Which offers more savings?
Balancing your budget surely involves your cellphone bill whether you are using the prepaid SIM cards or postpaid plans.
It is rare to find a person in the metro who doesn’t use a phone, especially that 60 million Filipinos are internet users. Some even have two mobile phones. It is no wonder that we are tagged as the fastest-growing market for smartphones in an International Data Corporation (IDC) survey.
Every day I ride the MRT and jeepneys, I see people holding their phones scrolling up and down. Others seem to talk to themselves loudly. Until you see their Bluetooth headset and realize that they are in a call. I have seen people suddenly blurted uncontrollable laughter as they watch funny videos on YouTube. And of course, there will be gamers everywhere playing Mobile Legends, Clash of clans or Everwing.
Bottom line: We are active users of telecom services which are eating away a chunk of our budget.
How much are you spending a month? Is it your best financial option?
What is Prepaid?
Prepaid indicates that you have to pay first the service before you can use it. Usually, we already have a handset before we purchase a SIM card. Unlike in other countries, you can legally buy SIM cards anywhere you go.
Most of us even have phones which have dual SIM slots. This gives us the freedom to have two active prepaid cards at the same time. Just buy prepaid loads to use services equivalent to its amount.
What is Postpaid?
Postpaid is the term used within the context. You are paying the service after you have used it. Usually, it comes with a plan inclusive of various limited services such as a certain amount of data, minutes of calls and number of texts.
This involves a legal contract and you will need valid government IDs, proof of billing and proof of income to avail it.
Round 1: Duration
Ever tried registering for a promo with prepaid using mobile load? Depending on the description, it can last a day, a week or a month. Make sure to take note of the expiration. If you continue to use the service beyond the expiration date and time, you will be charged with regular fees.
Let’s say you registered GOTSCOMBODD70 on your Globe SIM Card. You get 1GB data and unlimited SMS to all network for a week. My friend uses this promo, but whenever she forgets to turn off her data after its expiration, it eats up her regular load.
On the other hand, postpaid is more like a loan. You can use or buy services now, then pay on a later date. With this round, I think it is for postpaid. I use the postpaid plan for data in my pocket Wi-Fi. Every day I travel across Metro Manila but I have no time to load up frequently. So my best option is just to pay up once a month
If you are too busy to pay on or before the due date, you can pay it through bank account automation or online banking.
Round 2: Invoice
When buying prepaid load, you just go to a loading station, key in your number and choose your promo code. Will it be All Txt 10, All Out Surf 50, or just a regular load? Pay up and you are good to go. There will be no bill.
With postpaid, you will get a bill each month. Whether it be printed on paper or sent through email, you can use it as a proof of billing. A lot of financial institutions accept bills from telecoms as a valid proof of billing.
It is easy to apply for a postpaid account. If you are eyeing to get a loan from any registered money lenders and banks, then this is a good start. Obviously, this round is for postpaid.
Round 3: Plans
Prepaid has fixed registered plan charged on real-time. After you register, the applicable amount is deducted from your regular load. The promo lasts until it expires or you have used up the services it offers. Let’s say you registered for 2GB data usable for a week. If you used it up regardless of the remaining days, then the regular load will be charged.
This can bring a real-time impact on your wallet. In case you used up your load you can’t use its services anymore. Of course, you can get a load through a loan. Let's say you availed a Php 3 load. You have to pay it with Php 4 on the next loading up.
Postpaid services are flexible. You will be charged with a premium but you can still use some services even if you have gone beyond its limit. You will not fee much impact on your finances until your bill comes.
I think this round is for prepaid. Since prepaid is fixed, you can easily track your expenses. If you have a fixed budgeted amount for your load, then you can just get a promo that fits it.
Failure to monitor your use of postpaid services can lead to bill shock.
Round 4: Changeability
Change your prepaid SIM network and plans anytime you want. You can buy SIM cards in convenience stores or almost on any street. You can even purchase in malls’ entrances. If you want to change your number or you have lost the old one, then get a new card anytime. Changing a network provider is also easy. Just insert your new SIM to your phone and you are good to go.
The postpaid plan has a lock-in period. If you want to change your number, then you need to contact the service provider. In addition, you can’t change your network provider throughout the lock-in period which is six months to two years. If you are not satisfied with the services and you want to cut the contract, you will be penalized.
The winner for this round is prepaid for its flexibility.
Round 5: Phones
Prepaid does not have plans with options to buy a smartphone. This is fine if you already have a phone and you want to keep it. Postpaid offers plans which are tied up with a brand new smartphone. This is also great since purchasing a smartphone through installments makes it more affordable. The last round is a tie.
Should it be prepaid or postpaid?
Prepaid and postpaid has its advantages and limitations. In the end, what you have to ask yourself is your purpose.
Are you just getting a postpaid plan because your workmates all have it? Or maybe you want to have an easy access to a proof of billing for other legal transactions?
If you use a lot of services for personal needs or business purposes go for postpaid connection. Otherwise, opt for a prepaid connection.