Calling Card Rates

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Calling cards fall into two general categories. Traditional calling cards are supplied by your regular telephone service, and offer unlimited use at standard calling card rates. These cards are billed to you monthly, just like a regular phone line. The difference is that you can use the card to place calls from anywhere, as opposed to being limited to just your house. There are also prepaid calling cards, which are purchased in a store or over the Internet. These cards have limited minutes available, which are covered by the cost of purchase.

Prepaid calling cards feature a personal identification number (PIN) that you can enter after dialing a toll-free access number. The PIN allows you to use the predetermined amount of calling time provided by the card. When the time runs out, the card can no longer be used to place calls until you add more money to it, allowing you control over your monthly phone bill. You can usually add money to a prepaid card using your credit card over the phone or Internet. If you don't have a credit card you can simply visit a retailer and recharge your account in person. Some cards also offer bonus incentives for recharging, such as proving access to prepaid time at a discounted price, or by offering additional free amounts of free long distance for every group of units purchased.

Prepaid Services and Lower Calling Card Rates

Major phone service providers sell of portions of calling time to smaller companies at discounted rates. This allows those smaller companies to pass the savings on to you with their cards. However, not all calling cards wind up saving you money. Some prepaid calling cards charge an additional connection fee for each call. Depending on where you place a call from, the connection fee can be very high. For example, most prepaid calling cards, which usually feature domestic rates of about ten cents a minute, charge over a dollar to connect a call from a payphone. This would limit a $10 prepaid calling card to less than ten uses, despite the duration of the calls.

In addition to lower long distance rates, many users find prepaid calling cards to be a very convenient alternative to long distance service. Because prepaid cards enable you to pay for your service ahead of time, there are no billing issues. This eliminates the need for a credit check, allowing many people to have long distance access that wouldn't otherwise. This aspect of prepaid calling cards is also useful for maintaining a budget. When long distance time is purchased before it is actually used, it prevents high monthly bills filled with overages and calls made at the wrong times. Prepaid service helps you budget your money and time by setting a limit on the amount of long distance phone time that you would like to use. Whereas home-billed services are frequently unpredictable unless you keep a careful record of all your time on the phone and compare it against the times calls were placed in the varying fee schedule, prepaid calling cards allow you to know exactly how much you have spent on long distance. Most phone cards even let the user know how much time is remaining on the card every time it is used.

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