February 3, 2023

Tracfone Review: 23 Pros and Cons of Tracfone in 2023

Is Tracfone a Good Deal? Is it Worth It? - Top Pros and Cons for 2023

Tracfone Wireless has been around for more than 25 years and while plenty of things have changed about the company, they generally have always been focused on low-cost cell phone service.

But how do things look for Tracfone in 2023 and what are some of the potential drawbacks users might want to know about before signing up for their service? We've compiled a list of our top 23 pros and cons of Tracfone Wireless. 

Pros of Tracfone Wireless Prepaid Service:

  1. No contracts required
  2. Very affordable plans starting at just $10 per month (and even $99 for a year of service) (see our Cheapest and Best Tracfone Plans)
  3. Nationwide coverage on major networks (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile)
  4. 5G network access at no additional charge (where available - See coverage maps and more details)
  5. Flexible plan options and the ability to add airtime as needed
  6. Variety of Tracfone branded (locked) phones available at subsidized prices (List of Best Phones Under $100)
  7. Option to use almost any unlocked phone with Tracfone
  8. Manage your account online or on the app 
  9. No credit check required for activation
  10. Option to purchase international calling time
  11. Buy airtime and phones from many major retailers or a variety of online sources
  12. Unlimited carry-over for talk, text and data
Bonus: Get free airtime with Tracfone Rewards (Sign up using our code and get 10,000 points!)

The main benefit of Tracfone is that it is affordable and flexible. Plans are available for as low as $99/year, or even $15/mo for unlimited talk and text, and you can always switch to different airtime plans depending on your usage. Plus, airtime has unlimited carry-over, so what you don't use is automatically added to the next month.

Tracfone is also very easy to get started using - just buy a phone (or bring your phone), buy an airtime card, and activate it. There are no contracts, credit checks or forms to fill out.

But there are some drawbacks to Tracfone that we'll share now:

Cons of Tracfone Wireless Prepaid Service:

  1. Generally poor customer service - inconsistent, difficult to access and hard to understand
  2. No unlimited data plans available
  3. Not a good deal for high data users (extra data is $10 per 1 GB)
  4. Reduced network speeds during times of heavy network congestion
  5. Few premium phone options compared to postpaid carriers
  6. No international roaming options 
  7. Customers using AT&T or T-Mobile networks will likely have to switch to Verizon's network by the end of 2024.
  8. Limited mobile hotspot capability.
  9. Uncertain future due to Verizon acquiring Tracfone in 2021 (Verizon is working on consolidating the Tracfone family of brands)
  10. Tracfone website can be buggy and hard to use
  11. Must keep track of your airtime - if you run out, you will lose service until more airtime is added
One of the biggest complaints about Tracfone is their poor customers service. And while they have made a variety of changes and different ways to get support, there are still countless stories from customers spending hours, days or even weeks trying to fix a problem.

Additionally, with Verizon acquiring Tracfone in 2021, they will likely be shifting customers who are currently using AT&T or T-Mobile networks to Verizon's network by the end of 2024. And, Verizon is also planning to consolidate some of the Tracfone brands (such as Net10) in 2024 as well. We're not sure what this means for Tracfone yet.

While Tracfone service can be very cheap, it can quickly get expensive for anyone who uses a lot of data. There is no unlimited data option, and additional data is $10 per 1GB. For those that use more than a couple GB per month, there might be some better options, like some of the ones we list in our Best Alternatives to Tracfone post.

Is Tracfone a Good Deal in 2023?

For light users who don't use a lot of data, or just need a phone as a backup, Tracfone can be an excellent deal and is the cheapest option we can find. For some moderate users who are good at keeping track of airtime usage, it can also be a great deal, especially with some of their unlimited talk/text cards.

For those that use their phone more regularly, or especially use a lot of data, there are alternatives to Tracfone that offer a better deal for more data or even unlimited data. 

The bottom line is that Tracfone is a good deal for some people that learn to make it work for them, and are okay with the lack of good customer service. 


That's it for our Pros and Cons list. Leave a comment below with any thoughts or questions and also join us on Facebook to connect with our growing community and get the latest info.

Don't miss out on our monthly list of Tracfone Deals, Discounts and Sales which also include unlocked phones and Tracfone smartphones.

Keep up with the latest in 5G network access with Tracfone including 5G Coverage maps! And a list of Tracfone 5G phones.

