International Call Guide - VoIP, Calling Cards, PC to Phone and More

calling cards

Most consumers are familiar with phone cards or calling cards.  Like dial around long distance, they are used by dialing a local or toll free access number from almost any phone. Many consider calling cards to be cheap but poor quality.  In many cases this is true but there are high quality calling cards available from reputable suppliers.  Many require the caller to dial an account number and/or PIN when making a call but some are now PIN-less.  If bought on line the access numbers and PIN are typically e-mailed to the purchaser so the calling card can be used immediately.  Calling cards can be a good option for making domestic or international long distance phone calls. For students, military personnel, travelers and other people who make occasional international calls they are a very good option.  Consumers can purchase International Calling Cards for making low cost domestic or international long distance calls from locations in North America or 130+ other countries in the world.  These are great for vacations or business trips overseas.  Calling Cards can used from nearly any phone by calling an access number in the country you are calling from. 

Calling Card Purchase Tips

Care should be taken when making a calling card purchase.  Calling card marketers often advertise low per minute rates but the actual rate will typically be much higher due to the addition of extra fees and taxes.  They are very creative in inventing new "hidden" fees.  These are often referred to as connection fees, taxes, service fees, maintenance fees or usage fees.  They often charge a weekly or monthly maintenance fee even if the calling card is not used. Another way to disguise higher rates is by rounding the duration of the call in higher intervals.  Most calling cards use a 1, 3 or 6 minute rounding interval.  This means that the length of the call will be rounded up by one of these intervals (the rounding interval is normally stated in the calling card details).  For example, if a caller makes a 6.5 minute call, the caller will be charged the following minutes depending on the rounding interval of the calling card being used.

  • If a calling card with a 1 minute rounding interval is used the caller will be charged for 7 minutes.
  • If a calling card with a 3 minute rounding interval is used the caller will be charged for 9 minutes.
  • If a calling card with a 6 minute rounding interval is used the caller will be charged for 12 minutes.

In general, calling cards with a lower rounding interval have less hidden cost.  The lowest calling card rounding interval is normally 1 minute.  There are sometimes other hidden charges like minimum call duration.  Some calling cards may charge the minimum rounding interval if call is attempted but not completed. 

It is often difficult or impossible to compare all of these things when making a calling card purchase.  The two things to remember are: 1. Try to compare calling cards on the same basis while shopping (i.e. cards with the same rounding interval and fee structure)  and 2. Be sure and read the details of a calling card before a purchase is made or the actually calling cost may be a lot higher than expected.

Despite these shortcomings, calling cards have their place and most people need one from time-to-time.  They are very good for occasional use and even relatively expensive high quality phone cards are far cheaper than traditional long distance.  Especially from countries outside of North America. One final tip, it is typically better to purchase a calling card right before it is used and to use it to make one call or a few calls over a short period of time.  If used this way, many of the fees mentioned above are reduced or eliminated.

Call Eastern Europe - Low Cost and up to 473 Free Minutes.

Call the Middle East - Low Cost with no hidden fees or taxes.