April 27, 2015

How to Buy Only Texts for your Tracfone Smartphone

Add More Text Messages to Your Tracfone Device

get more texts for tracfone
Get Extra Texts with a Text Airtime Card
For many of us, texting is our biggest drain of minutes on our Tracfone smartphone. And up until now, the only way to add more texts was by getting a card for more calling and data as well.

With Tracfone, you buy phones and prepaid minutes to allow you to make calls, send texts and surf the web on data. Tracfone sells a variety of prepaid cards, and each card adds more texts, data and calling minutes at the same time. However, with Android powered devices, your texts, data and calling minutes are split up, so you can run out of data or texts and have to buy more calling minutes to refill your data and texts, even if you don't want any more calling minutes.

But Tracfone has just added a new prepaid card you can purchase to add additional text messages to your phone. (available on the Tracfone site here and in many retail stores, including Target)

Now you can buy extra cards for data, or texts without spending more on calling minutes.

This is great news, especially as Tracfone offers more and more smartphones, including through their 4G LTE BYOP program. And remember that these data and text specific cards only work with smartphones.

Let's explain how each of these cards work, and how much it costs.

Buy Only Data or Text Messages for your Tracfone Smartphone

There are three kinds of prepaid cards you can buy from Tracfone to use with your smartphone:

Airtime Cards - available for all phones
Data Cards - only available with smartphones
Text Cards - only available with smartphones

buy text 1000 card
Text Refill Card available at Target
Airtime cards provide you with a certain number of minutes, as well as service days. Here is the list of card amounts and service days. Remember, all smartphones also receive Triple Minutes, which triples each of these cards when you add them to your phone.
  • 60 Minute Card comes with 90 service days (with a smartphone, split into 60 calling minutes, 60 texts, and 60 mb of data) - $20
  • 120 Minute Card come with 90 service days - $30
  • 200 Minute Card comes with 90 service days - $40
  • 450 Minute Card comes with 90 service days - $80
  • 400 Minute Card comes with 365 service days - $100
  • 1000 Minute Card comes with 365 service days - $160 (online only)
  • 1500 Minute Card comes with 365 service days - $200 (online only)
Data Cards will give you additional data, but nothing else, no additional service days are added. We would recommend trying to use your home or work WiFi that is free, rather than using data unless you need it. Here are the data cards available.

Please Note - These numbers have changes, and you can now get 1 GB for $10 on the Tracfone website
  • 300 MB - $10
  • 750 MB - $20
  • 2 GB - $50
And finally, Text Cards can be added to give additional text messages to your smartphone. Again, no additional service days are added. There is currently only one option for adding more texts to your phone.

Price reduced to $5 on Tracfone website
  • 1000 texts - $10  Now $5!
At first glance, 1000 texts for $10 looks like a good deal, but is it? Let's break it down.

Comparing the Cost Per Text for Airtime and Text Cards

texts for tracfone android
Tracfone Airtime Card
Is it cheaper to buy an Airtime card or a Text card to refill your Texts?

If you buy the 60 Minute Airtime card, you will get 60 texts, which is automatically tripled to 180 on all smartphones (you also get 180 calling minutes, and 180 mb of data, plus 90 days of service) for $20. This works out to just over 11 cents per text - not great.

But if you got the 450 Minute Airtime card you will get 450 texts, tripled to 1350 for $80. This comes to about 6 cents per text, which is better, but not great.

What if you went for the 1500 Minute Airtime card which gives 1500 texts, tripled to 4500 for $200. You would be paying 4.4 cents per text.

And what does the 1000 texts for $10 come to per text? 1 cent per text. Let's put all the number together:

60 Minute Card = 11 Cents per Text
450 Minute Card = 6 Cents per Text
1500 Minute Card = 4.4 Cents per Text
1000 Texts Card = 1 Cent per Text

As you can clearly see, if you only need text messages for your phone, the special text card is the best deal. But if you need additional calling, data or service days, the 1500 Minute Card is the next best deal.

