Wednesday, August 20, 2008

10 Things to Look For in a Prepaid Calling Card

Prepaid calling cards are the absolute best way to make calls especially international calls. I am sure by now you have searched already on the Internet for prepaid calling card providers and maybe you're a little bit down by all the information you see and whether it is true or not true. You are not alone. Looking for a low cost reliable prepaid phone card provider is like looking at a business contract. You start wondering if their are any loopholes and hidden cost you should be aware of.
Now not all prepaid calling card providers are out to cheat you. I would say a good 20% charge hidden fees and offer not as advertised services. But the business of prepaid calling cards is competitive and the providers are offering the lowest rates since there are so many prepaid calling card users. And they want your business.
Here is a list of 10 reasons you should keep an eye out for good prepaid calling card providers:

  • No Hidden Fees - Make sure you see the fees up front. Usually the fees are located next to the cost per minute rate.
  • Accepts various forms of payments - Credit card is best, if you have a difficulties with merchant, major credit cards will try resolve the matter for you.
  • Professional Web Page - Use your best judgment as possible on this one. If the web page looks corporate like than it probably is.
  • Consistent Call Rates - The call per minute price structure should be the same throughout and not change for whatever reason.
  • Rechargeable - This is a great function to have for a prepaid calling card purchased on line. Whenever your minutes run out your card can be set to renew automatically.
  • Call Quality - Sometimes bad call quality can happen, but if it happens too frequent, then switch carriers.
  • Access Numbers - Choose a company that has a wide range of access numbers. And keep an eye out for toll free access numbers as well.
  • Area Coverage - If you travel quite often to different countries then it would be best to choose a card that is non-country specific. So make sure the provider offers some.
  • New Account Confirmations - Make sure the prepaid calling card you sign up with contacts you shortly to confirm your identity. This way you know they are a legitimate company.
  • Customer Service - 24x7 phone support. Do not accept anything else at all.

  • This may seem like a lot of information but I assure it is not. Choosing a calling card provider to get in touch with your friends or loved ones overseas should not be a stressful situation. There are many great prepaid calling card provides out there, just keep the 10 reasons in mind when choosing one.
    To see a list of reputable calling card providers can take a look here for more information: You will find a list of companies as well as a useful tool to search calling card prices.

    How to Choose Prepaid Calling Cards

    When I was working overseas for several years I had fun in the beginning exploring and meeting different people and faces. But I started missing the familiar things back home, such as my favorite food pizza, walking around the neighborhood where I grew up and most importantly seeing the familiar faces of long time friends and family. I stayed in touch by email and it was OK but absolutely no comparison in hearing an actual live voice full of affection. Then there are web-cams and instant messaging, but I'm not at a desk full time.
    So the next best thing for a guy who's not inside all the time is to use a cell phone to keep in touch. Making international calls with a cell phone costs and arm and a leg though. I usually talk for more than a few minutes and even then those few minutes will cost me $5.00 US dollars. But there is an alternative to using your cell phone to make traditional international calls. You can use prepaid calling cards. I found the ones that you can buy in convenience stores and gas stations but I found those cumbersome. Because I had to buy so many at one time and I had to remember PIN numbers.
    On the Internet I found a better solution. To my amazement there were so many prepaid calling card providers with many types of calling cards. But as I looked more closely at some of the companies I found that they charge maintenance fees and they have something called minute rounding.
    So I did more research on this and found that all the prepaid calling card companies charge these fees. And some of them were hidden and I'm staying away from those. The fees weren't bad though compared to traditional international calling so I really looked at it as a convenience factor. Another price point I realized which was an important factor for me was PIN less dialing, meaning I did not have to remember PINs anymore. However, keep in mind that PIN less prepaid calling cards cost slightly higher.
    But I did some quick figures and came up with some numbers that proved using prepaid calling cards to make international calls was far cheaper than using the service provided by my cell phone carrier. My calls with prepaid calling cards cost .08 cents per minute compared to $1.50. And that's including the fees. So there really is no comparison and the decision was easy. One of the best features of using online prepaid calling cards is that you can set your calling card to recharge when your minutes run out. Your credit card which the prepaid calling card company has on file will automatically be billed.
    So in choosing a prepaid calling card keep in mind a few factors. Figure out how much you are willing to spend per minute as well as your calling habit. Some cards offer reduced rates during certain call time. Some cards charge lower maintenance fees but higher per minute call rate.
    Look for prepaid calling card companies that have professional looking website and most importantly 24x7 customer support. And don't be afraid to call them and ask questions.
    Edwin Clark
    For more information on finding the right prepaid calling card you can take a look at: