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Best Choice International Calling Cards
Best Prepaid Phone Cards To Make International Phone Calls. Lowest Rates, No Hidden Charges, High Quality Connections, Pinless Dialling, Call To/From Most Count
DON'T PAY EXTORTIONATE COSTS TO YOUR LONG DISTANCE PROVIDER WHEN YOU MAKE INTERNATIONAL CALLS!
Now it is possible to buy Cheap Phone Cards to place international calls. In the past people usually avoided making international phone calls unless they absolutely had to because of the cost, but in this age of advanced technology there are many ways in which the cost of making international calls can be greatly reduced, in fact it can be even cheaper than calling within the country if you pick the right option. With the low rates I am about to reveal to you, there is no longer any excuse to not call family and friends overseas.
Image courtesy of best-of-web.com
Most people in the past also used to have a phone at home (more commonly known these days as a landline), whereas the trend these days is for more and more people to have a cell phone and no landline at all.
This page will, I hope enable you to pick the right options for you, and to help save you money when making international calls.
Getting straight to the point, you can't go far wrong with ALMOST FREE PHONE CALLS when choosing a plan for making international calls from almost any country.
You may see hundreds of adverts for calling cards, prepaid calling cards, international calling cards, prepaid phone cards, international phone cards etc, but know that not all prepaid calling cards are equal - some will save you money, and some will cost you dearly.
Right now for example I am paying 1.3 cents/minute to make calls from the USA to the UK with 1 minute rounding and no extra costs. That gives me 26 hours of calling for $20, from either a landline or my cell phone. I have had this price for over 2 years, it's not a special rate, it's the rate all the time. You can get rates as low as 0.6 cents/minute though, if you are happy with a 3 minute rounding.
If you see an advert that says 1,000 minutes for $17.95 that looks good to you, right? WRONG! The rate I pay gives me over 1,500 minutes for that price. Don't be fooled by large numbers advertized on other cards, where they might charge you $1 to make a call.
Not bad you might say, considering you could be paying 25cents or more a minute for using your cell phone.
Read on to see how you can do this yourself.
There are no catches, it's just a matter of searching for the right calling card that suits your needs. And it's saving me a small fortune.
Before I forget, there are also some ways to call overseas for FREE, like MSN Live or Skype, but they mostly rely on you calling from a computer to a computer. I am going to add sections on this also very soon, so if you are a member of Squidoo and want to be notified of the updates, please either join my fan club or add this lens to your favorites.
BECOME AN AFFILIATE and earn money by promoting calling cards and also when you buy your own.
My Personal Recommendations
Click on the image below to see the calling card company that I personally use to make my international phone calls to landlines. I have been making calls from the USA for 12 years, and this one has the very best rates, a very reliable service, and good voice quality. Cloncom comes with my personal recommendation for a great way to save money on those international calls.
If you are undecided yet as to what features you need in a calling card, or don't understand enough about them, please read on... I have attempted to include every question that you might have about selecting the right calling card for you, the features to look for, and those to be wary of.
Good luck in making your decision, and I hope you will choose a card from Cloncom. I have used them since Spring 2007 and am a very happy customer.
If you are going to be making calls to Cell Phones or Mobiles in Europe and Asia, although the Cloncom prices are good, Almost Free Phone Calls just has the edge on the cost per minute. Whichever card you choose depends on your needs, but because I call both landlines and mobiles I have two cards. Both can be set up to recognize your number so that you don't have to log into your account every time. The full dialing string including pauses can be programmed into most phones, and you can assign this to a speed dial number too, so dialing to any of your friends or family overseas can be done with one press of a button. Now isn't that cool!
The Advantages Of Using A Calling Card
The most obvious advantage to using a calling card to make international calls is that it is usually much cheaper than making the calls using your long distance provider, even if you do have an international plan with them.
This is even more advantageous if you make international calls using your cell phone. Most of the cell phone companies charge you a high premium rate for making international calls.
The other advantage is that having found the right calling card, in many cases you can use it with any or all of your phones, which eliminates the need to have multiple plans for making international calls.
