Travelling is one of the things I love to do and while travelling one of the most important tools in my arsenal is the humble phone card.
Yes, I have a couple of calling apps but 90% of the time I’m using my phone cards simply because it’s easier to reach people on their landlines and mobiles quickly and easily.
Here are 4 reasons why I prefer to use phone cards:
1. Bypasses The Internet
I’m a huge fan of calling apps but the truth is they rely too heavily on a technology that only the most developed countries (example: the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) have available and that of course is a fast, reliable internet bandwidth.
Is it possible to use calling apps in lesser developed nations, of course, I am able to do video calls from Bali but it’s not reliable, it can drop at any time along with other things like power outages.
The great thing about phone cards is that I don’t need to worry about any of that, I can reach the people I want to reach any time I want.
2. Every Has A Phone Lines
While most of the globe doesn’t have access to reliable internet they do tend to have access to a phone line, in most cases I will opt for using the phone card since it allows me to reach both landlines and mobiles in virtually every corner of the globe.
“Not everyone has the internet, but virtually everyone has a phone which makes phone cards an invaluable communication tool.” JT, nzphonecards.co.nz.
3. People Resist Switching Technologies
I have a few family members overseas that refuse to use anything related to the internet, they are just not interested in learning how all this works so again it is much easier for me to just call them up on telephone.
4. Ease Of Use
Using a phone card is super simple and hasn’t changed in the last few decades:
Step 1: Dial the Local Access Number
Step 2: Enter in your PIN
Step 3: Dial the international number
That’s it, no app to download or SIM card to install, you just use any mobile phone or landline.
To take it a step further, I actually programme this entire sequence into my mobile phone handset so I don’t even need to move through these steps I simply select the person I wish to call and tap the “call” button and my phone does the rest!
To do this you just need to enter in the above numbers separated by a comma for example: XXXXXXXX,YYYYYYYYYY,ZZZZZZZZZZZZ where X = the access number, Y = the PIN number and Z = the international number.
Phone cards are great, how do I go about buying one?
Purchasing phone cards is fairly easy for me since I have paid my tuition to find the best cards and side step the bad ones.
Here are my main rules for purchasing the best phone card.
1. No hidden fees
My number one rule when purchasing a phone card is to avoid phone cards that force you to pay weird hidden fees.
The main hidden fee to avoid is the service charge. This is a fee that the company will deduct from your phone card monthly, weekly or daily regardless of whether you are actually using your calling card or not.
I haven never found a good enough reason as to why customers should need to pay just for the privilege of using that phone card companies call service.
The typical reasoning behind such a fee is to help with the upkeep of the service, this is rubbish it is actually a way to help them extract more money from their customers.
Avoid these cards if you can.
2. Avoid cards with connect fees (most of the time)
A connection fee is a deduction that is made from the balance of your card upon successful connection of a call.
My question is why is the customer paying extra for something the phone card should already be doing? This is another fee that makes little sense to me.
There is however one exception to having a connection fee and that is some phone cards will actually provide a lower per minute fee which means if you are typically engaged in longer conversations this will typically work out cheaper for you.
3. 1-minute call blocks
If possible try to get a phonecard that charges in 1 minute call blocks.
What is a call block? Some phonecards will actually charge you in blocks of time not necessarily per minute which is what most customers are fixated on.
For example, there may be a phonecard that charges $0.20 per minute but charges in 5 minute calling blocks.
This means you are charge $1 every 5 minutes, this means that if you make a call for 1 minute you care actually being charged $1 for that 1 minute call.
This is probably one of the best hidden fee scams that a few companies will use. I remember once seeing a phonecard that came with a 15 minute calling block! There is no way that customer is going to not be losing a ton of money to that phone card provider.
So if possible, try to find calling cards that offer anywhere from 1 – 3 minute calling blocks.
4. Customer service
This tip is the most important.
In most scenarios I’ll avoid buying a phone card at the retail store, the reason for this is that I will rarely be able to get the kind of information required to make a good buying decision since most retailers have no clue about the products they sell.
I will try to find an online phone card provider since it allows me to call up their customer service team to ask questions around their products.
- What happens if I run into tech issues?
- What is the expiration date?
- What happens to my credit if my card expires?
- Are there any service charges?
- What are the calling blocks?
- What is the best phone card to call [country]?
Being able to speak with a real person who specializes in phone cards I’m able to remove a lot of the headaches that can come along with buying phone cards.