How to buy a phone card
A phone card buying guide
Calling long distance and internationally for less can be easier with the right set of phone cards. There are many different types of phone cards available to choose from. Find out more about how to buy a phone card that best meets your needs below.
>> What are phone cards used for?
Phone cards are used to call long distance and international numbers, as well as use payphones for a flat rate per minute. You can use the phone cards from both landlines and cell phones, often spending less than the charges on your phone line. The best phone cards cost less and charge low domestic and international rates.
>> Consider your calling requirements
With most phone cards, you can use them from a cell phone, landline or a payphone. Each of these choices may have different requirements for the phone card, so be sure to pick the one that best meets your individual needs.
If you call from a cell phone, you will likely have to use your cell phone minutes in addition to the minutes that are on the phone card. In many cases, it is best to use a calling card only if you need to call international numbers. If the minutes from your phone service costs more than the standard rates of the phone card, you will save money by using the phone card. This is just one of the options for use once you learn how to use and buy a phone card.
Phone card companies originally intended for their cards to be used from payphones, but payphones are becoming less common as more people acquire cell phones. The most common use for a phone card is now to call long distance and internationally from a landline. Rates for both long distance and international calls can be pricey when you only have basic phone service. Using a phone card for the occasional long distance call often costs much less than paying for a monthly calling plan. Keep this in mind when deciding how to buy a phone card.
You can still use phone cards at payphones. However, the rate structure changes with this type of use. Most types of phone cards will add on an extra monetary fee or deduct a certain amount of minutes as soon as a call is connected. This means that you will have to consider this extra charge when buying a phone card for payphone use.
>> Consider minutes to be used
When considering how to buy a phone card, you must choose how many minutes you need to purchase. This will depend greatly on how you plan to use the calling card. The phone card companies charge different rates for different types of calls. Long distance calls are billed at a local rate for the country in which you are making the calls. The phone card companies will bill these calls at a flat rate for any state or area you call. These are the least expensive calls. If you are learning how to buy a phone card for long distance calls, just determine how many calls you plan to make based on the flat minute rate and then decide how much money to place on the card. International calling is often very different. While you figure out how to buy a phone card, you will need to keep in mind which countries you plan to call. This is because each country carries a different rate billed to the phone card. Because of this, you may want to take some extra time when you determine the best phone cards to buy. Generally speaking, it is better to overestimate what is needed when buying cards with prepaid minutes.
>> How are the different types of cards billed?
Phone card companies offer many different types of phone cards for both domestic and international use. These phone cards differ by price, rates and units. Some phone cards offer a set amount of minutes, while others offer a flat monetary amount. For example, you could have a phone card with $25 on it, or you could have a phone card with 500 minutes. You can find phone cards for purchase with electronics supplies and phone and accessories. Look at the chart below for a phone card comparison.
|Money ||Calls are billed at a flat rate per minute. These rates are usually only a few cents each for call within the United States. ||Each country has a flat rate that is billed to the phone card. This rate varies by the country you call and is set by the phone card company. Different phone cards may have different rates for international calls. ||Payphone calls generally cost more initially than calling from landlines. Most payphones will use a set amount of money upon call connection before the per-minute rate starts. |
|Minutes ||Phone cards with a set amount of minutes are the best phone cards for in-country calls. They are usually the most budget-friendly and last the longest. Each minute on the card is equal to a minute of talk time. ||When you make international calls using a card with minute units, the calls are billed using several minutes for each minute of talk time. For example, a one minute call to Mexico may charge three minutes to the card. Monetary value phone cards are often a better value when placing international calls versus minute-only cards. ||As with monetary cards, a set amount of minutes is used initially upon connection when using a payphone. Once this connection fee has been taken out, you will incur the minute-rate set by the phone card for payphone calls. |
>> Choose from different kinds of phone cards
In the table above, the types of phone cards are laid out. Choose the phone card based on how you plan to use it. This way the card will be used effectively. You can also choose a phone card based on the different phone card companies. Some offer prepaid phone refills.
>> Consider termination period
You should always read the terms and conditions of the phone cards to ensure you understand how your minutes will be used and whether or not there is a termination period. In addition, when you end a call, the phone card is billed by the whole minute. This means that if you talk for two and a half minutes, you will be billed for a full three minutes.