Review by a Tracfone Owner
Why I chose Tracfone - because they
don't have their own network, they use everybody else's network, so you have the best
coverage of any individual cell phone carrier. The only problem arises when you are moving
between your "home" area and "roaming". In your home area you are
charged 1 unit for each minute on the phone (anything over 15 seconds is rounded up to the
next minute), roaming you are charged 2 units per minute. I happen to be serviced by
AT&T, so my "home" is large. My parent's phone is being serviced by US
Cellular, and their home area is small. I suppose you could play with this a little by
fudging where you live and get a larger "local" area without roaming, but I
wouldn't recommend it. Your friends would probably have to call long distance. If you
decide to use the voice mail you might have to call long distance. If you use your phone a
lot then don't use Tracfone, go with a traditional carrier. I bought this phone
specifically for emergencies. I like the peace of mind that having one allows. I used to
have Cingular and paid $16 per month (I signed up a long time ago), and that didn't
include any minutes. This is a much better deal, if you buy a year card you can get 400
minutes for as low as $97. You don't have to call anyone to cancel, you just don't buy any
minutes for your Tracfone - go to Calling Mart
I've been using the website Callingmart.com
for several years to buy my minutes (sometimes called airtime cards at retail stores).
I've had no problems. I've bought a total of 12 at this point, 8 for myself and 4
for my parents. I buy the yearly cards (pins only, when buying online). They are currently
$97 on their website (this is without using a Calling Mart promo code).
Try to find one of their promo
codes, I went to their Facebook page at Calling Mart Facebook and also their
twitter page at Calling Mart
Here are some examples from the
You can save a little
more money on your Calling Mart purchase by using these codes. Even if you can't find a
promo code to use, Calling Mart is still cheaper than going to a retail store and paying
How to buy minutes on Callingmart
The process is quick and painless.
Go to the Callingmart
wireless minutes page. Scroll down until you see
the box titled "Tracfone Prepaid Wireless Airtime Minutes Refill". There are 2 boxes, and the first box
is double minutes. I use the second box.
There is a drop down
menu which will show different denominations. The following table shows the different
denominations, how many minutes you get, and how far out your expiration date will move.
added to expiration date
(I buy this one)
+ double minutes
***(note - about the double minutes. I assume that this card is the one that you only
need to buy once. Then, whenever you buy minutes after that you will get double the
minutes) I'm not sure why Calling Mart has a separate box with the double minutes, when
they have this one.
Don't forget to get a
promo code. I already gave you the link to their Facebook and Twitter pages, and hopefully
you'll find something current there. If not, it's worth it to do a Google search to try to
find one. Your money is important to you, right?
After you've paid Calling
Mart their website will pop up your pin number immediately. You will also receive an
email with the same info in it. This number is what you'll enter either directly into your
phone through the prepaid menu, or on Tracfone's website.
A note about buying
refill cards on Ebay:
I bought a yearly
refill card on Ebay several years ago. The dealer had a double minutes, 1 year card in the
$89 - 95 range. I bought one, but they have since stopped selling them, so I have no
particular person/dealer to recommend.
All of the card
dealers currently selling have prices in the high $90 range for the regular 1 year cards,
no double minutes. I don't think its worth it to take the risk to buy a card on Ebay when
you can get them at Walmart, the Tracfone website, or at the Calling
Mart website for the same price. I've never been burned on Ebay, but when you are
spending this type of money it would be a significant loss to most people.
Tracfone Promo Codes
I now use RetailMeNot to find a Tracfone Promo Code. They usually have
current stuff. You can also go to Google and put in the search term "tracfone promo
code". Write down 3 to 4 codes that pertain to your particular refill amount. You'll
see them broken down by minutes, for example "60 minutes", "120
minutes", etc. For a one year card I always try to get at least 200 bonus minutes,
sometimes you can find 250.
Some of my old favorite websites
don't have up to date info any more. I used to like TheBonusCodes and FatWallet. The "fat
wallet" site has full instructions on checking and using codes, so please scroll down
and read all the material there before using codes.
Please don't assume
that all codes you find will work. As you scroll through websites you might see ratings
showing the "success" rate of the code. Look for codes with the most current
dates and highest success ratings.
Currently I'm using the following websites.
Tracfone has a twitter page. I've never been
able to find promo codes here, but maybe they will post them in the future.
Tracfone has a Facebook page. I couldn't
see any promo codes, just people with complaints. It might be worthwhile to keep this in
mind if you have problems down the road.
I always redeem my minutes on the Tracfone website. My
reasoning is because when you do promo codes through your phone you put the promo code at
the end of the airtime pin. This only allows you ONE opportunity to see if a code works.
When you do it online at Tracfone the system will tell you if the promo code is invalid or
I always redeem on Tracfone's website.
This allows me to try different promo codes, until one works.
The redemption screen at Tracfone is
pretty simple. You need to hit the "GO" button under "Add Airtime
You can cut and paste the numbers
from your email from Calling Mart directly into the box titled "Airtime Pin
Number". Then put in your promo code you
found for Tracfone. Finally, put in your phone's number and click "SUBMIT". With
any luck, everything will work out beautifully and you are finished. If Tracfone didn't
like your promo code try typing in another. At some point Tracfone will just force you
past this screen and you won't get any promo minutes.
A note about Tracfone PROMO codes
- I always use them. It's worth your time to do some research to get free minutes. This
helps defray your per unit costs. Don't be a chump, get some free stuff.
In order to save units you should send texts
from your computer. You type the phone number formatted like an email address. When you
are on your computer and want to send messages to a friend's phone, you can use the
To figure out which carrier you are using you
can send a text message to someone's email address and you will be able to see one of the
My carrier is AT&T. I kept seeing the
@mms.att.net address in various blogs, but saw the @txt.att.net somewhere and tried both
and figured out that it was cheaper to send to the @txt.att.net address. So save yourself
some units by using the txt address.
you've found this information helpful I'd appreciate it if you'd put my email address in
the box that says "referred by email" (my email is [commission @ kkq.com] --
copy the text between the brackets and please take out the spaces, I did this to cut down
on spam to my email)
The box appears at the bottom of the
checkout page, where you put your credit card info, mailing address, etc.
In summary - I have been very happy
with my Tracfone. Has it been smooth sailing all the time? No. But the few times I've had
problems I was able to resolve them by calling customer service. Don't let the few people
with problems keep you from buying one. It works great for emergencies and light use. I
can't recommend when it would make sense for you to buy a regular cell phone with monthly
service. I just know that I like my Tracfone.
I hope this helps and happy
Looking for Arlington
Heights IL real estate, Buffalo
Grove IL real estate, Long
Grove IL real estate, or Palatine
IL real estate?
For expert advice and professional results, contact
Kim Quanstrom with Illinois Internet Realty.