If you're new to Tracfone, start with our Beginners Guide which shares helpful information about how it all works.

And finally view our Tracfone Promo Code list with codes to get discounts or free minutes when adding airtime!

Thanks for visiting!


Bouncin Barb S said...

We have been using tracfones for 20 years and love the cheap smart phone bundles from HSN and QVC, making our annual costs $50 to $80 for a whole year per phone. (Before smart phones, we supersized for a year of service) Never had a problem transferring the service to the new phones online. Deactivated phones are very useful as mini tablets.

Anonymous said...

Tracfone doesn't update the system software,so security problems are possible!!!!

JD said...

Your evaluation is very fair and reasonable. I have been a customer of Tracfone for over 14 years, but I am losing interest in keeping it. Why? Because it has lost that spirit of simplicity and value. Now, the plans seem to have far too many minutes and data that I do not need, and the monthly renewing plans are like the old days of being trapped in monthly phone bills. I admit that I am a very light user: based on the past 4 years of my records of usage, I have these averages/month = 82 MIN; 449 TEXTS; 307 MB. I could get a Tello plan that covers that for just $6/month, with no further complications, calculations, or commitments.

I still have 1+ years of service time left on Tracfone, but I am wondering at this point if I could be best served by Tello. Tello supports eSim, so a change would be easier. However, Tello currently as a very complex carry-over option for unused minutes and data--but I would be willing to forgo that, as I could adjust down to a plan that most closely matches my usage and even let some minutes and data go unused. I know I am an outlier, seeing the types of plans sold now--where people brag about paying $40 or $80 per month for phone service. But the truth is, the world is different now than in 2008 when I started Tracfone, and Tracfone's complexity has spiraled out of control since then. Tello has a simpler plan structure and does not thwart or make it difficult to be an extremely light usage customer. I think it is likely that Verizon (Tracfone's owner) does not want me as a customer anymore, and I might take the hint and switch.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Tracfone update system software with security updates???

Greenpia said...

Tracfone is THE worst. There are many other similar phone companies with better value and service. As Tracfone customer for about 15 years I have experienced everything.
When nothing goes wrong, Tracfone can be great, but when something goes wrong, it could take hours, days, or longer. Their customer service is just worst. Not agent themselves, but actual computer network system itself. Agents have no power except to work based on what they see on their computer.
As family of 5 and past owner of more than 20 phones and countless upgrades over past 15 years, I have experience 1. Carryover disappeared 2. Sudden loss of service 3. Min/Text/data becomes 000 overnight 4. Monthly service cancelled 4 times every 30 days... you name it, I experienced it.
One of recent problems, I have talk to Tracfone agent more than I talk to my parents in a year. I have spent so many hours on phone, my wife thought I was having an affair.
Tracfone's website and app is unbelievable for billion dollar company. It doesn't work half a times.
Take a look at reviews of Tracfone in HSN or QVC... They are mostly 1~3 stars. If I was Samsung, Motolora, HSN, or QVC, I would cancel it's relations with Tracfone.
I will definitely cancel all my service as soon I reach service expiration date.

Anonymous said...

I’m having so much problems with them to, my phone has not worked in four days and they still haven’t fix the problem.

Anonymous said...

Got on the MY ACCOUNT app to add airtime on 4/22/23.Didn't get it so I called tracfone. After giving my number and was asked for my imei number he asked for the sim number. Took out my sim card, gave the number then put it back in. Restarted the phone. Still didn't get it. Then he said that my sim was no good and had to buy a new one. Then he said that their system is going through maintenance and I need to call back tomorrow. My phone stopped working. I called the next day and they couldn't verify my acct . I had tracfone for 6 years. Even gave numbers and texts I did in the last 60 days and they were not in their system. I called 26 times.they kept saying the same things over and over again now I have a DEAD PHONE AND ACCT

Unknown said...

We've had Tracfone for maybe a decade with two phones, and we are now changing my wife's line over to Consumer Cellular.

My wife's Android gets service through AT&T. She has a plan with unlimited minutes, texts and 1 GB of data per month. She's had another 3 GB of carryover data available. Her data stopped working. She could not access her carryover data and whe was getting no new monthly data.

I called Tracfone and they said her AT&T SIM card was the problem. It was obsolete because Tracfone was quitting AT&T network use. We needed a new SIM card. I bought a new card from Walmart for Tracfone service on Verizon towers. (Remember, Tracfone is now part of Verizon.) The new card didn't work. Tracfone said there was an issue on their end but they fixed it. Repeatedly.

