Choosing a Long Distance Phone Card or Provider
Choosing a long distance telephone provider can be a tricky business. Not only are there many long distance companies, but each company offers numerous long distance calling plans. Theirs Telstra, Optus, AAPT, Global One, Primus and many others. With so many options, it can seem overwhelming when trying to find the long distance plan to best fit your needs.
Know your needs It is often a good idea for most people to shop around for a plan that meets their long-distance calling needs. The same long-distance calling plan is not right for everyone. While some may benefit from a larger long-distance company, others may see rewards in a smaller company. To choose the best long-distance calling plan, you must know your personal long-distance needs. To understand your long distance needs, it is important to be familiar with your monthly telephone bills. You should know:
The number of calls you make each month.
How long each call lasts.
What time of day you make most of your long-distance calls.
The destination you call mainly.
Once you understand your telephone bill, compare the different services offered by long-distance telephone companies.
Evaluate your calling patterns. Contact different companies and request written information about calling packages they offer, or use a rating service.
Match your calling pattern to the long-distance company that best fits your needs.
Try override prefixes If you are not ready to switch to a new long-distance provider, try an override prefix access code. The access code is entered into the telephone before dialing a telephone number. The access code allows you to have that call carried by the provider whose access code is dialed. By doing this you can see the various rates different companies charge, then you can decide which price is right for you.
Don't use override prefix for local calls. If you have doubt about whether a call will be a toll call, contact the operator. Using an override prefix on a local call may cost you more. You will be billed at the toll rate, even though you could have dialed for 25c if you have flat-rate local service.
Prepaid Phone Cards are a convenient way to place a call from anywhere not just at home. Prepaid phone cards are not problem free. Some users have discovered some prepaid phone cards have the following problems:
Higher per-minute rates than other phone cards.
Some companies have gone out of business leaving their customers with unused minutes and without being reimbursed.
Access numbers or personal identification numbers do not work.
Toll-free access numbers are always busy preventing use of the card.
Hidden connection charges have been added to cards.
When considering purchasing a prepaid calling card, ask the following questions:
What is the actual cost per minute of the card?
Where can I call from?
Who do I contact if there is a problem with the card?
How many minutes is the calling card worth?
Is there an expiration date?
Avoid rounding charges Some companies charge for a six-minute long distance call when you really only spoke for four minutes and two seconds. This is because the company bills in 2 minute increments. So you can pay for more time than you actually use.
Pay attention to pay phones It is important to be cautious when using a pay phone. Payphone call rates are very much higher than phone card call rates.
Research and compare Long distance call rates and phone cards change on a continual basis. You should frequently check call rates, and other terms & conditions on a website that is kept up to date all the time. What may have been the phone card for you six months ago, may no longer apply.