How to Turn a Cell Phone Into Pay As You Go

By April Khan

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The recession and rising costs of utilities and basic necessities forced people to look for smart ways to save money. One way was to switch from standard contract wireless phones to pay-as-you-go phones, also known as prepaid phones. Using a pay-as-you-go cell phone enables you to better control the amount you spend on phone calls or text messaging. There are hundreds of plans to choose from to fit your needs and budget. Even if you keep your current service for everyday calls, consider getting a prepaid phone for texting or international calling. You will also find that having a pay-as-you-go phone keeps you from getting locked into a 12-, 18- or 24-month contract.

Step 1

Call your provider and say you want to change from your current contract to pay as you go. Have your account information ready to give to the customer service agent. The provider may disconnect your service and ask you to pay a disconnect fee. This fee is applicable only in the case of nonpayment of your bill or early termination of your contract, which may be anywhere from 12 to 24 months. You may also have to pay your current month's bill.

Step 2

Buy a SIM card that is used for pay as you go. A SIM card, short for subscriber identity module, is a small white card that fits into a slot in your phone. The slot is usually near the battery. The SIM card holds all of your account details. Your service provider may allow you to keep your phone number. If this is the case it will send you a preregistered pay-as-you-go SIM card. If you are purchasing a SIM card to go into your current phone, the card has to be manufactured by your service provider and no other phone company. If you choose another service provider you will have to buy a completely different handset. A SIM card may be included with this phone.

Step 3

Buy a top-up card. This card may also be called an airtime, units or talk time card. A top-up card looks very similar to a calling card or credit card. It contains an access code that adds airtime or money onto your handset.

Step 4

Insert the new SIM card into your phone, then switch your phone on. Wait for your provider's name to display on the screen, then enter the phone number or service code to add minutes to your phone.

Step 5

When prompted, enter the access or personal identification number located on the card under the scratch-off panel. If you are not keeping your old phone number, find your new one in the My Number option in your phone’s menu.