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Tracfone has been selling prepaid phone plans for 25 years. Unlike plans and phones from Consumer Cellular, Tracfone's offerings weren't designed exclusively for older adults. You won't find any senior discounts either. Instead, this company provides prepaid plans and phones that meet your budget, no matter how old you are or how small your budget is.
You can choose from 11 different phone plans, with the cheapest starting at just $5.99 per month! Plus, Tracfone lets you bring your own phone, so you can save even more money. From the best plans for seniors to our phone recommendations to money-saving tips, we'll cover Tracfone in depth below.
If you're a new Tracfone customer, you can shop for phones and plans on the Tracfone website or in person at select retailers. I prefer online shopping, so I headed straight for the Tracfone website.
At the top of the website, there's a “Shop” dropdown menu. I clicked on it and then chose “Shop Service Plans.” I chose the Smartphone $20 plan, clicked on “I am a new customer,” and then hit “Add to Cart.”
Next, I was asked if I wanted to keep my own phone or buy a new phone.
I recently purchased a Google Pixel 4a, so I wanted to bring it with me to Tracfone. Since it's currently unlocked and using T-Mobile service, I selected the T-Mobile SIM kit. It brought me right to the shopping cart, where I learned I'd need to pay a few bucks for taxes, while shipping via UPS was free.
Helpful Tip: Tracfone allows customers to bring unlocked 4G LTE smartphones only. If your phone doesn’t meet that criteria, you'll need to purchase a compatible phone.
If you want a new phone, the buying process is a little different. After choosing your plan, you'll need to pick a device. Then, you'll be prompted to accept or decline a protection plan for your new phone. You can purchase a 24-month, 13-month, or monthly protection plan. The price varies depending on the value of your phone. Shipping is free.
Not a fan of online shopping? No problem! Tracfone may not have its own brick-and-mortar stores, but its phones and airtime cards are available for purchase at Walmart and Best Buy. Simply go to a store near you and head to the cell phone section. Depending on the store, they may be able to help you activate your service right then and there. Otherwise, you'll need to follow the instructions to activate it online on your own. But don't worry; it's super simple! And you can always call Tracfone's customer service line if you need a hand.
Instead of digging around the website for more information, I decided to chat online with customer service. I got connected with Cherry, who was able to answer my questions quickly, although it did feel like I was being pushed to purchase.
I asked about unlimited data plans, senior discounts, and what to do if you run out of data. Cherry informed me that while Tracfone offers unlimited text and talk with some plans, they do not offer unlimited data. If that's something you want, you'll have better luck with T-Mobile's or Lively's unlimited plans.
Cherry also told me that Tracfone doesn't offer any senior citizen, AARP, or veteran's discounts. In fact, she said that the only prices she could offer were those featured on the website. So, if you're hoping for a special discount, you probably won't get one from a customer service agent, but it never hurts to ask!
Money-Saving Tip: Customer service may not be able to give you a discount, but you can get a 25% off coupon when you sign up to receive Tracfone marketing emails. Just look for the “Sign Up and Save 25%” icon at the bottom of your screen when you visit the Tracfone website.
Lastly, Cherry explained that Tracfone sells top-up add-ons if you need more minutes or data in a month. For example, you can add 1 GB of data to your monthly plan for $10. I appreciate this top-up option, which allows you to avoid costly overage fees that are common with postpaid carriers.
If you already know that you're sticking with your current phone, you're set. But, if you're in the market for a new device, you'll find plenty of options from Tracfone. All-in-all, we counted over 40 new and reconditioned phones for sale. Now that's quite a selection! To help narrow down your options, we picked out our favorites for older adults.
Tracfone sells only one non-smartphone, so the LG Classic Flip is a no-brainer if you're looking for something simple. It's compact, easy to use, and durable, albeit not as durable as the Kyocera DuraXV Extreme we reviewed from Verizon.
Our favorite feature for seniors is the SOS key. Press the rear button on the phone three times to connect with a preset emergency contact. That could be your neighbor, spouse, or child. Plus, you can't beat the $29.99 price tag. That's even more affordable than the $49.99 Debut Flip from Cricket Wireless.
Our favorite features for seniors:
We gave this phone the “best battery life” accolade on our 2022 list of best phones for seniors. It delivers 22.25 hours of talk time or lasts up to 22.25 days in standby. Depending on how often you use your phone and what you're doing on it, you won't need to worry about remembering to charge it each night.
Deal Alert: Tracfone offers deals and discounts on different smartphones throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled when shopping on Tracfone's website!
Of course, the battery isn't the only thing we love. The Galaxy A11 also has a 13 MP triple camera, so you can take crystal-clear pics of your grandkids or beach vacay. There's no phone password to remember either. Just use the fingerprint sensor to unlock your device. At just $99.99, this phone is perfect for older adults on a budget who still want a smartphone.
Our favorite features for seniors:
Tech-savvy older adults, this one's for you. Tracfone sells the iPhone SE with 64 GB of storage for $289.99. This advanced smartphone comes with all the bells and whistles. A large retina HD touchscreen, Touch ID for unlocking and signing into apps, 4K video streaming, voice control with Siri, and more. Plus, if you use hearing aids, the iPhone SE is hearing aid compatible.
We'd recommend this phone to seniors who already know how to or want to learn how to master a smartphone. It's also a smart choice if your family members already use iPhones. iMessage and FaceTime can keep you all connected.
Our favorite features for seniors:
Getting good cell coverage is a must! Thankfully, with Tracfone, that shouldn't be a problem. Tracfone uses towers owned by three of the biggest telecommunications companies (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) to serve its customers. You can purchase a Tracfone SIM card based on which carrier your current phone (or the phone you're buying) is compatible with.