So what should you do if you need just a few calling and data minutes, plus service days, but go through texts quickly? Try this setup:

Join the Tracfone Family Value Plan which is $10 for the first user, and $6 for each user after that. You get 50 minutes, plus 30 service days each month, and additional users get 40 minutes.

So you would have 150 Calling minutes, 150 mb of data, and 150 texts for $10 per month. Then you can buy the text refill card, which would give you 1000 texts for just $10. You would have a total of 1150 texts per month, for just $20. And other users could do the same.

This is a great option for families with teenagers who will mostly use text messages.

We hope this analysis is help for you if you're comparing airtime cards. Drop us a comment below if you have questions, or additional insight to share.

Be sure to take a look at our Tracfone BYOP page, which now includes 4G LTE devices like the iPhone 6, that you can use with Tracfone.

You may also be interested in our Android Tracfone List which shares a summary of each of the smartphones available from Tracfone.

And don't forget about our Tracfone Promo Code page, even though you can't use them with Android phones, you can still use them for all the other devices.

Thanks for visiting!

63 comments :

John Hufnagel said...

Great info... Now what smartphone does Tracfone offer with WiFi available? Thanks.

Hoody said...

Great for the "prolific" cellphone users, what I need is the service days, I don't do a lot of phoning/texting, I do use the data somewhat outside the home away from my WIFi. What I'd like to see is a separate service time card.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Now please add larger quantity text cards for even cheaper per text. How about 5000 texts for $20?

Disgruntled College Grad said...

All of the smartphone on tracfone have wifi and bluetooth

Anonymous said...

That's essentially what Tracfone is at it's core. You can't get cell service any cheaper than about $8.50 a month. You pay about $100 a year for having the number itself and service, if you don't use it then no worries, you're still getting an incredible deal for basic service.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Text only Card triples????

Anonymous said...

I does not triple and it does not add service days. The 1000 texts do not expire as long as service is active

Anonymous said...

The above link for the text only card takes you to tracfone, but I see no text only card available on their site. Has anyone actually been able to find or buy these cards? Thanks!

Peter Vanosdall said...

It seems as though it has disappeared. Perhaps it will return?

Linda Pierce said...

I purchased 5 two nights ago, and they appeared on my phone immediately, 5,000 texts only. Went back the next day to get more, and it the option was gone. I hope they do come back...I have thousands of calling minutes and tons of data, but run out of texts all the time. I did get a free texting app for a while, which uses up the data, but it was sort of a pain to have 2 separate phone numbers, couldn't get people to use the texting phone number.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the card listed on the site available for purchase a few days ago, but now when I visit the site to purchase one, it is not listed. I have emailed Tracfone but have not gotten a reply yet. Does anyone know anything about this, or know if the text only cards are available in stores? I very much hope these cards will remain available and were not just a marketing trick to get customers to switch to Tracfone but then force them to purchase additional minute plans when they ran out of texts!

Anonymous said...

I called TF today (tedious, very tedious) and the CS person who I finally reached took a while to acknowledge that there indeed were text only cards, that there are none now, and suggested I check back once a week or so to see if they re-appear. He said they weren't informed when they first were available, and weren't informed when they were removed, and had no idea if or when they might re-appear.

Shanda Leer said...

Wow, so the text card was only available for 8 days?!

Anonymous said...

I so wish I had purchased when I saw it. Just paid 80 bucks for 1350 texts. Darn. Really hope it comes back,,,, too good to last I guess.

Anonymous said...

Tracfone, please fix this and put the cards back.

James Nason said...

Yeah that'd be great, Not sure why they would keep them up for such a short time unless they figured out it was too cheap and they would lose money's on their other card sales.

Anonymous said...

If they're thinking straight, they'd realize that the revenue from the basic service at $100 per year won't change, and extra texting revenue is revenue they're losing to free services that use wifi. You can get basic cell service from other carriers for under $400 a year with unlimited calls and texting, and perhaps 4g service and better roaming, so if you have to buy more texts by buying another year of service at $100 for only 1350 texts, the entire concept of Tracfone being affordable goes out the window.

