Thousands of Dollars Saving Tips on Buying International Calling Cards - How to Choose the Best Phone Cards for Your Needs

By spending just a few minutes on reading the our useful Tips, Research Results and Suggestions, you can start saving Thousands of Dollars in your International Phone Calls, tons of your Valuable Time and avoid a lot of Hassles. By reading and comparing several cards’ Terms/Conditions and Charging Fees, based on your calling needs, you will be able to choose the Right Card and use it over and over and SAVE BIG!

(PRWEB) June 27, 2005 -- In order to choose the Best Prepaid Card to suit your Long Distance calling needs, you should be aware of certain facts, details and understand how the Phone Cards operate. First of all I want to tell you One Truth: in general there is NO such a think as “the Best Phone Card”. It all depends on your specific calling needs, habits and purposes: Who Calls, Whom You Call, From Where You Call, (To) Where You Call and How You Call. Most likely not all of these will apply to you (usually one or two factors apply). By taking a moment on reading and comparing several cards’ Terms/Conditions and Charging Fees, based on your calling needs, you will be able to choose the Right Card and use it over and over and SAVE BIG.

First, let me introduce the main Terms and Charges that usually apply to most of Prepaid Cards (Actual physical Cards and Instant PIN Delivery Online Cards).

Prepaid Phone Card: It is a card which you purchase (for a set price) and use to make long distance domestic or international phone calls. They allow holders to make calls up to the value of the card, by dialing a local access # or Toll Free # and entering a PIN.
Value of a card: Phone Cards come in different denominations: $2, $3, $5, $20 and $50. The most popular ones are $5s and $10s. You want to choose a card which suits your needs. Sometimes it is best to use a $5 or $10 card and complete your phone calls and not worry about the connection fees, maintenance fees and rounding fees. So, a $50 card, which provides a better rate than a $10 card, may become pricier than 5 (five) $10 cards. For this reason you should also consider that cards could expire without using all available minutes.

Per Minute Rate: This is the rate that is billed for each minute of the conversation that the caller engages in and is usually expressed in cents per minute. Many prepaid phone cards will have a cheap per minute rate, but may have very high connection or other types of fees.

Connection Fee: It is charged when a telephone call gets connected. The call is considered to be connected as soon as someone answers, including connecting to an answering machine, fax, voice mail or pager. Connection fees vary widely between cards. Lots of cards have No Connection Fees (usually those have higher per minute rates than the cards with Connections Fees).

Maintenance Fee: Some cards charge a maintenance fee either when the first phone call is connected or after the first phone call is finished. This is a scheduled fee that might be applied weekly, semi-weekly or monthly. This is applied to almost all prepaid phone cards.

Minutes Rounding: It is used to calculate the length of a phone call by rounding them. If it rounded to 2 minutes, a 30 seconds phone call will be considered as a 2 min. call and a 3 min. call will be considered as a 4 min.

Expiration Date: Many prepaid phone cards will expire after certain period. This time span is usually 3-6 months and it is usually counted from the card’s first use.

Communication Fee: Certain phone cards charge a communication fee. The advertised total minutes look more attractive because this fee is usually applied after the call is finished. Look out to see if your card charges this fee.

Pay-Phone Surcharge: There is usually a surcharge when you use a public pay-phone.

Calls to cell phones: A different rate may apply when you make calls to cell phones using a calling card.

Tax: Some prepaid phone cards charge a monthly tax or one time tax (not common). Try to avoid it by checking the information for your phone card carefully.    

Once you get familiar with International Phone Cards’ terms and fees, check what factors you should consider on choosing the right cards for your calling needs, which will help you to get maximum benefits, comfort, lowest rates, best services and Huge Savings. In the long run using these particular calling cards will minimize hassles and problems related to international callings.

