Tips for Using Phone Cards
Let's review the basics you should look for and be aware of when selecting and using your card:
Ask about expiration dates to avoid losing unused/prepaid minutes. Find out whether you can add minutes to a rechargeable card when you are outside the US.
- Look for a card that offers you the international options you need. If you are traveling outside the US, make sure you know whether your card will work in each country you visit.
- Some US cards do not allow you to call back into the US when you are in certain countries. Be sure you are aware of your ability to call back to the US from the countries you will be visiting.
- Know the cost to call FROM each country and TO each country.
- Ask how long it will take for added minutes to be available whether you are in the US or abroad, and make sure you know what methods are available to add minutes wherever you will be.
- Find out if there are monthly fees.
- Know the increments for which you will be charged. These can go from real time to a minute minimum (even if you go one second over).
- Find out what the additional charges will be if you make a call from a pay phone in the US or abroad.
- Know the cost per minute you are prepaying when calling from the US. For example, some cards offer one rate to most countries in Europe, but charge higher rates to the Far East.
- Know whether there is a per-call surcharge.
- Know about reciprocal agreements between international carriers.
Tips on Calling Internationally
An international calling card differs from a domestic calling card in that it allows you to call many different countries around the world. International calling cards can be quite convenient since they are frequently cheaper than many of the foreign phone companies. As you call using the phone card, the minutes are simply debited against the card.
If you are traveling outside the U.S. it is important to check if the card can be used in the country you will be traveling to. The reason being is that most international phone cards are limited in their use throughout the world due to the carriers making agreements to provide service only in certain countries.
Another very important step is to check the rates from country to country. Sometimes these rates can be very expensive. Make sure you are checking the rate in the correct direction due to the fact that a call from the U.S. to Italy may cost 10 cents, but a call from Italy to the U.S. may cost 50 cents. This is because the call to the U.S. has to pay fees to an Italian phone company.