TracFone Review – Is it a Good Option?

older adults use TracFone

TracfoneSince everyone's needs are so unique – selecting a cell phone plan for yourself or family should be a customized process. What fits one person may not fit another.

For example, I use an MVNO provider (Mobile Virtual Network Provider) who rents their coverage from the “Big 4” networks. Typically these providers (Ting, Tello, Twigby, Republic Wireless to name a few that we've reviewed here) offer cheaper and more customized plans to users.

The trade-off in using an MVNO is that coverage may – sometimes – be less than ideal. If you're using Tello (which I use) – and calling your mother in another state, you may get kicked off while chatting OR the connecting time when dialing could be a little longer. But, these instances are rare and the “inconvenience” (to me at least) is well worth the money saved.

I rarely travel and often rely on the WiFi options wherever I am (work / home / etc). So my data is typically under 200MB per month and when I need to make a call (rare), I use our Ooma landline at home. Plus, many of my communications can be accommodated by a quick text (my plan comes with unlimited texts).

My wife, uses AT&T since her needs are a bit more robust. She wants the dependability of having the most stable network available wherever she may be, as well as plenty of data. But, she pays a premium for this.

Believe me, I've tried to get my wife to switch to a less-expensive option. No go. :)

TracFone: One of the early MVNO providers

Years ago, it was quite a luxury to have a cell phone. And for many, the costs were prohibitive.

I also remember some of the push-back for having a cell phone:

“Why have a phone with me all the time?”

“Why would I want to always be ‘available'?”

“Those things are annoying to carry around”

When TracFone came on the scene, it was a bit of a novelty. They offered a pre-paid option for customers so you only had to pay for what you used (or wanted to use). Many used the phone only in the case of emergencies.

I actually don't personally know anyone who uses TracFone today – at least not in my age group. My mother had a TracFone, and was using it until I passed on my old iPhone on to her years ago.

She kept the phone in her glove compartment in the car and used it when she was traveling or in emergencies. It was great for her to have on-hand and it made me feel more at ease that she had it.

TracFone has a great appeal among the 55+ crowd and (according to our rep) is used equally among men and women.

I was curious to know about some people's experience with the provider – so I reached out to a representative with TracFone and they got me in touch with a couple of their customers.

tracfone coverage map
TracFone's coverage map

How these customers use TracFone

Nicolson and Paulette agreed to answer a few of my pesky questions I had about the provider. Here's what they had to say:

How did you decide to go with TracFone?

Paulette: I needed a cell phone but I could not afford the cell phone plans that were available. I saw the TracFone at Walmart and made my first purchase. I have never owned another cell phone besides TracFone. I think this was in the late 1990's.

Nicolson: I decided to go with TracFone because it was more convenient with my life, it didn't make sense for me to be paying for text, talk & data that I really wasn't using. I decided it was best that I change to prepaid service and pay when I needed text, talk or data.

How do you use your TracFone?

Paulette: I am a casual user. I have my phone off most of the time. I use my landline at home. That is always the number I provide to everyone. My friends have my cell phone number and we do text each other. Whenever I leave my house I have my cell phone on with me. I rarely take a picture with my phone.

Nicolson: How I use my TracFone is mostly for texting or using data when I'm on the go. I use both pay-as-you-go & pre-pay.

What makes you stay with TracFone vs/ switching to another provider?

Paulette: The cost is the number one reason. For a person like me who rarely uses a cell phone this is perfect. Each time I need to upgrade I look for specials on HSN, QVC or Evine. These companies have the best deals. The phones that TracFone provides are very up-to-date with other cell phones on the market. I am very happy!

Nicolson: I save money and it's covenient.

Would you recommend TracFone to others? Why?

Paulette: YES!!! I have recommended them to friends and family and they have purchased. They are very happy with TracFone also. Lots of people are on budgets and can not afford other cell phone plans. This is great for them. For people who like all the fancy gadgets these phones have that also. The best of both worlds.

Nicolson: Yes! I would recommend TracFone to others. The reason why is because they would save money not having to pay every month; only pay when you need text, talk or data.

[Thanks Paulette and Nicolson!]

With many folks owning a souped-up smartphone these days with heads buried and always “busy” – TracFone provides a refreshing option for those who want a customized option where they aren't “tied” down by contracts.

TracFone offers pre-paid plans starting as low as $10/month, with Smartphone specific plans starting at $15/month. All their plans offer “Unlimited Carryover” as long as the line remains active (Service must be active and in use within any six month period.) 

Tracfone plans
TracFone Plan options

Would you (or do you) use a pay-per-use or pre-paid cell phone plan?

Do you currently use a provider that offers pay-per-play or pre-paid and what has your experience been. I'm particularly interested to know about your experience with TracFone too.

Learn more about TracFone

Update 1/25/19: Note, we are unable to field or forward any complaints or concerns regarding your TracFone service. Please contact support at 1 (800) 867-7183 for assistance. Thank you. 

Update 7/2/19: Save 15% off your qualifying phone and service plan purchase with code INSTANT15.

TTG may earn commission on any purchases made via the links above – at no cost to you. Thanks for helping to support the site through your purchases.



