Latest Trends in Prepaid Calling Cards

Prepaid calling cards are changing in important ways. The most innovative calling card companies are moving beyond just selling cheap minutes to something closer to full service discount calling plans.

To be sure, the minutes are still cheap, but now you can have cheap minutes plus excellent new value-added features. It's tremendous stuff.

The key new features to be aware of are mobile dialing apps, PC dialing apps, and shared calling plans. Since not all companies offer these features, you need to look carefully to find the ones that do. We offer some suggestions below.

The Hottest New Features

The three most important new features you should be looking for are:

  • Mobile apps: Some leading phonecard companies are introducing apps that make mobile calling a lot easier. These apps can be download from the Android, Apple, or Blackberry app stores or directly from the company's website. The good ones install easily and basically replace the default calling interface.
  • PC apps: Another new trend is to offer a PC dialing app for making calls from your computer. These are small programs that you install on your computer like any other program. When you load them, they present a dialing keyboard, let you save contacts, and so forth.
  • Group calling: A few companies let you share your prepaid calling plan with other people, such as your family, friends, or business associates. Depending on the company, your contacts can be located most anywhere in the world and they can share and use your account just as you would.

Where to Buy

If you are interested in getting these features, you're going to have to look around because not every prepaid company offers them. In fact, only a few companies have the capabilities to deliver them. These tend to be the more innovative, high quality companies in the industry. Three of the best examples are Pingo, Nobelcom, and Enjoy Prepaid.

Why aren't more companies introducing these features? The reason is that only certain types of calling card companies have the right equipment and facilities to deliver them. Specifically, only companies that control their own communications networks have the gear necessary to do it - and there aren't too many calling card companies that do this.

Calling card resellers (marketing companies that sell minutes on behalf of a carrier) can't offer these types of services because they don't control the underlying network resources. Without control of the phone network, they can't develop and deliver the necessary software solutions to consumers.

What Else to Look For

In addition to getting these new features, you want to ensure any calling card you buy also has these things:

  • Low per minute rates
  • Low surcharges and fees (e.g., no connection fee)
  • No hidden fees
  • PIN-less dialing
  • Speed dialing
  • Plenty of access numbers (domestic and international)
  • Live customer support
  • Good company reputation

Above all, be skeptical of rates that seem exceptionally low compared to the competition. Chances are they are bogus and the card is laden with extra fees that drain your card quickly.

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