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Pre-paid phone cards are telephone minutes purchased in advance. Each phone card lists a toll-free number and is imprinted with an access code or PIN number. The dialer will call the toll-free number and enter the access number before making the intended phone call. After the number is dialed, the prepaid countdown begins. Since calls are directed from the toll-free phone number listed on the phone card, the long distance provider of the phone in use is bypassed.
The majority of people who purchase pre-paid phone cards do so because they want to lower their home phone bill or avoid collect calls or high cell phone charges. Most pre-paid phone cards come in increments of five, ten or twenty five dollars. This can buy anywhere from thirty minutes to ten hours depending on the company.
Pre-paid phone cards can be purchased almost anywhere. Post offices, supermarkets, electronic stores and discount marts are just a few of the places where pre-paid phone cards can be found for sale. Phone cards can also be purchased over the Internet or through mail order catalogs, television commercials and even the local newspaper. Be careful though; just because the minutes on phone cards are pre-paid doesn't mean they're a bargain. Shop around before purchasing to see which phone card gives you the most minutes for your money.
Just because you bought a ten dollar phone card doesn't mean you have ten dollars worth of minutes. Be aware of phone card surcharges and maintenance fees. As soon as your phone card is activated, it might be subjected to service fees, taxes and connection charges. If you use a pay phone, you can expect an additional surcharge. Always check the packaging on your phone card and make note of any fees and surcharges. You'll also want to check to make sure there's no expiration date. If there is, you'll have to use the phone card before that date or lose your money.
Phone cards are convenient for college students and those who do a lot of traveling. Thanks to phone cards, collect calls can now be a thing of the past. A call made with a phone card won't appear on your phone bill, so you can make discreet phone calls from your home or office without the number appearing on the bill. You'll also be able to avoid the high rates that come with making phone calls from a hotel room.
In most cases, you can't go wrong with pre-paid phone cards. Having a couple in case of emergency is never a bad thing.