Many still rely on the utilization of Calling Cards or more appropriately called prepaid calling phone cards. These cards can offer significant savings, however, these do come with several caveats (read fees) here below we detail some of the most common fees, believe or not this not a complete list!
- Connection Fee: At the beginning of each call the connection fee is applied.
- Billing Fee: At the end of the call billing fee is applied IF a balance remains.
- Maintenance Fee: After the first use, and for a certain time the card is not used (say every 3 or 5 days) a maintenance fee is applied
Ever wonder why that 11 minutes call to your family seemed to eat up the balance left? Depending on the type of calling card (to be fair not everyone is the same) you have a single call that may have padded 3 different types of fees! That’s Total rate = Connection Fee + Call Rate + Billing Fee and IF you do not use the card for a certain predetermined period a Maintenance Fee might kick-in. But the history with the fees in phone cards does not fully stop there. There’s also the surcharges or premium to call certain destinations (sadly, Canada’s Northern Territories is often mentioned as a destination where surcharges apply) or certain phone types. For instance, IF using a payphone you’ll have a hefty surcharge fee and if you are calling an overseas mobile number you’ll get higher fees too. In some/most cards there’s something called “Minimum Charge per Call” what that means is that a fee may be applied at the end of the call-in where the cost of the call is lower than a preset amount. Some cards have an expiration period in which after first use the card code will be removed from the Providers system thus that card becomes unusable after a stipulated period of time (typical 3-months)
Where is all this information disclosed? You could ask. The majority of the phone cards disclose this on the back of the cards or on their websites. Though trying to read all the disclosure before buying a prepaid calling phone card will make us all have a facial expression like Mr. Magoo. IF you so venture have at hand a good magnifying glass. Even on the prepaid phone card websites sometimes is obscure to get to the information, you need to know what you are looking for to find it.
With all said phone cards do serve a purpose; conveniently avoiding the hefty long-distance charges from the big telecom companies. BUT in terms of economy and convenience VoIP Phones beats prepaid phone cards. For one the rates are simpler to understand. Depending on the plan you choose you may already have all your calling needs satisfied.
Reputable VoIP phone providers have fees clearly spelled out along with the calling rates. Another advantage of VoIP calling is that in many cases calls are free and you are using the very same phone you use at home. As an added plus, the cherry on the cake, using VoIP allows you to have a national or international virtual number; so when the family wants to call he/she’ll dial a local number.
The fact is that long-distance/international calling with providers such as Localphone, VoIP Much, VoIPly or Talkit is easy, very convenient, rates are either free or very competitive and you can call using a plethora of means: your home phone, Smartphone, your laptop even from a SmartTV! (as in the case of some apps)