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What is a Prepaid Calling Card?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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A prepaid calling card is a card that gives a person rights to make a certain dollar amount of phone calls. Calls made are charged to the amount on the card that has been prepaid, and they may vary rates depending on the company offering the card and the location of calls made. Many prepaid calling cards are used for international calls, and some can offer a good deal on long-distance calling.

Numerous companies market prepaid calling card types for sale and they come in various denominations that may start as low a $5 US Dollars in value. The actual value in minutes is really dependent on the rate the company charges for calls to certain areas. Some have variable rates per time of day and might charge lower rates for calls placed in evening hours. When considering which card to buy, it’s always a good idea to assess rates and restrictions.

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The prepaid calling card may exist for cell phones and some can be purchased for use with landlines. Cell phone cards are actually quite common and are used on “pay as you plans” with various companies. These have a tendency to be used for local and/or long distance calling, and it isn’t even necessary to buy a “physical” card with some of these plans. Instead people can merely go online to pay/go cellphone companies and add minutes to their phones. Though minute charges may be slightly higher with these plans, there is no danger of exceeding limits because phones keep track of how many minutes are left and won’t usually work without adding more minutes.

International prepaid calling cards may be used with cell phones or landlines. There are good reasons to have these cards, and they make excellent gifts for family that live far away and can’t usually afford to call. One use of the prepaid calling card that is especially common is as gifts for people in the military. They can offer those stationed elsewhere a chance to get in touch from wherever they are.

Several charitable programs exist that allow people to donate a prepaid calling card to a soldier (or cards to many soldiers). In the United States the US Department of Defense website has listings of these programs, especially those that are most reputable. Those charitably minded can also find information on prepaid calling card donation programs at official exchange sites of the US Army, Navy and Marines.

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