People often ask me where they can go to recharge their prepaid mobile plan. My instant reaction is to go to the telecom provider’s website. Does it seem obvious? However, the web is not the preferred way for most people when it comes to recharging their prepaid mobile. Think about it some more and it’s actually pretty obvious.

Many people use prepaid as their mobile offer so they can control how much they spend on their phone. Many have had trouble managing the large costs associated with contract plans. Going prepaid means they can use cash to buy a top-up, no credit cards and no contracts altogether means no worries.

To understand a bit more what people were doing, I ran a survey for a few weeks to understand what was happening locally here in Australia. I suppose the results would be similar internationally. These are the results:

How do you usually recharge your prepaid mobile plan?

  • Retail store 37% (37)
  • Through their mobile phone 32% (32)
  • Your Telco website 22% (22)
  • Another website recharges 3% (3)
  • Other 6% (6)

Going to a retail store to top up was by far the most popular option at 37%. As mentioned above, this is actually an obvious choice for many. What also makes retail so convenient is that almost every store gives you the option to buy a top-up through them. In fact, many stores have their windows and walls covered with mobile prepaid signs. It should be a great attraction tool for them, as well as an easy source of income.

The second was recharging directly from your mobile phone with 32%. For most of the month in which the survey was conducted, this option was on par with online top-up, but in recent weeks it has taken off and achieved more than 30%. I wonder if people understand the difference between buying a recharge at the counter and completing the recharge through their phone? However, if you dig a little deeper, many telecom providers offer mobile communication through which you can recharge and manage your account.

In third position we have recharging through the website of your Telecommunication provider -with only 22%. I thought this option would end up much higher. This and buying a refill at the counter have been my own personal experience. I admit that it was not. that simple to complete. I can see why some people would want to avoid it. If you don’t have a credit card or PayPal account, it can be tricky.

While the final two options scored fairly low, it shows that many people simply don’t know they exist and may not be willing to give out credit card details over the web. I personally have not used any of them.

In the coming months we will see the launch of refill vending machines. These can be placed on any street corner, train station, and even shopping complex. With no labor and a margin of more than 10%, it could be a great investment for the owner and a great convenience for everyday prepaid mobile phone users.

Recharging your prepaid mobile plan is likely to evolve tremendously in the coming years.

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