Ease of use




Customer Service





  • No contracts
  • Unlimited carryover
  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Inexpensive plans


  • Not as premiere as Big 4 networks

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  1. I lost my phone & my husband’s 3G flip phone will be obsolete soon so ordered 2 new phones. Couldn’t transfer my minutes online myself because I wouldn’t be able to receive a texted code necessary to prove ownership & also hadn’t memorized the SIM card number so had to use their chat support. This dominoed into more problems. 2 reps, 3 hours later, a chat rep “Pearl” tells me I will need to call into their help line to get the problems resolved. I have never had a positive experience with their customer support. You’re either left on hold until the next ice age after navigating their exhausting automated phone system or forced to deal with rudeness &/or incompetence using chat.

    As a bonus, our new phones do not display remaining minutes or service days so it is necessary to text tracfone or check online through your account for the balance. What genius came up with this???

    After these minutes run out, we have decided to say goodbye to tracfone. It is just too frustrating to use them.

  2. We’ve used TF for at least 10 years. My wifes` is usually parked in her car and is mostly handy for asking her to make a pickup ….once a month. Seems senseless but a good insurance for older couples. My Galaxy is another matter. I love it. I text our adult kids and grandkids (something I swore I’d never do) and the data option replaces GM wifi now that I drive a Mazda. I know how much our kids pay for their phone service and its “break the bank” astronomical for retirees. The complaints I`ve read seem compelling but they’re far from our real experiences. The only exception of course is the horrendous customer service from people who are almost impossible to understand. I can only conclude that the company is foreign-owned and not something they give a damn about as long as American greenback$ keep rolling in. I am researching a switch over to another service for that one reason.

  3. have spent a couple weeks trying to return a phone that quit working about a few weeks, nothing but the runaround. no help, have been a trac user for many years, never again.

  4. Love Tracfone for well over 10 years now. Four years ago brought my unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note phone to Tracfone. Spend on average $150/YEAR (!!!) for great service that I use heavily mostly for data and texting. Utilize promo codes & special offers to snag the good price. Wouldn’t ever change! Mild annoyances if problem with adding airtime, but if you follow experts’ advice on various forums and speak directly with Executive Resolution staff, you will be helped very efficiently.

  5. I have. Spent 2 hours on the phone trying to get .my .minutes added from 2 days ago! This phone will not even work at . home unless I go outside! If you need something really reliable I would not recommend the LG track phone!

    • Their customer service is terrible. Only available after 8 a.m. Representatives do not speak very clear English. Very hard to understand. Had a problem and the representative yelled at me. Did not apologize! And you cannot get a consistent answer as to if your phone will work after the end of the year. One says yes, one says no. Do not choose this company!

  6. I have never owned anything but a TRACFONE AND I WOULD NEVER OWN ANY OTHER KIND. Tracfone is so perfect for my needs and they have some of the best looking phones out there. And the just kerp getting better and better. I LOVE TRACFONE!

  7. I just posted a review on TracFone for the refurbished Samsung J6 Sky Pro phones. I spent 8 hours trying to convince them my first phone was bad. They sent me another phone and I spent 4 hours talking to them to try to get this phone activated. Altogether I spoke to at least 8 representatives trying to activate my phones and no one could help me do it. In the review I
    made a comment that either the people at TracFone don’t know how to activate their own phones or else TracFone is selling phones that cannot be activated on their network. Then I get a notice from TracFone that they won’t publish my review. I have been a TracFone customer for more than 10 years but you can only take so much. I am looking at Twigby when my minutes run out.

    • Yea I went through the same thing yesterday 6 different people on landline and a dozen or more reps in messaging to get i to work.Now discovered I sighed up for a unlimited talk& text(my fault for not reading info.) which I do not need and can not find out how to stop it from recharging me after 30days runs out.I tried to remove my credit card info and it will not allowed because of the auto refill apparently in this plan. I guess when the 30 days run out if they charge me automatically I will cancel my card with card company to stop there charges.

  8. They “lost” or “can’t see” my transactions in total amount of $113.72 (950 minutes, 1500 texts, and 2.5Gb of data). I can see these transactions in my account on their web-site in “history of payments”, and also in my bank statements, but they “can’t”.

    Imagine you paid $250 for service. You are asking to transfer that service from one phone number to to another (your carrier claims that they’ll do this no problem and for free). However, only about half of that service transferred, another half is gone. They can’t find records, that you paid $250 in the first place.

    Manager Jorje Luis claimed that “it’s impossible to fill up benefits partially” while transferring them from one phone to another. Yet their system did fail. Yet about half of the “benefits” (the $113.72) lost during the transfer. I spend 6+ hours trying to reason with them, telling them that $250 is $250, not $125.

    When I asked Jorje Luis of a contact information of somebody in the company who is accountable for issues/errors like this, he said that he IS the highest person in the company. There is no one above him. When I asked what I have to do he said “I understand your concern”.

  9. I am currently a very unhappy tracfone customer. I have 3 accounts with tracfone and may end up cancelling them all. I ordered 2 samsung galaxy j7 crown tracfones a few weeks ago. Brand new. The 1 phone worked and the other did not. I was told to return the defective phone and that I would be receiving a replacement phone. Well..almost 3 weeks later I keep getting the runaround that the warehouse does not have the phone in stock. R U kidding me! I can order this same phone on their website and they cannot send me out a replacement? That’s crazy. My fear is that they are going to send me out a replacement phone that is not the exact model.

