Most people are aware that some phone cards have great rates on international calls but many make-up for unbelievably low advertised rates by adding on hidden fees and/or taxes. Fee structures vary between phone card providers. Some have low or no added fees while others have especially onerous fees so consumers should be aware that phone cards do not have a standard fee structure. Therefore, when shopping for phone cards it is best if consumers study the fine print before making a purchase. Four common and especially annoying added fees are listed below.
1. Connection Fee – This is a fee that is charged whenever a call is connected. It is essentially an added charge for each call made using the phone card. It does not matter how long the call or whether the number was misdialed or if the person was even at the place called. One popular phone card company advertises rates as low as 1 cent per minute but charges a 49 cent connection fee. A fee like this can substantially increase the rate on short calls and phone cards with connection fees should be avoided.
2. Maintenance Fees – A charge for keeping a balance on a phone card. We have seen maintenance fees that are charged weekly, bi-weekly or monthly but, in any case, it is a fee that is deducted from the phone card balance if it is kept active for a specified period of time. For example, if a phone card has a monthly fee of 99 cents than 99 cents will be deducted from the account at the end of each month. Phone cards with maintenance fees should not be used on a long term basis. The way to avoid a maintenance fee is to not keep the phone card until the end of the maintenance period. Therefore, purchase a small denomination card and use it quickly so a maintenance fee is not charged.
3. Long Call Fee – A fee that is charged for calls that last for a predetermined period of time. For example, a 50 cent fee could be charged on calls that last for more than 10 minutes. Avoid phone cards with Long-Call fees.
4. Service Fee – Some phone card companies charge a service fee on each call. This is sometimes called a communication fee. This is kind of like a sales tax and is charged as a per cent of the cost of the call. For example, a phone card may charge a 25% service fee. In this case a 25 cent service fee will be added to a call that costs $1. A service fee is okay if it is known and considered when the phone card is purchased. For example, if a phone card has a 25% service fee just increase the per-minute rates listed for the card by 25%. If they are still good rates than the card may still be worthy of purchase.
People who want to avoid phone card fees should consider a prepaid calling card (virtual phone card) like Tel3Advantage. Their listed rates include all fees and taxes and their rates are still some of the best on the market. They also include a full array of features, the highest call quality and award winning customer service.