Skip to Content

Phone Cards and Credit Card Calling

Telephone cards (“phone cards” or “calling cards”) are available for long distance calling, especially if you are away from home and using a payphone, which may require more coins than you can keep available. (Some payphones require cards and accept no coins at all.) You apply for a phone card through your local telephone company, a long distance company, through your credit card company, or you can purchase prepaid phonecards giving you a certain number of long distance minutes for one flat fee.

With one of these cards you’ll be able to make a long distance call from a payphone or telephone booth, or from any telephone even if it is not connected to a long distance provider. You’ll have to dial a long string of numbers to activate this service, and sometimes it can cost twice as much as calling from a regular telephone. Also note that fees for each use may make your pre-paid minutes decline more rapidly than you calculate.

If you are at someone else’s home, and you need to make a long distance call, it is courteous to suggest using a telephone card if you have one. In many cases today, the person will have unlimited long distance coverage, in which case the telephone card will not be necessary.

When using a regular credit or debit card to make a call from a payphone, bear in mind that charges may very well be difficult to determine, and surprisingly high. The charge will often include a per-call fee as well as per-minute fees.

One good alternative to either type of card calling is a mobile telephone that comes with pre-paid minutes. In many cases, you can purchase these phones without the bother of arranging for a cellular telephone account.

Next Section:Cellular Phones

Public Services I: Chapter Home

Life in the USA Home Page.