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Other Calling Card Features
In addition to dialing and billing features, many calling cards and calling card providers offer other valuable features.
Some of the features you may encounter include:
Keep these features in mind as you shop for a phone card.
Calling card providers are generally not big on refunds. Some companies will provide refunds for completely unused cards with full balances remaining, some will offer a transferable credit for a partially used card (see balance transfer), and a few will refund unused card balances under satisfaction guarantees.
After that, you are probably going to have a tough time, even in the event of call quality problems. Depending on the company, you may be able to talk to customer service and get a credit for minutes where call quality was low. But not all vendors will do even that and many state in their terms and conditions that they are NOT responsible for call quality.
Since many vendors don't even state a policy, finding a vendor that at least has a stated refund policy is a step in the right direction.
Satisfaction guarantees are somewhat unusual in the calling card industry and most vendors do not offer them.
Guarantee policies would apply in the case of poor call quality, inability to connect to access numbers, and so forth. In other words, you experience some type of performance problem caused by the vendor or the card and want your money back.
In such case, about the best you can hope for is either a) a refund of the unused balance on your card or b) a credit of minutes used when you experienced the problem. A full and complete refund is pretty much not going to happen.
In fact, many vendors have terms and conditions that basically state that they are not obligated to provide refunds even if call quality is terrible.
Worse still, a goodly number of vendors will pitch a "100% Money Back Guarantee" or the like, but then add fine print in their Terms & Conditions that negates such claim.
Obviously, our advice is to use a vendor with a simple, clean guarantee policy, such as this "If you are not satisfied with the service you receive from CompanyX, we will refund any unused balance remaining in your account". However, since this sort of clear statement is not the norm, you probably need to settle for something less.
Credit Card Security
If you are buying online, you want to buy from a provider that uses a secure mechanism for procesing credit card payments.
Generally that means you want a calling card vendor that uses a third-party payment processor such as Visa/Mastercard, Verisign, Thwarte, Paypal, or GoogleCheckout, etc.
However, there are numerous reputable companies that process payments in-house backed by a security verification service such as McAfee Secure Security Scan or the like.
Most vendors will state how they process transactions - either via a home page link or a FAQ question.
Frequent Buyers Rewards Program
Many calling card providers offer rewards for frequent buyers, referring friends, and related purchasing activity.
These rewards are generally given in the form of points, though some simply directly credit your account in cash. Whether credits or cash, all rewards are to be applied to your future calling card usage. These programs never generate money that can withdrawn from your account.
Reward percentages and thresholds vary from vendor to vendor. A typical reward program will credit your account with an extra 5% for bulk repeat purchases. For example, one vendor offers a $1 credit for every $20 you spend.
These rewards credits can add up nicely if you are a frequent caller and/or if you combine these awards with other incentives.
Quite a few calling card vendors offer an incentive if you refer new customers to them.
The amount of the incentive can vary widely, but a typical award is $5 - $10 in credits for each referred friend who actually buys something. No rewards are given simply for names - only actual purchases are credited.
In some cases, the friend is given a perk, too - like $5 off their first purchase.
And in some cases, you get credit for friends-of-friends. Your reward for each new friend of a friend declines as they get more distant from you. But if you've got a big social network or a popular blog, etc., you could turn a decent bit of money for not too much effort.
These calling cards get our 'Best Buy' rating.
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