Not long ago I wanted to call some friends who live in Europe. I pulled out my cell phone, dialed their number, and we had a nice long chat. When I got my phone bill later that month, I almost choked. A half hour call cost me over $80!
International Calling Costs Can Be Sky-High
As most of us know, regular long-distance calling isn’t too bad these days. But calling internationally, especially from a cell phone, can add up quick.
How International Rates Are Calculated
Cell phone providers and hotels usually charge per minute rates. These rates can be $2-3 per minute or even higher depending on the country you’re calling. So, a 30-minute call to Europe sets you back $90!
Using phone card services can drastically reduce these bloated international calling rates. In this article, we’ll explore international phone cards – an easy way to save 90% or more on all your international calls.
What Are International Phone Cards?
“International phone cards are prepaid calling cards that allow you to make calls to other countries at very low rates. They provide an affordable and convenient alternative to making expensive international calls from your regular phone or mobile device.” Phil Robertson, www.singaporephonecards.com
Prepaid Cards for International Calling
An international phone card works similar to a prepaid phone card for domestic calls. You purchase a physical card or virtual card with a set number of minutes that can be used to call abroad.
The cards utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to route calls over the internet, bypassing traditional telephone networks. This allows them to offer significantly reduced per-minute rates.
When you place a call with your international calling card, you dial a local access number, enter your card details and PIN, then dial the international number. As you talk, minutes are deducted from your prepaid card balance.
Big Savings Over Cell and Hotel Phone Rates
The per-minute rates offered on international phone cards can be as much as 80-90% cheaper than typical hotel phone charges and mobile phone charges when calling internationally.
So if a 30 minute call on your cell phone costs $90, that same call could cost just $5 using an international calling card! This makes them an invaluable tool for any frequent international caller.
Key Benefits of International Phone Cards
There are many good reasons to use prepaid international phone cards for making calls abroad, including:
Ultra-Low Rates – The calling rates on international phone cards undercut standard long-distance charges by up to 90%, even on landline phones. This saves you a lot of money, especially on lengthy calls.
Flat Per-Minute Prices – Cards offer consistent per-minute rates when calling landlines and mobile phones in most countries. Typical cell phone charges have higher rates when calling mobiles abroad.
No Contracts or Fees – International calling cards are entirely prepaid so there are no commitments, connection fees, or monthly bills. You only pay for the minutes you actually use.
Easy to Get Started – To start calling internationally, just purchase a card online or from a retailer, activate it, and dial the access number to connect through VoIP networks.
Convenient – Phone cards enable affordable international calling while traveling, at home, or from any landline or mobile device with calling capabilities.
Using prepaid international cards is a flexible, budget-friendly way to stay in touch with friends, family members, and business associates outside of the country without paying exorbitant phone bills.
How International Phone Cards Work
International phone cards provide a straightforward way to make cheap calls abroad. Here is a step-by-step overview:
- Purchase Card- You can buy an international calling card online or from various retailers. Cards come with a set amount of talk time minutes that can be used to call landlines and mobiles globally.
- Activate Card- Activate the phone card by calling the provided customer service number or entering the card details on the company’s website. This prepares it for placing calls.
- Dial Access Number- To make a call, first dial the local or toll-free access number printed on your card using any phone.
- Enter PIN– When prompted, enter the PIN number for your international calling card account using the phone keypad.
- Dial International Number- Following the instructions, dial the country code and phone number you wish to call abroad.
- Talk!- Once connected, enjoy your international call! The call duration and destination is used to calculate fees deducted from your card’s balance.
- Recharge When Needed- Top up your prepaid card with additional minutes whenever required by purchasing more credit online or through the provider.
It’s that easy. When traveling or living abroad, phone cards offer an indispensable money saving solution for maintaining good communication with numbers back home.
Types of International Phone Cards
There are a variety of international calling cards to meet different needs:
Country Specific Cards – Some calling cards offer discounted rates when calling specific countries or regions frequently. For instance, a “China Call Card” would provide the lowest rates to phone numbers in mainland China.
Global Calling Cards – Other cards can be used to call landlines and cell phones in many countries around the world, usually at a flat per-minute rate. These are good for general international calling.
Rechargeable Cards – Many international phone card accounts allow you to easily add more money and minutes from the provider’s website or mobile app as needed.
App-Based Calling – Alternatively, some apps for iOS and Android allow low cost international calls over data or Wi-Fi without needing a physical calling card.
Access Options – Most cards can be accessed via toll-free numbers while some providers offer local access numbers as well, which is useful when traveling abroad.
With many types of international calling cards available, take some time to assess your specific calling needs and preferred methods before choosing the best option.
Mistakes to Avoid
While international phone cards provide great savings, there are some potential pitfalls to steer clear of:
Avoid Maintenance Fees – Some calling cards have daily or monthly maintenance fees that slowly drain away the credits in your account. Go for cards with no recurring charges.
Beware Hidden Fees – Watch out for cards with per-call connection fees unless the per-minute rates are exceptionally low. Connection fees eat into your savings.
Avoid Big Retailers – Large retailers like supermarkets often won’t have the best selection or rates. Specialty stores are better suited.
Go For Low Billing Increments – Cards with 1 to 3 minute billing increments save far more money than those with larger 6+ minute increments. You only pay for the precise call duration.
Ensure Reliable Customer Support – Pick a phone card company with 24/7 multilingual customer service, in case any issues arise.
By sidestepping some of these pitfalls, you’ll enjoy reliable and cost-effective international calling through prepaid phone cards.
Getting Started with International Phone Cards
Ready to start enjoying huge savings on international calls? Here is a quick checklist to get you going:
Identify Calling Needs – Determine which countries and numbers you call most frequently. This shapes the best card option.
Compare Provider Rates – Research prices from multiple top phone card providers and compare their per-minute rates to your destinations.
Consider Access Options – Ensure the provider offers local access numbers or toll-free numbers that work from your locations.
Read the Fine Print – Verify there are no hidden fees or restrictive policies before selecting a prepaid international calling service.
Purchase Minutes – Buy an international phone card online or in-store with enough talk time to meet your upcoming calling needs. Top-up whenever required.
Make Cheap Calls – Activate your prepaid international card and dial away! Enjoy staying connected affordably on every call, whether from home, abroad, or while traveling.
With an ever-growing variety of international calling cards and options available, taking a bit of time to find the best match for your specific needs will pay off tremendously in the long run through the savings you’ll realize on all your international calls.