February 23, 2015

How Many Minutes Does Texting Cost for TracFone?

How Much Does Texting Cost for Tracfone?

This is a relatively common question many people have when looking at buying a Tracfone cell phone.

Cell Phone Closeup By seanmcmenemy
Tracfone is a prepaid, no-contract cell phone service provider. They have low cost minute cards, and many cell phones for under $100 (and even under $20). With Tracfone service, you pay for how much you use the phone, and you have to buy prepaid minutes to put on the phone before you can use it.

Texting with Tracfone is very reasonable, and we are going to share exactly how it works, and how much it will cost you.

Before we get to the cost, we must explain that texting charges are different for Tracfone's newer, Android powered smartphones. These smartphones put minutes into three separate 'pools' of calling/texting/data.

Read our guide, How Minutes Work on Tracfone Smartphones to get the full explanation. We will share below how much texting will cost on the smartphones as well as regular Tracfone devices.

Now, let's first explain the cost for texting with Non-Android phones:

Texting, or SMS, costs 0.3 units (or minutes) for each text (sent or received) on non-Android phones

Sending an MMS costs 0.5 unites, and pictures cost 1 unit on non-Android phones.

Sometimes pictures can cost more, especially if they are larger images. And remember that you get deducted for every text you send or receive.

What about Android phones? How much does texting cost on a Tracfone smartphone?

This is a very straightforward answer, because texts are already separated from calling and data on the smartphones.

Texting on a Smartphone costs 1 text (sent or received)

Sending a photo deducts from your data based on the size of the photo

So with a smartphone, each text deducts one text from your 'text pool'. At this time, here is no way to just buy texts, so if you run out you will have to buy another prepaid minute card.

Some users have experienced problems sending photos on smartphones. This may be due to these users leaving their data turned off (which is usually a good idea, because it keeps apps from using data). Data is used when sending pictures.

If you have more questions about the smartphones from Tracfone, check out our Android vs non-Android comparison, that covers many of the differences.

Texting with Tracfone is very reasonable, although if you send thousands of texts per month, you may want to look for an unlimited plan.

There are also some other costs that you should be familiar with when using Tracfone:

Surfing the web browser costs 0.4 units per minute on older, non-Android phones

On newer Tracfone Cell phones, such as the LG 840G or any Android Smartphones, using the web browser costs differently based more on the amount of data used, instead of time online. Additionally, the LG 840G and all the Android phones have WiFi connectivity, which is free to use on the phone when you are connected to a WiFi network.

Using Tracfone prepaid cell phones is great for those who want an emergency phone, don't use their phone too often, or just need a phone in a hurry. And with many of the newer Android powered smartphones, they have become even more economical for daily use.

To learn more, read our Overview of Tracfone or visit our Cell Phone Reviews page. We also created a Beginners Guide to Tracfone, to answer many of the comment questions consumers have.

We hope this has been helpful! Leave a comment if you have questions, and thanks for visiting!

Keep up with the latest from our blog by following us on Facebook!

(This post was originally published 1/9/2013, but was updated and republished 2/23/2015 with more accurate information)


  1. Simply don't understand the texting requirements for this ZTE Valet. Do I need a separate card for texting? Or a separate credit? Why can't I text using existing minutes?

    1. With a 200 min talk,text and web tracfone card you get 600 talk minutes, 600 texts and 600mb data for the zte valet. I don't like the limited 600 texts per $29.99 card. The old way was better in that talk and text minutes where in one pool.

    2. Can someone tell me about all of the "free text apps" and how that works when you run out of texts?

  2. So how do you add text?

  3. You can't! You must add an airtime card- I just spoke with "Sergio" at Tracfone because I had plenty of talk & data, but 0 texts. You cannot buy text only minutes.

  4. I bought an LG tracphone at a local Walmart. I have been satisfied with it but I am getting 2 texts per min. instead of 3 like it says on the box. What do I do to change this or who do I need to talk to ?

