Thursday, May 9, 2013

Best Apps for Calling Abroad


One of the hardest parts about being abroad is staying in touch with your friends and family back home. This was certainly the case for me when I lived abroad; this led to me trying a few things in order to communicate easily and more importantly, cheaply. What is common among these apps is that they are VoIP systems, which means voice over internet protocol. This allows for anyone with a standard internet connection to make free calls.

  1. Skype- We all know Skype, it’s the best app for any entry level user of VoIP apps. It’s easy to use and very cheap; also Skype is by far the most widely used. It is free within Skype network yet the rates for calling outside the network are very cheap. Cheaper than any international mobile rates you’re likely to find. Connection is solid, there are minor problems if your Wi-Fi connection is slow but overall it is the best app for anyone looking to stay in touch.
  2.   What’s App- This app is really a messaging app but it is really the best for international texts. You can text any phone regardless of carrier anywhere in the world, which definitely comes in handy. It does have some extras which make the app all the more fun like group chats, picture sharing, and audio and video notes in your conversations.
  3.  Fring- Is completely free to use, and allows for very inexpensive rates to landlines and other cell phones if the other person is not a Fring user. Fring is a great option for those looking for a Skype alternative and you can chat with up to four people at the same time which makes it great for group video chats. The connection is solid, the quality of video and voice chats are rated very highly.
  4. Viber- An up and coming app that has been given solid reviews and there’s no need to register as you simply use your mobile number. It merges with your existing contacts and while the connection is generally good there have been problems in low Wi-Fi areas. Unlike Skype there is no ‘offline’ mode and you cannot make calls to non Viber users, even for an additional charge.
  5. Tango- Works best for one on one communication and the video connection and quality is overall good with some complications but there is hope that these may be remedied soon. It immediately goes through your contacts and lets you know who is a Tango user. However, since there are still relatively few users the chances of your friends actually using it is slim. Its biggest drawback is that it is not designed for group chat, yet it is still an easy to use option that is gaining fans.
Hopefully this can help you choose which app is best for you, and help you stay in touch while you’re overseas.

Angie Picardo is a writer for the personal finance website, NerdWallet, where you can find information on the best apps for all your financial needs and how to answer the question, “am I saving enough?”

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