When buying international prepaid calling cards, make sure you understand all the key facts and “sometimes hidden” costs, before you buy. Reading this article will help you understand all that’s required to buy a cheap and reliable prepaid phone cards with confidence.
International calling cards – The Key facts and figures:
- Rate per minute – The most important figure to consider when buying prepaid phone cards. This is calculated by the originating country and the call destination country.
- Minute rounding – Sometimes referred to as “billing increment”. This denotes the unit a call will be rounded to per call. For example, a calling card with 3 minute rounding will bill you in 3 minute increments, regardless of call duration. A call lasting between 0 and 3 minutes will cost you 3 minutes, a call between 3 and 6 minutes will be billed as 6 minutes and so on.
- Connection fees – Every time a connection is made, the stated connection fee will be charged against your international calling card. A connection fee is usually charged at the point the call recipient answers your call. This applies to answering machines, wrong numbers or in some cases if the recipients phone rings more than ten times.
- Communications fees – Communication fees apply to each call made with your international calling card. Not all cards charge this fee; so shop around. The stated communication fee, if applied, will be deducted automatically from your call card balance. For example, a 20 minute call made using a card with a 10% communication fee will be billed as 22 minutes (20 minutes + 10% of 20 minutes).
- Maintenance fees – Maintenance fees are charged by the international calling card provider to maintain call quality. Maintenance fees will be deducted from your cards balance at the stated interval (weekly, monthly, etc.), although not all calling card providers apply this fee.
- Access number – Access number(s) will be provided when you buy international call cards. This is the number you call to access your calling card before you make your international calls. This access number may be a local number or toll-free number within the country you are in.
- Denominations – The denomination is the value of the phone card. Most cards come in denominations of 10 ($10 credit, $20 credit, $30 credit for example). This value, divided by the rate per minute, works out the maximum number of minutes talk time offered by this card.
- Payphone Surcharge – A payphone surcharge will be deducted from your calling card balance every time you connect to a call using a payphone.
- Recharge / Auto-Recharge – A phone card is rechargeable if more value can be added to it after the initial value has been used. If you buy your international call card online, you may have an automatic recharge option. This is an optional service and can usually be implemented though your online account for free. You can configure your account to automatically add more minutes to your international calling card when your balance reaches a certain level. For example, you can set your account to automatically add $30 credit to your card when your remaining balance reaches $5.
- Expiration – Most calling cards have an expiry date and any call credit left on them will not be refunded.
We suggest shopping around and comparing these key metrics before you buy. Ultimately, you want to buy an international phone card which gives you the most minutes of talk time for your money. Follow our tips below and you should not go far wrong:
- Work out how many minutes you get by dividing the card denomination by the rate per minute.
- 1 minute rounding, or less (the lower the better).
- Low or NO connection fees, communication fees and maintenance fees.
- Toll-free numbers to access your card.
- Long expiration date.
- It may sound strange but “watching the clock” and terminating calls as near to the “rounding” as possible will ensure you do not waste minutes.
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Compare international prepaid calling cards today and secure the most reliable prepaid calling cards online.