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CNET Top 5: Reasons to go prepaid

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CNET Top 5: Reasons to go prepaid

3:59 /

Fed up with cell phone contracts and wondering if a prepaid phone is be the way to go? Here are the best five reasons to make your next phone no-contract.

Prepaid phones get a bad wrapped. It's probably because the industry has chewed the prepaid market as a dumping ground for phones you couldn't pay me to use. But they also take a PR hit every time Walter White needs to make phone call to take care some unsavory business. But things have changed. Instead of being the last refuge of the desperate, prepaid phones have recently became a great choice for those who are both tech savvy and money savvy. I'm Donald Bell, and this top 5 I'm coming down the best reasons to ditch your contract and go with a prepaid plan. Starting off at number 5: Cash Money. How many times does a cellphone bill over drafted your checking account? It's brutal not only you're minded of how much you're overpaying for your phone. But you have an over draft fee to pay on top of it. Prepaid phones keep things real simple. You pay upfront for what you get and if you wanna pay it by cash, check or credit card, that's up to you. Cash payment is also a way to kill off any papered trail. So whether you're a part-time pimp or maybe just live with an apple from an attic and you wanna keep your secret Android phone off the books, just walk into your local prepaid carrier and make it rain. At number 4: No Credit Checks. Maybe the real reason you wanna keep this phone off your credit card is because you can't be trusted with one anymore. By going prepaid, as long as you got the money upfront, you're good to go. Now, there are some exceptions. If you're not buying your phone hardware upfront by having a broken down into monthly payments, well then, yeah they're gonna check your credit. But if you can pay up front for your phone and your plan, there's nothing a man can do to shut you down. Coming in at number 3: Service you need it and money in your pocket when you don't. Not everybody needs a 4G smartphone 12 months out of the year. So whether you're having a way to the Cayman Islands or maybe a couple of months on Rikers Island, you can re- assured that you're not on the hook for a phone you don't need. Take a month to try or look at messenger pigeons or smoke signals. If it doesn't work out, you can just pick right up where you left off. The reason number 2 to go prepaid: Painless upgrades. You wanna upgrade to that latest phone? Go, buy it. Carrier doesn't support it? Change your carrier. If prepaid turns out not to your thing, just toss it aside and go with the standard postpaid contract plan. The point is, whether you're sick or maybe you've been burned by an awful phone or ruthless carrier, going prepaid gives you the ultimate freedom to change your mind. Now, before I get to the number one reason to get prepaid cellphone service to try, let's consider some reasons why it might not be right for you. You're often dealing with fewer store locations, fewer phones to choose from especially when it comes to hero phones like the Galaxy S4, less coverage and most of all, a higher upfront cost. There are no subsidies so you play the real price for your phone. For good smartphone, that could be $500 upfront or more. Kinda sucks. But it may all be worth it when you account for our number one reason to go prepaid: Lower lifetime cost. We ran the numbers on whether it would cost to have the Samsung Galaxy S3 on 2-year contract with Verizon, compared to prepaid with Metro PCS and for the same 2 years, the total savings is a little over a thousand dollars. Not chump change. Now, is the Metro PCS network is fast and robust as Verizon's probably not. Is it worth the extra thousand dollars in the shackles of a 2-year contract? Well, that's up to you. So there you go, five reasons to at least consider going with a prepaid cellphone plan. For more analysis, check out our senior editor Jessica Dolcourt's post on CNET's Dialed-in Blog called Prepaid or Postpaid, the fight for your cellphone dollars. And for more Top 5s like this, top5.cnet.com. I'm Donald Bell. Thanks for watching.
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