There are two different account types in Second Life that one can sign up for. The first basic account on a credit card is free, all other basic accounts put on that card are $9.95 (one time fee). Additional accounts also have a free 7-day trial during which the account can be cancelled. A basic account can enjoy the usual benefits of being a resident. However, they can not own land nor do they get a stipend. They do get a L$250 "sign up bonus" paid on first login.
While basic accounts can not buy or own land they can rent land or shop space from other residents. There are also open markets where anyone is allowed to sell items for free without paying rent. Building, scripting, etc. can be done in sandboxes and creations can be saved to inventory. However, for creations to have a permanent place in-world, rent land or upgrade to a premium account and buy land.
Before 5/29/06, basic accounts received a stipend of L$50 per week they logged in. This stipend was removed in hopes of deflating the rising economy. All basic accounts created before 5/29/06 still receive the stipend as they did before, but all basic accounts created after the date will not receive a stipend.
- Able to do typical Second Life stuff such as build, script, and edit your avatar, among other things. Can also belong to groups, socialize, buy things, etc.
- L$250 bonus on first login.
- L$50 weekly stipend (for basic accounts created before 5/29/06).
- Can not own/buy land.
- Do not receive a weekly stipend (for basic accounts created after 5/29/06).