Are There Still Phone Cards?

Yes. You can still purchase phone cards in stores as well as online. Phone cards are best for calling to countries or areas that have weak or no internet coverage since most areas will still have phone lines. They’re also great for calling people who just prefer to use the phone.

Phone cards (or international calling cards) were once a popular option for making overseas calls, but with the rise of VoIP and free internet calling options are they still worth it?

In this post, we’ll explore the history and current state of phone cards, as well as alternative options for making long distance calls.

History of phone cards

Phone cards, also known as prepaid calling cards or telephone cards, were introduced in the 1980s as a convenient way for people to make long distance calls giving people access to countries at a much reduce price.

Phone cards were typically plastic credit card sized cards that had the calling instructions printed on them (Access Number, PIN (personal identification number), etc.) which could then be used to make calls from any phone.

They became popular in the 1990s, as they were widely available at convenience stores, gas stations, and other retailers.

Who Uses Phone Cards, Anyway?

There are a few groups of people who still use phone cards today:


People who have moved away to another country and still want to maintain a connection with their friends and family back home without paying a large sum of money.

Countries with weak internet

Most countries or areas still do not have reliable internet and can be frustrating when trying to make a call while having to put up with freeze frames, call drops, echoing sound, etc. While most countries may not have a reliable internet connection, they will definitely have a landline.


Travellers will use a phone card for the same reasons mentioned above, they want to stay in touch with family back home without overspending, also, while travelling you may need to call friends or accommodation contacts and a phone is the best way to do this.

Everyone has a mobile or landline

Finally, sometimes it’s just easier to call people on their cell phones or landlines without having to download another app.

How to buy a phone card

Here are a couple of quick tips:

Buy from a specialist

Buy from a specialised retailer if possible, that is, an actual phone card provider that only sells international calling cards. Try to avoid general stores like supermarkets, newsagents etc, the reason being is that general retailers won’t be able to give you much more information than what is on the phone card like:

  • Which card is best for a specific country to a specific device (i.e. landline or mobile)
  • What hidden fees are there?
  • What happens if there is a technical issue? How long to resolve?

Buying from a specialist means that the customer support will be able to assist with any questions as well as offer the best options based on your specific needs.

Check for hidden fees and expiration dates

Almost half of phone cards come with a maintenance fee which is essentially a fee that is deducted from your phone card balance at regular intervals regardless of whether you are using that phone card or not – our advice is to avoid these types of phone cards.

Also check to see how long the expiration date is, they’re typically anywhere from 3, 6 and 12 months.

Check for customer support

Phone cards are a technology and from time to time you may experience a technical issue, so you want to make sure that the company you are purchasing from has a good support team in place to help should you need it – this will be displaying on their website.


In conclusion, phone cards are still available for purchase and are a good add-on for your existing communications mix alongside calling apps and calling plans.

Need Cheap International Calls?

Select the country you wish to call from the drop-down below. This will find you the best international phone card with the cheapest calling rates!