How to Add Minutes to Your Free Cell Phone

It’s a cellular world and we all depend on our cell phones. Sometimes they seem to be glued to our ears from the moment we wake up until the moment we climb into bed and drop off to sleep. In other words, it’s pretty easy to eat up a lot of minutes every month.

Since the various Lifeline Assistance companies only offer between 250 and 1000 free minutes every month, it’s not surprising that many Lifeline customers end up needing extra minutes every month. That’s why one of the most often asked questions we get here at is, “How do I add minutes to my free government cell phone?”

We held a meeting with our research department. We told them we wanted to write comprehensive information that would quickly and clearly tell everyone with a free government cell phone how to add minutes to their account. We told them to search the internet, to make phone calls, to send emails, to do whatever it takes to track down the official “How to add minutes” policies from all the biggest companies that participates in the Lifeline Assistance program. They brought us all the information and we put together this comprehensive compendium of minute-adding information.

Keep in mind that five major companies dominate the Lifeline Assistance business and that they conduct business on a nearly national scale. In addition, another dozen or so smaller, regional companies are also included in this compendium.

How to buy extra Safelink/Tracfone Wireless minutes / Safelink/Tracfone Promo Codes
How to buy extra Assurance Wireless minutes
How to buy extra ReachOut Wireless minutes
How to buy extra Budget Mobile minutes
How to buy extra Assist Wireless minutes
How to buy extra Cintex Wireless minutes
How to buy extra StandUp Wireless minutes
How to buy extra Wireless for Hope minutes
How to buy extra Yourtel Wireless minutes
How to buy extra Terracom Wireless minutes
How to buy extra Care Wireless minutes
How to buy extra FreedomPop minutes
Another great option: The Airfair Card

How to buy extra Budget Mobile minutes

Budget Mobile is another rapidly-growing free government cell phone company and it currently offers plans in 30 states and is expanding into an additional 17 more states and Puerto Rico. Here is how they outline their “How to Add Minutes” policy:

Talk and text all you want on your Budget Mobile Lifeline phone. If you run out of minutes or text messages, simply purchase more on-line with a click of a few buttons!

There are NO pins to enter. Minutes are automatically added to your account once your purchase is complete.

Budget give you options of adding 100, 250 or 400 voice minutes; 1000, 2000 or 4000 texts; 50, 125 or 200 mms messages; and 100, 250 or 400 Megabytes. (NOTE: The company’s data plans are only available to customers with a Budget Mobile Data phone.)

How to buy extra Life Wireless minutes

Life Wireless now offers Lifeline Assistance free government cell phones in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

If you’re a Life Wireless customer, it’s simple to add minutes by filling in an easy-to-understand form found on the company’s website. Just enter your cell phone number, click, and you’ll be taken to another page where you can make your purchase.

Although the five biggest companies have millions of customers, dozens of smaller companies give them plenty of competition. Let’s take a look at the “How to Add Minutes” policies some of the most significant regional companies:

How to buy extra Assist Wireless minutes

Assist Wireless competes for your Lifeline Assistance business in three states (Arkansas, Maryland and Oklahoma) and says it will soon expand into California, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The company’s website doesn’t offer any specific information on adding minutes, but does offer a link for existing customers that says, “Reload minutes now”. Customers are required to enter an account number and password.

How to buy extra Cintex Wireless minutes

This smaller free government cell phone company offers Lifeline Assistance plans in Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island and West Virginia. The company’s website says the following about it’s how-to-add-minutes policy:

1. Customer Phone Number

Enter your 10-digit phone number in the field below.

2. Select Your Talk, Text, and Data Package

Talk & Text

We provide a variety of talk & text plan to fit all budgets. Check out the plan details for more information.


Select the data package that best fits your needs. Need some help? Check out our Data Calculator to help guide you.

Note: Data will expire when talk and text plan expires.

How to buy extra StandUp Wireless minutes

StandUp Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance vendor in eleven states (Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin). The company states its how-to-add-minutes policy on its website:

What if I need more minutes each month?
You can add minutes anytime by purchasing additional airtime or you can choose one of our Premium Lifeline plans that increase your pool of available airtime each month. These prepaid plans are discounted by the subsidy available for your state and provide tremendous value.

