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Tips on choosing a prepaid phone card

Nowadays, telecommunication has already become a crucial part in people’s daily lives. Good telecommunication services can keep people connected with the world anytime, anywhere. Instead of using landline switched long distance or mobile phone, many people choose prepaid phone cards as a convenient and flexible tool to better control their phone bills to make calls.

The prepaid phone card market is dynamic and multifarious. Aside from comparing the per minute rate, consumers need to be aware of the following criteria when choosing the right phone card:

Check the reliability and stability of the phone card company

Before making the purchase, make sure you check if the company's legitimacy as well as its history and stability. Below are some guidelines for your reference:

  • ISO 9001: 2008 certified
  • It’s a facility-based company and the network service provider is indicated on the phone card.
  • Member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Watch out for possible hidden charges

  • Connection Fees – It's an additional fee that applies to every connected call and it varies amongst each phone card company. When the cards appear to have a very low per minute rate, be sure to check if there’s any hidden connection fee.
  • Tax – Some prepaid phone cards charge a separate monthly tax or one-time tax, so the advertised per minute rate will be more appealing.
  • Maintenance Fees – It's a fee charged by the phone card company either when the first call is connected or after it’s finished. This scheduled fee may be applied semi-weekly, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
  • Communication Fees – Some phone cards charge a communication fee and it’s usually applied after the call is finished.

Check the availability of after-purchase service & support

  • Toll-free 24/7 Customer Service – It’s crucial that the phone card company provides a 24/7 customer service personnel through a toll-free number for you to report problems or make inquiries. Some phone card companies only provide you with local customer service numbers within limited hours.
  • Provide Call Usage Report – To ensure the accuracy of minutes being charged by the phone card company is consistent with advertisement.

Make sure the voice quality is clear and stable

Some phone cards use IP (Internet) transmission, so they are able to charge at a lower rate per minute, but the sound quality is not guaranteed stable and clear. It’s recommended to use phone cards that use a fiber optic network to better ensure the voice clarity and stability.

Check the availability of value-added features

Some phone cards provide convenient & time-saving speed-dialing features, such as PINless dial.

Watch out for other details

  • Surcharges – It's an additional charge on top of the minute usage charge. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated a surcharge when you use the phone card at a public payphone.
  • Expiration Date – Most prepaid phone cards usually expire 3-6 months after 1st use.
  • Minutes Increment – Most prepaid phone cards apply one-minute rounding and some use 2-5 minutes rounding.
  • Provide Local Access Numbers – It’s recommended to choose a card that has a broad coverage of local access numbers. Per minute calling rate is usually cheaper using local access than toll-free access. On the other hand, travelers will find toll-free access number more convenient.

Be a smart phone card shopper and consider all the above criteria. Prudently choose the right prepaid phone card that’ll SAVE you the most money. Then you'll be able to communicate with your friends and family worry-free.

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