An African Man in his early 50s Calling home from abroad
How-Tos & Tutorials

Everything You Need To Know About International Calling Cards


Are you someone who believes modernisation might be a curse, and rather, sticks to the old school way of life? Then pretty sure you’ve felt anxious, too, trying to go through the hassle of installing apps, signing up or subscribing to confusing packages for calling. Right?

Then it is safe to say that you are made for the one and only, good ol’ reliable calling card, the convenient partner to all old souls wanting to call someone.

Simply purchase a card of your own preference, scratch up the PIN, dial it in before the number you want to call, and there you have it. Say hi to them at a very cheap rate!

What is a Calling Card?

Now, the word ‘calling card’ is not to be implied by its old-fashioned definition. In the 19th century, a calling card was rather like a visiting card, given to someone as a gesture of extending their social connection.

However, the modern era defines it as a telecommunication product used to purchase voice calling minutes to talk to somebody in any part of the world. It started off as a rectangular plastic or paper card with a specific brand design over it. The scratch card was dedicated to its own unique PIN to be dialled in to use the card.

A variety of cards were available for customers to choose from, with their price depending on the volume of call minutes each of the cards awarded. The price further depended on:

  • the brand of the calling card and,
  • the country that was to be called through the card.

For instance, a certain calling card might advertise to give 100 international calling minutes to Italy for £5. The best international calling cards provide cheap rates, no hidden charges, and reliable connections to users.

Nowadays, calling cards are available in either prepaid, postpaid, or rechargeable service. Furthermore, they can also be bought as international calling cards online with their PINs emailed to you. The top international calling cards also provide PINless dialling after first-time use.

So, all you require is the compatible access phone number information and the card PIN to dial calls either nationally or internationally.

How to Use a Calling Card?

Using a calling card is really quite simple. Each card has an 800 number or a local access number. It also has a “PIN” or account number.

All you need to do is just dial the 800 number or the local access number, enter your “PIN” number, and then you’ll be prompted to enter the phone number that you’re calling, at the end.

How is it Different From Other International Calling Solutions?

Calling cards are a blast from the past. They were one of the cheapest international calling solutions available before VoIP technology took over. However, despite making use of outdated technology, calling cards are still quite popular within some demographics because:

  • It does not require any internet connectivity.
  • It does not require any app to be downloaded.
  • They can work on any phone with any SIM network.
  • It can call on any phone or landline globally, given that there are no restrictions in place by certain countries on international calls through calling cards.

However, certain aspects also make it less preferable than other solutions because:

  • It is not free of cost, unlike some VoIP apps that only require free downloads.
  • The quality of the call may be compromised as it does not use the Internet to connect calls. And,
  • Group calls cannot be made, and video calls or texts are not compatible.

If there remains any ambiguity in deciding which is the right solution for you to call internationally, the Best Option for International Calling can provide you with sufficient knowledge to make an educated decision.

What is a Rechargeable Calling Card?

A calling card or phone card is rechargeable if more credit can be added to it after the initial volume has been used up. It is a customised form of a prepaid account that provides the facility of ‘top ups’ you can purchase, either online or through retailers, allowing you to call more through the same card.

How Does PIN Work for International Calling Cards?

A personal Identification Number (PIN) is a number that is required to verify your identity when using your calling card for user protection and security. Purchase an online International card. We will send you a PIN via email, mentioning access numbers and other information.

If you buy standard cards from any other source, the PIN can be provided to you printed on the card or on a coupon etc. Some companies can permanently remove the PIN when users make their first call to speed up the calling process. This PIN-less dialling allows for greater convenience in using the service.

Types of International Calling Cards:

There are a few different types of international calling cards available for you to choose from, according to your requirement:

  • Prepaid: This card contains a set volume of call minutes available for use and can be used until the contained minutes have been exhausted. After exhaustion, the card is discarded.
  • Post-paid: This card does not contain any set volume of call minutes. The call bills are on a per-call basis, and they can make as many calls as they desire without worrying about their credit finishing.
  • Rechargeable: As the name suggests, these are rechargeable in their volume of minutes contained. After full consumption of the card’s credit, the service provider gives the option to recharge the calling card, either online or over the counter.
  • Virtual: This card is available online for purchase and does not hold any physical value. When consumers buy it, they receive the PIN through email and other relevant card information. Other details like support assistance are also provided to the customers for further help.

Perks of International Calling Cards:

International calling cards can provide a very convenient service of dialling international calls to anywhere in the world at very cheap rates, without the requirement of any Internet. All you need to do is purchase a card and use it to call on any mobile phone or landline you want.

Also, you don’t need to subscribe or sign up for any contracts or accounts to use a calling card. Just research international calling cards comparison and find the best one for yourself.

Warning About Calling Cards:

Despite being convenient and cheap, some calling card companies have now been known to use unfair, deceptive means to sell cards. Make sure to check whether the calling card you buy:

  • Does not contain any hidden fees. Read the fine print carefully to avoid this.
  • Makes it clear that the access number provided is toll-free or at local rates.
  • Highlights the expiration date of the calling card, which you need to be aware of.
  • Identifies whether it charges a different rate for calls made at different times of the day. Some calling cards have peak hours where the rate is the maximum.
  • Specifies the round-up minute quantity. Many cards use “3-minute rounding”, i.e., even if you talk for less than 3 minutes, you will be charged for a 3-minute call, and if you call for 4 minutes, it will charge for a 6-minute call.

Popular Calling Destinations:

Several countries hold popularity in international calling. Among them include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, UAE, Afghanistan, England, the US, Thailand, Panama, and Spain. Don’t forget to dial the right country code before making a call internationally, e.g., the country code for Thailand is 66 and the Panama dialling code is 507.

Where Can I Buy International Calling Cards?

“Where do I buy international calling cards?” you ask? Standard cards can be purchased from convenience stores, gas stations, specific retailers or vending machines and used until credit exhaustion.

Rechargeable cards can be reloaded within more minutes so that the same PIN is used for more calls. The payment system and the way you make calls using your card is different for each card. Some provide online payment convenience, and some are to be recharged through a retailer.

Calling cards can be found in several places such as:

  • Kiosks and convenience stores,
  • Online retailers,
  • Big retailer stores such as Walmart (Asda, UK),
  • Sold by Post Office Limited in the UK, as an agent,
  • Through your current long-distance provider,
  • Vending machines at airports or other transport facilities,
  • Newspaper stands or gas stations.

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