Do you find your prepaid balance disappearing all the time? Most carriers will send an update every time you use your balance, but if you aren't paying attention at that exact moment, it can be hard to keep track of where your money is going. The carrier apps are often slow, and usually packed with a number of additional features that you don't need to know when you just want to check your balance, and sending a message or entering a USSD code just to check is a clunky and cumbersome method.
Luckily, there's no shortage of good apps that can help you track your prepaid balance, and generate a kind of prepaid itemised bill - the kind of experience that a postpaid user takes for granted - so you can keep a better eye on how you spend your money.
To figure out which ones to use, we looked at recommendations on the Internet, and also read user reviews on Google Play, before coming up with a few picks. Then we tried these apps ourselves, and here are the ones that we liked.
1. Smartbro Prepaid Tracker
Launched last year, Smartbro for Android is available on Google Play and has pretty much all the features you need. It does live-tracking of your prepaid balance, creates a bill for your prepaid usage, and also tracks data usage giving you an app-wise breakdown, so you can see which apps are using the most data on your phone.
Since we first looked at the app last year, it's gotten a lot better looking, and lets you track the balance easily even on dual-SIM phones, which can be a bit of a pain normally. The app displays the remaining balance on the phone's built-in dialler (we tested this with a Moto G4 Plus and it worked), and lets you see app-wise or day-wise data usage. It also creates a detailed bill where you can see all the calls you've made, how much time was spent on them, and how much money was used as well.
Supported telcos: Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Jio, Tata Docomo GSM, BSNL, MTNL, Reliance GSM, Aircel, Telenor, Videocon, T24.
Install Smartbro for Android
2. True Balance
True Balance by Balance Hero raised its Series A investment from SoftBank one year ago, and it's still a very popular option for checking prepaid balance. It also has additional features such as mobile recharges, cash back offers, and data usage tracking.
If you have a dual-SIM phone, each SIM is presented as a different card in the app and you can see the balance, the active packs, and the day's usage at a glance. Notifications tell you when recharges are becoming due, offer low balance alerts, and so on, and you earn points for various actions that can be used to get discounts if you recharge your phone (or anyone else's) through the app.
Supported telcos: Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo, Telenor (Uninor), Vodafone
Install True Balance for Android
3. Smart App
The Smart App is a great looking app that has a slightly different focus from the others on this list - instead of looking at your prepaid usage, the focus is on your 3G and 4G data usage. Considering that calling is getting cheaper, and even free in many cases, this actually makes a lot of sense, and that's why we included it in the list. That and because of another very interesting feature that the app has - if you're on a supported network (which includes Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea, the biggest operators) then you can use the app to find the best plan to subscribe to, and save money that way.
A floating notification gives you live data tracking so you can see the impact watching a video on YouTube has on your budget, while 'smartplans' lets you put down your requirements, and then the app determines which recharge packs you should buy. It also shows call insights, showing the length of calls and top contacts, while a similar breakdown for data usage lets you know what apps are using up your limits. Finally, you can also recharge prepaid numbers using the app.
Supported telcos: Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance GSM and CDMA, Tata Docomo, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL, Videocon
The Mubble app is pretty similar to the Smart App, as it also suggests the best recharge plans, though the suggestions are automated and we thought Smart appeared to do a better job on that front. On the other hand, what we loved about Mubble was the settings, which let you control so much about the way the app lets you know about your balance. You can set low balance warning indicators, and switch on things like alerts for apps secretly using mobile data, unknown charges, and other useful options, while turning off basic stuff like alerts every time you use data, or make a call.
It too creates a prepaid bill with all your data in one place, even if you have a dual-SIM phone, and shows app-wise data usage figures, including a breakdown for active usage and background refreshes. That's very cool because if you have two apps that are using a lot of data, and only one of those is something you actively use, then you know how you can save some money.
Supported telcos: All GSM operators
Install Mubble for Android
Although BillBachao isn't as detailed when it comes to data and call balance tracking, it does the basics just as well as any other app on the list. The real reason we liked it so much though, is because it also includes a self-help section that can request MNP, activate DND, and deactivate all VAS packs (those mobile services you often don't even realise you're paying for), all through a very simple and easy to use menu. It also lets you test signal strength in case you want to see why you're facing issues such as call drops.
At the same time, it shows you your usage for the last 30 days (and works fine on dual-SIM phones), shows the data and call balance, and lets you see usage on 3G/ 4G, and Wi-Fi; and see the split between local calls and STD calls. If you only want a data tracker, then some of the others on the list do a better job of visualisation, but as a control centre for your connection, BillBachao is great.
Supported telcos: Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, MTNL, Uninor, Vodafone, Jio, Reliance
Install BillBachao for Android
These five apps were our favourites in the prepaid balance trackers we looked at. There were others we tried as well, but didn't mention because the interfaces were outdated, or because the app doesn't work properly, despite having good recommendations online.
Have you used any of these apps, and if so, what was your experience like? Let us know via the comments.