  5. What a silly business practice. Why not let your customers purchase text minutes only?! I am going to shop for another company. I have been a customer since 2007. You guys blew it.

  6. with my old LG tracfone I was charged for texting in minutes. I got a new Huawei tracfone and now I am charged separetly for talk text and data. example my currant balance is 624 talk minutes 19 text messages and 1215.68 mb of data. this is unfair I shoudnt have to buy more minutes to text. please change this procedure.

  7. what happens if you text when you are out of texts and still have lots of minutes and data?

  8. What am I doing wrong? I can text anyone and they get it except my wife. She can text anyone and they get it except one other person and me. What should my text setting be? (or hers).

  9. Tracfone Reviewer (and many others) have pointed out, right from the start, that heavy text users DO NOT want to switch to an Android device on Tracfone due to the pricing structure.
    So the options are to keep using a feature phone for much cheaper texting, or switch to an Android phone with a different carrier that has unlimited texting. One thing that has not been mentioned is how to use a Google Voice number in conjunction with Hangouts, to send texts (and phone calls) over a wifi connection. If you are routinely in an area with wifi access, this could very well make using Android with Tracfone a very attractive option!

  10. Tracfone became a much better company when the Android barrier was finally breached.

    Now it's time to offer 2000 texts for $99 cards (doubled or tripled if you have double or triple on your phone). If they don't want to double or triple then 6000 texts for $99 (no extension of phone service time).

    Tracfone will kill all competition if they'd wake up to this need.

  11. Google Voice numbers and Hangouts mean that you have two different ways that other people send texts to, too complicated and confusing.

    1. ya, I agree, too confusing to add googe voice or hangouts.

  12. Google Hangouts is an option over wifi. I just use TextNow for most texting, even over 3G, I get 15-20 texts for 1 MB or data or so. TextNow will give you another # with same area code.

  13. That's precisely why you don't want to use Google Hangouts or Text Now or Text Me etc. Which phone number real or imaginary do people use to text you? And your text message history is now split between two different apps. Relying on third party companies for texting means there is no need to activate the phone as a phone at all. My son had an android phone with no cell service for quite some time, and this is what he did. So why use Tracfone at all if you're going to have to use a second service for free texts?

    If it's a cell phone and can have Data cards, why not Text only Cards? This should be a no brainer for Tracfone.

  14. Only reason is because you won't be able to use your phone without wifi.

  15. That makes no sense, the question is

    If Tracfone can sell Data only cards, why can't they (won't they) sell Text only cards?

    Workarounds to this are not the point, everyone knows how to use Wifi. A person should be able to have one phone number for incoming texts, not one real one and another that's a fake one from an internet based service.

  16. Love my tracfone but am about to switch to a family plan. Am not happy that I can't buy a text only or that the texts won't come off the minutes if you run out. All the kids only text and I'm sitting on 2000 plus minutes. Beginning to feel taken by this company!

  17. As text messages are very small content, small bandwidth on the cell tower, and not fully synchronous like a phone call ... it makes no sense that Tracfone can't make a deal with Verizon for a big bucket of texts for a fixed price.

    A typical text from a teen is about ten characters, how expensive is this to provide?

    TRACFONE ... are you listening?? Are you reading this blog?

  18. I had a low end Samsung smart phone with Tracfone for a couple years. Decided to upgrade to a "real" smart phone last week. I didn't realize my minutes (which I always had rollover due to mainly texting and rarely using the talk/data) were going to be divided up into separate data, talk, and text....now like others, I'm plssing through the texts real quick, and have 400 talk/data minutes. Not at all happy with this set up one bit. I'm going to just look into returning the phone if I can, getting my money and going with Virgin Mobile or StraightTalk I guess and getting an unlimited plan.

  19. You can get 1000 texts for Android phones for $10 no. I bought one on the tracfone website and 1000 texts were added almost instantly!

  20. Or folks could NOT text everyone on the planet announcing that they have just made a left turn onto main street.


Share your comment! All comments are briefly reviewed before posting.