If you have family and friends living abroad, you might set aside a significant portion of your pay to staying in touch. Even a short international call can really add up if you are unaware of the per-minute rate and additional fees. As a result, many consumers choose to use prepaid phone cards to make international calls. This helps prevent any surprises in the phone bill. However, because prepaid calling plans can vary quite a bit, it’s important to compare all of these options carefully to find the best rate for your main calling destinations.
How to Compare Cards
When looking at international calling cards or prepaid SIM cards, remember that they can vary not only according to rates but also in terms of fees and conditions. These can change at any time, even if you have already purchased the card. Rates may be different depending on whether you are calling a landline or mobile phone, so be sure to think about the types of calls you are likely to make. You may discover that you can call Pakistan with Lebara for a low per-minute rate, but you’ll also need to look at the fees and surcharges that will also impact your final cost. Always check fees on a provider’s website, because these may be different than what’s advertised on the card. Fees could include everything from connection to disconnection fees, along with surcharges for using a payphone or maintenance charges.
Fees, surcharges, and rates are not the only ways in which international calling plans can differ. Most phone services will round the call up to the nearest minute to calculate the charge. If you plan on making a 12 second call, you will still be charged for the full minute. Some cards only round up every six seconds, which is a far more advantageous solution. Finally, be sure to look at expiration dates of any cards or prepaid mobiles you are considering. Some have no expiration date, while others expire after a couple of months.
Features of the Best Plans
As you shop around, you’ll also want to look for user-friendly features. One of the easiest plans to use is a prepaid SIM card which you can place into your own mobile phone. These tend to be straightforward, without as many extra fees or intermediary steps. For example, you can call USA with Lebara and their prepaid phone plans. Other cards allow you to register your own phone in advance and dial the number directly without the need to enter a PIN. This saves time and money. Speed dialing is another useful feature, as is the ability to track any calls made through your account. This is particularly true if you are handing out prepaid cards to employees for business use.
If you have consistent internet access, another option to lower your international phone calls is to use Skype or other VoIP providers. These allow you to call anyone in the world, provided that they have access to the same service. You can also call landlines or mobile phones at low rates, although service can be spottier than it would with a regular phone.
There’s a wealth of options out there to lower phone bills. It’s worth exploring the different international plans and calling cards to find the best rates for your favored destinations.