The best ways of recharging your MTN airtime

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Recharge your MTN airtime by buying, borrowing, or transferring airtime. Prepaid airtime is the value in Rands that you load on your MTN number so you can use it to stay connected with your world. If you recharge your MTN airtime for R25 or more the airtime doesn’t expire.

Load airtime on your PayAsYouGo MTN number then convert it to voice bundles, data bundles, or make calls and buy value-added services. Our MTN number is on the default tariff, MTN Bonanza, and we will show you the different ways to top up MTN airtime.


Buy Airtime online

Buy on the MTN website

You can buy your airtime online using your credit card or debit cards issued by major banks. It is similar to making a purchase online because you will select your airtime amount and then go to checkout where you will enter your card details to buy it.

To buy on the website:

Screenshot: Buying airtime on the MTN website.
Screenshot: Buying airtime on the MTN website. Source:
  • Navigate to, click on Shop, then Recharge, and then Airtime
  • On the Recharge page, enter the amount of airtime you require, an email address for your receipt, and then click the Buy Now button
  • You will be redirected to PayGate, a payment portal in South Africa. It’s lazy from MTN South Africa, but go ahead and enter your card details to finalize your purchase

You won’t be able to pay using EFT methods on MTN’s website, mainly because (EFT is tedious to automate) once airtime has been issued by a retailer it is near impossible to get it back.

Buy on the MTN app

Another channel you can use to buy your airtime online is the MTN app. You can use your bank card, your MoMo money balance, or your YelloBucks to pay for your airtime. When you download your MTN app you set up one or more MTN numbers under your profile, which makes it easier to manage the airtime balances and load airtime for your different numbers.

To buy airtime on the MTN app:

  • Log onto the profile you want to buy airtime for
  • Tap the Recharge button on the bottom menu
  • In the Recharge menu, tap Airtime, confirm the number to buy for, and how you would like to pay (Bank card, MoMo, or YelloBucks)
  • Enter in the Rand amount (between R5 and R1,000) your required airtime, an email to send the receipt to, and continue to the final payment page

Buy using your banking channels

The four major banks in South Africa support buying prepaid airtime on their apps, cellphone banking, and online banking channels. Use your bank’s USSD code for cellphone banking, log into your online banking profile, or open your banking app on your phone or tablet.

Recharge using an MTN recharge voucher

The old paper-based recharge vouchers are still in use in different parts of the country. And some companies have ditched physical paper for digital vouchers. If you are sponsoring airtime to MTN subscribers like students a recharge voucher is a convenient way to deliver that airtime. Find digital MTN recharge vouchers on Takealot, and other online retailers, from R2 up to R129 worth of airtime.

Recharge by borrowing airtime

As a regular MTN subscriber, you may qualify for MTN XtraTime, an MTN emergency airtime recharge option that lets you recharge with airtime on credit and pay it back later. Dial the USSD code *151*2# to buy XtraTime. Dial the USSD code *136*1# to check your XtraTime balance.

How do you qualify for MTN XtraTime airtime?

To qualify for the first time your MTN SIM card must have been recharged with R30 or more over a period of 3 months. MTN will automatically calculate whether you qualify for XtraTime and how much you qualify. From the second time you borrow airtime and going forward, MTN will check whether you are reliable and pay back your airtime loans.

How much does XtraTime cost?

When you recharge after you have taken out an XtraTime airtime credit you will pay back the initial amount in Rand, plus the amount lending fee. The fee published in July 2021 is 50 cents for R1 XtraTime, and R1.10 for all other XtraTime recharges.

Recharge by transferring airtime

Check our article on how to transfer airtime using the Me2U USSD code *136*3#, or using the MTN app. Transfer airtime to another MTN phone, or request airtime to be sent to you.

Recharge with your bank card

MTN Eazi recharge is a SIM toolkit that allows you to make purchases using your bank card. You will need to register your credit or debit card by entering your card number, CVV, and the card’s pin number for the service to be able to connect directly with your bank. The service will only save your card The service works with the major South African banks.

Dial the USSD code *136*10# to use MTN Eazi Recharge, and then connect your bank card to purchase prepaid airtime.

Why can’t you load airtime?

Are you struggling with loading airtime? You’ve bought MTN airtime but it’s not reflecting on your balance? Here are some problems with loading airtime and how they can be resolved:

Disappearing airtime: If your MTN airtime seems to be disappearing when you load it check first that it was actually loaded, and then, 1) Check if you (or your kids) have taken XtraTime as it is paid back automatically on your next recharge. 2) Switch off your mobile data to ensure you are not connecting to the internet using your airtime.

Moemedi Segoje

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