How to buy extra Wireless for Hope minutes

At this point, Wireless for Hope does business in just two states — Arkansas and Louisiana — but it also does business under the Easy Wireless name. The company says the following about adding more minutes:

What if I need more than the 1000 FREE minutes my plan comes with?
If you need more minutes or texts, you have 4 top up plans to choose:

EZ-Talk/Text 150 – $5 (+ tax)
EZ-Talk/Text 300 – $10 (+ tax)
EZ-Talk/Text 600 – $20 (+ tax)
EZ-Talk/Text 1000 – $30 (+ tax)
All voice packages come with texting. These plans are in addition to the 1000 Minutes of Voice and Texts you already receive each month. These additional minutes purchased are good for 30 days from the date of purchase and do not rollover if they are not used. Pricing for domestic calls and messaging only. All domestic text prices are to send and receive.

How to buy extra Yourtel Wireless minutes

Yourtel now offers free government cell phones in Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Rhode Island and Washington. Here’s what the company’s website says about purchasing additional minutes:

How do I top-up my YourTel Wireless phone?
There are 3 ways to top up your YourTel Wireless phone: Go to your nearest YourTel retailer and purchase a YourTel Wireless PIN, add minutes on the YourTel Wireless website, or call customer care at 1-877-388-1082. If you call us, you will need a credit card.

How to buy extra Terracom Wireless minutes

YourTel’s sister company, offers Lifeline Assistance cell phones in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia or Wisconsin. The information on its website is exactly the same as YourTel’s except for the company phone numbers:

How do I top-up my TerraCom Wireless phone?
There are 3 ways to top up your TerraCom Wireless phone: Go to your nearest TerraCom retailer and purchase a TerraCom Wireless PIN, Add airtime on the TerraCom Wireless website, or call customer care at 1-877-524-2260. If you call us, you will need a credit card.

How to buy extra Care Wireless minutes

Care participates in the Lifeline Assistance business in Illinois. The company’s website offers no specific public information about purchasing additional minutes, but a log-in page appears to provide existing customers with a way to purchase minutes. It says:

Manage your i-wireless phone service needs anytime, anywhere; with my account access.
Check your account balance
Add Minutes to your phone
Reset your voicemail password
Set up Autopay, and more!

How to buy extra FreedomPop minutes

FreedomPop is a bit of a square peg in the round hole known as free government cell phones. We won’t get into why we say that here, but you can read about FreedomPop’s unique cell phone service and pricing here (NEED LINK< MARK). FreedomPop's bring-your-own-phone policy says:

A handful of the smaller, regional free government cell phone companies neglect to include their add-more-minutes policies on their websites and have not responded to our requests for information. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to determine the policies of Alaska Communications (Alaska only) and True Wireless (Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Texas), and i-Wireless (Ohio and Kentucky).

Another great option: The Airfair Card

You can also reload your Lifeline phone with additional minutes, texts or data by purchasing the Airfair card at 7-Eleven stores across the nation (there are approximately 8200 7-Eleven stores in the United States and we have not been able to confirm if the Airfair card is available at all of them) or at 75,000 other independent convenience stores and bodegas.

Just walk into a participating retail location and choose from $5, $10, $20, $30 and $50 payment options. After purchasing an Airfare Lifeline Reload card at checkout, you simply call a redemption number on the back of the card and your additional minutes will automatically be added to your account. You can find a complete list of participating stores at

There you go — everything you need to know to add minutes to your Lifeline account, courtesy of



  1. Smithg707 says

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again! eeekbfekdbkdkcfg

  2. Mmma says

    What this person, Wolfie, needs is the name of the subsidiary (gov’t assisted lifeline) cellphone company that is sponsored by, and works on the same network as, Verizon.
    Your answer, unfortunately, is telling the customer to call a COMPETITOR of Verizon, and in this instance, a competitor who is very substandard in their network coverage.

  3. mmmcmma says

    If possible, and this is my question also, could you provide the names of the parent companies of the various lifeline programs?
    And, ok, we know there are 4 major networks, (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile). Which (specific) lifeline programs do each of these 4 major networks support?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *