Compare, compare, compare.
There are numerous prepaid phone cards out there and yes, there are some major differences between fees. If you're serious about getting the most out of your hard-earned dollar, take the time to compare different cards.
Read the small print, always.
Be aware of why prepaid calling cards are so profitable for long distance carriers. Let's say you purchase a prepaid calling card for $50.00 and this card has an extremely low per minute rate but a $2.25 connection fee for each call. You make your calls until you have $2.00 worth of minutes on the card. Guess what? You can't use the card anymore because the connection fee is $2.25. All you can do is throw the card away, and the company that issued the card just made a free $2.00.
Protect you Personal Identification Number (PIN).
This is your personal number and should not be shared with anyone unless you have gave him or her permission to use your card. If you lose your PIN, most companies will not replace it. On our website, you can log in to your account and get help if you lost or misplaced your PIN.
Is there a connection fee?
This fee is billed for every call that is connected. If answering machine, fax machine, voice mail, or pager picks up, the call is considered to be connected. Connection fees vary widely between different calling cards. If you are planning on making only short calls, the connection fee alone can "eat up" your minutes.
Know the per minute rate.
This is the rate that is billed for each minute of the conversation that the caller engages in and is usually expressed in cents per minute. Many prepaid phone cards will have a cheap per minute rate, but then a very high connection fee. Once again, if you make only short quick calls, check the per minute rate while knowing what your connection fee is. Even if your per minute rate is only one cent but you have a $1.50 connection fee, a 2-minute call will cost you $1.52. (You just paid 76¢ per minute for your call.)
Know if your card has an expiration date.
Many prepaid phone cards will expire on a certain date. This time span is usually 3-6 months and is either from the date of purchase or the cards first use. If your card expires with minutes still remaining, all you can do is throw it out.
Know if your card is rechargeable.
Some prepaid calling cards must be thrown away once the minutes are used or when the card expires, but others are rechargeable. If your card is rechargeable, you will be able to add more minutes by contacting the carrier. Should you use a prepaid card to make a call from a cell phone? Read the small print because in some cases a call from a cell phone will use up more of your minutes.
Does your card have a maintenance fee?
This is a scheduled fee that might be applied weekly, monthly, and sometimes even daily (the fee is normally applied monthly). This fee is applied to any card, which has been used at least once.
Check the pay phone fee.
This fee is a FCC mandated fee that is collected every time that a payphone is used. Every phone card has a pay phone fee but these fees vary between companies.
What is the billing increment?
This is how you are billed for your call. For example, if the card has a 3-minute billing increment, a 2-minute call will be billed as a 3-minute call. If a call is 4 minutes long it will be billed as a 6-minute call. The majority of prepaid calling cards bill in one-minute increments, so if you make a call that last one minute and three seconds, you will be billed for a two-minute call.
Remember the fees and taxes.
Remember that fees and taxes will use up your remaining minutes, so use your card wisely.
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