With credit checks, contracts, monthly device fees, and other hassles, setting up your internet at home can be a huge headache. So if you're looking for an easier way to get online, a prepaid internet plan might be your best bet.
Prepaid Internet plans are separate from a provider's standard plans and often have simple signup terms: no credit check, little to no upfront cost,no contractual obligations-- and direct and prepaid prices. Prepaid Internet is also separate from thisLow Income Internet Plansfor which there are no application requirements. The missing ofhigh speedsand total are often aDisadvantage of prepaid internet(aside from Verizon Fios; more on that below), but you might find slower speeds a fair compromise for simple,cheap internet service.
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The continued economic stress of inflation and the spread ofhomeworkand education, but more prepaid internet options would be idealhelmsman,Wires from VerizonmiXfinityThey are currently the only onesmain supplierswith prepaid plans. Hence, they make up the list of the best prepaid internet providers. Here's everything you need to know about prepaid home internet services.
Summary of the best prepaid internet plans
|plano||starting price||top speeds||equipment costs||monthly data limit||Contract|
|Cox Internetdirekt||50 $||100 Mbit/s Download, 5 Mbit/s Upload||$ 0||1,25 TB||none|
|Verizon Fios Prepaid||$ 40- $ 80||100-940 Mbit/s Download, 100-880 Mbit/s Upload||$100 upfront (you can skip)||none||none|
|prepago xfinity||$45, $15 for 7 days or $45 for 30 days after that||50 Mbit/s Download, 10 Mbit/s Upload||$35 in advance||1,2 TB||none|
The best prepaid internet plans
$40 - $100 per month
25 - 940 Mbit/s
Mostly cable, some fiber optic
1.25 TB monthly data plan, many plan options, exclusive add-on for games
- starting price: $50 per month plus taxes and fees
- top speeds: 100 Mbit/s Download, 5 Mbit/s Upload
- equipment costs: None
- Contract: None
Generally,helmsmanit's your bossInternet provider off. In addition toshow serviceand a 500Mbps plan, speeds are low while prices seem a bit high. That being said, the provider has a good prepaid internet plan (in addition todecent plugin for gamers).
Cox's prepaid internet plan, StraightUp Internet, is very simple when it comes to signing up and paying for internet service at home. No credit checks, device fees, or fixed-term contracts are required, and the $50/month price is good for three years.
Peak download speeds of 100Mbps aren't bad for $50 a month. Sure, the same amount gets you faster speeds with the standard Xfinity or Spectrum plans, but there's enough speed to support web browsing on your computer or smartphonetransmissionand online games. A wired connection offers the best speed and reliability, but the Wi-Fi router included with Cox StraightUp Internet can provide an adequate wireless connection for some users and devices.
Read our online review of Cox.
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$50 - $120 per month
300 - 2.000 Mbit/s
Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service
- starting price: $40-$80 per month plus taxes and fees
- top speeds: 100-940 Mbit/s Download, 100-880 Mbit/s Upload
- equipment costs: $100 (can be skipped) plus $100 setup fee, no monthly fee
- Contract: None
VerizonIt's the only major provider with multiple prepaid options, including a gigabit plan. Prices are about the same as Verizon Fios' standard plans, but the speeds of the two lower-tier plans are slightly slower (100 Mbps and 300 Mbps vs. 200 Mbps and 400 Mbps). After all, $40 a month for up to 100 Mbps, or $60 for up to 300 Mbps on one100% fiber connectionIt's a very good deal for a prepaid service if you can overcome the potentially high upfront costs.
Unlike Cox, Verizon Fios doesn't include equipment in the cost. Instead, customers must purchase the gear in advance for $100 or provide their own gear. Even if you buy your own compatible router (see our list ofThe best wireless routers), a $100 setup fee may still apply. The good news is that Verizon is waiving the cost of the first month of service when you purchase the device through Verizon.
The free month of service is nice, but one of the main advantages of prepaid services is how easy and often affordable it is to get started. With initial costs of up to 200 US dollars (purchase of device plus setup fee), Verizon Fios is one of the most expensive prepaid Internet providers, at least initially. If you can make it through the first month, the consistent speed and value of Verizon Fios prepaid plans might be worth the upfront cost.
Read our Verizon Fios review.
Wires from Verizon
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$20 - $300 per month
75 - 6.000 Mbps
Lots of plan options, strong customer satisfaction numbers
Combined discounts, free streaming content
- starting price: $45 for the first 30 days, $15 for 7 days, or $45 for 30 days thereafter
- top speeds: 50 Mbit/s Download, 10 Mbit/s Upload
- equipment costs: $35 upfront, no monthly fee
- Contract: None
Comcast's Xfinity Prepaid Internet comes with top speeds of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload, but you choose when and how to pay. With Xfinity Prepaid, you "top up" your Internet service on a weekly or monthly basis (read: prepaid).
As with Cox and Verizon Fios prepaid internet services, no credit check, deposit or contract is required to start using Xfinity Prepaid. All you need to sign up is your address, $35 to purchase equipment, and $45 for the first 30 days of service. After that, you can top up for seven days of service for $15 or, for the cheapest option, 30 days for $45.
The option to prepay for a week of internet is ideal for anyone, like students or visitors from abroad, who need service for a short time, or for those living on limited income who prefer to split their monthly internet. Cost in weekly payments. And if paying for internet service every seven days seems tiresome, be sure to sign up for Xfinity's automatic payment option (but remember to cancel if you move).
Read our Xfinity web review.
Watch it on CNET
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Frequently asked questions about prepaid internet
What is prepaid home internet?
Prepaid Internet is a prepaid Internet service that allows you to prepay for the next week or month to avoid fees and other terms and conditions that come with most standard Internet plans. Prepaid Internet tariffs usually do not require a credit check, down payment or installment payments.
Why Prepaid Internet?
Prepaid internet is best suited for those who prefer the usual terms of signing up for an internet service provider, such as an Internet service provider. B. credit checks and forward contracts. Speeds are generally slower than standard internet plans — the Cox and Xfinity prepaid plans offer maximum download speeds of 100Mbps and 50Mbps, respectively — but the easy signup and lower fees may make prepaid the most sensible Option for some families.
Do I need to qualify for prepaid internet?
The prepaid ISPs listed above, Cox, Verizon Fios, and Xfinity, have no special requirements or qualifications to sign up for prepaid services. Your address and the initial service cost is usually all you need to get started.