The convenience of cheap discounted phone cards makes them a perfect choice for international calls, checking in back home while traveling, or anytime you need to make a call from a hotel or pay phone.
Why It's Convenient
Cheap rechargeable calling cards simplify phoning away from home. If you have a landline, it may be connected to a calling card, and if used, charges are added to your monthly statement. But, you'll pay a hefty usage fee each time, in addition to the cost of the call. Carrying a prepaid phone card in case of emergencies is a smart option.
One caveat: read the fine print on calling card/payphone compatibility. Phone companies often do not allow a competitor's card to work with another competitor's phone.
If you're trying to save on long distance, a calling card is a good alternative to many traditional plans. You're in more control of your charges buying a card in the time increments you need, and there won't be a monthly fee just to host long distance, like many phone companies issue.
Many people also prefer to use a card for long distance calling rather than a cell phone. No worry about call zones, dropped calls, discounted time windows, or roaming fees if you're out of the cell plan's call radius. There's also not a monthly payment or service agreement to contend with, both necessary nuisances of owning a cell, even though the long distance calling may be free.
Cell Phones Work with Calling Cards, Too
However, calling cards for cell phones are increasing in popularity, especially on prepaid phones. Still no monthly bill, because you purchase the phone outright at a big box retailer, but with the handy mobility of a cell using a prepaid SIM card to handle both local and international calls. This is a good option for teenagers to teach them to save money, or seniors who want a cell phone for emergencies.
Where to Find Cheap Discounted Calling Cards
If you need a cheap discounted calling card quickly, walk into any discount chain store, grocery store, drugstore, gas station, and even some post offices. You'll find a variety of cheap rechargeable calling cards and prepaid cards with time increments as low as 30 minutes and as high as 1,200 minutes. Some cards are for international calling only, and the rates will differ from general use prepaid cards. A few notable retailers include:
- Sam's Club and Wal-Mart carry a variety of AT&T cards, which average approximately $.05 per minute for domestic calling. International cards vary by country.
- CVS/Rite-Aid has both Sprint and MCI cards, as well as international cards for Mexico, Cuba, and Central and South America. Rates vary considerably based on domestic vs. international cards, and time increments.
- Walgreens has a number of discount calling cards, including a fluctuating promotion for two 340-minute cards for $20.
If you're looking for the best deal on cheap rechargeable calling cards or discounted calling cards, there are many clearinghouse sites that provide options.
- Military Exchange Prepaid Calling Cards is a partnership effort with AT&T to provide military personnel deployed in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan bargains on calls placed to the U.S. from those areas. International call rates average $.19 per minute.
- LDPost offers phone cards, prepaid long distance, and prepaid mobile services. Use this site to compare cards for a particular country simply by entering your calling destination. The site uses a matrix to break down the best call rates and restrictions for each option.
- Penny Talk advertises a cheap rechargeable calling card with domestic rates as low as $.01 per minute and international rates averaging $.02 per minute.
Also try OneSuite, an international calling card and prepaid card service that works from a local access number and allows calls on your computer.