Prepaid phone cards have been a boon for many consumers, particularly people with family and friends living long distance and overseas. Amazing low rates and the opportunity to spend a long time on the phone with a loved one is something we only dreamed about a few short years ago.
Now, for very little outlay, a prepaid phone card has made the world a much smaller place. But are there dangers to avoid. You "betcha" but before we look at those, here are some of the great advantages of calling cards.
The Advantages Of a Prepaid Phone Card
The benefits are numerous and it doesn't make sense to use traditional calling services today given the advantages of a prepaid calling card. Here are some of them:
- low rates, in fact, just cents on the dollar for international prepaid and long distance
- free sign up
- use from anywhere; abroad, vacation and home
- ease of convenience
Did You Know?
Using A prepaid phone card is easy. Just phone a toll free access number and enter a pin. A voice will then lead you through the remaining steps. Pinless dialling involves registering your details online and when you dial an access number, your registered number is recognized and you make the call.
Any Hidden Charges To Watch For?
Okay, the advantages are great especially in the cost saving department. But what's the point in shopping around for the lowest and least expensive prepaid phone card when you haven't taken the time to explore any hidden charges which may be lurking in the background.
The four main hidden fees to watch out for are maintenance fees, connection fees, minute rounding and surcharges from public phones. Believe me, these can chomp away at your talk time in a hurry and leave you wondering where the heck did my value go! It's easy to get caught up in the advertising hype surrounding low rates. First thing you should always do is go straight to the fine print and see how much a "you beaut" deal is really going to cost in hidden charges.
On going maintenance fees should be avoided. Connection fees in some instances may not be avoidable while be careful when purchasing a prepaid calling card and using it from a public phone. The surcharge could be excessive. The biggest bug bear with many consumers is the multiple minute rounding. Whether it's three or five minutes or whatever, it really can destroy your talk time.
For example, making a 7 minute and 20 second call and then getting it rounded off to 10 minutes. That is pretty rude in a lot of people's books so always ask about this. It should be avoided. If the cost per minute is great and there are no other hidden factors, then maybe you could tolerate a call rounded off to the next minute but no more than that!
A few other pitfalls to look out for include poor or non existent customer service, expiry deadlines where you may not even use your card and find out there was a short term deadline which has been reached. The result? You lose your talk time. Long distance confusion... low rates within a state but different rates apply outside it.
So Should You Use A Prepaid Phone Card?
I wouldn't be without one. Despite the negativity surrounding hidden fees they are a great medium to use to stay in touch with the people who matter most in your life. Hidden fees can be avoided easily. You just need to be aware they may exist before purchasing. Avoid them at all costs.
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