23 Feb 2010

8 Phone Card Tips You Need to Know

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8 Phone Card Tips You Need to Know1. Rates Many people buy calling cards by looking at the advertised XXX minutes for ABC country, but what they don’t know is that calling different countries means different rates. And rates are also different if you are going to call a landline or a mobile phone outside of US or Canada. So smart shoppers should find out the rates of calling a certain country, then divide your card balance by the ‘per minute rate’ which will give you the remaining ‘minutes’ on your card. For OneSuite users, you could go to our rates page for verification so you’d know if you could stay on the line for 1 hour or just 5 minutes with your available balance.

2. Hidden Fees and Surcharges Some phone cards may or may not disclose in fine prints, some extra charges on top of your actual usage. (NOT at OneSuite)

  1. 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.
  2. Tax – Some prepaid phone cards charge a separate monthly tax or one-time tax, so the advertised per minute rate will be more appealing.
  3. 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.
  4. Communication Fees – Some phone cards charge a communication fee and it’s usually applied after the call is finished.
  5. Minutes Increment – Most prepaid phone cards apply one-minute rounding and some use 2-5 minutes rounding.

3. Access numbers There are two types of access numbers, Toll Free and Local Access numbers. Use the local access number as much as possible because this will give you lower rates. Local Access numbers allows you to take advantage of the free local calls provided by your local or mobile carrier. However, you’ll need to verify the access number you use is within the local call parameter of your carrier to avoid unnecessary charges. This is also true when calling from another country. Check if there's a local access number you may use in that country.

4. How to dial overseas calls If you are in US or Canada and want to dial an international number then you need to dial international access code 011 first before the destination number. Most countries use 00 as their international access code but other countries use different ones like 0011 for Australia or 002 for Taiwan. For complete listings see Wikipedia International call prefixes. For OneSuite users, you’ll only need to remember 011 as your international call prefix. Because no matter which country you’re in, if you are making calls via OneSuite, always dial as if you were calling from the US or Canada.

5. Country and area/city codes Sometimes our international friends give their phone numbers without including the country or city codes. As a result, we get an error when we dial their phone numbers. So make sure you know the country code and compare it with the phone number you are trying to reach to check if the country code is included already. Check OneSuite rates page for the list of country + area/city codes. Choose the country and click on "Get Rates", then the rate and country code will show up.

6. Expiration date Most if not all phone cards have expiration dates. Know in advance the expiration date of your phone card so you don't get stuck with an expired phone card somewhere in an unfamiliar territory or country. OneSuite account has expiration too but it automatically extends for another 6 months every time you use your account.

7. Balance and Call Records Make a habit of checking your balance especially if you are going on a travel to another country. Although with OneSuite, you can add credits to your account through OneSuite web portal or calling customer support, it is still advisable to check if you have enough credits to last your trip. The accessibility to your call records is important. This is the way to ensure the accuracy of minutes being charged by the phone card company is consistent with the advertised rates. OneSuite provides instant call records online.

8. Features and Limitations Know your phone card features and limitations. Features like pin-less dialing and online phone book will help dialing long series of numbers much easier. Most phone cards have a call duration policy too ranging from 2 hours to 3 hours.


  • Comment Link Calvin Wednesday, 02 June 2010 08:35 posted by Calvin

    Those who want to save money on their phone bills will definitely go for phone cards. I appreciate the above post because this is going to help new users to choose the best phone card.

  • Comment Link Michael Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:16 posted by Michael

    Thanks for your input Sire.

    Phone cards are still widely used because a lot of people don't want to pay $25+ for a land line. Plus, for those who call overseas with different time zones, the mobility of cell phones are very convenient. You won't be restricted by the location, as oppose to Skype on computers or land lines at a designated place.

  • Comment Link Sire Tuesday, 30 March 2010 19:52 posted by Sire

    I've never thought of using a mobile to call overseas. I suppose I would if I was on holiday, otherwise I would use the land line or Skype.

    Still, I reckon a business person would and this post would come in handy for them.

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