Can I Switch a Prepaid Verizon Phone to a Contract Phone?

By Darcy Logan

Verizon customer
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Verizon offers a variety of prepaid cellphones. If you purchased one of the cheaper phones, you might wonder why anyone would want to keep it when Verizon offers free phones when you sign a contract. But not all prepaid phones are cheap. Verizon also offers Droid, Vortex, Blackberry and similar phones that can be used with its prepaid plans, most of which cost several hundred dollars. If you fall into that group, you may not want to change phones when you sign a contract.

Types of Plans

Verizon offers three types of plans. Pay-as-you-go or daily charges a fee per minute and per day the phone is used. You can go to a monthly plan without signing a contract, known as month-to-month. Month-to-month is a more expensive then the monthly contract rates, but there is no early termination fee. Termination fees apply if you cancel or terminate your Verizon service before the two years is over. The fee can be up to $175, depending on the device.


One downside to keeping the same phone when moving to a two-year plan is that Verizon offers huge discounts on their phones when you subscribe to a plan. If you don't use the discount, you lose it. Verizon also offers a variety of free phones when you sign up for a two-year contract as well as huge discounts on other phones at huge discounts to people when they sign a contract. You might want to consider selling your current phone and using the free phone or getting a new one. Verizon even offers a trade-in program on its website. Check out how much they will pay for your current phone before you make any decisions.

Evaluating Benefits

The benefit of moving from prepaid to a contract is the savings. As of July 2011, contract plans are $25 to $30 less than month-to-month. But in order for you to benefit from these savings, you will need to remain with Verizon for more than seven months which is how long it will take you to have saved the early termination fee. If you are unsure of your future plans, consider staying with your daily or month-to-month plan.

Researching and Switching

Before you decide to switch, you need to do some research. Find out how much money you have in your account and see how much you can apply toward your contract. Also find out about your current phone. Pay-as-you-go phones don't always offer the same features as contract phones. Some phones also require a fee per megabyte of data used instead of a monthly access fee when you email or browse the Web. You can get additional details by calling Verizon customer service or by stop in at a Verizon Wireless retail store.