Calling Cards: 5 Tips on How to Avoid Being Ripped Off


Before Covid-19 hit I was travelling around the world constantly and one of the best communication tools I had on hand at all times was my phone card.

In this article, I’m going to share with you my best tips for finding the best calling cards and avoiding the not so good.

1. Look At The Per Minute Rate And Blocks

A common thing people will do is that they’ll look at the per minute rate and if it’s cheap enough they’ll purchase that card.

But there are other things you need to take note of.

One of those things is the block times.

It is common for calling card companies to charge by block period, for example your phone card may be 5c per minute but it charges you every 4 minutes (i.e. 20c every 4 minutes).

If you’re making long calls then you’ll likely be losing anywhere from 5-15c per call unless you’re ending the call at exactly 1 second before the 4-minute block period ends.

While this may not seem like a lot over the span of many calls you’ll surprised how much money you’re losing.


2. Hidden Fees

Hidden fees are a way for calling card services to recoup their losses for acquiring new customers.

These come in the form of maintenance/admin fees, or sometimes even things like charging a service fee every few days from purchase.

They come in all sorts of creative shapes and sizes, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before purchasing.


3. Avoid Unit Based Calling Cards

Some calling card companies will base their charges on units other than the local currency, this is used to hide or confuse the consumer into not knowing exactly how much money they are spending.

Always use a card that charges based on the local currency so you know exactly how much money you’re spending.


4. How Quickly Can They Fix An Issue?

From time to time you will run into issues whether that be a noisy line, random disconnections from calls or perhaps not even being able to connect at all.

Make sure that the calling card company has a customer support team on standby ready to help with any issues that may arise.

Secondly, you want to ask that team how long it takes to resolve any issues.
Ideally you want to them to be able to fix an issue that same day or even better within a hour.

There are some companies that will take weeks to resolve any technical issues, if possible try to avoid these companies, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to make an urgent call and having a calling card that doesn’t connect, etc.


5. Expiration Dates

Finally, always check the date of expiration.

You would assume that the calling card’s expiration date will begin on first use but there have been times where I’ve purchased a card that was pre-expired.

This can happen, calling cards can be also moving product at some stores so be sure to check the expiration.