Can Pre-Paid Phone Cards Save You Money?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Can pre-paid phone cards save you money?

The simply answer is: yes! Pre-paid phone cards can save you a lot of money, with the caveat that you have to use them correctly in order to maximize their benefits. If you’re tired of paying a monthly phone bill for not only a landline, but also a mobile phone, not to mention extras for long distance, minutes, text and pix plans, overages, and roaming, then you need another option, and pre-paid phone cards could provide that. But you simply can’t use them the same way you utilize your regular calling methods. If you’re going to realize a savings when you exercise your penchant for speed-dialing, then you need to understand how calling cards work.

First of all, there is a limit. Whether you pay for $10, $20, or more, you’re going to run out at some point. For this reason, you will actually have to track how many minutes you use. If you go over, your call could get cut off. Of course, this is, in some ways, superior to a cell phone since you will never get a bill with a mountain of overages that you had no inkling you incurred. On the other hand, an inability (or unwillingness) to keep track of your usage could result in a dropped call at a pivotal moment (leaving you searching for the mythical payphone that you’re sure still exists somewhere in the city or the prospect of incurring major charges for going over your cell minutes). And if you’re one of those people who texts inane, one-word responses about fifty times a day, you’re in for a rude awakening. A phone card will not help you to economize in this area.

But even more important than vigilance when it comes to your minutes is the knowledge that you have to read the fine print. The catch with most pre-paid phone cards has to do not so much with how long your calls are but how frequently you dial. Suppose you have a card that comes loaded with 100 minutes of calling. You probably think that gives you 100 minutes of talking time. Not so. The service probably charges you one minute right off the bat each time you hit the send key, regardless of how long you talk. So the only way to ensure that you get your full 100 minutes is to make one call that is an hour and a half long. For this reason, it is especially important to keep track of your minutes (usually there is a website where you can check in) as well as planning for longer conversations to avoid getting only a fraction of the time you paid for by making multiple calls.

So can a pre-paid phone card save you money? Yes. Will it? That is entirely up to you. If you have a mobile package that charges you a lot for overages, or you don’t want to pay extra for long distance on your landline, then you can stretch your dollars further by using a calling card for conversations that you know are going to be long-winded. For everything else, simply use the minutes on your plan. This way you can maximize your calling while minimizing the bill.

Kyle Simpson writes for All Area Codes where you can easily locate area codes for all cities and states and even perform a reverse phone search.


  1. We use a prepaid long distance phone card for our land line. It saves us a TON of money. We are only paying $.02/minute for long distance calls. WAY cheaper than the phone company charges. And cheaper than using our prepaid cell phones for long distance.

    Each time we make a call, we are told how much time we have left. We just love it.

  2. Thank you for sharing.
    Personally, we are on an unlimited plan for the USA and Canada and pay a flat fee. We love this way too.


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