||$600||-||$600||Galaxy S20 Ultra||-||$1,000||-||$1,000||Galaxy S20+||$949||$800||-||$800|
Best cheap refurbished phones
Prepaid phone benefits
- Save money: Get your next mobile phone upgrade for less than half the retail price.
- Get huge value: Since there are only a few minor changes to each new smartphone or iPhone version, you'll get way more bang for your buck when you buy refurbished or used.
- Own your phone - and your freedom: Buying your phone outright and using it on a prepaid phone plan means you're in control of everything. You can switch carriers any time if you find a better deal.
- Compatibility: You can choose a phone compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, or even unlocked (so it can be used with any network).
Key considerations when buying a prepaid phone
There are a few things you need to know in order to get the best deal and ensure that you're getting a gently used phone in great working condition.
Keep the following in mind as you compare prices on used (sold as-is) and refurbished (tested, cleaned, and repaired) prepaid phones:
- Warranty: Reputable sites offer warranties with their used smartphones. Depending on which seller you buy from you might get 30 days, which is what Gazelle give you, or even a full year like Decluttr offers.
- Return period: This is another layer of protection for your peace of mind. Most sellers give you the chance to return your phone if it doesn't meet your expectations. Check the website you buy from for details.
- Certified pre-owned: A certified phone has been thoroughly inspected and tested to make sure everything functions properly.
- Compatibility: You need an unlocked cell phone in order to activate it on your own carrier. Make sure the model you're buying will work with your network (you can usually check on your carrier's website).
- Timing: Get the best cell phone deals when a new model of your desired phone comes out.
- Payment options: It is possible to buy a used phone with installment payments, just watch the interest rates (you will undergo a credit check). It's typically much better to just pay in full at the time of purchase.
Cheap prepaid phone plans
Buying a prepaid phone is a great start to saving money on your wireless expenses. We're not done yet, though - there's more you can do to free up room in your budget for other things.
Switch to a prepaid phone carrier
You don't have to go with a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan in order to save huge and avoid a contract. Instead, you can take your prepaid phone to an MVNO=.
An MVNO is a smaller mobile service provider that rents space on one or more of the big four wireless networks - AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint - and resells it to you at a cheaper price. They can do this because most of them operate online selling prepaid plans, thus their overhead is much lower than the major carriers'.
Prepaid carrier benefits
- Cheaper by up to 50%
- Cell phone service on the same reliable high-speed network you're used to
- No-contract plans
- Custom plans - pay only for what you need, similar to pay-as-you-go plans
- Great customer service
- Bring your own phone and keep your number
In short, you can put together a monthly plan that fits your needs, at a lower cost than the big four carriers charge. Whether that means an unlimited data plan with unlimited talk and text, or the cheapest cell phone plan you can find, the options are out there.
COMPARE NOW: Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
Sell your old phone online for cash
Sell your old phone online if you want to make more than you would trading it in at a store. It's as simple as that. Buyback sites make it easy and you get cash, not trade-in credit.
Prepaid phones are a whole different ballgame than they were in the past. Now, you don't have to sacrifice anything in terms of your smartphone and wireless service:
- Get the best cell phone deal by comparing phone prices from numerous prepaid carriers in one place.
- Switch to a cheaper prepaid phone plan and save up to $600 per line.
- Sell your old phone online for cash.
Following these tips can put an extra $1,000 more per year in your pocket!