Pay-As-You-Go Plans

These differ from prepaid plans in that, pay-as-you-go plans typically have a set price the customer pays each month for a certain number of minutes, much like post-paid. Pay-as-you-go is similar to prepaid, however in that each month of service is paid for in advance, usually by automatic payment from a debit card or through the purchase of the same refill cards used for prepaid service.

Unlike post-paid plans, the pay-as-you-go option does not subject new customers to credit checks or contracts, but it does offer a wider variety of options than a prepaid plan. Most pay-as-you-go plans offer customers the option of additional features such as unlimited messaging and mobile Internet.

On the downside, though, the independent pay-as-you-go service providers, such as Jitterbug and Cricket, tend to offer the smallest coverage areas of any of the cell phone providers. Despite Jitterbug offering unlimited text and calling for under $50, the service is available only in select markets and areas.

Pay-as-you-go is the most advantageous type of plan for college students with credit issues, and those who do not wish to pay a deposit or sign a contract. Before signing up for this type of service, however, it is important to check that it is available in your local area, as well as any locations you travel to often.