What is Prepaid Texting?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Prepaid texting is an option available with the service of text messaging via handheld devices such as cellular telephones or iPhones. Also known as prepaid SMS or short messaging services, charges for the text messaging are paid in advance, essentially establishing a bank of instances when a message can be sent or received. Once this prepaid bank of text messages exhausted, it is necessary for the subscriber to purchase additional instances before texting activity can resume.

While prepaid texting plans vary, they are usually associated with prepaid cell phone services where the subscriber purchases airtime minutes in advance. As a value-added service, the subscriber also can purchase texting services to complement the bank of minutes purchased to allow for making and receiving phone calls through the service provider’s network. Just as the airtime minutes are deducted from the subscriber’s account as they are used, sending or receiving text messages incrementally shrinks the number of prepaid text messages in the subscriber’s account.


The service of prepaid texting should not be confused with the fee-based text messaging that is found in many cell phone service packages. When a subscriber chooses to go with cell phone services that incur a monthly fee, there is often the option to either incur a per incident charge for text messaging. The charges for the most recent service period appear on the next bill, in addition to the set monthly charge for call minutes. In other words, the subscriber is paying for text messaging services after having used the SMS service. With prepaid texting, the subscriber is paying in advance.

It is important to note that prepaid texting plans can be cost-effective when the texting activity is relatively low. People who have no more than an occasional need for text messaging can actually save money with a prepaid service, rather than pay a set monthly fee for texting privileges. However, anyone who makes use of text messaging on a daily basis is likely to find that prepaid texting is rarely the best option.

Prepaid texting services are available from most cellular service providers. Any service provider that sells advance banks of airtime for making and receiving calls is also likely to have an add-on plan for prepaying for text messaging. This is true even with some providers who focus mainly on monthly subscriber fees but do offer some type of pay as you go service as well. As with most prepaid cell services, prepaid texting usually does not involve a long-term contract. Should the customer decide the service is not adequate for some reason, he or she simply refrains from purchasing additional text messages in advance and allows the option for the service to lapse.


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