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How to choose phone cards:

Here are some criteria that you should look at when buying a phone card:

1. Possible hidden charges
Make sure that you understand the following hidden charges, and always check whether they apply to your calling card:
Connection Fees: As long as your call is connected you will be charged, regardless of whether your call is picked up. So, repeated phone calls to the same telephone number, even if they aren't picked up, will cost you the connection fee. Theoretically, cards with connection fees are cheaper if you tend to make lengthy calls. Unfortunately, some companies may intentionally disconnect the line so that they can charge you the connection fee again.

Saving Tips:
When you buy a
phonecard there is
$2 processing fee
on all orders that
are lower than
$40. Buy 2 cards
at one time and
you will save 2
dollars! You can
always use your
second card later.
Also you can
cooperate with
your friend and
buy 2 phone cards
on one name.

Surcharges: A surcharge is an additional charge on top of the usual charge for a service, imposed for a specified reason. For example, some phone cards may charge an additional $0.75 per call if you make the call from a pay phone.

Service Fees: Some phone card companies charge a fixed monthly service fee on top of the per-minute rate.

Incremental Rates: Say you have two cards, A and B, both with rate of 10 cents per minute. Card A charges you each minute, and card B charges you every three minutes. When you make a 1 minute phone call, card A charges $0.10, but card B charges $0.30! This is perfectly legal, so watch out for it.

2. Period restrictions
Your card may expire at some set time after being activated, or after being used for the first time, usually three to six months, regardless of your balance. Don't buy too many cards like this from the same vendor at the same time.

3. Stability of the phone card company
The competitive nature of the phone card business has forced many vendors to shut down their operations. We have heard many stories about unfortunate students who spent a lot of money on phone cards, and then ended up unable to use them. Before you choose a phone card, make sure that the company looks like it will be there in the long run. Be sure to check out their web site, and see if they are popular with other users.

4. Sound Quality
Since many cheap phone cards use IP transmission, the sound quality can deteriorate dramatically when many people use the service simultaneously. If you find the sound quality unbearable, consider paying a little more for a phone card that uses a fiber optic network.

How to use a phone card:
You can use calling cards from any telephone, public or private. Just follow the instructions on the card, which usually are similar to this:

1. Dial some special phone number, usually a 1-800 number, which is printed on the card.
2. Dial the unique personal identification number (PIN) which is also printed on the card.
3. Dial the phone number you are trying to reach.
4. After dialing the phone number, you will be told your balance of minutes and then the connection will be established.

Find the lowest rates to your country and start to use it right away!


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