Then Tracfone sent us a new SIM card. It was for Tracfone service on T-Mobile towers. That card didn't work. Tracfone said there was an issue on their end but they fixed it. Repeatedly.

Then Tracfone said our two-year-old phone was incompatible and we needed a new phone. After many calls over a four-day span, five hours talking with customer help, and many failed attempts, do you think we should buy a new phone??? Of course not!

I have absolutely no faith in Tracfone customer service. They all read off a script. If it's not on the scrip, they're lost. Plus their internal system is so slow that I was repeatedly asked for a newly-texted security code. I eventually talked with several higher-level techs. They all came to different, wrong conclusions about what our issue was and that every previous tech I talked to was wrong. Well, they were all wrong.

BTW, we checked and the Verizon site says that my wife's specific phone was compatible with their network.

Tracfone's site is messed up at the moment so I can't even login to get our account info for the transfer. Once it's up again, my wife's phone will be saying adios. Mine, too, if she likes her new service.

Unknown said...

Two follow-ons to my comment from May 14.

First, we switched my wife's service from Tracfone to Consumer Cellular. It took three phone calls, primarily because TF was not releasing my wife's number. We had to get a CC rep involved. CC did a three-way call with T and me and got my wife's number released. My wife couldn't be happier.

Comparing CC to TF reps... It was clear the CC service reps knew their stuff and that they weren't just reading off a script. They got us set up with minimal hassle, even though it was late on Sunday afternoon / Mothers' Day. My wife was also very happy that she could understand what the CC reps were saying because they're located in the U.S.

Second, my TF account is now hosed. For a while I couldn't login. Now I can login online, but not through their app on my phone. When I get it, it says I have zero lines on my account. It still has my contact info, it shows my reward points, and my TF service still works. I called TF last night and they said they'd fix it, I'd get an email in 20 minutes, and a follow-up call in 30 minutes. None of that happened.

It looks like I'll use up my prepaid TF service and then switch over to CC. Just 900 TF minutes left to go. (How do I know if I can't access my account? I had to call the TF rep and ask.)

Anonymous said...

1 gig of data is $10 !!! Really ? After so many years I am out of this company. Switching to mint mobile. $30 a month unlimited. Bye - bye Tracfone.

Anonymous said...

I had trackfone service for years .then they told me my phone was no longer going to be in service because they were doing away with it so brought a Samsung galaxy A12 but when they activated it they transfer my old number but then wanted a code that didn't work .so I had a phone with no number and couldn't call out or in.So I brought another one a Samsung galaxy. Ultra 5 G from qvc .Trackfone could not activated the phone number said they would call in 15 mins.2 months went by and no call .I called again had a rude person and still not activated Everything switched over but the number said not registered to a network Told me they would fix it and call me back.They called back had put a Florida number on it . (I live in ky.)and said it works and rudely hung up.It still said not registered. So I'm sending it back to qvc.But probably too late to get a refund..

Doug Johnson said...

I am suspicious when I read so many negative comments re Tracfone. I have been using tracfone for over 10 some years and couldn't be happier. However, if you are not very good at shopping for minutes/service then probably not a good buy for you, y'all have to learn how to shop! Now having said, after verizon acquired tracfone I'm seeing the writing on the wall that tracfone is going away soon and I'll probably be looking for a new deal that's within my budget. verizon has no interest in keeping tracfone going, its not making them enough $$

Anonymous said...

Tracfone was at one time a good service it seems to me that all trouble started with Verizon acquired all the pay as you go phone service .Now it's over for my family C C will have it

Anonymous said...

I have used Tracfone in the past with no problems, but since they were acquired by Verizon, I’ve had nothing but problems. Their website is a mess, and phoning to get help is a lesson in futility. Recently bought a new Tracfone SIM and never did get it to work.
When I went online to activate it, I kept getting a message saying my phone was compatible, but I needed a new SIM card. Spent countless hours on the phone talking to several different people, none of whom could tell me why my SIM could not be activated. I even went out and bought a new SIM, but had exactly the same problem. And since I couldn’t activate the SIM card, I wasn’t able to use the plan I had purchased, which was of course non-refundable.

Anonymous said...

