Prepaid phone cards
can be difficult to choose, but we've developed this page to arm you
with the information you need to make a fully informed buying decision.
Cards with low per-minute rates usually have high
connect fees. That being so, its best that you make long calls rather
than short calls, even if you have to plan a call.
How to waste money. If you have
a connect fee of, say $1, and you call Sweden only to find that the
person you're calling can't talk at the moment, then you'll have wasted
$1 on a 1-minute call. A dollar-per-minute rate is just too high a
How to save money. Instead of
paying $1 or $2 to find out that the other party can't talk at the
moment, plan your long calls with whomever you are to call. You can
contact your call recipient to plan a call in at least three ways:
- By e-mail.
- By calling him or her using a phone card that
has no connect fee.
(See AmeriChoice, a long and short call card in one card)
- By calling him or her using your normal long
Check the following issues
Although none of the following are issues with
GBS, the Better Business Bureau recommends that, before purchasing
calling products, you check the reliability of the company by answering
the following questions to your satisfaction:
- Is there an activation fee?
- Are the rates the same across the continental
- Are you purchasing from a reputable company.
- Does the seller guarantee satisfaction?
- Does the product allow you to call
If you do experience a problem, you can contact
your local Consumer Affairs Department, State Attorney General, Better
Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission, Division of Service
Industry Practices in Washington, D. C. at
Disposable vs. Rechargeable
Prepaid phone cards come in two types: disposable
Disposable: This is
the more popular type of prepaid phone cards. They initially
have a certain number of minutes or a dollar value, and is thrown away
after all minutes are used.
cards also have a certain value or number of minutes, but when depleted
can be recharged by calling the respective Customer Service department
and billing additional minutes to your credit card. The cost
of the recharged minutes are often higher than what you originally paid
The better choice?
Rechargeable cards have one disadvantage, namely that most of them are
subject to a weekly or monthly service fee that is incurred, even
during times of inactivity. On the other hand, if you buy multiple
cards and you don't recharge them, then any time of inactivity between
cards will not be subject to service fees!
Choosing the right denomination
For $20 worth of prepaid phone cards,
it's sometimes advantageous to purchase two $10 ones instead. That's
because the inactive time you spend between cards
is not subject to the weekly service charge—it can save you
Marked or advertised units
Minutes Cards marked
in minutes have that number of minutes of call time.
Units Cards marked
with units rather than minutes can usually be used to make
international calls. The number of units usually reflects the number of
minutes for domestic calls. Companies charge multiple
units for each minute of calling to international countries. For
instance, if calls to Mexico cost 3 units per minute, then a 60-units
would yield 20 minutes of call-time to Mexico (60 units / 3 units per
minute = 20 minutes).
Dollars Most cards,
including ours, are marked with a dollar amount. Much like the products
marked in units, these can be used to call domestically and
internationally. They usually have a connect fee, per-minute rate, and
a monthly fee.
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