Things To Watch Out For
There are 2 ways to obtain a calling card.
Firstly, you can pick one off the shelf in a store, and secondly you can research on the internet and look for a card with the right features for you.
There are some pitfalls with buying a card, things you need to look out for, but once you know what you are looking for, it's up to you to make the choice, and there are plenty of cards to choose from.
Since this is the internet and if you are savvy you will buy online, I am going to discount buying a card from a store, since there are almost always catches when you do this.
Example catches are: (a) monthly service fee - they charge you every month, (b) card expires after xx days, (c) cost is in multiples of 3 or more minutes, (d) there is a charge per call.
You must have seen those commercials on tv or on billboards advertizing calls for a tiny amount. Those usually come with either a service fee, or a charge of $1 per call. Yes it might be great if you stay on the phone for 2 hours, that's really cheap - but if the person you are calling is out and their answering service picks up, it just cost you $1 for a 1 minute call! Better to pay a little more per minute and to have to connection fee.
Calling Card Features And Options
There are a number of features that are common to all calling cards. You need to be aware of these when looking for the calling card that best suits your needs.
Many calling cards come with a recharge option. Instead of paying for a calling card and when the money runs out you have to buy a new one, with a recharge option you can add funds to the card and keep on calling.
This is extremely useful when you find a card that you like. The companies that I use also allow an option for Auto-Recharge. If you so desire, you can set your account to automatically recharge using your credit card once the balance gets below $1.
I use this, but when selecting a new card you might be wary and not want to activate this until you trust the company and their rates.
This allows you to register one or more phone numbers, so that when you call the Access Number your account is recognized without you having to enter a PIN Number. This is invaluable!
This is one setting that you have to be aware of when selecting your calling card. Most cards round the cost of a call in imcrements of between 1 and 3 minutes, a few do more and a few do less.
Usually cards that have the lowest rates increment in 3 minutes or more, meaning that if you call someone and their answering machine picks up, that 20 second call costs you 3 minutes.
Swings and Roundabouts in choosing your card here. If you are on the phone for an hour then a 3 minute incrmement is great, however there is no guarantee you will be talking for that long, especially if calling to/from a cell phone and the signal drops.
I usually opt for a 1 minute increment with slightly higher per minute rates.
Some calling cards charge a connection fee every time you place a call. This is customary if you are calling form a pay phone, but if you are calling from your home phone you shouldn't need to choose a card with a connection fee. It's a rip off, unless there is also a very low rate, in which you take a chance on being able to have a long call.
Another gotcha with some cards. They might charge a maintenance fee per week or month, which can add up.
I generally avoid cards with a maintenance fee, however right now to get my 1.2cents a minute my card charges 49cents a month, which is small enough to not matter. However, some cards do charge much higher rates.
Another gotcha. If you don't use your minutes within so many days after activating your card they expire.
Since you should usually only be choosing cards that are renewable, they should not also expire. However, watch out for a card expiring if you do not use it for say 90 days. I use mine daily, but you might not...
If you do need to call using your calling card from a payphone, you almost always have to pay for the privilege. This is usually around a dollar. As long as my cell phone works I don't need that, but it's good to be aware just in case you are travelling and can't use your cell phone (for example at an airport outside of your area).
LOCAL ACCESS NUMBERS
Check that the calling card you are choosing has Local Access Numbers for your area.
If you dial using a Local Access Number the cost of the call is usually lower than if you have to use their Toll Free Number.
Keep the Toll Free Number handy in case you do need to dial from outside your area, and you don't have free long distance.
My card I use with 1.2cents per minute would cost 2.2cents per minute if I had to dial using the Toll Free Access Number for example.
This is a great feature, you get a list of the calls that you have made, like a regular phone bill, but sadly this feature comes at a price. The cheapest cards don't have this feature, and I miss it, however I do know the companies are not fiddling me from checking my balance at the start of every call (they announce this automatically).