An entire market segment is opened up for Tracfone if they continue the text only cards, if not my family which has been on Tracfone for years will have to leave and get a family plan elsewhere as my teenagers don't call, they text. They refuse even to do email, it's text only and they do thirty a day. The 0.01 cost per text has to be more than Tracfone would be paying to Verizon, Verizon gives it away for free to it's regular customers.

If a teenager sends 30 texts a day, then my cost for his phone service is $220 a year (quite a bit higher than my phone, and dangerously close to the cost of cheap unlimited cell service on a family plan from another carrier). Tracfone at a minimum needs to give us 0.01 texts and better yet would be 0.005 cost text. If this doesn't change then we'll be shopping elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The text card is back up on Tracfone.com today (I was checking every day since it initially disappeared). Bought it twice and it worked both times almost immediately on my Moto E.

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Bought 2000 texts today.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the cards came back. I bought three cards yesterday evening for $30 and by the time I signed off I had the 3000 texts. And it can't get better than .01 a text.

Anonymous said...

i saw a commercial for the samsung galaxy stardust phone tonight on tv and i went to the website to check if the 1000 texts for $10 cards were back and they were and i bought 3 =3000 texts. they should last me about 5 months. my service end date is 2023, 8 yrs away. you don't even want to know how many minutes i have (that i don't even use since i prefer to text)

Anonymous said...

The text only option will be great for my son! I plan on eventually adding him to my plan, but until then, this is an affordable way to allow him to have texts. He usually uses them up before anything else anyway! Kudos to tracfone!

Anonymous said...

WHY doesn't the text only card triple just like the others do? My phone has triple minutes for life and if I buy a 1500 minute card, it triples for all three "buckets"... phone, data, AND texts, so why not this text only card??? Has anyone called tracfone about this? I'm about to... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

to Anon June 8

Clearly you didn't pay attention to the detail in the article above. The new text only card without tripling is way less money per text than any of the regular cards that do triple.

Sure, if Tracfone wants to give us three texts for a penny, I'm all in! But this text only card already is so much cheaper than any previous option, I just can't understand why you're complaining.

Anonymous said...

I "clearly" did pay attention as I was not questioning the value of the text only card but the fact that Tracfone is not honoring the terms of the contract with me on the phone I purchased...namely, TRIPLE MINUTES FOR LIFE. Just because it's a good value doesn't negate this obligation. Clearly that must not be important to you.

Jamie T said...

I bought one today - it is only available for smartphones. Go to Add Air Time. You have to scroll down a bit to find it.

Anonymous said...

OK, not to be angry and do all caps but your post says "TRIPLE MINUTES FOR LIFE". So there you go, texts are not minutes. Data is not minutes. So no problem with your (and my) contract. And I don't work for Tracfone btw.

Anonymous said...

Then why does Tracfone triple the texts and data on the 1500 minutes card example I referenced? They are being inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

OK, we'll agree it's inconsistent. But let's not mess up a good thing.

Mariah Stout said...

I have a smart phone tracfone. So does that mean that when i put on a card for 60 minutes does it tipple to 180 for each categorie?

Anonymous said...

So i have a smartphone tracfone. So when i put on a 60 minutes card and it is supposed to tripple to 180minutes, will it triple and put 180 minutes into each categorie?

Anonymous said...

Yes, but they don't triple the text only card.

Anonymous said...

This guide is great for text only people, but it does leave out the "other buckets". You're not paying 11 cents per just text, it's 11 cents for 3 units of each (min/text/data) Essentially, looking at it's division, it will now cost less per minute and more per text than non-android phones (though about half/half of trac-phones metered talk time, while others subtracted minutes by the whole. So, for some, this isn't entirely true).

An example: the 60 min card (tripped) gives you 180 units in each bucket. So, each unit separately costs 3.7 cents per unit. This actually means that minutes are now cheaper (like I said, depending on metered or whole min cost), but texts are more expensive, but not by much. I mean I suppose you could look at it as 11cents a text with bonus free minutes and data. An Awkward trade off, but still less painful than 11cents and still pretty cheap nonetheless. If you're a text only person, this guild is by all means the best possible outcome for you. But I occasionally like to hear peoples voices... okay one person... Okay, it's my mama.

