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Calling Card Dialing Features
Many calling cards and phone cards offer advanced dialing features that reduce keystrokes and simplify the dialing process.
The most common calling card dialing features you should look for are:
Read below for more information.
Many vendors and phone cards support PIN-less dialing (aka 'PIN-free access').
With PIN-less dialing activated, you and your calling card will be automatically recognized when you call from certain pre-defined numbers into their network. In other words, you will be automatically logged into their network without dialing your PIN or any codes. You just go straight into dialing your destination number.
PIN-less dialing is most easily set up online via the vendor's account management interface. But you can also enter PIN-less numbers via automated menu prompts over the telephone, too.
To activate PIN-less dialing, you register the phone numbers you frequently use to make calling card calls. Like your home number, your mobile number, etc. Normally there is a limit on the number of numbers you can enter - like, say, 6 or 9.
Once you have your PIN-less numbers in place, the vendor will automatically recognize you when you dial into their network from one of these pre-defined numbers. If you need to use a different phone, that's fine, of course, but you won't be recognized and you will need to dial your PIN.
Note you typically cannot use the same phone number on 2 different cards from the same vendor.
Many vendors and phone cards also support a speed dial feature.
Using speed dial, you can call to certain pre-defined destination numbers using a short dialing sequence, often just a single key. Just like you would using speed dial on your mobile phone or home phone.
For instance, you could set up your speed dial account so that dialing '1' causes your brother's complete telephone number to be dialed automatically.
Like PIN-less dialing, speed dial is typically set up via an online account management interface or via a menu prompt system on the telephone. If you are registering several numbers, doing this online will be a lot easier.
In either case, to activate it you need to register your frequently dialed destination numbers and choose a dialing code for each one. Vendors support varying numbers of speed dials - we've seen options range from about 9 to as many as 99.
Once this is in place, you no longer have to dial the entire phone number for your frequently dialed numbers, just the appropriate speed dial code.
Toll-free vs. local access numbers
To access your calling card providers network, you need to dial either a toll-free or a local number. Some phone cards provide both local and toll-free numbers.
Local numbers are designed to be free calls under your existing landline or mobile phone plan. Local numbers are often available only in selected major metropolitan areas.
Toll-free numbers are generally available from anywhere in the country. However, to use them, you may incur an additional charge or such charge may all ready be built into your advertised per minute rate. If there is a charge, 1¢ per minute is typical.
Worldwide Access Numbers
Most calling cards are intended to be used to make calls from a single home country and will not work outside that country.
However, there are a few vendors who sell 'global calling cards' that can be used calling from multiple countries. These can be very useful for business or vacation travelers.
Note that these types of card apply varying per minute rates depending on the country you are calling from. In other words, the per minute rate of your originating home country may not apply.
If you are looking for a card like this, try searching google for 'global calling card'. Obviously, many cards allow you to call to lots of countries, so make sure the card specifically allows you to call from multiple countries.
These calling cards get our 'Best Buy' rating.
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