Calling To A Cell Phone - Caller Beware
Cell phone owners in the USA generally pay for each minute of both incoming and outgoing calls.
The same is not true in Europe though, the cell phone pwner only paying for outgoing calls.
If you call a cell phone in Europe, it is YOU who pays the cost of making that call, and it is most often significantly more expensive than calling a landline.
This also applies to special numbers for banks and other organizations in Europe who have a special low rate number for domestic callers so that they don't have to pay a long distance fee. These more often than not are charged at the same rate as if you were calling a cell phone in that country.
The problem is that selecting a great calling card for calling a landline in Europe may give you a low rate for calling landline numbers, but the rate for calling a cell phone might be horrible.
There are some calling cards that give better rates for cell phones, but in turn these do not provide the best rates for calling a landline.
Depending on how many people you call and whether you call mostly landline or cell phone, you might consider (as I do) purchasing 2 diffferent calling cards, one for calling to landlines, the other for calling to cell phones.
How Do I Use A Calling Card
Most calling cards work the same way, and indeed all the cards that I am going to recommend work this way, so this is the process I am going to describe here.
The cards work by providing you with an Access Number, usually a Local Number that you dial to access the calling card service. You can look up the best number for you on the calling card company web site.
Once the call is answered, you will then be required to enter the PIN Number that the company gave you when you purchased the card. Many companies (including the ones that I recommend) allow you to use Pinless Calling. By registering your phone number(s) on their web site under your account, when you place a call they automatically who is calling and you do not need to enter a PIN. This is a BIG bonus.
An automated voice will then tell you how much money is left on your account and prompt you to enter the number that you are calling.
The number that you are calling needs to be dialed starting with 011 which is the International Calling Code from the USA. It then needs to be followed by the Country Code (eg: 44 for the UK). I have added a link to the list of country codes at the bottom of this Lens in case you don't know it.
This is generally the full number that the person you are calling would give to someone who calls them from the same country, however all numbers in the UK for example begin with a 0 and this needs to be omitted when you are dialling. For example, if the number you are calling in the UK is 0123-456789 you would dial only 123-456789.
AUTOMATING THE CALLING PROCESS
Almost all phones these days allow you to program in a long string of characters to make up the phone number that you wish to dial.
Assuming that you are using Pinless Dialing, this is how you would program in the number...
(1) Access Number - followed by...
(2) pause (see below)
(3) any other keys, eg: 1 for English...
(5) the number you wish to dial (including country code)
There are 2 ways that you can make the dialing process pause on most modern phones, both landline and cell phone. In general the pause code can be entered by pressing the * key multiple times until the correct pause code is shown on the display.
The first type of pause is P. This causes the dialing sequence to pause for 1 or 2 seconds.
The second type of pause is W. This causes thd dialing sequence to pause until you hit the OK key.
The pause delay must be enough time for the company to answer and to prompt you for the next key (on my cards the language prompt). If your calling card company is sometimes very slow to respond, you might want to consider programming in a W so that you are in control. If they do not answer in time, the next part of the dialing sequence will start before the system is ready.
For both my calling cards, for calling a landline or a cell phone, I use 3 p's in a row between the Access Number and the language prompt, and again after the language prompt. This works 99% of the time perfectly.
The rates for the cards I use are the best I have been able to find anywhere. I call England daily from my cell phone and make sure I have the most minutes for my money. Cloncom has provided me with a good reliable service and great prices, therefore I am pleased to introduce this service to you.
For calling a landline, Cloncom has the best rates and features that I could find, and the service has also proved to be very reliable. I have been using them since April 2007 and highly recommend them.
I use their Right For UK card which costs 1.2 cents per minute, has 1 minute increments and a service fee of 49 cents a month.
There are cheaper cards, such as the UK Saver card, which costs 0.7 cents a minute (can you believe it!), but it's billed in increments of 3 minutes and has a 99 cents per week maintenance fee.
You might pay less with this card if you have lots of long phone calls, but it's a gamble. You would also need to call enough to make up the 99 cents fee every week, which is over 2 hours of call time.