    • Same happened to me but they sent a crappy zte phone we need to start a class action against them they all need to pay for screwing people out of money

  10. Letter I wrote to them on 12/20/18. Never heard from anyone:
    Dear Sirs:

    On 12/11/18, I purchased a gig of data for my phone. By 12/20, it still had not appeared on my account. I chatted with a very rude and condescending agent but he asked for the transaction id and at the time, I was on my phone waiting to pick up my granddaughter so I told him I’d have to try again.

    When I got home, I chatted with a guy named Nestor. He was much nicer but not much help either. He was difficult to understand but said I had to give them 24 hours to ‘update’ their system. I was to contact them again after the 24 hours and they would manually add the gig.

    I called in today approximately 26 hours later and spoke with a woman. I was unable to get her name as she had an accent and I couldn’t understand the name she gave. She said she was doing some calculations and checking daily use and stuff. Went off to talk to her supervisor, came back and did some more calculations and checking and then told me there was no way to prove what my balance was before the purchase so there was nothing she could do.

    Ok, so what calculations and checking was she doing? If she was looking at my daily usage, why can’t she see that I had a little over a gig on 12/10 and still have a little less than a gig on 12/21 therefore the gig I bought on 12/11 was never added!

    What really makes me the angriest, tho, is that I had proof and deleted it. I have had a ton of trouble with your app. When I try to check my balances to see when I need to buy, I keep getting stuff about how it’s taking too long to get it and I should try again later. So although I can’t say for sure when it was, within a week or two before my purchase, I texted for my balance to 611611. I saw I was getting low (low to me would be below 1 gig) and resolved to make a purchase soon. Unfortunately, after I made the purchase, I deleted the text.

    There needs to be a different way of doing these purchases from the web. There should be an actual redemption step or a counter that takes inventory of where you are when you make a purchase so both sides can prove their point because, believe me, it is 100% possible to make a purchase and not have it show up on your account automatically. On other purchases, it has taken quite a bit for it to show up which is why it took me so long to contact you guys.

    I’m a senior on a fixed income which is why I use TracFone, so this $10 loss is a big deal to me. I prefer buying from the website because I also use Ebates and can get a little cash back but going forward, I guess my only alternative is going thru the hassle of buying a card from the store so I have proof you messed up. Or maybe switching carriers all together.

    Count me an unhappy camper,

    • I have had this same issue with Tracfone so called ‘Support’, that I ALWAYS get somebody who can barely speak broken English, and is almost impossible to understand even if they did not insist on talking at light speed, from which I get absolutely no assistance whatsoever, except to call a different number….
      WHAT A SCAM.
      On top of that, I also purchased a new smartphone from Tracfone, only to find out that I am now trapped into Tracfone, and their incompetence, for a whole year before they will provide me with an unlock code to switch carriers. Getting a new SIM card will not work either, because Tracfone locks the actual phone itself, which seems criminal to me, but they get away with it somehow. As such, I am now stuck dealing with Tracfone’s ignorant excuse for a service, and support, for another 12 months before I can switch to a better carrier.
      I will also agree that they keep pathetic records of things like transactions / purchases / updates, and it IS difficult to understand sometimes. I guess that Is just Tracfone Wireless for you, left hand has no clue what the right hand is doing ever. It is a Shame really!!

    • Switch carriers! Tracfone and their subsidiaries have very poor customers service. You will inevitable waste your time with them. Tracfone told me to buy an airtime card for $20 to activate an older Straight Talk phone while knowing the phone could not be activated! I spent many days requesting reimbursement for the card but TracFone will not reimburse the airtime card or resolve this issue. It seems Tracfone makes it’s money by cheating and stealing.

  11. I have been tracfone customerr for over 10 years. Liked service till recent event when I was not able to make international call to Poland. Few months back iinternational calls were ncluded with basic subscription. Recently I was told to purchase $10 global international calling card to be able make calls to Poland. Not big deal at $0.02 per minute, right? Well, $10 lasted only 20 minutes instead of 500 for calls to landline. Hours on phone with Tracfone and they still can not figure out what is going wrong. This company let me down, just waiting for service to expire and make switch to another carrier.

  12. Do not buy tracfone.I do not receive any text messages at all.I have called about this for eight days in a row,always put on hold.They always tell me to do this try that and nothing works,I do not recommend tracfon e to anyone it has been a major annoyance will use up balance of minutes and will been done with them also web site never works customer service is the worst i have ever encountered.

    • Sorry to hear about your experience Joe. I’ll let a rep know.

      • Good luck,I just can’t believe this.Ia m told phone needs to be unlocked to receive a text message if so why can’t they do it,it has been over a week now and still nothing

      • Thank you tracfone staff and three thrifty guys for the assistance of getting phone to receive and send text messages.Very pleased for all your help.THANK YOU!!


        • Glad they were able to help you out Joe!

        • How did they get your phone to receive texts? I’m having the same problem right now and was told it’s the other ends carrier.

