It’s still early, but TextMe Up looks like it might just be the ultimate burner phone number app — unlike Skype, Google Voice, or newer apps like Convoi and Line2, TextMe Up looks to compete directly with the ultimate burner app, Burner, by allowing users to pay for as many extra phone numbers as they want.
TextMe Up is almost identical to Burner in a general sense — the app provides one free secondary phone number with the option to pay for more, all of which can be used to send and receive voice and video calls, text messages, and pictures and video. Also like Burner, all calls and text messages appear in one unified inbox, but in TextMe Up, that inbox has a search bar that should come in handy for anyone in need of several burner numbers. The app also imports contacts for use when calling or texting from any burner number and allows you to set voicemail greetings for each number.
One big difference between TextMe Up and apps like Burner and Convoi is that you don’t need to sign up using your existing phone number. Instead, you can create a username using your email address, Facebook account, or Google+ account, after which you’ll get to select an area code and get your first burner number for free. International numbers can also be selected, but currently only from Canada, the UK, France, and Germany.
The other big difference is in pricing. Instead of getting buckets of minutes, texts, and time before auto-burn with Burner phone numbers, TextMe Up sells extra numbers by themselves, relying on one credit account for all active numbers. That said, it’ll be free to make voice and video calls to other TextMe Up users, regardless of where they are, and it’s also free to send texts to numbers from over 40 countries, including the United States and Mexico.
TextMe Up provides 10 free credits upon signing up — from there, more credits can be obtained by purchasing them or by watching ads or completing special offers. TextMe Up tends to be a little cheaper than Burner, and ads are a big reason for that — besides the ads you can watch to earn credits, there are ads that appear at the top of the inbox and in your message threads. It costs $2 per month to remove those ads, so if you can stomach them, leaving the ads there is a decent enough way to save money.
If you don’t want to deal with the pay-as-you-go credits, you can pay $3 per month for unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada, although that subscription is auto-renew by default, so if you opt for that you’ll want to make sure you don’t get charged unnecessarily in the future if you want to stop using TextMe Up. Additional numbers cost $1 per month, $2 for three months, or $6 for one year, while additional international numbers cost $3/$8/$30 for the same amounts of time.
Maybe the biggest advantage to TextMe Up is a feature that isn’t ready yet. Eventually, TextMe Up will be available across all devices, including PCs — because calls are routed through TextMe Up’s service, you don’t need a phone to make a call using one of their numbers. That means calls and messages can be made, received, and managed on anything from a smartphone to a tablet to a PC. Sounds nice, but no word on when exactly that feature is going to roll out.
So far, it seems every bit as great as Burner — a way to get multiple phone lines to use for dating, Craigslist, business, or any other reason you might have to not want to share your personal number. Being able to label each number makes things even easier, since you’ll be able to see what each call or message is concerning at a glance just be seeing which number was used. The ads, as ever, are annoying, but they aren’t so disruptive that they can’t be ignored easily. Looks like a promising service so far.