International Long Distance Calling Cards

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Certainly when it comes down to international long distance calling cards very often are the perfect solution. You might be enticed by the offer of a long distance plan that includes a special rate to a choice country, sometimes two. This sounds great. Maybe you know someone in Malaysia, or South Africa. Ask yourself, however, how often you're really likely to call there.

Most people telephone a foreign country only occasionally. It's true that a long distance call today is phenomenally cheaper than it once was, thanks to digital technology and fiber optics. A single fiber-optic line carries thousands of digitized conversations at the same time, for example, instead of a series of connected copper wire pairs carrying a single analog conversation. This doesn't mean that it's necessarily a good idea to pick up the phone and dial straight through to Shanghai or Jakarta or Minsk, however.

Barring special monthly plans with a service firm such as AT&T or Verizon or MCI, you're faced with basic per-minute rates on international dialing. The rate varies dramatically depending on the country, of course. The basic rate is considerably higher you need or want to pay. International long distance calling cards are a way around it.

Shopping International Long Distance Calling Cards

You definitely want to shop around before opting on a vendor for international long distance calling cards. Always be sure to check the fine print for the service. Is there a surcharge--beyond the universal federal charge and tax that apply to all long distance calls--per call? Is there a minimum number of minutes per call? How long are the rates valid? When does the card expire? Is the card valid 24/7? Where are you likely to call? Does the service offer the best rates to those countries?

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