Tracfone customers enjoy 4G LTE and 5G coverage, but 5G depends on the phone and the location. For example, newer phones in big cities tend to access the 5G network.
Tracfone sells prepaid and pay-as-you-go plans only. You're never locked into a contract! Instead, you pay upfront for your service and then refill as needed or sign up for auto-refill.
Tracfone offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its cell phones. If you're unhappy with your phone for any reason, you can return it within 30 days for an exchange or a refund. You must pay the return shipping. SIM cards, airtime, and plans are non-refundable.
All new phones purchased from Tracfone come with a one-year warranty that covers mechanical and electrical defects, which is standard for the industry. It doesn't cover cracked screens and damage from drops, though. For that type of coverage, you'll need to purchase a protection plan. It extends the device warranty to 13 months or 24 months. The price varies by device.
If you purchase a reconditioned or refurbished phone from Tracfone, it comes with a 90-day limited warranty. If you purchase an iPhone from Tracfone, it is covered by a one-year limited warranty from Apple.
|Plan||Price per service period||Auto-refill price||Service period||Includes||Other features|
|Basic $19.99 Plan||$19.99||$17.99||90 days||60 minutes for talk, text, and web||
|Basic $29.99 Plan||$29.99||$26.99||90 days||120 minutes for talk, text, and web||
|Basic $39.99 Plan||$39.99||$35.99||90 days||200 minutes for talk, text, and web||
|Basic $79.99 Plan||$79.99||$71.99||90 days||450 minutes for talk, text, and web||
|Basic $99.99 Plan||$99.99||N/A||365 days||400 minutes for talk, text, and web||
|Smartphone $15 Plan||$15||$14.25||30 days||500 minutes, 500 texts, and 500 MB of data||
|Smartphone $20 Plan||$20||$15||30 days||Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 1 GB data||
|Smartphone $25 Plan||$25||$20||30 days||Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 2 GB data||
|Smartphone $30 Plan||$30||$25||30 days||Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 3 GB data||
|Smartphone $40 Plan||$40||$35||30 days||Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 8 GB data||
|Smartphone $199 Plan||$199||N/A||365 days||Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 12 GB data||
Below, we'll break down some of our top Tracfone plan picks for seniors.
We're recommending only two of Tracfone's many basic plans based on their low monthly service costs. The others simply aren't that great of a value compared to Tracfone's Smartphone plans.
The $19.99 basic plan breaks down to $6.66 per month ($5.99 with auto-refill), and the $29.99 plan is essentially $9.99 per month ($8.99 with auto-refill). It's hard to find cell service for a price that low, so it's a great option for seniors who want a phone just for emergencies.
Tracfone is one of the few carriers that still lets customers pay for minutes. Most others, like Xfinity's cell phone plans, include unlimited talk and text. The $19.99 Tracfone plan includes 60 minutes for talk, text, and web for a 90-day service period. The $29.99 plan includes 120 minutes. Minutes carry over. You can also place basic international calls at the same rate you'd make domestic calls.
Despite being labeled the Smartphone $20 plan, you can actually land this plan for $15 per month when you sign up for auto-refill. Your card on file will be charged $15 every 30-day service cycle. A similar plan from Consumer Cellular that we reviewed costs $20, so the auto-refill savings are key if you want the best deal.
The plan includes unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 1 GB of data every 30 days. Plus, data carries over to your next service cycle as long as your Tracfone service is active. We like that you're not losing out on something you've already paid for.
This plan is best for older adults with smartphones who want to look at Google maps occasionally or check email on the go, but who don't plan on streaming videos.
The newest plan from Tracfone, the Smartphone $40 Plan, costs $40 per month, or $35 with auto-refill. At $35, it just edges out Consumer Cellular's $35 plan in terms of data, which includes 7 GB, while Tracfone's plan comes with 8 GB.
Of course, if you're willing to pay the full $40 each month, you may want to check out T-Mobile’s 55+ Unlimited plans, which come with unlimited talk, text, and data.
Pro Tip: Choosing Tracfone's auto-refill option not only saves you money on select plans, but it also means one fewer bill to manually pay each month and no accidental service interruptions.
If you enjoy being out and about but don't go crazy with video streaming, this smartphone plan may be for you. Along with unlimited talk and text, this plan includes 8 GB of data and mobile hotspot capabilities. No other plan from Tracfone has that feature.
FYI: Need more help deciding on a plan and phone? Check out our cell phone buyer's guide for seniors to learn more.
You're also eligible for Experian's IDnotify identity theft protection service with this plan. It includes access to identity restoration services, lost wallet services, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. We like this feature, considering that more than 400,000 seniors were reported victims of identity theft in 2020.1
Tracfone may not cater exclusively to seniors, but it certainly offers plans and phones that keep older adults connected without breaking the bank. Not every plan is a stellar value, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another carrier that gives you service for as little as $5.99 per month or a flip phone for as little as $29.99.
All in all, if you want a bare-bones phone plan for emergencies, we think you'll be pleased with Tracfone. If you want unlimited data, however, you'll need to look elsewhere, like T-Mobile's 55+ plans or Mint Mobile's unlimited plan.
Yes, you can bring your phone number to Tracfone. Your number must be active, though, so do not cancel your existing phone service before switching to Tracfone.
Tracfone offers several plans with unlimited text and talk, but they don’t offer a plan with unlimited data. For that, check out plans from Mint Mobile.
Yes, you can bring your own 4G LTE phone to Tracfone. Make sure to check compatibility first.
No. Tracfone is a pay-as-you-go carrier. There are no contracts.
Federal Trade Commision. (2021). Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.