  13. I am a tracfone customer. Having recently moved to Georgia I was having issues with my reception. I contacted tracfone about my issue, asking if I would be able to use wifi calling on my Samsung smart phone edge 7. They informed me no due to my phone isn’t capable, so I started asking about phones on their web page, and my only reason to purchase a new phone was that it would be capable of wifi calling. After being assured by 4 different tracfone people, at 4 different times while chatting online about only this iPhone, I finally made my purchase. I even took screen shots of my last conservation as to make sure I knew the steps to follow. I got my phone, charged it, activated it, checked the network, then got online to request the T mobile Sim card I was told 4 different times I needed. This new person from tracfone informs me sorry your phone isn’t capable of wifi calling. I asked her check again I have been informed 4 different times that it is and this is why I’m requesting a new Sim card. She tells me nothing she can do and gives me a phone number to call, Straight Talk, so needless to say I’m very upset, I call and informed, nope your new phone isn’t capable of wifi calling and all they offer me is to return it, which I did, I’m waiting for my money to be returned. I then went to tracfone web page wrote a review of that phone that they had listed as wifi capable, my review said it’s not, and 4 different people assured me it was so I made a purchase only to find out its a lie. I got an email from them saying they won’t publish my review, but I could try and leave another one. I’m done with tracfone. I don’t trust them, they have no idea about the phones they sell, their isn’t any customer service with them, except just return it, and now I wonder how long it will take until I receive my money back.

  14. I’ve been a Tracfone user for many years, now w/two phones in the family. The main reason has been not wanting to be locked into an expensive service contract. The company and customer service have gone downhill. My spouse’s fliphone replacement has not worked well from the beginning, though his first phone was fine. Now he doesn’t have service most of the time, and only my calls go through to him. (He can’t receive a call on that phone from his boss or anyone else). Originally I did a complex business landline port over to tracfone and generally have been happy with my service, though I ran into a bunch of similar issues as other commenters along the way. I asked for a non-smart phone and they first sent a phone that didn’t work, and then its replacement was a smartphone. After that I got a free hand me down unlocked iphone which I successfully ported to Tracfone. The last day I added minutes they didn’t show up on my spouse’s phone or account until a day later. Also, a minor amnnoyance, the discount codes they send in the mail don’t work and don’t match the minute amounts that are on the website. EX. discount use this code on 400 minutes, but online, only 440 minutes available. I’m looking for a different prepaid company option for the next replacement.

    • Thanks for sharing about your experience with Tracfone. Interesting to hear about the port from a landline. I know that Tello offers prepaid too, among others.

  15. I have been using an LG442BG FLIP tracfone phone for a year and the phone does everything I need it to with no dropped calls. I am a happy customer with the coverage area, customer service, and this non smart phone. I do not use this phone much so having a cell phone for $100 per year is the best deal I have ever had. Keep up the good work.

  16. A non-starter. The model is one where they churn employees, instead of improving coding. It is a style of management where the financial people lord it over the CEO.
    The website doesn’t work. As if no phone number transfers will be coming from Verizon; Tracfone system (online sign-up) doesn’t accept the leading letter that Verizon uses for account numbers. but green-lights it without the leading letter, and goes forward. When you call later to find out what the problem is, a clerk may or may not discover that Verizon is blocking the transfer. This is a small example. It goes downhill from there. It is a shame that management thinks that this job can be ‘called in.’ . It is a horrible mistreatment of the young people working there. The plans are gauged to fall short at every level.

  17. My wife and I just purchased 2 LG premier pro LTE’s from Qvc about 1 week ago. We wanted to get out from under at&t and were glad we did. These are our main phones as we don’t have a landline anymore. The only trouble I had was getting our numbers transferred which was a pain but took no more than 3 hours. That is still 3 hours to long but the monthly savings will be totally worth it and if we don’t like tracfone a year from now, we’ll look at other carriers. Were happy we switched!

  18. I have recently purchased two identical phones from Tracfone. Both times had to spend a lot of time with customer service, to get them up and working. Very bad experience with their customer service, as they are from a non english speaking country and almost impossible to understand them. That ‘chat’ option is better, as I can read. Once the phones were working, I find them to be doing what they should be doing. And also a far more affordable option than the other service providers. The very funny thing I found with Tracfone is, they sent me an e-mail , asking me to review my purchase. So I sent them an honest review, similar to what I have stated here. I was sent an e-mail saying that they read my review and ‘moderated’ it, and it would not be posted.
    Why bother asking for reviews, if you are only going to use the pretty fluffy nice ones.
    Most reviews I have read outside of Tracfone complain about the terrible customer service.

    • That’s too bad they moderate the reviews Joe. In our experience with Straight Talk (also a TF company), the support / on-boarding was poor but the overall service was good.

  19. It took over 3 hours to work through Tracfone’s website and phone support to purchase a telephone. Of course they initially stated that it was my credit card info that was causing the problem. However, I had my cc company online, and they verified my account in good standing. After repeated attempts, finally the card went through. I asked to have the shipping speed upgraded as compensation for wasting hours of my time…no deal. After speaking with the supervisor, he blamed the delay on “system upgrades”…and no deal. These guys really suck. If you have an alternative, go somewhere else!

