How can I properly ask a teller in a shop or mobile company office to top up my mobile phone?
As far as I understand, the proper word is "recargar" but I have no idea how to use it properly. (btw, I need this expression for the Mexican Spanish)

  • No consigo averiguar que le quieres hacer al teléfono. No puedo averiguar que significa "to top up".
    – Orici
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:13
  • Do you mean to add credit to a prepaid phone line? It'd be recargar, agregar saldo. There must be several regional variations. Do you mean it for some specific country?
    – Rafael
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:30
  • @Orici, "top up" = recargar
    – user626528
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:30
  • While we wait for a Mexican to give a better response, my educated guess (in the most neutral Spanish I can do) is: ¿podría [usted] recargar doscientos pesos [or whatever amount] a este teléfono, por favor?
    – Rafael
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:38
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 8, 2017 at 7:18

1 Answer 1


The word you are looking for is recargar.

This applies to teléfonos prepago (prepaid phones) that have to be recargados before you can make calls or use the internet.

This applies to most of hispanomerica, including Mexico, as you can see on Movistar's Mexican website, where you can recargar en línea (pre-pay online).

Even if you could go to a place to "top up" your prepaid phone, it is more and more common to recargar online.

To ask a clerk to "top up your phone" you would say:

¿Podría, por favor, recargar 20 pesos a este teléfono?

They will then ask for your phone number and the money.

  • Are we talking about adding minutes, or something else? Jun 8, 2017 at 3:46
  • 1
    @aparente001 Basicaly yes but strictly speaking when you "recarga" your phone you are not only adding minutes but internet traffic also. You are simply prepaying any service you get from your carrier. In some cases you pay for call minutes, internet traffic, text messages, voice mail, special ring tones or back tones, etc. and a "recarga" pre-pays for any of those.
    – DGaleano
    Jun 8, 2017 at 19:17
  • Oh, I see. When we talk about recargar at my house, we're giving a rechargeable battery more juice, so I wasn't sure. (I don't have a cell phone.) Jun 9, 2017 at 5:11
  • 1
    @aparente001 this is a good and interesting point. In Spain we say cargar for the battery and recargar for the credit in the phone.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 9, 2017 at 6:47
  • @fedorqui - that is really helpful. Could you write a question and an answer for that? I'm sorry, I don't have time for that currently. Jun 9, 2017 at 16:25

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