Are prepaid calling cards all the same?
Prepaid calling cards – similarities and differences
Most, if not all, prepaid calling cards basically work the same way. But there are, of course, many differences between cards, as well.
First, here are some similarities: You purchase retail merchant or online calling cards for a specified price and your phone card includes some level of call minutes that you can use until exhausted. When your minute balance reaches zero, you can reload your card at a merchant, through an 800 phone call, or online at your provider’s Web site.
To use the card, you normally enter your calling card number first and then enter the phone number being called. You will use your minutes as you talk and they will be deducted from those available on your card.
Now, for some potential differences, consider the following:
- What “types” of minutes are included on your card? Minutes for local, in-state long distance, state-to-state activity, and/or international phone calls?
- When might some calls incur a “surcharge” for different reasons? If you call from a pay phone, a hospital room, dorm room, etc., will you incur a surcharge which will result in deductions of minutes? Does your calling card allow you to call internationally? Will you be surcharged at different rates depending on your call destination?
- Are you prohibited from making calls from some phones or locations? Are you permitted to place a call on your prepaid calling card while traveling overseas?
- How convenient is the reloading process? Must you return to the retail merchant where you bought your card? Can you recharge your phone card at any merchant offering the same company or network? Are you able to quickly reload your calling card via the Internet?
- Did your long distance service provider raise or lower its calling card rates since your last reload? Has the price of your card increased or available minutes decreased?
- Does the voice quality of your long distance service provider justify its lower rates? Might you be better to change prepaid calling cards to get better quality even if you pay a slightly higher per minute rate?
Since the majority of prepaid calling cards essentially work the same way, you should examine the quality of calls, customer service, convenience, calling prohibitions, and network reputation when choosing the best solution for you.
One Response to “Are prepaid calling cards all the same?”
Pingo phone cards Says:
good article to lay out what to look for when trying to compare phone cards ‘apples to apples’ or hidden fees vs call quality. Pingo has a virtual calling card that’s legit.September 14th, 2009 at 1:28 pm
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