How to Activate TracFone

Three Parts:Finding a TracFoneSetting Up an AccountCompleting Test Calls

TracFone Wireless is a prepaid cell phone service located in the United States and outlying territories.[1] You can use an unlocked CDMA phone or buy a TracFone model through the company itself. Activating this phone requires you to set up an online account and make several test calls.

Part 1
Finding a TracFone

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    Purchase a TracFone through the TracFone website. If you don’t currently have a phone, you can go to the website to buy a prepaid phone that includes double or triple minutes for life. Prices are between $10 and $120.
    • These models will need to be shipped to you, and will require an advanced purchase to activate.
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    Shop at a TracFone retailer to purchase your phone and prepaid wireless plan. The TracFone website also allows you to search by zip code to find a licensed retailer. Many box stores, such as Sears, Safeway and RadioShack carry TracFone models.
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    Use an unlocked CDMA phone. As of December 2013, you can bring your own phone to the TracFone prepaid wireless program. Sprint and Verizon phones run on the CDMA system, while former AT&T and T-Mobile phones work on the GSM system and can’t be used.[2]
    • Go through the process of unlocking your CDMA phone before you try to activate TracFone. You may need to call your former wireless country and/or cancel a contract to do this.

Part 2
Setting Up an Account

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    Go to TracFone’s website. Find the “Activate Phone” link on the home page.
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    Type in your account information, including your name, address and email.
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    Type in information about your TracFone model. Turn on your phone and find the IMEI in the phone’s settings. It may also be in other documentation with the phone.
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    Click on the account options. Choose to get a new number, to switch your number or to transfer your number from another company. Press “Submit.”[3]
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    Purchase a prepaid wireless plan with your credit card if you haven’t already. If you purchased a TracFone wireless prepaid card, enter the information from the back on this screen and press “Submit.” Make sure to include texts and data in your plan if it applies to your phone.
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    Click the “Activate” button to ask TracFone to activate your number and phone. This process may be instant but it can take up to 24 hours.

Part 3
Completing Test Calls

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    Turn your phone on if you haven’t already. Ensure you are in the local area that will be the main location for your phone use. The test call will establish that this location will not be eligible for roaming charges.
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    Place a call by typing the number into your phone. Call the number and wait for it to go through. Although the call will not be completed, it will activate your phone.
    • Call TracFone Wireless if the phone says, “Roam” or “Roaming” on the main menu. The local area may not be properly set up. Call 1-800-867-7183.
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    Call your TracFone cell phone number on a landline. End the call quickly so that your plan does not deduct minutes. Your phone should be activated.[4]
    • If this activation process does not work immediately, wait 24 hours for your phone to be activated.
    • Call customer service if your phone does not activate through this process within 24 hours of setting up your account.

Things You'll Need

  • Unlocked CDMA phone
  • TracFone wireless phone
  • TracFone wireless prepaid card
  • Credit card

Article Info

Categories: Cell Phones