  20. Tracfone is good until it isn’t. My husband and I started with TF in November 2013, using identical “non-smart” phones and had great service at home and everywhere we went. Last fall, my husband upgraded to an LG Destiny (smartphone) triple minutes Tracfone with no problems, and he continues to use that phone to this day with no problems. In May I “upgraded” to an identical LG Destiny and have had nothing but problems since June 1, when my screen began to read “invalid card” and I last had cell phone service. Tracfone CS has been no help whatsoever and may have messed up my account beyond the point of rescue. I have had four lengthy chats and been told contradictory things by CS reps and supervisors many times, including that the Destiny won’t work in this area (except hubby’s works fine) and that my phone is “defective” (which it is not). I have been through two sim cards and am on my second phone, and I still have no service. In the midst of this, I received a cancellation notice and a plea to come back to TF, for which the CS rep gave three contradictory explanations. I returned my Destiny (reluctantly and against my better judgment) relying on TF’s promise to replace it with the same model phone, triple minutes, same number, and no loss of minutes, text and data. Guess what? In return I received a USED Rebel (POS) and when I tried to activate it, TF customer service wanted to know from whom they should get the number, so I may have lost that as well. I also returned two chargers, and received only one back. I’m sure I can forget the triple minutes, since the Rebel is not and never has been a triple minutes phone. Last night I got on chat to activate the Rebel, and the CS rep went through the steps. This morning, still no service. Checked my TF account online, and it shows the Rebel is not activated. People, believe me when I tell you the bad reviews of TF customer service are not exaggerated – TF CS is unbelievably inept. I will make one more try today, then file a consumer protection complaint. I do not give up, Tracfone, and I document everything along the way.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with TracFone, Katherine. I’ll let our contact know.

    • Update: Tracfone’s social media analyst contacted me via email, set up a time for a phone call, then stood me up – no phone call at the appointed time (or any other time). Typical Tracfone CS ineptitude. The corporate office contacted me after I filed my consumer protection complaint, but has done nothing other than activate the Rebel. I can now send and receive texts (which I use very little), check my voice mail (which I was able to do from other phones anyway) and receive calls. But when I try to make a call from the Rebel, I get a recording to the effect that “the phone number you are calling from is not recognized.” While having no service, I explored wifi calling and also bought a Chromebook. I discovered that I can make free wifi calls from the Chromebook using Google hangouts without any set up needed – no fees, no hassles at all. So that is what I have been doing, and using my old LG840 for emergency calls only while on the road. This is what Tracfone corporate considers adequate cell phone service.

    • Update: Went to Tracfone’s website today to check the balance in my online account, and guess what? I show no active phones in my devices, and only my old LG840G shows among the inactive devices. Both the Destiny and the Rebel have disappeared from my account. Go figure!

  21. This is a Warning! Do not use TracFone. I’ve been trying to get my mom’s home phone number transferred for more than a week now. First they said, 5 business days, then I get a voicemail saying the number had been released from our previous carrier. Great. Then the issues start. No transfer. I call customer service. They escalate the ticket, and I’m told I’ll hear from them within 24 hours. 2 days later, phone still not working, I call back, now they tell me they are going to escalate it again, but it could take up to a month to transfer the phone. This is crap. Now that they have my Mom’s phone number nothing I can do but wait, since it’s the number all her Dr.’s and friends have, and she wants to keep it. Again, I’m warning everyone that is thinking about using TracFone. DON’T. There are plenty of other options for prepaid phone lines out there, stay away from this one!!!

    • Hi Chris. We recently had a similiar experience with Straight Talk – a sister company to TracFone. Some of this can be attributed to the carrier where the phone is being transferred from as well. That whole process could be streamlined better – I agree. Seems too complicated and lengthy of a process. I’ll let TF know about your concerns though.

      • I would charge less for my abs then keep using sprint at 400 a month and every phone is cracked. That is another couple thousand to get out of plan. They have CS all over the world that lies and tells you what you want to here. These big 4 are like cable and take every cent you have extra for vacation or just to save. Shane on sprint, at, Verizon and t mobile enslave you for phone that breaks easier then your car running into truck. Should be regulated to not RIP off half of america.

    • Tracfone’s Social Media Analyst saw my complaint and reached out to me to see what he could do to help. After reviewing the notes on my ticket, he was able to reach out to the correct people and now my mom’s number has been transferred and she doesn’t have to worry about missing her Dr.’s calls. I want to thank Jonathan for the patient help in getting this taken care of. A bit of a tough process but it made Mom happy so I’m happy. Thanks again Jonathan.

  22. I have a smartphone that came preloaded with tracfone. One problem with tracfone is I thought when I use wifi minutes wouldn’t be used, but that isn’t the case. On wifi it doesn’t use data but that is it. and if there is one or more persons in your life that you talk to on a regular basis a half to a full hour you’d be surprised how fast those minutes add up. And I used to get a lot better reception with at&t than I do verizon.

    • Tam, I believe WiFi is for data only (not voice)?

      • yes which was my point

  23. Other than Nick, it seems I am the only Tracfone user with a raw, truthful complaint.

    I am not sure what your age group is just yet as I’ve not browsed your website, but I turn 34 in two days. Technically, I’ve been a Tracfone user since age 18, May 2002 and thereafter. However, in reality, I am not sure, if anything, had that phone or a slew of them prepaid minute Tracfones until October 2004, moved up in life, got the hottest phone I could find — with T-Mobile — which in that time was a Motorola V360 Flip. Rubber plates over the outer shell. It is hard to even Google, that is how ancient it is. It prided itself in its dual camera/video capabilities, 3mp I believe? 3.2 mega pixels, maybe.

