Basic Buying Tips for Prepaid Calling Cards - airline tickets header graphic

Basic Buying Tips for Prepaid Calling Cards

In just the last ten years, the calling card industry has exploded into a four billion dollar per year business with an estimated 500 million cards sold annually. The cards are available just about everywhere today. They can be purchased in most stores including gas stations and convenience stores. You can also purchase them online. There is a wide variety of rates and services offered and the wise consumer needs to have a basic understanding of them in order to find the best rates.

Most people think that this is an easy thing to do. The price per minute is usually featured prominently on the card and its advertising. However, the problem is that the price per minute does not necessarily reflect the best rate. There are several surcharges that can be added to the cost of a call. In fact, the general rule is that the lower the per minute charge, the higher the surcharges. Some cards have a large connection fee that is charged for each call. This connection charge alone is enough to bring the actual per minute cost much higher. Another surcharge that comes as a big surprise too often is the pay phone surcharge. This is a charge as much as 50 cents more for each call made from a pay phone.

Many cards have an International call surcharge. This can be as high as $3.00 per call. Other surcharges include taxes , which can be as high as 25% and a weekly maintenance fee. The weekly maintenance fee can sap the remaining minutes in your card if you do not use them quickly. Another hidden charge is rounding. Although most cards will round calls up to the closest minute, some use six minute rounding so that a one minute call will be charged as six minutes.

The way to select a card is to have a good understanding of how you are going to use the phone, and where and when your calls are going to be made. Armed with this information, you can assess which surcharges will impact you and which ones will not make any difference. For example, cards with low per minute rates and high surcharges are usually better for calls that run from 10 to 15 minutes or longer. If your calls generally run less than 10 minutes, the high minute, low surcharge car is better. You should make sure that you receive all the information on how the card is used, how it is recharged, what its surcharges and limitations are, and when it expires. If you have trouble finding this information you should be looking for another card.

A prepaid phone card is a tremendous advance in communication, and a cheap prepaid phone card can save much money in emergencies or while traveling. The prepaid international phone card has brought the world closer together. It has made communication better and safer, but do not be afraid to shop around for the right card. They are not all the same, and the money saved makes a bit of research a wise investment.

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