Stop Paying for Text Messages by Using Apps

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Free-texting apps can rack up serious savings on your smartphone bill.

Most SMS text messages aren’t free.

Service providers like Verizon and AT&T usually charge a per-message fee or a monthly subscription for a fixed number of them. We’ve written before that texts are a product with a 6,000 percent markup.

You don’t have to pay that much or anything at all, says MercuryNews.com. The article highlights a number of cheap or free texting apps that use Wi-Fi or your phone’s data plan and bypass the extra fees.

The most popular among them is called WhatsApp. (The name brings to mind a certain Abbott and Costello routine.)

The company behind it was founded in 2009 by two former Yahoo executives, who said, “We are in the middle of the smartphone revolution, and it is just beginning.” The company claims to have 200 million daily users worldwide, sending 20 billion messages a day. It costs iPhone users $1, and for Android users is free for the first year and then $1 per year afterward.

Another option, Pinger, is free for everyone — but has ads. Viber is both free and ad-free. Both of these also offer free calling, if you’re on a limited-minutes package.

So why might you consider forking over $1 for an app that doesn’t include calls and has free alternatives that do? WhatsApp’s founders told MercuryNews.com they don’t share their data with outside marketers.

Stacy Johnson

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