Comparison of Calling Cards and VoIP

Shopping for cheap international long distance options can be confusing. One source of confusion is understanding the differences between calling cards and VoIP.

Compare calling cards and VoIP

The main issue is that the term 'VoIP', or 'internet telephony', is used in at least two different ways:

  • To refer to a kind of technology for making and transmitting telephone calls using the internet
  • To refer to a type of telephone service that uses VoIP, but that is bought differently than calling cards - usually via on-going regular monthly payments like regular landline or mobile phone service

The term calling card doesn't really have anything to do with technology, but rather is generally used to describe a way of buying telecommunications services on a prepaid basis - often as a one-off or occasional purchase. Calling cards can use any kind of telephone technology, including VoIP, to deliver these prepaid calls.

In other words, some prepaid calling cards are VoIP calling cards - meaning they use VoIP technology to deliver their calls. But some prepaid calling cards don't use VoIP, and instead use regular telephone networks.

As a buyer, most of the time you don't know whether you are buying a VoIP calling card or a not - except by inference based on the price. Or said another way, you know if you're buying a VoIP calling card only insofar as most of the low cost calling cards on the market today are using VoIP - whether they tell you that explicitly or not.

Should You Buy A Calling Card or a VoIP Plan?

So when should you buy a VoIP plan from a company such as Lingo and when should you buy a calling card from a vendor such as

In general, you should buy a calling card if:

  • your calling needs are relatively short term - like for a few days to a few months, and/or
  • your total expected calling minutes are relatively modest - like less than 300-400 minutes per month (assuming you are calling a country where rates are about 5ยข a minute)

If either or both of the above are true, then a calling card is likely the best option for you.

In contrast, most VoIP calling plans are designed for people who need the opposite - 500+ minutes per month and for many months.

If that is what you need, then you should look into plans like those offered by these recommended VoIP providers.

Click here for more information on these recommended VoIP internet calling providers. Click here for more information on how to make VoIP internet calls.

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