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. anthony trotter says

    1 have one of those kin government free phones and need to know how can I go on line to add minutes to this phone ,or where can I buy minutes at for this phone I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin?

    • rose whitten says

      how do I, get my free minutes on my Samsung phone, you sent me a card two months ago to use 555, but it is always unavailable. I have called and got no help. pleasehelp me get my minutes. thank you

      • Dania says

        The 555 never works I recomend you don’t use it cause your wasting minutes. To add minutes to your phone you go to top-up enter top up PIN, enter a promo code(optional) or top up by using credit or debit card or paypal

  2. Vickie says

    My mother in law has a government cell phone and she lives in a different state than me. I’m not sure what type of phone she has but I need to add minutes to her phone. Can you assist me please. She lives in Savannah Ga

    • Denetrica Jackson says

      Hi I find that reachout wireless is a better government phone program once you use your 250 free minutes you can add minutes by phone 1-877-870-9444 or go on line to Reachout wireless free government phones, select add minutes at the top, and you will see a lot of plans I prefer the unlimited talk and text for $37.50 a month Oh you can apply on line at

  3. beverly alcorn says

    i want to know how i can get a free 1000 text minutes on my phone i had it on my on phone but the sent me a new one and it dont have it on it.and also i reference my sister in law and i was going to get 100 free minute.

  4. angela ruiz says

    I am having a hard time buying minutes and my have to get another Carrera 323-360-6730 I can log in to my account it says that I have the wrong pass word or id number

    • Dania says

      Well I recommend that you call the assurance wireless people and ask them to help you to setup a new password and find your correct ID number

  5. Audrey Lockett says

    Can’t get my free 250 minutes per month. Have called repeatedly and was told the system is being changed and I would get minutes shortly. Still waiting after a month.

    • Yolanda says

      I agree! I just tried to pay on the website for enTouch wireless and it just tells you what top up cards to purchase and the number to customer service so I called and they were closed at 6:30pm! I’m frustrated because earlier today the rep told me I could pay on the website too!! :(

  6. Glenn Martin says

    I didn’t receive my minutes for the month. What is the #– numbers to receive your new minutes for the month. Thank you.

      • Mmmc says

        If Wolfie says only Verizon works in his area, why would you tell him/her to call T-Mobile?!? Anyone w/cellphone knowledge would know T-mobile & Verizon are Competitors, not subsidiaries, with Verizon having the widest network coverage and T-Mobile lagging a very poor

      • mmmc says

        Wolfiestatesthat the only network coverage that works in his area is Verizon. Therefore, telling him/her to call T-Mobile is totally incorrect. T-Mobile is a COMPETITOR of Verizon, not a subsidiary, (though that is not a totally bad idea, considering the

        • mmmc says

          Ok, trying to get this on.
          Wolfie is not asking for the name of a competitor to the only company that is able to provide him with network coverage, he is asking for the specific Gov’t assisted Lifeline SUBSIDIARY program(s) that is/are appended to, supported and or sponsored by Verizon.
          To make this more clear, there are 4 major Network carriers in the United States. These 4 major carriers (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile) provide network coverage for other (subsidiary) companies who pay the individual major (parent) network so that they can use (ride along on) their network and provide network coverage for their own customers.
          Along with this, the Gov’t also contracts with these major carriers, either directly or through a subsidiary (child) company in order to provide free Gov’t LiifeLine assistance

          • mmmc says

            Ultimately,.what Wolfi asking is the name of the LifeLine program that is contracted with and is using the Verizon Network Carrier wavelength.
            Personally, it would be nice to know ALL the subsidized programs being listed individually, by each of the 4 Major Network Carriers, individually. This would make it MUCH easier to match up with a program based
            ed on availability and network need. Or strength.

  7. heniretta north says

    would any one know how i get my free minutes on my gov phone.they havent put them on there

    • Hal Morris says

      Simply call the government and inform them that they have failed to update the minutes on your phone and they should have you up and running in a few minutes! It may take a few trys to get through, the government is usually very busy, but once you do its a snap! Hope this helps, have a great day!

