Source:linkedin.com

International Calling Card Tips

Why Do People Buy Pre-Paid Phone Cards?

International calling cards have been around for a very long time and although there are much newer technology available international calling cards are still incredibly popular.

Who is using these international calling cards?

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Generally, it is either the older demographic within the 70 to 80+ age bracket who may have a mobile phone but only use it for calling and texting and mostly only to receive calls, these people are not interested in complicating their lives with the hundreds of other different options available and so their children and grandchildren will communicate with them via international calling cards.

The second group of people who use international calling cards are people who live in lesser developed countries who either do not have internet or the internet they do have is incredibly unreliable.

This group makes up a large piece of the communication pie, you will have families who have migrated over to another country and will rely heavily on international calling cards to stay in touch with their friends and family back home.

Prison inmates also benefit from using calling cards.

How do international calling cards work?

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Calling card providers will hire carrier providers, carrier’s carry your phone call from one point to another.

These carrier line providers will charge the calling card company and the calling card company will adjust their pricing accordingly.

The best thing about this is that your call is not using the internet but the same copper lines that you use when you make a call using your landline or mobile phone.

Copper lines are incredibly reliable and gives you access to virtually anywhere in the world.

What are the most common complaints customers have about calling cards?

“My best advice is to buy only from specialist retailers, most problems can be avoided by purchasing from specialists and asking lots of questions.” – JT, phonecardchoice.com

Even though international calling card companies are moving your call through copper lines there are other factors that can cause issues.

Keep in mind that you are getting incredibly cheap calls as compared to your main telco provider for some reason customers expect the same level of quality that they would receive from the major telco providers but pay a fraction of the price.

Here is a list of problems that you may experience and how to best resolve them.

Local access numbers not working i.e. no dial tone, or giving a busy signal.

This is a fairly rare problem to have most of the time the fix can be a simple one, for example:

● Add the area code in front of the local access number. Some people will not add this number since it is already in their location, but this can help.

● Try a different local access number, of course, you need to make sure that you have free national calls so you aren’t charged extra for it by your telco provider. People think that you can only call the local access number in your area, the truth is these are just ordinary national numbers, so if one doesn’t work try another.

● Finally, call up the customer service team and let them know.

PIN numbers not being accepted i.e hearing a message saying ‘incorrect PIN’

This is a more common issue and can be for any of the following reasons:

● The service provider is not able to pick up the dial tones on your phone correctly i.e. when you push a number a special tone is relayed back to the calling card system, if it can’t pick it up correctly it’s going to input an incorrect PIN giving you an ‘incorrect PIN’ message.

● Your international calling card may be expired.

● Finally, call up the customer service team and let them know.

The calling card is no longer working i.e. the calling card service provider has gone out of business.
The calling card industry is incredibly competitive and operates on very low margins so phone card companies can go out of business especially in during times of recession.

There’s not much you can do about this one.

Calls draining more money than advertised

This one, unfortunately, is quite common and is one of the primary ways less than honest calling card companies are able to stay afloat.

You may experience things like

● Rates changed without notice
● Hidden or special charges
● Calling card is billed even if the call is not connected.

My best advice here is to do your due diligence, look for hidden fees, connection fees, daily service charges, etc.

Also, pay attention to ‘billing increments’ and try to find billing increments that sit between 1-3 minutes.

It is common practice for calling card companies do not tell their customers about rate changes, so the onus is on you to check the current rates before you recharge or top up your calling card again, rate changes don’t happen too frequently but it is worth taking the time to check before making another purchase.

If you are charged for a phone call but your call was not connected this is a tech issue that can only be solved by calling up the calling card company and letting them know.

Take note of what your balance was before you made the call and what it was afterwards.

Very rarely do issues fix themselves, so the moment you experience a problem it is best to give them a call to get it resolved.

Issues with international calls

Source:ugtechmag.com

Another common issue customers will experience with calling cards is with the actual call itself for example:

● Poor audio quality
● Call not being connected
● Cross-line
● Call is routed to a different country
● Call drops

If you are getting poor audio quality, call drops, or being routed to a different country call up the customer support team to let them know.

If you have a problem connecting then double-check that you are following the correct process for calling international numbers, also check using your mobile phone without the calling card to ensure that the number is actually working.

If you have done both of those things then call up the calling card company to get them to resolve the issue.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com