Asia Phone Cards

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Phone cards offering competitively priced international calling rates to various locations throughout Asia can usually be purchased from neighborhood convenience stores and newsstands in urban areas. These cards usually offer better international long distance rates than traditional monthly billed service providers. Asia phone cards are convenient to many people because they eliminate the need for signing up with a long distance provider, or from transferring your existing account from one service to another. Whether you're in regular contact with someone in Asia, or only intend to place a few calls, these cards can help you save a lot of money.

Asia phone cards are configured to grant access to a limited amount of international long distance minutes, predetermined by the cost of the card. The card is divided into "units," which can refer to the overall monetary value of the card, or the amount of minutes that value corresponds to. A toll free access number (printed on the card) can be dialed to gain access to the service contained on the card. After dialing the access number, the card user enters a personal identification number, or "PIN," which enables access to the prepaid long distance service from any phone number. The more the service is used, the more units are deducted from the card. Most phone cards can be "recharged" if you purchase additional units with your credit card. Many Asia phone cards offer users incentives for recharging their cards, such as free bonus units included with specific purchases.

Choosing Asia Phone Cards

When you're trying to decide between which of the Asia phone cards will best suit your needs, pay attention to things like hidden costs and connection fees. You should also have a rough idea of the length and amount of calls you will be making. Due to costs that can arise from a combination of a card's connection fees and a specific region's international rates, different cards can have different uses. For example, a card might have a high connection fee, but provide access to particularly low international rates. As a result, the card would be best suited for long conversations. By using up the low-priced international minutes without too many additional connection fee deductions, you can get the most out of the card.

Some Asia phone cards feature low rates if used to place calls from a predetermined set of area codes. These cards are marketed and sold in areas with a high Asian population. A card enabled to place cheap long international calls to certain parts of Korea, for example, might be configured to provide low rates if used from a U.S. area code heavily populated with immigrants from those regions. By limiting the compatible area codes, the phone card service provider reduces their own coverage costs, and is able to provide the reduced rates. However, if one of these cards is used to place a call from a non-compatible area code, the card's minutes may be rapidly deducted, as the caller can be subjected to severely unregulated fees outside of the established area. These types of cards are best employed as a substitute for a traditional home phone plan, as they can be used to maintain regular contact between two households.


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