    I remember back then I hated it because it literally was minute for minute. Every single time you use the phone, I would always need to buy more. I am from the Tri-State, North New Jersey closer to NYC, roughly 8-15 minutes outside of Manhattan depending on which form of mass transit you utilize (i.e. Newark Path Train, Midtown Direct, takes 10 minutes. One way. No stops). In my area, Essex County, Tracfones were always nicknamed, in street slang, “throwaways or throwaway phone” aka drug dealer/drug addict/etc. phones used mostly for criminal acts or by the majority of lower-classed, below-poverty people.

    So, I just had to give some context as to my experience overall .. and also towards the overall situation and purview of Tracfone and its users. I surely speak for a large many when saying that my second time around as a Tracfone user, from mid-2016, age 32 ’til now – 2 years, I have ALWAYS had issues with their service. I’m not in the Lehigh Valley – Allentown, PA, area, which is technically still considered the Greater New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area. My phone is through Safelink. Safelink is available freely to Medicare/Medicaid users, Disabled persons, etc. The government supplies the “free” usage of it. It has now changed from “throwaway” to the infamous “Obamaphone” made known after he decided to destroy healthcare.

    So. Present Day. 2018. May. Tracfone service. LG old-school Flip phone aka pre-Smart/pre-iPhone. Safelink contract, afforded through U.S. Department of Health & Human Services via public assistance offices/Medicaid/Medicare health insurance & life insurance coverages, i.e. welfare, SNAP, WIC, SSI/SSD, etc.

    Constantly, and I will say, just to be “current”, though it may have been longer… I get the “No Service” notification INCESSANTLY throughout EACH & EVERY DAY. There can be 5 bars, and most of the time there ARE bars .. yet, STILL “No Service”. It does it whenever it WANTS. I’ve attempted self-study of it. I’ve even “kept a ledger, marking down No Service dates/times” and my reasons/theories into its disruptive occurrence. However, nothing. I’ve come to a simple conclusion that it isn’t the phone. It isn’t the location. It isn’t the lack of bars i.e. coverage. It is simply Tracfone. Though, it is POSSIBLE in my experiential research and hardship that it may just as well be Safelink — maybe lying, quite deceptively and unjustifiably — within the fact I get this phone/service FREE.

    There is something I’ve learned when it comes to “FREE” as in from the U.S. Gov’t., and that is, whether it is Job Corps, U.S. Military, Welfare (however it is being received), and now, Safelink.. There is this internal stigma that is a stigma in practice, if you will, that says “Oh, yeah? You’re thinking you got this free stuff, that it wasn’t going to be s**t??!?!” And this goes on quietly in the executive setting and background, though, is all up in your face and totally visible otherwise by anyone paying even the littlest of attention.

    I can say these things because I’ve experienced each and every one of those services provided freely by the government, despite Job Corps and U.S. Navy being by personal choice. I did not stay within the U.S. Navy nor Job Corps (the latter after 2 weeks).

    I find Safelink/Tracfone situation NO different. I really do not. As for the actual service, it has gotten WORSE. It happens MORE OFTEN than I could count. I literally, suddenly, after May 1, my “new month” of minutes .. also coming with it is this inability to no longer send, receive, or view picture and/or video messages. At all. HOWEVER, IT STILL EATS MINUTES. And these messages, via Tracfone — whether you have Safelink or not (and if you’re paying for this, then I say, to Hell with that!) — picture/video messages are at least 3 credits / minutes. They take 1+ credit minute upon hitting SEND .. 1+ credit minute in the MIDDLE of the transaction (I would say, for accessing a frequency band highway?/i.e. Internet process in order to send it across to whoever) and 1+ credit minute upon COMPLETION of the transaction.

    That’s 3+ credit minutes, nearly or possibly just over 4, though I haven’t calculated it yet, but it’s approx 1.2(?) credit minutes … so, 3.6 credit minutes. This is a problem. BUT, it is a problem I was willing to deal with it before May 1, 2018. Suddenly, this doesn’t even INITIATE anymore for whatever reason.

    LASTLY, as per the service, and current, but highlighting since May 2016, the TECH SUPPORT is a DISASTER! I believe Nick above who stated something about “they wouldn’t allow…” and I’ve just gotten done reading reviews from OTHER sites that I’d gladly share links to, but are easily accessible via the front page of Google Search after searching the terms:

    “Tracfone is s**t always out of service” (HAHA BTW, Three Thrifty Guys . com is Result #4, the results #1, 2, & 3 I am referring to in this comment. Consumer Affairs, Howard’s Forum, and the BBB, then you guys.). Shared at the bottom of page.

    One complained “they weren’t allowed to cancel”, another complained on the BBB site about a similar “disadvantage/refusal” of acting as per his request and this actually became a realistic case with his local BBB office that resulted in a successful win, a new phone, check in the mail, etc. and so forth.

    The TECH SUPPORT of Tracfone is horrendous. It is based/outsourced in India. They NEVER understand anything you are saying/want/desire for your phone, your call. They DO NOT know what they are doing. They are unpersonable, impersonal (whatever way you write/say it). I’ve gone through a MASS SERIES of headaches with them. I already wrote WAY TOO MUCH here and will not list then but point is, so much hassle and ignorance, idiocy, that I haven’t called yet. But, I WILL.

