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Phonecards Explained

If you intend to buy or have already bought a phone card and you’re unsure how to use it, read on and you’ll find the answers to your questions.

There are hundreds of phonecards, but you need to know how to differentiate and choose the one that best suits your needs. Forget looking at the name of the phone card – Super Saver, Lots of Minutes, whatever the name is, it will make no difference if you don’t look at the Details section. Here you will have listed all the phone card’s features and THIS is what really makes the difference between them.

Common Phonecard Terms

First, let’s clear up some common terms used when discussing phone cards:

  • PIN – it is the unique number of your calling card and it is vital to have, as this identifies your account within the phone card company’s system. Do not disclose your PIN to anyone, as someone else might start using it.
  • Access number: it’s usually a toll free or a local number. You need this number in order to connect to the phone card system. After you dial it, you get a voice prompt asking you to enter your PIN.
  • Destination number: this is the number you want to call. It can be dialled in different ways, depending on where you’re calling to and from.
  • Maintenance fee: an amount deducted from the phone card’s balance daily/weekly/monthly having the effect of reducing your minutes.
  • Connection fee: an amount deducted from the phone card’s balance once a call is connected.
  • Rounding: is the multiple of minutes you’ll be charged when making a call. For example, 4 minutes rounding means that you’ll be charged in 4 minutes increments, like this: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and so on. A call for 9 minutes and 30 seconds will be charged 12 minutes.
  • Expiration date: lists the date when the PIN will no longer be usable. Our phonecards have expiration dates of £5 – 60 days, £10 – 90 days and £20 – 180 days.

How to Decide

Make sure you get a card according to your calling needs. It doesn’t have to have the lowest rate (or the highest) to be the best. If you usually make long calls or if you make calls very often, you can get a card with a maintenance fee or even one with a connection fee, as these types of phone cards offer the lowest rates. Even if you have a maintenance fee, given that you’ll make a lot of long calls and use up the balance quickly, the maintenance fee will be only deducted once or maybe twice, but you get a huge amount of minutes to talk.

Phone cards can be used from any active phone line, even from payphones (from these types of phones a surcharge will be applied when you use the calling card). However, you need to make sure you are dialing your numbers from a tone-based system. Phone cards use tones to identify the numbers you are dialing (like the PIN or destination number) and cannot be used from rotary or pulse based phones. If you get an error message while you are dialing the PIN, it is very likely that the phone you are using is not tone enabled.

Don’t worry, this is an easy fix: look on the side or base of the phone for a tone/pulse button and switch it in the right position. If you can’t find such a button, try dialing * (star key) before the PIN – it will switch the phone to tone dialing for that call only.

Which Access Number should I use?

When you buy a phonecard from us, you are usually given 2 access numbers that may be used to make your international call. The numbers may be prefixed by 0800, 0845 or 020. Which one should you use for the most minutes?

We have provided a helpful paragraph on each to help you to decide.

  • 03 Local access numbers – 03 numbers are charged at a standard rate for calls made from UK phones. Most mobile telephone service providers allow calls to 03 numbers to be made from free inclusive contract minutes. BT allows free calls to 03 numbers for up to an hour at weekends, Evenings and Weekends or Anytime depending on the BT Call Plan to which you are signed up. You can therefore call internationally at just the quoted phonecard rate at Calling Cards Direct. If you have a contract mobile with free minutes, we recommended that you call via your phonecard’s 03 access number.
  • 0800 Toll free access numbers – Calls to 0800 numbers are free from most UK landlines. Using 0800 numbers means that you will pay a higher call rate rate than local access numbers. However, you will not incur a charge when calling from BT and other UK landline providers. Please check with your phone provider if unsure and always obtain the bill payers permission before using an access number.

How many Minutes do you get?

First, lets establish the facts. Phonecards are one of the cheapest methods for calling the greatest number of countries. So if you are looking for cheap calls to your country, you’re right to choose phonecards.

So what should you look out for when you are choosing a phonecard? – Read article…..>>