Calling Card Billing Features

Many calling cards / phone cards have advanced billing features that can make using your calling card a lot easier.

Here are some of the most common billing features:

Keep these features in mind as you shop for a phone card.

Call Tracking

Many calling card providers support call tracking. With call tracking, each of your calling card calls is logged by the vendor with information like origination, destination, and call length.

Call tracking is most easily used via online card vendors. But in some cases, log information can be access via telephone menus as well. Note that not all vendors offer this feature, so make sure yours does if it something you want.

In most cases, you do not need to do anything to activate this feature, it happens automatically. To access your call log, you need to log in to your account on the provider's website or via the telephone. Normally, there will be a tab or menu prompt that takes you to the call log.

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Rechargeable Cards

Rechargeable calling cards (aka 'refillable calling cards') are calling cards that you can add more money to over time.

Recharge your calling card

Not all cards are rechargeable - actually probably most are not rechargeable - so you need to look for this capability specifically.

If you have a rechargeable card, then it is easy to go into your account on-line and click the 'refill' or similar button. Then you need to enter the amount to add and your credit card number, if your card is not already on file.

Obviously, you can also refill your card on the phone, too, and many vendors will prompt you with 2 minutes or so remaining to ask if you want to refill your card.

Note that many of the other features mentioned here apply only to rechargeable cards. If you don't have a rechargeable card, then these other features won't work.

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Expiration Date

Most all calling cards, including rechargeable ones, have an expiration date, at least initially. The length of the expiration dates varies from card to card. Common validity periods are 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and 1 year, but you should check with your vendor for the terms of your specific card.

If you have a 'rechargeable' calling card, then most likely your expiration date can be extended. Some cards drop the expiration date altogether if you refill it at least once.

If your card expires while it still has value remaining, you typically forfeit that value and cannot get a refund.

Some cards allow you to do a 'balance transfer' of remaining funds to another card. However, not too many vendors offer this and, sometimes if they do, the restrictions are severe.

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Auto-recharge allows you to add money automatically when your card value drops below a certain point.

In some cases, it works when your card falls below a certain value, say $10 remaining. In others, it is when there is only a certain amount of time remaining on your card, say, for instance, 2-minutes.

In the second case, you will be prompted during the call and asked if you want to add money to your card. In the first, it is set up before hand and happens automatically as you use your card.

If you use auto-recharge during a call, a series of voice menu prompts will lead you through the recharge process using a credit card you have on file.

Normally, you will need to have enabled auto-refill prior to making a call. Once enabled, then you will get the reminders at the 2-minute mark.

If you set it up online, you will typically be given several options - e.g., the amount you want to add and the threshold when it gets added.

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Balance Transfer

Some cards allow you to transfer the remaining balance on a card to another card or really, between on PIN and another PIN.

Using a calling card

For instance, if you were using a card to call India for a project there, but then needed to start making calls to Germany, you could transfer your remaining balance to the new card.

How easy it is to do a transfer varies from vendor to vendor (and/or card to card).

For instance, one vendor says this about balance transfers: "You can always transfer the balance from your card to any other refillable card!"

While another has this somewhat intimidating list of qualifying statements:

  • Both the Balance Transfer "From" and "To" PIN numbers must be active & valid
  • Both the Balance Transfer "From" and "To" PIN numbers should not have expired
  • Both the Balance Transfer "From" and "To" PIN numbers must have the same rate table
  • Both the Balance Transfer "From" and "To" PIN numbers should not be "in-use" at the moment of transfer
  • Upon completion of the transfer, the expiration date of Transfer "From" PIN will be extended for additional 6 months
  • The Transfer "From" PIN must have NO first use
  • The Balance Transfer "From" and "To" PIN number should not be the same

All of these terms make sense, of course - or at least all of them except the 3rd about using the 'same rate table'. A requirement like that will significantly limit your flexibility.

Still, we recommend vendors offering the first type of policy. They are going to be a lot easier to work with.

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