  8. Randolph newhouserd says

    I’m having terrible problems w/my minutes virtually disappearing in a very short period of time. It is not
    My usage. When I try and call I get the same stupid recorded message that leads me no where. Call
    me immediately at 248 ***-**** so I can speakk w/a person. 2:15 5/22/14

    Randolph Newhouser. If not resolved immediately, I’m switching carriers!

    • PleaseDont says

      Oh, please, no! Don’t take your “business” elsewhere when you’re getting a free phone and free minutes. Geez. What a threat.

      • mmmc says

        Why not?!?
        If you honestly believe these companies (not the Gov’t assisted benefactors) do not make money off of the customers brought to them by the Gov’t assisted programs, you are so, so wrong. These companies, after contracting with the Gov’t aid program, not only increase their potential customer database, they also increase their company profit when they upgrade the customer to a much nicer,
        prettier or more efficient phone. Along with this, include the extra service purchased each month to supplement the (average) 250 minutes provided by the Gov’t assisted program. Let’s see, lets do an avg. $10.00 added each mo. by each customer. That
        looks to be a pretty big profit. At least for that company that is providing the FREE service to the Gov’t Assist program. In fact, for an individual to revue e such poor service, I would definitely contact the Gov’t Assist program who provided the service, explain the situation, cancel the service and con.tact
        a program that is working with a company that appreciates the many benefits they are receiving
        by working with the many Gov’t.Assist Programs.
        So, while you are ridiculing this customer with the legitimate complaint, I’m gonna ask him which company/carrier he’s with so I (and hopefully others) are aware of which companies are giving poor service and/or seeking to take advantage of a Gov’t funded program as well as the clientele and future potential profits acquired in contracting with and offering this FREE service to US!

  9. Gilbert Coleman says

    I had to grt an alactel Lifeline Assistsnce phone. It did not cost me anything and I got 250 free minutes. We were told by the representative that we never had to buy minutes that when our minutes were up all we had to do was dial any number and it would automatically hook me up again for another 250 minutes. We were told we never had to buy any minutes that it was all covered by the government. Well its all a big scam because now my phone does not work and we can’t call anyone! There was no book or psperwork with the phone only what the represenrative told us. NOW what do we do to get the phone back on??? Any phone number we can call for information?????

    • Yolanda says

      Usually you can dial 611 from any cell phone for customer service or even trying to dial out will connect you automatically to customer service. However, I have never heard of minutes being replenished right as they were used up. Minutes are usually replenished on the bill cycle date so it would be once a month. Sounds like the representative may have been new or misinformed themselves. Your minutes should automatically replenish the same time every month so it would be the same day as your activation date.

  10. Lettice Bridges says

    Samsung government phone has 200 service days, but zero minutes
    The due date for additional min says 1-31-2015 please help Need some minutes

    • mmmc says

      If it is compatible with the company you are contracted with. Call your gov’t program rep, or dial 611 from your gov’t phone.
      Have your ESN or MEID numbers from each phone, as well as name and model number of your other phone, available when you call the rep. They’ll let you know.

  11. Tricia says

    I am wondering how to tell who my carrier is and what kind of the card should I buy. I have one of those Samsung free phones and it has TracFone logo on it but I live in an area where I wasn’t getting any service. I called customer service to let them know what my problem was and that AT&T was the only provider that anybody around here would be able to get a decent connection through. Because of the language barrier I spent an hour on the phone trying to get someone to understand me as well as I understanding them, they finally got it. They sent me an new Sim card to put in my old phone and now I’ve got great coverage out here but I don’t know who the provider is. There was no paperwork sent with the card, there is no information on card, and there’s no information in the phone. Basically, it looks like a generic sim card.

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      How did you call customer service without knowing who you were talking to? Did you call 611 to get them? Why didn’t you ask customer service who you were talking to?

  12. Thomas says

    I had 400+ minutes on my phone, now today I have 250. I sure it’s because of the monthly reload. Though I thought that the minutes would add on. Exactly how does this work?

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

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