After being here a year, things become a lot easier (trust me), but I remember how difficult it was to figure out how to do so many simple things when I first got here. One of those things was adding credit to my pre-paid Movistar phone. (As a foreigner, you cannot get a cell phone plan here, so you must use the “pre-pago” service.) A big problem, of course, was my lack of being able to speak or understand Spanish. So, hopefully this English guide to adding credit to your Movistar phone will help some of you out.
Let me start by saying, the easiest way for me personally to add credit has just been to charge it to my US credit card. I know that it is possible to buy Movistar credits at the kioscos and charge it that way, but I like the convenience of being able to do it from wherever I am. Hopefully we can get some people to comment on what works for them or how they do it with other mobile services.
Ok, so on to Movistar. Here’s the steps:
- Dial *444 from your mobile phone. You will hear an automated voice announcing some promotions and then asking for input.
- Press 2 to begin the recharge process. (Press 1 to hear your current available credit.)
- Press 2 to charge to a credit card. (Press 1 to charge to a Movistar card.)
- Wait a second for it to connect and you’ll the be prompted to enter your credit card number followed by the # sign. Do that.
- They repeat the credit card number back to you. Press 1 if correct, 2 if incorrect.
- You’re next asked for the security code (4 digit for American Express, 3 digit for Visa/MasterCard) followed by the # sign. Enter that.
- They repeat the security code back to you. Press 1 if correct, 2 if incorrect.
- You’re then prompted to enter the 2-digit month and the 2-digit year for the credit card expiration. (No # sign at the end this time.) Enter it.
- They repeat the expiration date back to you. Press 1 if correct, 2 if incorrect.
- You are now prompted to choose what you want to charge. Press 2 to specify an amount to charge your credit card.
- Enter the amount to charge to your account followed by the number sign.
- They now repeat the amount, the credit card and expiration date information back to you.Press 1 if correct, 2 if incorrect.
- Wait a few seconds. They will confirm the charge and disconnect the call. You should get a text message stating your new balance. Please note that this new balance may not include any double-credit promotions. You may get that as an additional text.
- That’s it! You did it.
Another thing to realize is that Movistar will send a number of promotions throughout the week to your mobile phone. This is usually the best time to recharge, as they often give double credit when you recharge and occasionally triple credit. After you recharge, they will send a number of texts with additional promotions too, such as free SMS for a day, free calling to another Movistar number for 7 days, etc.
So, anyone else have any tips or instructions for other carriers?
UPDATE: I’ve added a new post about how to save money using Movistar pre-pago. You may find that useful as well.