Calling cards also known as phone cards are the rectangle sized cards similar to the shape of credit and debit cards. Many people around the globe use these cards to make international calls with reduced rates. Simply because starting a VoIP based international prepaid telephone calling card business is simple, doesn’t mean all companies are into this business for best service. You as a service user, customer, must find the hidden glitches of the calling card schemes before buying them.
As you might be thinking why to use these cards as there are other free services like Skype. Many users even consider calling cards better than Skype & VoIP-only services – not only because of their preferences with calling cards but also of privileged benefits over VoIP-only services. Most of the calling cards companies provide competitive rates, promoted free minutes, ease of purchase of phone cards, usage convenience, no Internet reliance (no VoIP line rather trunking services) and more to suite their business necessities. The reason to use phone cards depends on various factors as such. To list up some:
- Calling cards can be used anytime and anywhere.
- Voice quality is excellent for most operators.
- It is flexible to be used from softphone dialers in PC (desktop dialers), smartphones as well as directly from web dialers.
- It is cheaper to make long distance calls when you are using calling cards than traditional phone calls. It will help you to save huge monthly bills if you need to constantly make international calls.
- Skype is limited for PC to PC in free version.
Associated hidden charges in calling cards
Federal Trade Commission (FTC in US) had recently examined samples from various companies. They have found that none of the phone cards provide the exact call minutes as promised. If a customers buys a $10 card and have provision to call for 150 minutes to Australia then, that customer would be able to talk for 90 to 100 minutes only.
Wondering where the rest of the minutes have gone? Well, those were converted to in the form of hidden charges. Hidden charges can be maintenance fee, hang up fee, call termination fee and many others that are not even heard of. All these fees are legal in VoIP business. All or most of the calling card companies charge it. But only some will disclose in their agreement papers – even sad very few of customers read them.
Things to consider before buying calling cards
Do you get the exact talk time for what was agreed upon while purchasing a prepaid calling card? The answer to this question depends on how many times you have continued to buy from the same company. If you are able to meet the talk time that was promised to be delivered then it is obvious that you will use the same brand.
While the phone cards keep the callers in ease and save the budget, one should remember some of the problems that might come along with it. But, it can be minimized if you are aware in the beginning of pursuing the telephone calling services. In most of the cases, you will lose your money (which was converted into talk time) if bought from wrong or malevolent brands.
The problem is that you do not get the exact duration as what was promised. The hidden cost associated with the prepaid phone card is the main cause for it. Above all of these, other problems are also seen as connection issues, busy access numbers and personal identification numbers that do not work.
There are many companies that cuts big chunk from the talk time you have bought but only few who deliver the exact as advertised. These are the companies who have been in the industry for long time and created a brand among their customers.
So, the conclusion is that, before you buy calling cards read their terms and conditions, and always focus on purchasing the one that have comparatively higher positive reviews from users. If you are a first time user, know what your friends and relatives are using for long distance calls. And oh yes, do not forget to check their referral programs & promotion schemes. Happy calling.
Do not forget to read: Legal VoIP Providers in Nepal
This guest post is submitted by Sanjay Maharjan, marketing officer at Otelint.com – the provider of International Calling Cards.
Image courtesy (first pic): colocationamerica.com