Thursday, April 19, 2007

Three Calling Card Advantages: Personal Use

Calling cards are great for travelers, businesses, students, and personal use. We'll be looking at that last one today, but don't worry - those other uses are on their way.

Advantage #1: Your Bottom Line
Quality calling cards save you money over standard long-distance. Period. Many people have cell phones or domestic phone plans that provide "free" nationwide long distance calling, which is of course "free" with purchase. My family is spread all over the country, and I'm a cell-phone only kind of gal, so I'll admit that I rely on my expensive phone plan to provide me with all of the domestic minutes I need. I pay $60 each month for 1000 minutes, when I could be getting about 1500 minutes for $50 on a calling card (or a plan like Mobile Caller, which also rounds by the second, rather than by the minute like my cell plan does. I score some extra minutes by having free nights and weekends, but most of my family is busy during those times (and time zone differences cause trouble, too).
It goes without saying that the savings for international calling are huge; I'd pay $1.80 a minute with my current cell plan to call my old roommate in Paris, but a calling card like Eurotel is just 1.8 cents per minute. If I wanted an international calling plan on my cell, my monthly charges would be almost double.

Advantage #2: Flexibility
Calling cards go anywhere you go. Need to make a call from a payphone? You'll have to pay a small surcharge, but that sounds a lot better than $3 a minute on a credit card (I've gotten stuck in rural locales and had to do it) or calling collect. Traveling? Looks like your unlimited long distance is still back at home. With a calling card, you never have to worry about roaming charges, either. Trust me, there are still parts of the country (New Mexico, anyone?) where cell phone coverage is extremely limited. I've learned always to have a calling card with me on any trip, especially road travel, so that I'm never stuck (or stuck paying inflated convenience store rates). You also don't want to end up paying high hotel long-distance fees...most calling cards eliminate all but the toll-free access charges (which vary by hotel; many offer free toll-free or local calls, and many calling cards have nationwide local access numbers).

Advantage #3: You Can't Overspend
Many people have learned the hard way (and kept phone companies comfortably in business) that it's very easy to talk the night away. With a prepaid card, your minutes are limited to what you've already purchase; while you can recharge most cards if you need to continue your call right away, the time limit can be a great motivator to stay within your budget. I got a $1200 cell phone bill once. That's right, once. Now I keep such close tabs on my talk time that I wonder if I shouldn't be an accountant. A friend of mine gets a $1200 cell phone bill about five months out of the year. He just can't master staying under his plan minutes. If this sounds like you, a prepaid calling card could be just what you need.

We've got a special Mother's Day offer coming up, so stay tuned! You know your mom's already waiting for you to call....

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