5 Tips to Help You Find the Best Phone Card for Cheap International Calling

Phone Card for Cheap International Calling

Making international calls can get very expensive, especially when using your regular cell phone plan. Phone cards are an affordable way to call friends and family abroad for just pennies per minute. But with hundreds of international calling card options out there, how do you find the very best deal?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when searching for a calling card that offers excellent call quality and incredibly low rates. Follow these tips to find the perfect phone card for all your cheap international calling needs.

1. Determine Your Calling Needs

Determine Your Calling Needs

The first step is thinking through your unique calling habits. This will help narrow your search for a phone card service that’s customized to how YOU specifically make international calls.

Make a list of the top 3-5 countries and cities you call most frequently. Note how often you make these international calls – several times a day, a few times a week, or just occasionally? How many minutes do you estimate you’ll use in a typical month?

Knowing your personal calling patterns will assist in finding the right plan. A card designed for someone who calls China daily will offer better rates to China than a card made for general worldwide calling.

Also decide if you prefer a pinless or pin-based phone card. Pinless cards are more convenient – just dial a toll-free access number and the destination number. But pin-based cards require you enter a PIN each time, which adds an extra step but may offer lower rates.

Finally, determine your budget. How much are you able to comfortably spend on international calling each month? Keep this number in mind as you compare rates across providers.

Getting crystal clear on your unique international calling needs will make it much easier to find the perfect international phone card.

2. Compare Calling Rates

Compare Calling Rates

This is where the rubber meets the road – examining the per minute calling rates to your destinations. The lowest rate is the biggest factor that saves you money.

“Carefully research the rates to your most frequently dialed countries. Don’t just look at the homepage or brochure boasting “1 cent per minute to China!” You need to dig into the specific rates to the cities you’ll be calling.” Peter M., SingaporePhoneCards.com.

Check rate sheets from the top international calling card providers like STAR, Pingo, Lingo, and more. Look at smaller phone card companies too – they sometimes offer the cheapest rates when needing to compete with larger brands.

Avoid any hidden fees that can drastically inflate the total cost of your calls. Watch out for fees like connection fees, which get charged every time you make a call. Maintenance fees are also common – daily fees just for having an account. Peak and off-peak charges for different times of day all add up fast.

Ideally, look for a phone card with rates of 1 to 3 cents per minute to your desired locations. And no more than a reasonable 25 to 50-cent connection fee per call. This will keep the price as low as possible.

Also, pay close attention to the minimum billing increment. Some cards bill in full-minute increments, but the best ones bill only every 6 seconds, 30 seconds, or 1 minute. The lower the increment, the less you get overcharged if a call only connects briefly before dropping.

If you plan on using the phone card very frequently, buying in bulk minutes upfront can lower the per-minute rate. Just be sure to realistically estimate your usage so you don’t overbuy.

Bottom line – scrutinize the published rates, calculate exactly what you’ll be charged for your calling habits, and avoid all extra fees. This is how to maximize savings and get incredibly cheap international calls.

3. Consider Convenience Factors

user-friendly phone cards

In addition to rock-bottom calling rates, the most user-friendly phone cards make it simple and convenient to use their service anytime. Here are some convenience factors that are nice bonuses when choosing a card:

  • Easy Account Management – Look for a calling card company that offers an online account portal and mobile app to easily manage your account. You should be able to check balances, view call history, add funds, change plans, and more 24/7.
  • Flexibility – Choose a card that lets you easily change international calling plans if your needs change. Being able to switch between pay-as-you-go and unlimited plans is ideal.
  • Top-Up Options – The card should allow fast and simple ways to add more money when you start running low, like recurring credit card payments or topping up through the mobile app.
  • Compatibility – Make sure the card will work with your phone – whether landline, mobile, or VoIP line. Some phone cards only operate on certain types of phones.
  • Call Features – Voicemail, call forwarding, and conference calling are nice features if you need more than just direct calling. But these add-ons aren’t necessary for most users.
  • Number Porting – Some phone cards let you port your existing phone number onto the card so people can call you without you giving out a new number.

While low per-minute rates are most critical, factors like easy account management, flexibility, and compatibility also improve the overall user experience.

4. Read Reviews from Other Users

Don’t choose an international calling card based only on the advertised information from the provider. It’s crucial to get reviews from people who have actually used the service.

There are many websites and online forums that allow customers to share reviews of different phone cards. Look for consistent satisfaction with call quality and reliability of the network. Are people generally happy with the card?

Pay attention to any frustrations with tricky rate plans, hidden fees, or bad customer service mentioned in reviews. Try to spot any shady practices that aren’t obvious from the company’s marketing materials.

You can also check review sites like TrustPilot that aggregate unbiased ratings across thousands of brands. This lets you see overall satisfaction ratings for top phone card providers at a glance.

Finally, don’t forget to check reviews for the mobile app and account management portal if the phone card offers one. An inconvenient app or outdated online dashboard can ruin the experience.

The best indication of whether an international calling card is worth purchasing comes from fellow customers who’ve used it extensively. Let their reviews guide you towards reputable providers.

5. Test Customer Service

Test Customer Service

Here’s a pro tip – call a phone card company’s customer service line before purchasing to get a preview of their support team. Ask the rep to help you find the best international calling plan based on your usage needs.

A genuinely helpful rep willing to look at your specific calling patterns and recommend the optimal solutions is a great sign. Try negotiating to see if they can offer you an even better rate.

You can learn a lot about a company from this pre-purchase test call to their customer service department.

While you have the rep on the phone, also ask how long it typically takes to resolve any technical issues with the phone card. They should have tech experts available 24/7 to troubleshoot problems so you’re never without a working phone card.

Good customer service and technical support is crucial when you depend on the phone card for daily international calling. Don’t get stuck with a company that offers no assistance when something goes wrong.


Finding the international calling card with the lowest rates and best features takes research. Be sure to compare per-minute rates across at least 3-5 top providers. Read through reviews from real customers using each service. And make a test call to customer support to get a preview of their helpfulness.

Avoid getting pulled in by flashy advertisements and unrealistic promotional offers. Stay focused on your specific calling needs, not what works for the “average” user.

Once you’ve selected a phone card, monitor your usage and bills for the first 2-3 months. Make sure you’re satisfied with call quality, connection reliability, rates matching what was promised, and bills that come in under budget.

If you notice creeping price hikes, bad sound quality, or poor support over time, be ready to switch providers. Don’t get stuck paying extra just because changing services seems inconvenient.

Follow this guide and you’ll be equipped to find the very best international phone card for enjoying unlimited cheap calls abroad. Happy cost-effective calling!

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