time icon 6 min read update icon Nov. 26, 2019
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TracFone is a well-known wireless company that offers a variety of prepaid cellphones. 

Our technology-driven society has caused almost everyone to feel they need to have a cellphone. Staying away from one is difficult. You can still use a regular home phone, paying for calls and the line, but the advantage of a cellphone is the ability to make calls while away from home. Signing up for a long-term contract is restricting and costly. Basic phones that allow you to purchase your minutes ahead of time are ideal for many seniors. 

You pay for what you use and nothing more. It’s easy to refill your phone online or with a card containing a bulk number of minutes. For seniors who don’t make many calls or want the option to text or surf the web, TracFone offers airtime packages that allow talk, text and data, or some combination of these services. If you are looking for a cellphone plan, check out TracFone.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 10/10
Warranty 8/10
Ease 10/10
Cancellation 9/10
Customer support 8/10
Equipment cost 6/10
International calls 9/10
Music 8/10
Video 8/10
Coverage 7/10
What is the monthly fee?
There is no monthly fee. You purchase airtime to use the phone
How easy is it to return?
If you purchase your phone online, you can return it within 30 days
Is the product easy to use?
TracFones are very easy touse. Just purchase, activate and add airtime
Can I cancel my plan?
If you don’t want to use the plan, simply stop purchasing airtime
Customer support
Ease of access
Call customer support 8 AM-11:45 PM EST Mon-Sun
Equipment cost
How much are the phones?
Phone prices start at $69. The most expensive phone is over $1,000
International calls
Can I make international calls?
Basic International calling comes with the phone
Can I get music with my plan?
Yes, if you have a compatible smartphone
Can I stream videos?
Yes, if you have a compatible smartphone
Is coverage nationwide?
You will need to check on the website for coverage in your area
Age Score:
50-64 Years
65-74 Years
75-84 Years

Younger seniors will find using a basic TracFone to be very easy. For seniors who have experienced some hearing loss, it is important to note that many of the phones offered by TracFone are hearing aid compatible. Because most cellphones have small screens, using one is more challenging should the senior be experiencing vision loss.

If a senior is having cognitive problems and memory loss, he or she may find using a cellphone to be difficult. For example, if the senior is having short term memory loss, he or she may remember a phone that looks nothing like a cellphone. In this case, assistance from a family member or friend may be required.

Health Score:
Great Health
Good Health
Fair Health
Poor Health

Seniors in excellent health will most likely be maintaining an active lifestyle, and will find a cellphone to be of great value. Cellphones are perfect for connecting on the go. However, as we age and our health declines, using a cellphone could become difficult. Basic flip phones have number pads that can be difficult to use if there are dexterity issues or arthritis.

Smartphones, on the other hand, use touch to activate programs, enter digits, and send texts. This would be much easier to navigate with arthritis. A senior who may be suffering from dementia will most likely need assistance when setting up and using a cellphone.


  • Pay only for airtime you use.
  • No credit checks, activation fees or monthly bills.
  • Phones are very reasonably priced; the most expensive is $150.
  • Download ringtones, graphics, games and other services if you have a compatible phone.
  • Check your minutes and/or service days online or by phone.
  • Bring your own phone and use it with the service if it is compatible.
  • TracFone offers a one-year warranty against phone defects under normal use.


  • No international texting.
  • Even if you have not used all of your minutes, you must purchase more airtime if your service end date is approaching to keep your service active. Unused minutes will be carried over. When you purchase airtime, you are purchasing service days.
  • The website has many links that don’t work, which makes it difficult to find what you are looking for.

Bottom Line:

Unlike similar services that provide reduced cost phones and plans, TracFone is truly prepaid, which means you don't need a credit check and there is no activation fee. You simply buy minutes. What is confusing is that when you purchase airtime, you are also purchasing service. For example, if you buy 120 minutes of airtime, you have purchased 90 service days. Then, if you reach your service end date and have used all of your airtime, your service will terminate. You must purchase more airtime to keep your service active. 

The company regularly offer deals for phones on its website, so if you keep checking, you could pay even less than the standard prices. This is a perfect service for those who are not constantly on their phones, who make calls and use text, and who possibly use data on a semi-regular basis and need to have a phone handy. The Better Business Bureau has given TracFonean A+ rating. For a truly prepaid service, it is at the top of the heap.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the coverage area of service? 

TracFone states it has nationwide coverage. However, some of that coverage is LTE and some is 3G (slower). There are places where there is no coverage at all. The type of phone you have can make a difference.

Does the company offer a payment plan on devices? 

Yes, TracFone offer a plan called SmartPay, which does require a credit check. Monthly payments are automatically deducted from your debit account.

What is the process for refilling my account?

You can refill your account with airtime on the TracFone website, or purchase airtime cards. When you purchase airtime, you are purchasing service days.

More Information:

Product Details

Overview: TracFone offers prepaid cellphones that require no contract, and come with no extra costs. You simply purchase airtime before your service end date to keep the phone active. 

Package Details: TracFone offers several styles of phones, from basic flip phones to smartphones. Phone manufacturers include Samsung, LG, Apple and Alcatel. If you choose a basic device for phone calls only, you pay for airtime to make calls. The smallest card available is 30 minutes for $10. This buys 30 service days.  

If you choose a smartphone, there are various plans that include minutes, texts and data. The smallest plan of this type is $15, which includes 200 minutes for phone calls, 500 texts and 500 MB of data. The most expensive card includes 1,500 minutes for calls, 1,500 texts, and 1.5 GB of data. This plan costs $125 and provides 365 service days. 

Other Services: The company offers reasonably-priced insurance to cover the phone if it is damaged.

Additional Company Details

Contract Details: There is no contract to sign with TracFone. You simply purchase a phone, activate it and add airtime to be used for calls. You can use your own phone if it is compatible with TracFone. 

Warranty:  You can return a phone in its original packaging within 15 days if you purchased it at a retail store. If purchased on the phone or online, you can return a phone within 20 days. TracFone also offers a one-year warranty on its devices. 

Accreditations: TracFone’s office in Miami is BBB accredited and has an A+ rating. Be sure to check the BBB listing for the store in your town if you are thinking of making a local purchase. 

Company Details:  TracFone Wireless, Inc.was founded in 2000, and is a subsidiary of America Móvil, a Mexican telecommunications company. The world headquarters are in Mexico City. It is one of the largest corporations in the world, and is a Forbes Global 2000 company. It operates in other Latin American and Caribbean countries (Jamaica, Dominican Republic, countries in Central America and South America) under its Claro subsidiaries. America Móvilalso owns portions of companies in the Netherlands and Austria. 

As of 2012, America Móvil was one of the largest companies in Mexico, with assets of over $67 billion. In the U.S., America Móvil also operates under NET10 Wireless, Straight Talk, SafeLink Wireless, SIMPLE Mobile, Total Wireless and Telcel América companies. Worldwide, the company has 289.5 million customers. 

TracFone has had some charges levied against it by the Federal Trade Commission regarding its promise of “unlimited” data service, and the promise to unlock phones of customers enrolled in the FCC’s Lifeline program. These cases have been resolved.


TracFone Wireless, Inc.
9700 N.W. 112th Ave.
Miami, FL 33178
Tel: 800-867-7183

Donna McDurfee - Senior Advisor

Donna is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.