Been with them for 15 years. They went all automated. I can't buy smartphone add-ons without TracFone tricks. They flood you with choices that are all about getting you on their monthly Auto-subscription plan for a couple dollars less. They have my phone number and email address But they don't know who I am. I can't even chat with Chat person anymore. I constantly have to put in my identity over and over again to just do add-ons minutes. It's Nuts !!!

Anonymous said...

I have been a customer of tracfone for 15 years. I have read all the comments above and agree that tracfone has the worst customer service ever. Most recently I bought a new phone and a $200 package with unlimited voice and text and 24 Gigs of data. I did not request the old number be tranferred to the new phone, so i had the old phone with the $200 package and old number. When I asked to transfer the old number to the new phone, tracfone transfered the number. But they took away the $200 package. Two days on the phone and I just gave up. In my opinion tracfone not only has the worst customer service ever, but it is dishonest, effectively stealing $200 from me. I am done with tracfone. They are the worst business I have ever dealt with.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more..worst business ever..help lines can't help with S..t !!!

NWiln said...

I've been a Tracfone customer for over 20 years, before smartphones were invented. I'm a very light user and had accumulated over 5000 min. of talk time.
Recently I've noticed mobile service got worse. I could no longer connect from several places where I could connect before.

I got a new Tracfone SIM card and tried to transfer my service to it. I wrote down my figures for minutes, text and gigs. I had 5043 min. 5951 texts and 3.55 GB on my account. I phoned Tracfone tech support to move my account to the new SIM card. After a lot of wasted time I was escalated to a higher tech agent, and it still took repeated efforts to get the new SIM working.

A week later I checked with My Account app on the phone and found that I had 0 data, 0 texts and 90 min of time remaining on my account. I called Tracfone tech yesterday and spent more than 70 min. with incompetent and hard to understand agents, finally getting escalated to an agent who said don't worry, I will fix it. She said turn off the phone at least 10 min and it would be fixed when I started it up again. The result was that My Account now showa I have 179.88 MB data 180 min talk and 180 texts.

That's screwing me out of more than 5000 min, 5000 txts and 3.3 GB of data, with a replacement value of hundreds of dollars. I will report this shabby treatment to appropriate government agencies. One of Tracfone's most loyal customers is about to find another mobile provider. I can't take any more crappy Tracfone. Crapfone would be more accurate!

CHM said...

I had used TRacFone some years ago. I purchased another one for a backup phone. This company and the phones they sell to use their service with are crap. They need a -10 stars. I purchased one of their phones that uses Wi-Fi calling because my main purpose for the phone was simply to use as a phone locater or to use if my usual phone had problems and had to wait for the battery to charge or take it to get serviced or in-between that and another new phone. So I purchased a phone and a 90 day 60 minute card to get started. I have not ever used the phone outside of the house except to call the service people about this as I needed to be on my way. That was today.
Earlier today I had to use my TracFone while I was at home because I was using my other phone to talk to people at Priceline to make a reservation for a motel on a trip I was planning for. For some unknown reason, he couldn't make the transaction. I told him my card was fine and there was no hold on it. I had not received any info from the bank. I used the Tracphone to call the Bank and to verify that there was not problem with my card. I took quite a while to get to the correct person and had to wait. However, I kept him on my other phone and put the two phones together so they could speak to one another. The Priceline sales guy kept repeating the same questions. So it was quite a while I was on the phone. It should have all been going through the WIFI
since I was at home. I had checked the phone settings and it was on WiFi.
Later in the day I had problems with the voicemail pin. Even though I was putting in the correct pin it kept saying I was putting in double numbers which I was not. So I called on my usual phone to customer service with them. The agent there wanted to call me on my TracFone in order to allow me to talk to him while signing into my voicemail on my regular phone.I had noted before when I was driving trying to connect to the TracFone customer service that the aI said I had no minutes left, which none of them should have been used since I had been at home and the phone should have been using WIFI for calling. I told him he might not be able to call me on that phone. Sure enough, I waited 15 minutes and never got a call. So I called TracPhone customer service #. An oriental woman answered the phone with a thick accent. I tell her what the problem is and she proceeds to tell me that I have used all my minutes.I tell her again I know but it should have all my minutes since I have only been using WIFI She refuses to do anything and simply says I need to purchase new minutes. Over and over. Then I tell her since she can't help I want to speak to her supervisor since she can't help me. She refused saying that she is trained to help and has used all her resources and I just have to purchase more minutes. I am livid.