Calling cards, also known as prepaid cards, are an easy and cost-efficient method of making long-distance calls – both international and domestic. They are also ideal for foreign travelers who need to make local calls in the country they have traveled to, because they provide a cheaper alternative to international roaming charges. The card includes a local access number and a unique PIN number, both of which must be dialed before a phone number in order to connect a call.
A calling card is paid for in advance so there is no bill or detailed statement, and it is usually easily available online. Brick-and-mortar stores like supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies also carry prepaid calling cards from different companies. Each card is preloaded with a certain number of minutes or “talk time,” and priced accordingly.
Making a local call with an international calling card involves dialing an access number and a PIN number before the local phone number. Both the access and PIN numbers are printed on the back of the card. The access number is either a toll-free number or a local number. In either case, the cost likely to be incurred is determined by the card company, and the user can confirm this in advance.
The credit - number of minutes - loaded on the card begins to decline once a call is connected. Depending on the number of calls made and the duration of each call, the final balance of the card is determined. When the credit balance reaches zero, if the user needs to continue using the card, he has to buy additional minutes.