Please disregard my previous post as I mistakenly was posting the response for another product which was a refurbished phone. This is a new phone.
The answer to your question is YES, you will have to purchase a $45 card at or before activation.
The activation card and the service card are two different items. The activation card is a physical card that is enclosed in the packaging for the phone that gives the phone's identifying numbers needed to activate. It will also give instructions on how to activate the phone.
When purchasing a new Straight Talk phone, you will in fact have to pay in advance for at least 30-days service. That is done by separately purchasing a $45 card. Or you also have the option of purchasing that 30-days of service during the activation process by using a credit/debit card through Straight Talk.
The activation card and the service card are two different things. The activation card will give you the serial number, MEID, ESN, etc. ...any identifying numbers specific to the phone you have. Plus, the instructions on how to activate the phone.
The service card is separate card. On refurbished phones, you get a free month of service so it will be included in the package.
On new phones, you have to buy the first month of service.
So looking at it another way, you are getting this phone for just a bit over $20.
So no, initially, you will not have to buy a $45 card (or the next $45 card) until the first 30-days go by.