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Calling card helpful info

Either prepaid or billed, calling cards are a very popular way to communicate with your family, friends or coworkers when you're away from home.

Billed calling cards

A billed calling card works like a regular telephone service - you receive a monthly bill from the company providing the card. Most long distance providers offer billed calling cards to their customers so they can use their services even when traveling. Rates are usually a bit higher when using a calling card due to payphone charges.

How to use billed calling cards?

In order to make calls using a billed calling card you have to dial an access code, then enter a PIN number followed by the phone number you wish to call.

What should a billed calling card offer?
  • no monthly fees - especially when there is no usage (most people only use calling cards occasionally)
  • competitive domestic and international rates
  • toll free access code
  • live customer service

Prepaid calling cards

Prepaid calling cards are paid for in advance and are usually disposable (although some companies offer cards that are rechargeable). They come in fixed denominations ($5, $10, $20 etc), and carry a per minute rate. Some prepaid calling cards also charge a connection fee for every call you make.

Unlike billed calling cards, prepaid cards are available in most pharmacies, convenience stores, or little boutiques. Moreover, prepaid phone cards can be used right away. Therefore, convenience is what makes these types of calling cards so popular.

How to use prepaid calling cards?

Each prepaid calling card has a distinct PIN number that is usually hidden below a marked surface. After purchasing the card you'll have to uncover the PIN number by scraping the surface. You can make calls by dialing an access number, then the PIN number followed by the phone number you wish to call.

Reported problems with prepaid calling cards

Since prepaid calling cards are very popular among Americans, there are literally hundreds of companies selling them. Some of them are in for the long run, some are not. The reality is many prepaid calling cards do not work like they're supposed to. Here are some of the most frequently reported problems:

  • access numbers that are always busy
  • higher that advertised charges
  • charges apply even if the call doesn't go through
  • customer service phone numbers that are always busy or do not work at all
  • companies that go out of business making it impossible for customers to use the card or get their money back
Making a smart choice when purchasing a prepaid phone card
  • do not go for any unheard of calling card - make sure the company providing it has been in business for some time
  • the card should provide a toll free access number - you might wanna use it from a payphone
  • read the fine print about whether there are any connection fees and how much they are (connection fees apply on each and every call you make)
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