Technology has come a long way especially with the arrival of VoIP and calling apps which have made it a lot easier to stay in content with friends and family overseas but when it comes to making reliable phone calls I still use the good old-fashioned international calling card.
Here’s why I like to travel and most of the destinations I’m able to use calling apps and get free calls but there are some places that either have no or unreliable internet making any online calls obsolete.
According to phonecardpoint.com.au, even in those remote areas there still copper phone lines which means if I have my calling card I can still make phone calls, and they surprisingly reliable.
The most common complaint I hear about calling cards is the number of numbers you need to remember.
To make a call you need to:
- Dial the local access number
- Enter in your PIN typically around 10 digits
- Dial the international phone number
Personally, I don’t think that’s an actual problem but I get it for those who have trouble seeing the keypad or have limited mobility with their hands.
So, for those who are really put out by having to enter in all those numbers, you can simply program them all in on your mobile phone which is what I do.
You do this by entering in each step followed by a ‘,’ for example (local access number + PIN number + international number > 0312345678,12345678910,00111234567890.
This way you only need to push a single button and the mobile phone will work through the entire process, very handy.
My recommendation is to make sure that you have a phone card handy for when you’re overseas.
In this guide, I’ll share with you my best tips for ensuring that you get the best international calling cards without being ripped off.
This is probably the best way to avoid any headaches (or at least) seriously reduce the likelihood of any issues arising.
The customer support team is a good way to get important information that you might not get on the physical card itself.
Here are some questions you need to ask:
How fast can they resolve tech issues?
Technical issues aren’t too common but you are dealing with technology so it can happen. The best calling card companies are able to resolve 0% off issues very quickly, on that same day or sometimes even faster 20 minutes if it’s an issue with not being able to connect a call.
Other issues like being overcharged will take a lot longer but most companies will re-credit your balance.
If there is an issue with your card are they able to refund your money?
When do you get the card?
If you’re buying an online phone card (digital phone card) how long will it take to get your card was the transaction is complete?
Be Aware Of Additional Fees
There are two ways of calling card companies to make money:
- The margin on the calls
- additional fees
for most calling card companies the margins are pretty tight so they will often look for other ways to increase margins and this is where additional fees come in.
These are fees that are deducted from your card on the successful connection which can be either a person or voice mail both are considered a successful connection.
This is the same as a connection fee but instead of your card being charged at the start of the phone call, it’s deducted from the end of a call.
These are monthly fees that are deducted from your card every month whether you use it or not.
This is the remaining credit on your card that you cannot use because it does not meet the minimum requirement for making the call. For example, the call costs 20c but you only have 19c, the company will pocket the 19c.
Most international calling cards will have a hard expiration date which you’ll be able to extend if it’s a rechargeable card but it will often mean that any remaining balance left on the card is lost if you don’t recharge it before the card expires.
Needless to say, there is a lot of money made in this area.
How to find the best card
When it comes to finding the best international calling card try to avoid any cards that carry a special fee with the one exception of connection fees.
The reason for this is that cards that carry connection fees will tend to have friendlier calling rates than those that don’t but this is not always the case so do your due diligence when it comes to checking the rates for each card.
Second, always make sure that if there is a problem with the card that you can get a 100% refund from the retailer or at least have the credit placed back on the card and the tech issue resolved quickly, in other words, that same day.
If possible, I recommend using an online calling card provider since it gives you a chance to view all of the calling rates and call the customer service line to give you an idea of how professional they are as a service.
Even though I’ve pointed out a few of the more negative aspects of phone card companies, once you know the pitfalls then it becomes a lot easier to find the best option and in my opinion, I prefer calling cards over and above calling apps like Skype, Viber, and Yabb messenger, etc.) because you don’t need to rely on you or the other person having an internet connection.
Countries tend to have a much more robust telephone infrastructure than the internet so you can be sure that even in remote areas you’ll be able to communicate with family and friends using the good old international calling card.