Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tips on How to Use a Prepaid Phone Card

Most people know how to use a prepaid phone card by now. However, a few people have never used one so this post is for their benefit. Most of the time, prepaid phone cards are used by dialing what is called an access number, a special phone number, which allows a user to access the phone card service providers system. Some service providers have a network of access numbers and others have only one access number, these can be toll free numbers or what are referred to as local access numbers requiring users to pay the call. In any case, prepaid phone cards are used by first accessing the service providers system.

The following are the steps typically required when using a prepaid phone card.

Step 1: Dial a toll free or local access number in order to access the service providers system. Access numbers should be provided when the phone card is purchased.

Step 2: The caller identifies himself or herself to the system. This can be done by entering a special series of numbers provided with the phone card providers system, called a PIN code, or in the case of PIN Free phone cards the system will automatically ID the caller using caller ID technology.

Step 3: The caller dials the number they wish to call. Phone cards from the North America will require the caller to enter the prefix 011 when making overseas phone calls or the prefix 1 when making a domestic long distance phone call.

As indicated above, the mechanics of using a phone card are simple. However, there are a few things to consider when shopping for a phone card. For example, do you really want to enter a complex PIN code each time you place a call. This may not be a nuisance if you only intend to make a couple of calls but if you plan to use the phone card for multiple calls or for an extended period-of-time than a PIN free phone card should be considered. It is interesting to note that phone cards from major telecommunication companies like MCI or AT&T often do not have PIN Free Dialing or other features. These phone cards typically charge high rates and have good call quality but there are phone cards with similar call quality that are more appropriate for long-term use.

Another important consideration when making a phone card purchase is the access number network. Be sure that the phone card being considered has an access number in the country where you plan to use the card. This is often a problem when a phone card is purchased in the USA and used overseas. Most phone cards have a limited range of coverage. They can only be used to place calls from certain countries and, in some cases, they can only be used to make calls to certain locations. Be sure to purchase cards that have the required coverage.

Another important consideration is the location and type of access numbers used by a phone card. Many phone cards charge extra for using toll free access numbers and these extra charges are usually not included in the advertised rates. It is usually cheaper to use a local access number so check to see if one is available in the area where you plan to use a phone card.

Phone cards are relatively simple products to use but even simple products require some thought and investigation before making a purchase. A virtual phone card like Tel3Advantage should be consider when making calls from North America because it offers high call quality and a full range of features including PIN free dialing and an on-line call history. It is a popular product for people who routinely make international phone calls from North America and want to save money and still have quality, convenience and flexibility.

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