How Does A Phone Card Work?

A phone card works by dialling an access number, followed by a PIN number and then entering the international number that you wish to dial.

A phone card, also a prepaid or calling card, is a convenient way to make phone calls without needing a traditional phone plan or contract.

Phone cards allow you to purchase a certain amount of calling credit in advance, which can then be used to make international calls through a special access number and PIN code.

Phone cards can be an excellent option for :

  • People who have recent;y moved to a new country
  • Travellers
  • Business people

They can be used from a cell phone, landline, pay phone, etc.

In this blog, we will explore how a phone card works, the advantages and disadvantages of using one, and how to determine if a phone card is a right choice for your phone needs.

How does a phone card work

How A Phone Card Works (Step By Step)

To use a phone card, you will need to purchase one from a retailer or online. Once you have your card, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Dial the access number. This is a special number that connects you to the phone card service.

Step 2: Enter your PIN code. Each phone card is assigned a unique number that is connected to the credit balance on the card.

Step 3: Finally, dial the phone number you wish to call.

The call will be connected, and the credit on your phone card will be deducted based on:

  1. The duration of the call.
  2. The destination you are calling to.
  3. Sometimes whether you are calling to a landline or mobile phone.

Keep in mind that some phone cards will come with hidden or special fees so it’s a good idea to read the fine print on your calling card or if you’re purchasing a digital calling card call customer support or read the terms on the page that is selling that specific phone card.

Phone cards were typically plastic credit card-sized cards that had the calling instruction printed on them (Access Number, PIN, 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.

Advantages Of Using A Phone Card

There are several advantages to using a phone card:

Cost savings: Phone cards can offer significant cost savings compared to traditional phone plans, especially for those who do not need many minutes. Since you are only paying for the credit you use, you can avoid paying for extra minutes or features you do not need.

Convenience for travellers: Phone cards are a convenient option for travellers, as they allow you to make calls from any phone without the need for a local phone plan or SIM card. This can be especially useful for those travelling internationally who want to avoid incurring expensive roaming charges.

No long-term commitment: Phone cards are not typically connected to a contract, they’re prepaid so you know exactly how much you’re going to spend on each call which is a bonus.

Disadvantages Of Using A Phone Card

Like any product or service, there are some disadvantages as well.

Fees and hidden charges: Some phone cards may come with additional fees or charges mostly, these will be either maintenance fees or connection fees. Connection fees are fine since they typically offer a lower per-minute rate, but you want to avoid calling cards that come with maintenance fees.

Lack of features: Phone cards typically offer different features than traditional phone plans, such as voicemail, caller ID, and call forwarding.Poor call quality: Depending on the provider, the call quality of a phone card may be better than that of a traditional phone plan.

You’ll also want to know the expiration date of your phone card as well, especially when purchasing from a supermarket, newsagent, etc.


A phone card can be a smart way to save on international calls and are great for people who have migrated to another country and need to connect with family back home or travellers who need a way to connect with people while travelling.

They offer the flexibility to pay for only the phone usage needed and can be an excellent choice for travellers or those who do not want a long-term phone contract.

However, it’s essential to be aware of any fees or hidden charges that may apply and to consider whether a phone card is the best option for your phone needs, especially if you need to make a large number of calls or have long phone conversations.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages, you can determine if a phone card is suitable for your phone needs.

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