    Also, another FUN FACT for Tracfone hopeful customers to steer away. My Safelink account says 750 minutes. But I only got 500 AGAIN on May 1, 2018. I checked a day or two before and noticed the account was upgraded, blah blah. But I never got those minutes and also, the sudden inability to send/receive/view picture/video messages occurred as well, with the more and more often and frequent increase in “NO SERVICE” .. it seems that something must have happened to Tracfone internally or with their centers/company. And it also tells me that it just cannot be Safelink. Safelink is really just the contractual part of the service, you know what I am saying here man?

    I apologize for such a long comment but it is truthful, I bleeped out the few obscenities I had used and overall, this is a real thing and has truly irritated me to not even wanting them. Yes, 2 years ago, and up until just recently, last month, I was in need of their service but strangely, as this nonsensical stuff has been happening, I am now financially able to purchase a new plan and carrier and I will do so immediately.

    Start out my 34th year right and stay on track! And that’s track with a “K” ;) Hope this helped others and if anything, was the least bit entertaining.

    • TLDR and you lost me after your first sentence.

  24. I have tried in vain to get my husband to switch from AT&T to a cheaper carrier. Also our adult (over 30 and married/no kids yet) ‘kids’ are still on our plan! We also have the most expensive phones – iPhone! This floors me. Our Comcast bill is out of hand as well. Yet he focuses on MY spending – $10 to $15 here and there. He doesn’t watch any ‘on demand’ shows, no movies either. Just watches reruns of Blue Bloods and Law & Order. Why do we need all those other channels. I”d be perfectly content with basic cable and WiFi. I take my lunch to work every day and stop for happy hour about every 2 months. He absolutely refuses to listen – just tells me to stop spending. We also have 2 refrigerators and a large commercial freezer – for 2 people. The second fridge and freezer are under the house – not in a basement – our house is near the water and thus is built on a pad. The garage gets hot in the summer – you can imagine that the extra fridge and freezer work twice as hard. What does he do – he focuses solely on what I spend. He goes to the grocery store just about every day! No he is not retired!

  25. My husband uses a nonsmart tracphone. It costs about $220 for two years. He doesn’t really text though he receives a few sometimes.

    • He will be fortunate if he is not required to “upgrade” to a smartphone. That seems to be when many long-term satisfied Tracfone customers have problems that drive us away from Tracfone.

  26. STAY AWAY FROM TRACFONE. They would not let me cancel my auto-refill plan. I was charged twice for the plan I had tried to cancel (the message kept saying that they were updating my phone and as such wouldn’t let me make any changes to my account)l. I wasn’t even able to update my payment information so that the charges wouldn’t come out of my account. I tried to contact customer service many times but was unable to talk to a human. When I finally got through to customer service (this is after days of trying different avenues), I was told that they wouldn’t refund the money that had come out of my account. I spoke with the manager and she said it was company policy not to refund the money. Very disappointed with the lack of available customer service and lack of integrity.

    • Sorry you had a bad experience with TracFone. We do have a contact there who may be able to field your complaint. Will be in touch.

  27. I rarely use my Tracfone and don’t text. Having been forced to switch to an Android cellphone through Tracfone has been a pain. I hate the thing. It doesn’t like the letter “Q” on the keyboard so I can’t put my Google password in quickly, the keyboard is so tiny, it steers me to games, etc. I don’t want or need. It truly is scary how much time it takes just to place a phone call only to have the call receiver say that the call is garbled or too soft in volume. Yes, it is fairly inexpensive and comes in handy (in the past) for emergencies (why I bought it) but it is such a headache to use. I have several thousand units built up (can’t access account to find out how many anymore – that ease of use has disappeared – so it is not out very often except to recharge. And adding the renewal units – every time the set up and verbiage is different.

  28. Guys, you completely missed the boat on this review! I have an iPhone and used Bring Your Own Phone to add a TracFone chip. I have better coverage than anyone I know. People around me are waving their phones around trying to get a signal while I’m sitting there watching the Olympics. Low on data? Just buy more! No more sitting around for ten days waiting for your plan to reload! I get the power of an iPhone with the cheapest service around. Oh yeah, guess what, those folks over 55 you seem to be sneering at in your article invented the cell phone, the computer, video games, space travel, contact lenses and satellites. Show some respect!

    • Sneering? We love our elders! :)

  29. I have used Tracfone since 1995. I tried another carrier for 2 months and went back to Tracfone when I realized the difference in cost. I rarely use the phone to make calls on the ISP. I used wifi when possible as I use wifi instead of data. My data is turned off except when I need it. I use Hangouts for texting. I cannot imagine using another Telephone company for my mobile service. I am a retiree from AT&T so my landline is the phone at home.
    I have suggested to many people the advantage to using Tracfone and some have chosen to change.

  30. I had been with Verizon and paid over $120 a month for two lines, granted, this was over 5 years ago. I switched back to tracfone and I now have a smartphone and pay about $15 a month for my one line and my husband pays like $30 every 2-3 months(he still uses a flip phone). I have over 3000 minutes saved up, so I only ever have to add data and text, bought a one year card for like $50 to extend my expiry date and my service is comparable to verizon, runs off verizon towers. I recommend this service to anyone that ever asks, it’s better than a plan and we love it! Today’s phones are a far cry from the Nokia phones of the early days and are so much more reliable! Not sure I’ll ever switch plans again.