Ps, Smart shoppers won't forget bonus codes. This can lower the cost per unit at least a cent!

Anyhow, it really is a great guide. Been fallowing for years, you guys really know how to patch up a wallet. Keep it up! <3

Anonymous said...

Will have to purchase text what a deal

Anonymous said...

I thought Smart Phones were unable to use the 'bonus codes' ?

Anonymous said...

It triple all '3' categories (minutes, text, data) forever as long and you keep it current, and your service days rollover too, if you add more minutes before your current end date. Tracfone smart phone and BYOP phone

Personal Private said...

any 2015 Moto X Style Pure Edition using BYOP?

Anonymous said...

I do not see this available on their web site any longer?

Unknown said...

So I just got a trac phone because Ill be out for a week, how many texts will a 10$ card get me? Answer asap please

Unknown said...

1,000 texts

contrarian said...

1,000 texts

Unknown said...

Can you purchase the text only cards in a store?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen the text only cards in walmart or dollar general, but those are the only two places I have looked for them. I think I read on line recently that text only cards were seen in Target.

Anonymous said...

It's only avb. with a smartphone or BYOP plan.

Marilyn said...

Found it!

https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchase?payGo=true&app=TRACFONE&lang=en

Scroll down a little more than half way

Anonymous said...

No. It does not.

Anonymous said...

I ran out of texts, so I bought the 1000 texts card. I am disappointed that the only people that receive texts from me now are other tracfone customers - friends on other networks can only receive texts from me if i have texts on a regular airtime card. Defeats the purpose for the text only card.

Anonymous said...

From the website it is only available to be added directly to the phone, under smartphone tab. You can purchase them in Target back in the phone section for $10.00 per card.

Anonymous said...

The cards are only available in Target. They are on the website under airtime- smartphone & byop only plans-pay as you go- last white card (1000 texts only) before the cards turn blue. The text will be directly added to whatever phone number is entered. No card will arrive in the mail.

Anonymous said...

they are still online, under airtime- smartphone and byop only plans, then it is the last white card before the cards turn blue.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a glitch. I have been buying text only cards for months and friends on other networks have no problems receiving my texts.

Anonymous said...

Super helpful analysis/breakdown, thank you!! This is exactly what I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

Whatsapp is a free text app. You can also use it to call internationally. And utvus free!

Anonymous said...

They are there, last card in the stack on their website and Walmart now has them, I bought two there yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I've looked at Walmart and walmarts website and was not able to find the card...

Texts Only said...

Wow, that's cheap. I pay 14 pence (UK) per text on T-mobile!

Anonymous said...

Why can't I send a picture through text? When I receive on it won't download. I have an LG.

TTT said...

Please help! I just activated my new tracfone LG Sunrise L15G a few days ago. I thought I would be able to send and receive texts "for free" (i.e. without deductions from my tracfone balance) using my home Wifi and the texting app "Hangouts." So yesterday I set up gmail and Hangouts, changed my default message app to Hangouts (instead of "Messaging") and sent and received a bunch of texts. I checked my balance before and after. The texts have been deducted from my balance. Any advice/suggestions? Thanks, Tommy

TTT said...

Can I send /receive texts for free (i.e. without deductions from my tracfone balance) using Wifi and the app Hangouts?? It did not work for me. Please help!

Noah McNeill said...

Use a messaging app like nextplus or Facebook messenger on your data, instead of texts when you can. A data card should make sending messages via data cheaper than the 1000 text card.

Unknown said...

$5 for 1000 texts? Yup, bought it today and only additional charge was sales tax. That works out to 1/2 cent per text. I don't even hesitate to text multiple times at that rate

CQ said...

I just went to the Tracfone website and checked my balances. I noticed that my balances are listed as Voice Minutes, Data MBs, and text SMS's. How are MMS messages deducted? Data? Thanks.

Peter Vanosdall said...

Exactly, MMS deducts data based on how much data it takes to download or upload the message.