How to Pick a Calling Card

Once you have a good idea of your calling needs and have found yourself a couple trustworthy vendors, it is time to pick your calling card.

Given the incredible range of available cards, that's easier said than done - especially if you are truly looking for a good deal.

Below is a checklist of things you'll want to look at before you buy a calling card. They are pretty basic, but they should help you avoid bogus cards.

How to Pick a Calling Card

Here are some things to look for as you narrow down which phone card to buy:

1. Verify that per minute rates are low

For each country you will be calling, check that rates are low. Some cards have low rates to one country, but high rates to another one.

2. Check for any extra fees or surcharges

Your card may have connection fees, carrier service charges, or other fees. Avoid card with lots of extra fees.

3. Verify there are no hidden fees

Hidden fees are a common problem. Look for them in Terms & Conditions, in fine print at the bottom of web pages, or on packaging.

4. Confirm card has toll-free and/or local access numbers in the locations you need

Make sure number the card has access numbers where you need them. If you are calling toll-free numbers, be mindful of any surcharge for doing that.

5. Test the access numbers you'll be using

Even before you buy your card, call the access number you plan to use and make sure they work. Too often access numbers aren't even in service.

6. Call customer service

Call the company's customer service line and make sure it works. Ideally, speak with a customer service rep and ask a few questions.

7. Verify who the carrier is

If buying from a reseller, make note of what carrier services your card. Google the company and see if anything negative comes up. If they have a separate customer service number, call and make sure it works.

8. Check card return policies

Calling cards don't usually come with strong guarantees, but some companies are more generous than others.

9. Review purchase procedure

Many cards have security and verification procedures in place - confirmation emails, credit card verification, etc. These are intended to reduce fraud against the companies, but can sometimes slow down the registration process.

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