To make this process easier and more productive lets go through the above mentioned questions (Who, Whom, Where, How…) one by one and lets start from the most important one: (To) Where You Call?-this means what country or what specific city in that country you wand to call. To make it easier understand, let me illustrate whatever I am going to say on the real company’s (Phone Cards Gallery) website (this is the website, from where I do almost all my online phone card purchases. I, personally, like that company’s site, because they have great services and products with huge variety, have very useful Searching Tools, good Useful Links and Tips, and most important I like their Specials and Discounts on most of their cards). Once you go to that company’s Home Page (, in the left side you will see “Discount Calling Card Finder” section. In the “country” box choose your calling country. If the city (in that country) which you want to call is listed also, then choose that city. If you are calling to a cell phone, choose the country (-) dash “cell”. IN general, major cities have better rates (more calling time) than the country. After choosing your destination, click “Get Phone Cards!” button. The site’s searching tool will find all the cards which provide calling services to your country and will organize the cards with highest calling minutes to the lowest minutes (Top Ranking). Now we know which cards give the best calling minutes to your country, but this is just the beginning. First, look at the list with Top Ranking Cards (usually top 10 or 20 cards). Second thing you need to consider is the cards “Quality” (Blue Stars next to the Cards’ names”). Always give preferences to those cards which have better Qualities (more stars). The most preferred cards are once with 4 or 5 (5 is maximum) stars. Having Local Access numbers (for the State or City that you are located or you calling from) is also very important. It is recommended to choose a card that has Local Access numbers. Usually, by using Toll Free 1-800 number, instead of Local Access numbers, additional Per Minute Charges may apply. Next to the cards’ names (“Calling Card Name” column), inside the prentices, they usually show if that particular card has Local Access numbers for your state or a city. Some cards that have Local Access #s, in the card’s detail page, will provide a link (“Local Numbers”) to the new page with the list of all available Local Access #. Others will provide (by Automated Answering Service) the Local Access # when you call by using their Toll Free # and choosing “yes” to their question: “Do you need Local Access #?” In this case, after you get Local Access #, you need to hang up and call using given Local #.

Who Calls?- this means if you are using regular phone or payphone to make your calls. If you are using a payphone, in the cards’ terms check if they charge additional fees for using a payphone, how much it is and compare with other cards to make your decision.

Whom You Call?- this means if you are calling to a regular phone or to a cell phone. If you are calling to a cell phone, in the Terms check if they charge different rates for cell phones and make your decision accordingly.

From Where You Call?- this means from which country (USA or Canada), State or City you are calling from. Some cards you can use only from certain states or cities and that usually very easy to notice: either card’s name include that state’s or city’s name (Ex. Crazy-Crazy Los Angeles) or nest to the card’s name it says the name of the state or the city for which that card is designed for. Usually those cards have Local Access #s for that state, county or city. If you see that the card, beside 800 #, has Local Access # also, then it means that the card is specialize or designed for that specific area only. Some cards could work only from specified location (state) and in the detail page of those cards, on the “Toll Free” line will say “(Works From X State Only!)”. So, be careful and do not buy these types of cards if you are not in that state. So, make your decision accordingly, and choose the cards that specialize on your state or city. Many cards have No Local Access numbers (they have only Toll Free #) and you can use them from any states.

How You Call? - This means that what are your calling durations and frequencies: are you going to make a few long calls with your card or many short calls? If you are planning to make one or two long phone calls, then the most important factor that you will need to consider is Calling Rate (or Calling Time). You will need to choose the cards that give higher calling minutes (same as lower calling rates). The Connection Fees, Maintenance Fees, Communication Fees, Minute Rounding Rates, Expiration Date and other similar fees and factors are not so important and relevant for long calls. However, those mentioned fees and factors are very important to consider if you going to make many (frequently) short calls. You may consider getting cards with comparably lesser calling minutes (higher rates) but minimum charges for above mentioned fees. In this case you also will need to prefer cards with longer Expiration Date and smaller rates for Minute Rounding. Therefore, the card with higher calling time is not necessary is the best card for you if you are planning to make short calls. To make frequent short calls, you will need a card with No Connection Fee, Minimum or No charges for Maintenance, Communication and also smaller number for Rounding Minutes. Generally short calls are those which are lasting less than 15 min.

By considering all the above mentioned factors and options, now you are able to choose the right cards that will SAVE you the most money. There are numerous prepaid phone cards out there and yes, there are some major differences between the fees they charge. If you are serious about getting the most out of your hard earned dollars, take the time and just one time compare different cards and choose the best one for your needs. Once you found the best one for your needs, you can use the same card over and over and SAVE MONEY and TIME, as long as you are satisfied with that card’s services. Online phone cards stores (one of them I already mentioned to you: ) and their tools make comparison of different cards’ rates, terms, fees, advantages and disadvantages much easier. Buying phone cards over the internet is also safe, very convenient and profitable (they provide lots of discounts and you can choose the right cards and save).

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