Online phone cards are becoming more and more popular with international travellers, foreign exchange students, and expatriates, among others, because of their affordable costs, wide coverage area, and convenient use. Keep in mind, however, that these benefits will only be yours to enjoy when you take the necessary steps to maximize their use with the following tips.
Understand the Instructions
Even when you have made numerous calls using online calling cards before, you have to read the instructions when changing your provider. Each provider usually has different terms and conditions for the use of its international calling cards, thus, the recommendation of reading the instructions before dialling the number. Even when you have been using the same online phone cards for several months, you may want to read the instructions again in case changes have been made.
In general, placing an international call using cheap phone cards is as easy as 1,2,3.
- Dial the access number that comes with the card
- Enter the PIN to activate the card
- Dial the phone number that will be called
Everything else from talking to the party at the other end to ending the call is the same as with domestic calls from landlines and mobile phones using the networks of telecoms providers. Calls can be made from mobile phones, smartphones, and phablets, even payphones depending on the call card.
Understand the Rates
This is one of the most important bases for choosing the best calling card for international calls. You want to avail of the lowest possible rate per minute so as to save on costs without sacrificing effective communication with the party at the other end. But you have to remember that low rates do not effectively mean the best choice since you have to consider other factors including call quality, hidden charges, and network coverage.
Nonetheless, you have to look first at the rate per minute to the specific country of your calls. Keep these things in mind:
- Check if the call card’s advertised minutes apply to single or multiple calls.
- Ask about other charges, such as maintenance fees, aside from the rate per minute. The maintenance fees may be deducted from your card once every month or every two weeks, for example.
Taxes may also be applied on the card.
- Ask about the rounding of minutes since it can affect your call usage. For example, if the rounding is 1 minute, a 16-minute, 50-second call will be rounded off to 17 minutes-and it will be different
when the rounding off is 3 minutes, which means the call will be billed at 18 minutes.
While international calling cards are often the best method to connect with family and friends abroad, you have to remember that it still takes smart moves to make the best of these cards.