It's your choice...
Recommendation For Calling A Cell Phone In Europe Or India
Since the calling card I use for calling landlines in the UK doesn't have great rates for calling a cell phone over there, I have a second card that I use just for calling friends and family on their cell phone.
The card I use has the best rates that I could find to suit me. This card is the Jupiter Card from Almost Free Phone Calls. The cost to call a cell phone in the UK is 13.5 cents a minute, with 1 minute increments and no other charges.
They do have other cards with charges as low as 12.1 cents per minute, but this card (Lucky Minutes) is charged in 3 minute increments and has a service fee of 89 cents per week. For the amount that I use to call cell phones over there, the Jupiter card works out the best for me.
Which card is the best for you?
Making Lots Of Calls From A Cell Phone In The USA
I currently don't have a landline, only my cell phone(s). YES - I have 2 cell phones.
I have a regular cell phone (currently with Sprint, I have been with them for years), and use this for all of my domestic calls and incoming calls.
I also have a second phone with MetroPCS, which is a company in South Florida (and also in other parts of the USA) that offers unlimited minutes for a basic $35 (including taxes) a month. Now this is a very basic level of service - no voicemail, no long distance, no caller id, no texting etc.
I can be on the phone to England (to family and friends, and most of all to my girlfriend) for at least 2 hours a day and at the weekend up to 10 hours a day. If I was to use this many minutes on my Sprint phone, my bill would be sky high, however, with MetroPCS my minutes are unlimited, so it doesn't matter.
With MetroPCS I only have to make local calls - I have a local Access Number for both of my calling cards. Once I call them, the rest of the call goes on my card, usually 1.2cents a minute, which is very affordable.
I assume you probably have a landline with unlimited local calls, so this would not be a problem for most people, but if like me you need to make lots of international calls on the road, finding a cell phone that has unlimited minutes is a bonus.
More Tips For Saving Money On International Calls
The low cost on my calling cards is fine if I call to Europe, but if my girlfriend wants to call me, there are some good rates from the UK to the USA, but these are still much higher than I pay to call there from here.
So, if my girlfriend, family or friends want to call me, they know to just ping me, that is to call until my number rings and then hang up.
This costs them nothing. My phone rings (the Sprint one), showing their number on the caller id, so I know they want to talk.
I then pick up my MetroPCS phone and dial them. Their number is programmed in of course, so all I have to do is select them in the address book, call and wait for the dialing to take place. Easy, and we always talk at the lowest rates, which in my case being only 1.2cents a minute I don't mind paying for an hour of phone calls to England - it's only 75cents.
Save And Earn By Becoming An Affiliate
It's great to save money on your phone calls, but wouldn't you also like to make money as well?
I would like to recommend two companies for you to join as an Affiliate and where you can build your own downline to earn extra income. Both companies are ones that I use and have cards that you can use to call to and from many countries. I would recommend checking them both out to see which will work best for you, or sign up for both - it's FREE..
MY FIRST RECOMMENDATION - CLONCOM
Firstly we have the Cloncom Affiliate Program, which is the one that I use for calling landlines as the rates for my destination are marginally the lowest.
With Cloncom The Best Thing Is that you don't just receive commission when a customer buys their card. You earn commission every time they top it up - FOR LIFE!.
MY SECOND RECOMMENDATION - ALMOSTFREEPHONECALLS
The second company I highly recommend is one that allows you to register your own domains to promote their cards. My domain is Almostfreephonecalls.com and this is turning into a very nice little business, plus I get great rates when I refill my calling card. Click on the link below to signup as an affiliate.
Useful Telecom Related Links
- Country Codes for International Calling & Area Codes
Country Codes for International long distance calling made easy!
- Cloncom International Calling Cards
Low prices, high reliability.
- More Affordable International Calling and Messaging
Millions of us have family, friends, and business associates that are located outside of the country. Calling and even text messaging internationally can rack up a sizable bill quickly. Luckily options have expanded. VoIP and international calling ca
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