Keeping in touch with folks was one of the most difficult aspects of my globetrotting days and finding stable internet alternatives in certain areas was incredibly difficult in some parts of the world, so I depended extensively on international calling cards.
Some people prefer to use the most up-to-date technology, which is fine, but I don’t care if it’s two cups connected by a piece of string; I only care about what works, and calling cards have helped me connect with people when all other communication channels have failed, so I always keep them in my travel kit.
Who is a good candidate for international calling cards?
If you’re travelling, I recommend keeping a calling card on hand as a backup in case you need to call from a more remote location.
Relocated to a different country
Having an international phone card is a terrific alternative if you’ve recently relocated to another country.
You may not need a phone card if you’re calling back to one of the top tier nations, such as New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, Canada, the United Kingdom, or South Africa, because many mobile plan carriers include substantial minutes to these countries.
International phone cards are fantastic for use somewhere else.
However, be wary of organizations who provide poor service when it comes to calling cards.
In this essay, I’ll provide my best advice for finding the finest foreign phone card without getting ripped off.
4 Ways To Choose The Best International Calling Cards
Customer service is very important
Although few individuals do so, I strongly advise you to check that the firm you’re utilizing has a responsive customer support team.
“Reputable organizations always have a customer support team on standby; in fact, having a customer service team on standby is a strong clue that you’re working with a reputable calling card provider.” phonecardpoint.com.au, Angus Barret
The important thing to remember is that while working with phone cards, you’re bound to come into a technical difficulty, and you’ll want to be sure you can address it promptly.
I would avoid calling cards that do not provide a customer support number.
Here are a few questions to think about:
How long does it take for technical difficulties to be resolved?
The top businesses are able to handle 90% of IT difficulties the same day, if not within an hour or two. Lower-quality services might take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so it’s better to avoid them.
What is their policy on refunds?
Are you able to get your money back if you have a problem? Unless you experienced technical troubles from the first call, for example, you tried to make a few calls and none of them went through but you were still charged, most providers will not grant you a refund if you’ve used part of your calling credit. In this scenario, you’ll likely obtain a refund.
- When will you receive your calling card?
- Will it be mailed to you or sent to you through email?
- Are there any additional charges that I should be aware of?
Many calling card providers impose a variety of costs, most commonly in the form of daily, weekly, or monthly service fees. It’s important asking this question merely to make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into; if they charge service fees, there should be a compelling rationale for it other than “to keep your card in excellent working order.”
Do they charge a call connection fee?
A connection fee is a payment that is collected from the phone card if the connection is “successful.” I put the word “successful” in quotes because it may mean one of three things:
- Your call is answered by the person you wish to talk with
- A voice message is left for you
- When the phone rings, the person you don’t want to talk to answers it. i.e. you receive a crossline where your call is connected to someone in another nation in some way (technical fault)
Your card will be charged the connection cost in each of these circumstances.
In the third situation, it’s better to avoid making more calls and instead contact the customer support staff to handle the card issue, as the problem is likely to persist.
Is it true that connection fees are bad? Not always; you’ll generally discover that calling cards with connection costs have a reduced per-minute rate, so if you’re making long-distance calls (40 minutes or more), it may be less expensive.
Rates per minute
There are two things to keep an eye out for:
- What is the rate per minute?
- What exactly is the billing stumbling block?
The billing block merely indicates how often you will be charged; for example, if the billing block is 4 minutes, you will be charged at the per minute rate every 4 minutes. If your per minute charge is ten cents, your card will be debited for forty cents every four minutes.
On the surface, this may not appear to be a significant concern, but it will eat up a surprising amount of credit.
For example, if your call is just one minute long, you would be charged 40 cents, thus unless you finish your calls at 3:59 a.m., you will lose credit.
If at all feasible, go for a card that charges in 1-minute billing intervals.
Is there mention of hidden fees?
To compensate for their narrow margins on calls, calling card firms will often make a lot of money from extra fees.
The following are the most frequent calling fees:
- Connection costs are the most prevalent and aren’t always a negative thing, especially if your calling rates are cheap and you frequently make long-distance calls.
- Admin fees – stay away from firms that charge admin fees because they are really free money for them.
- Expired credit – phone cards, like all other cards (credit, passports, etc.), will have a hard expiration date. This isn’t a problem; the issue is what happens to any leftover credit on the card after it expires.