Sunday, February 22, 2009
Phone cards with PIN free access are becoming more common because they are much easier to use and many consumers will no longer purchase or even consider phone cards which require the entry of PIN codes. Phone card marketers have taken notice and are offering more cards with the PIN Free Access features. This use to be a feature only offered by premium prepaid long distance plans like Tel3Advantage but it is now offered by many low cost competitors.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thousands of people still purchase plastic, printed phone cards at supermarkets and convenience stores even though the cards do not contain any information or data except a PIN code. All of the account information is stored on a computer so why do these people not purchase a phone card via computer and save time, money and natural resources? Many people likely want to purchase a phone card with cash since they do not have a credit card or Pay Pal account while others do not trust on-line purchases. There may be rational reasons for not purchasing phone cards on-line but there are more compelling reasons for making on-line purchase. Some of these are listed below:
- Lower Rates – We checked Sam’s Club and found that they sell AT&T phone cards with 1000 minutes (USA state-to-state) for $34.70. This works out to about 3.5 cents per-minute. This rate includes toll free access and all fees and taxes but this rate is still relatively high. It is fairly easy to find a high quality virtual phone card with a USA state-to-state rate of 1 to 2 cents per minute. The rate on international calls varies significantly between countries but, for example, the cost to call most European countries from the USA is around 2 to 3 cents-per-minute these days.
- State Sales Tax - Purchase a phone card on-line and save state sales tax in most states. This will typically result in a 7 or 8% savings and there is no cost for shipping.
- PIN Free Dialing – Most high quality on-line phone cards come with added features like PIN Free Dialing at no additional charge. Some virtual calling cards like Tel3Advantage come loaded with added features.
- Balance Transfer – Some phone card marketers offer a balance transfer option where the remaining balance left on one phone card can be transferred to another phone card. In this way the caller can always use the optimum phone card for making calls to their desired location.
- Call History – Many high quality on-line phone cards provide users with a complete call history for their phone card. The user can review the call history and understand all of the charges for each call. Try to figure this out with a typical store bought phone card.
- Auto Recharge – Many virtual phone cards come with an Auto Recharge option. This is a handy feature that will automatically recharge the card when the balance falls to a predetermined level. This feature assures the user that a call will not be disconnected due to lack of funds in the account.
On-line phone card service providers continue to add more features to entice buyers. Anyone who purchases a printed phone card these days is likely paying more than necessary to make calls and also losing out on features.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Some phone card marketers like Smart Global Call International Phone Cards provide their customer a free balance transfer feature. Using this option a customer can transfer an unused balance from one phone card to another. This handy feature has several possible uses. Some of these are listed below:
- A traveler purchases a phone card to call the USA from Italy but moves to Moscow, Russia and finds that the card does not work. Using the balance transfer feature the remaining balance can simply be transferred to another card that can be used to make calls from Moscow.
- A caller purchases a phone card to call a friend in Brazil. The caller than wants to call another friend in Japan but finds that the card can not be used to call Japan or has lousy rates. No problem, using balance transfer the remaining calling card balance can be transferred to another card with good rates on calls to Japan.
- Another use is to save money by taking advantage of special deals. Smart Global Call usually offers one or two of their phone cards at a 10% discount. A shopper can purchase one of these phone cards and than transfer the balance to another phone card, saving 10% on any phone card.
This is a handy feature that covers a wide range of possibilities since Smart Global Call markets more than 30 different phone cards that can be used to make calls to or from more than 230 countries. Saving money on international calls has never been easier.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
1. Charges for using different types of access numbers used to make calls (local or toll free) can vary significantly between phone cards.
2. Extra phone card fees like connection fees, maintenance fees, service charges and taxes vary significantly between phone cards.
3. Most phone cards offer better rates on calls to specific countries or regions of the world.
4. The rates on calls to specific kinds of phones (land-lines or cell phones) can vary significantly.
The last item (above) is often overlooked by shoppers. It is generally more expensive to make calls to mobile phones so many phone card marketers list the per-minute cost of making calls to low cost house phones and list the cost to cell phones separately or in the fine print. Many shoppers incorrectly assume that a service provider that offers a low rate on calls to land-lines in a specific country also has a low rate to cell phones. This is not correct as is illustrated below for an international call to Mexico from the USA.
A typical phone card rate on a call to a house phone in Mexico from the USA is around 2 to 3 cents per minute. The same call to a cell phone in Mexico varies from about 12 to 35 cents per minute. Companies like Penny Talk, advertise a low 2 cent per-minute rate on calls to land-lines in Mexico but charge 31 cents per-minute on calls to cell phones. They also charge a $0.49 connection fee for each call and a $0.99 per-month service fee per account. Tel3 Advantage does not charge a connection fee or service fee but a call to a land-line in Mexico City is 2 cents per-minute while the same call to a cell phone is 20 cents per-minute.
As the illustration shows, the rate charged on calls to cell phones varies more between companies than the rate charged on calls to house phones. This is generally true so shoppers who plan to make international calls to cell phones should pay particular attention when making a purchase.