Staying connected is something that’s important to people no matter what age — and the Jitterbug flip phone was built with the idea in mind of providing cell phone service to an under-served senior population.
In an age when most phones are touch screen, Jitterbug offers a traditional flip phone that’s targeted to appeal to older people who just want a simple phone that’s easy to understand and use.
The Jitterbug flip phone: Here’s what you need to know
The 65+ crowd is the prime market for the Jitterbug flip phone, which features a large keypad for easy dialing, a hearing-aid-compatible speaker and a bright easy-to-read display.
If you fall into that demographic, or you’re thinking about buying a Jitterbug for a loved one who does, here’s what you need to know before signing up…
1. The phones are easy to use
Senior citizens are the prime market for this phone, which features extra-large keypad buttons for easy dialing, a hearing-aid compatible speaker and a bright display.
The phone has the highest available rating for compatibility with hearing aids (M4/T4).
2. They’re regularly priced at $99.99
As for the cost of the phone itself, Jitterbug is regularly priced at $99.99 for the handset, plus a one-time activation fee of $35 and a $10 shipping and handling fee.
From time to time, Jitterbug parent company GreatCall will run a 25% off promotion on the phone, making it $74.99.
3. The entry level plan is $14.99
Monthly plans start at $14.99/month for light users. Government taxes are extra.
That basic plan gets you 200 minutes, and from there you can add on 300 text messages for $3 and 40MB of data for $2.49 if you wish.
A couple hundred minutes is not a lot of talk time and many people in Jitterbug’s target audience may want more minutes. There is an unlimited talk and text plan for $50/month.
But for that price, you’d probably be better off with an unlimited talk plan from Consumer Cellular for $20 a month or some of the other cheap plans we’ve featured on our best cell phone plans for seniors page.
4. You can get a Jitterbug flip phone through Walmart and other retailers
The Jitterbug flip phone is available at physical stores like Best Buy and Rite Aid or online from Sears, Walmart Pharmacy and Amazon.
Find a retailer near you here.
5. People generally seem to like the service
PC Mag gives the Jitterbug an “excellent” rating and calls it a “simple, no-frills flip phone that makes calls, send texts, and can get you quickly connected to emergency services.
Consumer Reports, meanwhile, gave the phone a score of 78 out of 100 on its tests, right in the middle of the pack.
Most notably, Jitterbug does get the highest marks for low telemarketing call frequency and the quality of the text messaging service from the magazine.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Jitterbug parent company GreatCall Inc. an A+ rating. However, it’s always advisable to dig into the BBB’s tally of customer complaints both resolved and unresolved before doing business with any company.
6. It runs on the nation’s largest and most dependable wireless network
The coverage offered by Jitterbug is generally good in the eastern half of the United States. It gets a bit more spotty the further west you head out. See the coverage map below.
Jitterbug runs on Verizon’s wireless network.
7. This is a no-contract service
No two-year contracts here! In fact, there are never any contracts to sign up and there are no cancellation fees, either.
8. Personal operators can help when you forget a number
U.S.-based operators are available 24 hours a day and will greet you by name when you call. You simply dial “0” on the phone. However, you’ll be charged 99 cents per call if the operator performs any service for you. That includes retrieving a number for you or helping you program it into your phone so you don’t have to go looking for it again.
9. The red 5Star button offers health and safety features
The Jitterbug phone can also function as a personal safety device via the red 5Star button on the keypad.
With a press of that button, you can talk with a U.S.-based 5Star Urgent Response Service representative who will confirm your location, assess the severity of your situation and send the help that you need, including calling 911 on your behalf if necessary.
There is an additional charge for 5Star Urgent Response Service on your phone. Those plans range from $24.99/month to $59.99/month.
For that price you also get one call per week from a wellness expert; medication and refill reminders; and daily automated check-in calls.
10. You can try a Jitterbug flip phone at no risk
You can try the Jitterbug phone out and if you decide you don’t like it, just return it within 30 days (in like-new condition).
You’ll get a full refund of both the phone ($99.99) and the activation fee ($35). Note that the shipping and handling fee of $10 is not refundable.
You’ll also get your first monthly charge of $14.99 back if you only used less than 30 minutes during those first 30 days.
If you used more than that amount of talk time, you’ll be assessed a per-minute charge of 35 cents/minute for every minute over 30 minutes that will be deducted from your refund. There’s also a $10 restocking fee that you’ll be charged when you return the phone.
The Jitterbug flip phone is a solid entry level plan for older folks. It offers the convenience and ease of a cell phone without locking you into a long-term contract.
And the no-risk guarantee — where you can get the cost of the phone and the Jitterbug activation fee back if you’re not satisfied — lowers the barriers to entry for a lot of people.
However, if after reading this you decide you need a different option altogether, be sure to check out our list of the best cell phone plans and deals right now. It’s updated monthly!