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  Why use a prepaid calling card?  
  Calling cards are widely used today as an inexpensive alternative to landline or cell phones.  
How Calling Cards Work
What industry is expected to reach $10 billion in sales by 2010? Information technology? Nope. Healthcare? Wrong again. Calling cards? You've got it! The prepaid phone card industry is experiencing phenomenal growth lately, and we'd like to tell you how these communication gems work, so you can get in on the excitement.

Also included on this web site are some interesting factoids on the history of prepaid calling cards, plus a glossary of phone card terms and definitions.

Why use a prepaid calling card?

Prepaid calling cards were invented in Italy in 1975 in response to a coin shortage. Invented for the convenience of their users, calling cards are widely used today as an inexpensive alternative to "landline," or home phone services.

For the past decade, long distance phone service has been an incredibly competitive market, but not everybody wants to pay to have full-time long distance in their home or business. This is where the phone card comes in. One of the biggest advantages to prepaid calling cards is that you only pay for the minutes you use. So, instead of paying a monthly fee plus a per-minute rate, you pay just a per-minute rate. Even better, that per-minute rate is often lower than anything you can get using your home or business phone line. You can also purchase additional minutes by phone or on the Internet, which provides added convenience to prepaid phone card users.

Prepaid calling cards are so popular that some companies even supply them to their employees as a company benefit, or provide employees with calling cards to use while traveling for business. Doing this provides benefits not only to employees, but to the company as well, as spending cal be tracked easily, and a record tracking the calls made by the phone card user is readily available online.

The biggest draw of prepaid calling cards is their convenience. They can be used anytime, anywhere. You can be at home, in your office at work, in your hotel room, or even at a pay phone. An additional convenience that prepaid phone card suppliers have added is that you can purchase an international phone card on the Internet. Purchasing over the Internet can mean instant phone card activation. And with this system, you don't even need a card - all you need is your access number.

Below, you'll find the most frequently asked questions about prepaid calling cards. Here you'll also find all the answers.

How do I use a prepaid phone card?

Using a prepaid phone card is as easy as dialing home. These simple steps are standard when using a prepaid phone card:

  1. Purchase a phone card at a store or online.
  2. You will receive an 800 number and your PIN.
  3. Dial the 800 number, which is your access number.
  4. Listen for the voice instructions.
  5. Enter your PIN number on the push-button phone.
  6. You'll hear information on your current balance on the card.
  7. Dial your destination number
It's just that simple. And keep in mind, each time you use your card, you are paying significantly less than you would pay for permanent long-distance service. The beauty of prepaid calling cards is that they essentially provide you with a portable long-distance service that you can use for national, international or cell phone calls. You can use your card to talk to family, friends, or business associates anywhere in the world. Different cards will give you the ability to call different countries.

What do phone card companies do for me?

With any prepaid phone card plan, the providing company must give you reliable, high-quality connections. They are also required to keep you up-to-date regarding your current charges. Because some of the less reputable companies may include hidden charges in their service, you do need to be read the fine print before you buy and be aware of what your current balance is and how it changes from call to call.

Make sure to find out if you'll be charged a connection fee for each call. Although you only get charged this fee if the call connects, the amount of this fee can vary with each phone card, and may add up over time. If you use your card to make quite a few calls, it may significantly detract from the balance on your card. So, you're probably better off purchasing a card from a company that does not charge connections fees if you expect to make many shorter calls. If your calls are longer, however, it may not make much of a difference if your provider does charge a connection fee. Just keep in mind that cards without connection fees generally charge a higher per-minute rate.

Another recent development in the prepaid phone card industry is that most providers now give you the added convenience of being able to use your cell phone to make calling card calls. However, some companies do not provide this convenience, so make sure to read the fine print and determine whether or not your card allows you to make a call from your cell phone. Also, rates may vary for cell phone versus traditional "land-line" phones, so keep that in mind as well when making a call from a wireless phone.

Calling cards are collectors' items.

Surprisingly enough, some collectors do collect calling cards. Because some companies make unique, colorful cards, some hobbyists find them very attractive. There is even a publication dedicated to collecting calling cards as collectors' items: "The Collectors' Book of Telephone Cards." This book, published in England, contains 108 pages of calling cards from 61 different countries. So, if you are a collector, you might consider calling cards as an addition to your hobby.

Prepaid calling cards = convenience.

Now that you know how prepaid calling cards work compared to a traditional long distance service, you've probably noticed that using a prepaid phone card provides you with added convenience. You can use them anytime, anywhere, and you pay as you go. So if you're a careful consumer, you can avoid the nasty surprises of high long distance bills each month.

Also, prepaid calling cards are available virtually anywhere. In 2000, $3 billion worth of prepaid calling cards were sold to the general public, and more people are finding out each day that they, too, can take advantage of the convenience these cards provide. So, why don't you try it, too? Make that call - we guarantee you'll find it worth your while.


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Learn More: Language of Prepaid Phone Cards - How Prepaid Calling Cards Work? - History of International Phone Cards
History of International Long Distance - How Prepaid Long Distance Works? - Long Distance Phone Terms
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