Items to check prior to purchasing a Prepaid Phone Card

1) What rate does the card offer to my calling destination?

You may compare rates to your calling destination by using a Rate Finder from Ontario Phone Cards home page. Simply select your destination from the list and click search. Please note that calls made to overseas cell phones are generally billed at a higher rate and always listed separately. For Example there are separate rates for Germany and Germany - Mobile. Extra changes are billed by destination mobile phone providers and are applicable for all long distance carriers.

2) Are there any additional fees or taxes?

Some phone cards include additional service, maintenance and other fees and/or taxes. These fees are not included in the posted rates and effectively reduce the number of minutes you'll receive.

If you are new to calling cards or do not plan to use phone cards a lot, we recommend selecting the phone card with "no hidden fees". These phone cards offer accurate rates and true minutes. You may simply compare rates and select the card, which offers the best rate for your calling destination. On Ontario Phone Cards web site such cards are marked as best for multiple calls or no fees. We recommend this type of phone cards for most customers. Read more about phone cards with no hidden fees.

For calls to countries with high per minute rates you may get a better deal by using phone cards with "service fee" or other "hidden charges". These cards usually have the lower rates, however, per-call service fees decrease the actual number of available minutes. On our web site these cards are marked as fees apply... or best for a few calls. We recommend this type of phone cards for more experienced users who use phone cards a lot. Read more about phone cards with hidden charges.

Ontario Phone Cards believes that consumers should make informed decisions. Every card on our web site has a short description / highlights, editorial review and marked with appropriate label ("no fees", "fees apply", etc).

If you are choosing a phone card in a convenience store please make sure to read a disclaimer at the bottom of the poster in full. Please note that "No Connection Fee" does not imply that no other fees are charged. Most of the "No Connection Fee" cards have many service and maintenance fees hidden in disclaimer at the bottom of the poster. Please read more about Phone Card deceptive marketing practices.

3) Does the phone card have an access number available in my area?

In order to use a phone card you have to dial local or toll free access number. In order to get the best rate most phone cards require you to use a local access number. However, some phone cards (CiCi, Premier Plus and more) allow you to use toll free number with the same rate.

Ontario Phone Cards helps you to find phone cards available in your area. When using Ontario Phone Cards rate finder please choose the city, area or province you will be calling from (call from box / menu). If your city is not listed, choose a city where local calls can be made to for free from your phone. This will ensure that only phone cards, with access in your area, will be listed.

4) Does the phone card have an expiration date?

Most "no-fees" phone cards expiry in 6 months from the date of the first use. However some cards expire earlier (90 days, etc). Please check description / highlights of the card (on Ontario Phone Cards web site) to see if card expires earlier than 90 days.

Good to know about Phone Cards

Using from mobile phones: phone cards have the same rates for use from cellular phones

All calling cards in Canada and the United States could be used from mobile phones and have the same rates as when using from landline phones (no extra charges). For your mobile (or landline) phone service provider, call using calling card is the same local call as any call to local or toll free number.

Please note: when using calling card on your mobile phone, you have to press "call" button only after you entered your calling card access number. Do NOT press "call" button after dialing your overseas destination number as some mobile phones or operators may initiate a new long distance call on your second mobile line (call waiting function), which will be billed to your mobile phone. To properly use calling card from mobile phone: enter your calling card local or toll free access number and press "call" button, at the prompt choose your language, enter your PIN and destination number without pressing "call" button on your phone. back

Toll-free access number VS Local Access number

Most phone card come with toll free and list of local access numbers. Remember, most phone cards, which come with both toll free and local access numbers, charge more when using a toll free number. Such phone cards apply per-minute surcharge for using a toll free access number (typically 2¢ to 8¢/min). However, some phone cards (CiCi, Premier Plus and more) allow using toll free number without surcharge (same rate as with local access numbers). Before using a toll free number please always check if surcharge is applicable. Remember, we do not recommend usage of toll free number where surcharge is applicable (unless exact surcharge is specified). If local access is not available for you location chose phone card with "free 1-800" access number for your province. back

Phone cards with no hidden charges (best for multiple calls)

Phone Cards, which are best for multiple calls are usually clean and have no hidden charges. These cards are especially good for calls to countries with low per minute rate (within Canada, to US, UK, China, European landline phones, and many more). They also good to make multiple calls to any other destination. We recommend this type of phone cards for most customers. back

Phone cards with service and other charges (best for a few calls)

Phone Cards, which are best for a few calls, usually have the lowest rates. However, per-call service fees, applicable for every call, decrease the actual minutes, especially if multiple calls were made. We recommend these phone cards only when you plan to use $2.50 of the balance for 1 or 2 calls ($5 for 3-4 etc). If used properly, such phone cards are very efficient and may save up to 95% of regular call costs for calls to countries with high per minute rates. If you are new to calling cards or are not sure if cards with hidden charges will work good for your destination we recommend you to choose a phone card, which is recommended for multiple calls. back

Beware of Phone Card deceptive marketing practices

There are few phone cards in the market that provide honest minute-by-minute billing. Most phone cards operating in Canada and the United States deduct undisclosed hidden fees from the balance on the card and do not provide all posted minutes. Such undisclosed fees allow phone card providers manipulate rates and decrease actual minutes available for consumer without changing posted or advertised rates.

On of the most common deceptive marketing practice, used in the industry, is to release new phone cards with very attractive, sometimes unbeatable rates. In some cases posted rates are even lower than wholesale carrier rates. However, once new calling card becomes popular, dishonest phone card providers gradually increase unspecified hidden charges, significantly decreasing actual time available for consumers.

One method of protection from such practices is to continuously deal with reputable phone cards and to only purchase calling cards that do not include any hidden fees. One of the most popular phone cards with no hidden charges is CiCi Caliing Card. Other phone cards with no hidden charges available at Ontario Phone Cards are Premier Plus, FoneBuster Falt and First Choice calling cards.

Individuals who make numerous phone calls may find calling cards with hidden fees an important asset. In this case, the way to protect yourself would be to understand the fees, the way they charged and to deal with reputable stores specializing in calling cards. Good calling card stores generally offer a wide range of calling cards and avoid dealing with dishonest phone card providers.