How Does Verizon Prepaid Work?

By Kylene Arnold

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Verizon prepaid plans allow you to purchase phone service without a contract or monthly bill. Once you purchase your phone and select your service plan, you put money into a Verizon account, which acts as a pool from which fees are deducted. Each time you make a phone call or send a text message, a fee is deducted from your account, up to the maximum number of calls or texts allowed by your service plan.

Selecting Your Phone

Verizon offers many phone options with its prepaid service, including smartphones. Before you can apply for a prepaid service, you must purchase one of these prepaid phones. Different service plans are available on different phones, so you must decide what kind of plan you need before making your purchase. For example, unlimited data packages are only available on smartphones. You can purchase these phones on Verizon's website, or at a Verizon retail store or other licensed retailer.

Choosing Your Plan

Before you can add money to your Verizon account, you must choose a plan that outlines what kind of services are offered at what costs. Access fees, which are monthly or daily charges for a specified number of minutes and data allowances, vary depending on the plan. You cannot make more phone calls or send more text messages per month than allowed by your plan unless you add more money to your account, but Verizon offers many plans to suit the needs of most users, whether they use many minutes or few.

Adding Time and Minutes

You must purchase more minutes and airtime before they expire. Generally, the larger your payments, the greater the amount of time before the expiration date. For example, $15 payments only purchase minutes that are good for one month. Larger payments purchase minutes that are good for longer than this. One way to add time and minutes is by paying your monthly access fee. If you fail to pay your access fee before it expires, you lose your phone service and may lose your phone number as well. If, however, you use all your monthly minutes before the month is up, you may add more money to your account, which allows you to pay for additional time by minute. You may add money to your account by paying with a debit or credit card online or by purchasing refill cards at licensed retailers.

Daily Plans

In addition to the common monthly plans, Verizon also offers daily prepaid services. These services only deduct access fees and minute rates on the days you use the phone. Unlike the monthly prepaid plans, where you pay one access fee per month, you must pay an access fee on every day you use your phone, plus any applicable minute rates. Generally, the larger your access fee, the less expensive your minutes.