I use Pay As You Go by ATT phones. It's 2 bucks a day when I use the phone but all text and calls in the US are free for that 24 hours.
When I went to get my new phone, I picked the one I wanted and when it said they were having problems on the ATT site's order status, I called them. It turned out it was a regular contract phone but I didn't WANT a contract phone. She said "We can't find a credit record for you." Told her she wouldn't everything is paid for from my house to the Jeep and I pay cash. I use NO credit. I also told her I thought it was a Pay/Go phone because it was labeled that. She said "Oh no.. That should be labeled that." Told them I didn't want the phone because I didn't deal with credit or contracts it was a cash deal with me.
I ended up getting a better phone [reconditioned but still a higher end one] for 25 bucks. When I looked it up on the net it was a $300 phone. It's pay as you go.
I had a very very good teacher in High School Business. He lived thru the Depression. His rule he pounded into us was NEVER use Credit unless you are making money from it and never pay for daily essentials with it. If you have to have credit to live, you are screwed.