Buying a calling card is a lot more complicated than it should be. There are way too many shady calling card vendors out there and way too many people having bad experiences with calling cards.
To help you avoid scams and buy higher quality cards that deliver what you want, we've compiled this list of our top tips for buying the right calling card. We used to have 12 items, but the list has been expanded to include a few more essential tips for avoiding scams and saving money.
Follow highlighted links for more information.
Top Calling Card Buying Tips
- Buy clean calling cards - 'Clean calling cards' are calling cards with very simple pricing schemes and few, if any, extra fees or surcharges (like connection fees or carrier surcharges).
- Watch for hidden fees - Buy only from vendors that fully and clearly disclose all applicable fees and surcharges for their cards.
- Read the Terms & Conditions - Some sketchy calling card vendors will stick extra fees into the Terms & Conditions document. If you have the patience, we suggest you at least skim through this document. If you see any dollar amounts, stop and read those parts more carefully to see if any fees will apply to you.
- Factor in all extra fees and surcharges - If you buy a card with extra fees & surcharges, try to factor in how much these will increase the advertised per minute calling rates. Many, many problems arise when consumers look only at the advertised per minute rates and skip over high service fees and surcharges that could double or triple their per minute rate.
- Buy from a reputable calling card company - Before picking a specific card, be sure to choose a reputable calling card vendor that has been in business for a while and that looks like a professional organization. If you have time, google the 'company_name complaints' to see what people are saying.
- Check out the calling card carrier - If buying from a calling card reseller, check out the calling card carrier that services your calling card. If they have a sketchy track record, avoid them. The 'carrier' is the company that actually issues the card and operates the voice communications network that carries your call.
- Buy calling cards online - Buy calling cards online, not at retail stores. This allows you to do due diligence on the company more easily. It also makes it easier to see all the rates and purchases details for individual cards, too.
- Buy cards with advanced features - Look for calling cards with advanced dialing features like PIN-less dialing and speed dialing, especially if you will be using the card a lot. Online account management, including call logs, is also a plus.
- Don't pay extra for short billing increments - Buy calling cards with 1-minute or 3-minute billing increments because they generally offer the best calling card value. With shorter increments, you'll generally find that any potential benefit from more accurate metering increased is offset by higher per minute billing rates.
- Read the satisfaction guarantee - Buy from companies with sensible return policies and satisfaction guarantees. Calling card companies aren't generally known for strong guarantees, but some are definitely better than others.
- Look for referral and other incentives - If you use calling cards a lot (or have friends who do), choose a company with a frequent buyer program and/or a referral program so you can earn discounts and bonuses.
- Call customer support (before you buy) - Verify that the company's customer support is available 24/7 by contacting them before you buy. Ask a few random questions and make sure they seem helpful and on the ball.
- Buy the card's access numbers (before you buy) - Verify that the card's local and/or toll-free access numbers are working by calling them in advance, too. Make sure you hear a prompt where you would enter your access code if you had the card in hand.
- Make sure your card gets activated - Closely monitor the account activation process until your account is fully active. Check for verification emails and follow instructions closely - else your account may not activate properly. If there's a problem, check your spam folder to see if the email's in there.
- If you have problems, complain immediately - If you do have a problem with your card, contact the company immediately. Keep detailed notes of the problem you are reporting - like call times, dates, lengths - and keep track of all your customer service interactions.
Back to top