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International Calling Cards

Prepaid calling cards are a good way of saving money when making international calls. They can be brought in the form of a physical plastic card (nearly always the size and shape of a credit card) or virtually in the form of a PIN number which is delivered by email.

How do calling cards work?

When you buy a calling, you are effectively purchasing calling credit. You access the credit by calling an 'access number' and then dialing you destination number. The credit on the card is then used to pay for the connection and termination of the call.

Does a card always pay for the entire call?

The simple answer is no. This depends on the type of access number you have called into. If you call a toll-free or freephone access number the calling card credit will be used to pay for the whole call. If you call in to an access number which is not a zero-charge number, you will pay for the local/national/special-rate call to the provider with which you made the call (whether it be a fixed or a mobile call).

Prepaid cards - "aren't they complicated?"

Sometimes they can be. Some cards have lots of extra charges which make their fantastic-looking rates per minute look - well - less than fantastic. Best advice is to experiment or get a recomendation from someone for a good card. If you are making a lot of calls or already spending a lot of money on international calls it might be a very good idea to try a calling card.

Calling cards are the cheapest option for international calls

If you want to make a normal telephone call from one normal phone to another, it is likely that using a calling card will be the cheapest way to do it over the long-term. The rates which are available are usually a fraction of the cost of making a call with a normal provider. However, there may be some exceptions - calling from a mobile is still very expensive in many countries and using one with a card may not be the right solution; this depends on the rate at which you can call into the card.

More information about prepaid calling

There is some information available online about calling cards, try these sites:

Buying a calling card online


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Information for expatriates: people working, studying and living abroad