  31. My husband and I have used TracFone for many years. We buy the one year card and seldom use all of our minutes…and they roll over so no loss. We use our phones when we travel. For everyday use we still have a land line. We don’t need all the bells and whistles of smartphones, nor the expense of contracts. TracFone fits our needs perfectly. (My husband prefers a flip phone rather than the touch screen design. )

  32. I use a dual SIM phone–with Tracfone in one and Freedompop in the other– Freedompop gives me 700MB of free 4G LTE data per month and I use that up before defaulting to Tracfone for data, if I even use it up. I have Tracfone set to receive or make all phone calls as it’s generally more reliable for voice. I have so many minutes on Tracfone I really only have to extend the expiry date, which is cheaper than buying minutes. My current monthly usage fee is the absolute minimum and I use the phone exactly how I want with no limitations (though to be fair I am on wifi at home and work most days.) I use Hangouts and Whatsapp for a lot of free calls, which just use wifi minutes or free wifi at your location, instead of actual voice minutes. I feel Tracfone is still a great option these days in SIM form (their bring your own device deal) but I personally would not buy one of their more ancient phones/setups to use. My (elderly) Mom buys the old tech for too high a price on the home shopping networks when they have a Tracfone ‘deal’ going and feels happy about it and independent, despite me trying to get her to use it in smarter ways. But still glad she is in the loop, so to speak. :) However she must have a bazillion minutes/texts as it all rolls over each time she adds a year card to a “new” bundle phone and she probably makes 10 calls a year. My advice to anyone on a limited phone plan is simply don’t stream music or movies while on the phone network data and you’ll stay under 1 GB for just about anything else you want to do freely. I will say that Freedompop is worth a look for those who are not heavy users–either on its own or in conjunction with Tracfone.

  33. We bought tracfone for our kids. They have the iPhone 5s’ and we pay $135/yr, then top up texts and data as needed. We have been very impressed with tracfone and are considering changing to it from Sprint for us.

    • I’ve been trying to use my AT&T iPhone 7 with the TracFone BYOP. First they told me I had to buy a AT&T Sim card kit, I did that called them back and was told the person told me wrong information. I’ve been getting the runaround for hours. How did you manage?

  34. I’ve used tracfone for quite a few years now. I initially bought one because it was an inexpensive way to have a cell phone. I switched to Straight Talk for about 3 months, when a job I had required me to have “unlimited” service. One month, when I was short on funds, I bought the “all you can use” option with them. At the end of the month, I still had 400 minutes left, but at midnight, those 400 minutes disappeared. I went back to tracfone immediately! To my surprise, in areas where straight talk lost signal, I had a GREAT signal with tracfone. My only problem is finding something easy to use. I just bought a ZTE Flip phone through them when I lost my Alcatel one touch, and it really sucks. I’ve just ordered a different Alcatel phone and expect delivery tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  35. I’ve used Tracfone between 12 and 15 years. If you’re someone who just don’t use phones a lot, it is far more affordable, and I’ve almost always gotten good connections, except in locations where everyone had trouble. There have been instances where I could get a connection, but people on other services could not. My current Tracfone is a smart phone, but I hardly use it for anything besides necessary calls and text messaging. Yeah, I’m over 55. ;) But I am not tech avoidant — I have used computers for over 30 years, and still do for hours a day. I just prefer email by a wide margin over phone calls. Tracfone’s customer service can leave something to be desired (although I’ve found it easier than Paypal), but the phone service has always served me well.

  36. Have had a TracFone for 15 years. Very reliable, no contracts, inexpensive and you can call just about anywhere in the world for the same cost as calling locally. My wife travels to Colombia once a year and I speak to her every night in Medellin, with very good voice quality. I also got a triple minutes plan when I bought a newer LG smartphone from HSN last year and my days usually run out before my minutes do!

    • Great to get your thoughts on TF, Ray. I was wondering about the performance of international calls too.

  37. I love TracFone! I’ve been using TracFone for almost 20 years and currently have three TracFone mobile phones (Samsung Galaxy), which are perfect for me. I got one for my mother to use while driving (great insurance for less than $8.50/month). The other two I use for business. Since beginning with TracFone I purchase 365 days of service for $99.99 (which comes out to less than $8.50 / month!) and the mobile phones I’ve purchased from TracFone over the years all qualified for either double or triple minutes for the life of the phone (1,200 minutes talk, 1,200 texts, 1,200 MB data). So with my casual usage I never run out of minutes, texts, or data. The minutes carry over every year if you renew BEFORE the service end date. And there are no contracts. Over the years I would say I’ve have very good experiences with customer service with only a few glitches. One of my new smart phones died within 30 days of purchase and they replaced it free of charge without me asking! Another great thing about TracFone is while I am in Check Out (online) they always offer me an additional 365 days for only $49.99 more – that’s half off for an extra year of service ($150 for two years). What a great deal. They also send me discount offers and coupons that are appreciated.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with TracFone, Julie! Sounds like you’ve been happy with it.

      • Had very bad experience with Customer support, so far five calls just toget my number move from the Tracfone I’m currently using. Their reps put us on hold twice and never came back, the line went dead once and we could not understand the language during one call. My wife is trying for a fifth time now.

        • Sorry about this A.R. Did you get a hold of someone to help?

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