5 Things to Know Before You Buy a Jitterbug Flip Phone

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jitterbug phones
Image Credit: GreatCall.com

Jitterbug has a real corner on the market when it comes to making both flip phones and smartphones for seniors. Their phones feature big buttons and big icons that make cell phone use easy and accessible for an aging population.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the product line, monthly costs, device activation and some actual customer reviews.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Jitterbug Phones

Staying connected is something that’s important to people no matter what age. Fortunately, Jitterbug flip phones and smartphones are built with the idea in mind of providing cell phone service to an under-served senior population.

They’re easy to use, easy to see thanks to big display screens and easy to understand. In fact, money expert Clark Howard believes Jitterbug has really identified a sweet spot in the market.

“There’s a real business opportunity out there for entrepreneurs who can develop products that take modern technology and make it easy for elders to use,” he says. “After all, seniors have all the money; why should technology exclusively be geared toward young people?”

Table of Contents

  1. Jitterbug Phone Selection
  2. Jitterbug Phone Plans
  3. Device Activation
  4. Customer Service
  5. Actual Customer Reviews

1. Jitterbug Phone Selection

Jitterbug has two flagship products — the Jitterbug Flip and the Jitterbug Smart2. All Jitterbug phones comes with a standard one-year warranty.

Jitterbug Flip – Regularly $99.99

Jitterbug flip phone
Jitterbug Flip phone

The Jitterbug Flip is a basic flip phone with the following key selling points:

  • Large bright screen and buttons
  • Simple menu with YES/NO navigation
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Powerful speaker
  • 2.0 megapixel camera
  • Magnifier with flashlight
  • 5Star button for 24/7 emergency help

The Jitterbug flip phone is available at physical stores like Best Buy or online from Amazon, Rite-Aid and Sears. Find a retailer near you here.

Jitterbug Smart2 – Regularly $149.99

Jitterbug Smart 2
Jitterbug Smart2

The Jitterbug Smart2 is an entry-level smartphone with the following key selling points:

  • Large 5.5″ screen and simple menu
  • Voice typing for hands-free texting
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Free customer service and tech support
  • Built-in 13MP camera with flash
  • 5Star button for 24/7 emergency help

The Jitterbug Smart2 is available at physical stores like Best Buy or online from Amazon, Rite-Aid and Sears. Find a retailer near you here.

Additionally, all Jitterbug phones comes with a standard one-year warranty.

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2. Jitterbug Phone Plans

The Jitterbug Flip advertises plans starting as low as $14.99/month, while the Smart2 advertises plans starting at $17.48 a month (taxes and fees are extra.)

There are basically two ways to get into a Jitterbug phone plan — either by purchasing talk, text and data a la carte or by purchasing a health and safety service package that offers discounted minutes.

All plans are no-contract and include call waiting, caller ID, long distance and roaming. Plus, the service runs on “the nation’s largest and most dependable wireless network” (read: Verizon).

Jitterbug Flip Phone and Smart2 – Cost of Minutes

Minutes Monthly Cost
250 $14.99
1,000 $19.99
2,500 $29.99
Unlimited talk & text $39.99
Unlimited talk, text & data $59.99

Jitterbug Flip Phone and Smart2 – Cost of Text Messages

Number of Texts Monthly Cost
500 $3
1,000 $5
2,500 $10
Unlimited texts $15

Smart2 – Cost of Data

Monthly Data Allowance Monthly Cost
100 MB $2.49
250 MB $5
1 GB $10
2.5 GB $15

Meanwhile, you can get up to double the minutes for the same monthly cost if you add a Health & Safety Package. These packages comes in three tiers and all tiers include 5Star Urgent Response.

More on exactly what 5Star is in a moment, but for now here are the tiers:

  • Basic – $19.99/month
  • Preferred – $24.99/month
  • Ultimate – $34.99/month

3. Device Activation

Once you buy a Jitterbug device, you’ve got to get it activated before you can use it. Since Jitterbug doesn’t have physical stores like the Big 4 wireless carriers, they walk you through the process of activating your device online.

Once you enter the zip code where the device will be used most often, you’ll be prompted to give the following info:

  • Name of the device holder
  • Your relationship to device holder
  • Serial number (located on activation card in the package)

You’ll also have to provide your email address and create a password for your account. If you run into any difficulty activating your Jitterbug phone online, you can always give the company a call at 866-482-1424.

Meanwhile, if you want to port your existing number to a Jitterbug phone, you should first contact the Activation team at 800-650-5694 to confirm your number is eligible for transfer.

4. Customer Service

Jitterbug’s parent company, GreatCall, prides itself on offering U.S.-based customer service when you call 800-733-6632.

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Additionally, Jitterbug phones distinguish themselves from competitors thanks to the 5Star Urgent Response function that’s built into the keypad or screen of each handset.

5star button on Jitterbug Smart2 (2)
5star button on Jitterbug Smart2 highlighted

At the press of a 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.

The help can be anything from dispatching an EMT in the event of a medical emergency to sending a locksmith if you’re locked out of your house.

There is an additional charge starting at $19.99/month for 5Star Urgent Response Service on your phone.

5. Actual Customer Reviews

GreatCall has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but only a little more than one star when it comes to customer reviews.

Many readers of Clark.com have already tried either the Jitterbug Flip phone or the Smart2 and give the service mixed ratings. Below are some excerpts of what our readers are saying.


“I’ve had a Jitterbug for at least eight years, loved the features, and enjoyed good customer service. A couple of caveats, though. I don’t pay for a text plan because I don’t text, but I often receive spam texts from others and must pay for each one individually. GreatCall advises me there is no way to block unwanted callers or texts. The camera only faces forward, so I can’t take a selfie. I used to be able to download photos to Facebook, but that function has gone away.” – jvthomp


“My wife and I have owned jitterbug flip phones for three years, primarily for on-the-road convenience, and have been quite satisfied; no texting, voice texting or mail box. $14.99 each a month. The cameras are adequate but now we are moving up to one of us carrying the Smart2.” – York Onnen


“I just replaced my old jitterbug flip with a new one and am very disappointed. First it is bigger, more bulky. Second, it has to be charged every 2-3 days vs. my old version which required charging once a week.” – Theresa Massey


“I made the mistake of ordering a basic Jitterbug (Alcatel onetouch) flip phone…The voice quality and reception are lousy and the thing is way too complicated for my liking. To its credit the camera seems to work OK, but that doesn’t mean anything to someone who still uses 35 mm film and a Polaroid camera. I’m glad I’ve never given up my copper wired land line phone.” – RetiredHappy

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To read the full reviews, be sure to view comments below. And if you’re a Jitterbug customer, be sure to leave your own comment!

Final Thought

The Jitterbug Flip phone can be a solid entry level plan for the right user, provided that you heed some of the customer warnings from above.

One of the nice things about both the Jitterbug Flip and the Smart2 is that they offer the convenience and ease of a cell phone without locking you into a long-term contract.

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. It’s updated monthly!

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