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3 Things to Consider When Buying a Calling Card

January 22, 2010

As you probably already know, calling cards can save you a lot of money on international calls. However, you still need to invest a few minutes to make sure you purchase the one that will suit your needs best, in order to maximize your savings.

So, what exactly are the 3 most important things to take into account when selecting your calling card?

1. Always, always make sure you select a calling card for the specific destination that you are going to call. On BananaCall, that's really easy to do: simply go to box on the top right of this page and select the "Calling from" and "Calling to" from the drop down menus, the hit the "Search for Best Rates" button.

Rates may differ for specific countries, on different cards - and this is exactly why it is important that you fill in the appropriate countries in the two boxes.

2. Next, you will need to think about the kind of calls that you are going to be making using your prepaid calling card: will you be making long calls or short ones?

Depending on this, you must decide what rounding to pick. As you'll see on all of our BananaCall products, the calling cards differ by a few criteria - one of which is the rounding (example: you get a 5-minute rounding on the Banana Fun Calling Card). This means that your card will be charged for 5-minute units. More specifically, if you make a call of 14 minutes, you will be billed for 3 x 5-minute units, so basically you would pay the same thing for a 15 minute call as you would for a 14 minute call.

So what's the catch? Why not get the smallest rounding and get it done with? Well, for smaller rounding you get higher rates, and vice versa. This is why you must decide, at this point, if you'll be making longer or shorter calls. When you generally make short calls, you're better off with a small rounding (up to 2 or 3 minutes, for example). But if you make longer calls (if you spend about 5-10 minutes or more in one call) then it's more economical for you to use a card with a higher rounding.

3. Connection fee or no connection fee? If it's a fee, you don't want it, right? Well, not entirely true. This also depends on how you plan to call. With BananaCall you will be making more savings with a calling card that has a connection fee, when you make fewer, longer calls. This is so because cards with connection fees will give you lower rates than the ones that charge no connection fee. So if you make a 48-minute call per week, for example, then here's how the Banana Smile (8-minute rounding, $2.99 connection fee) and Banana Split (8-minute rounding, no connection fee) cards compare:

The connection fee card:
48 minutes x $0.049 (rate per minute for calling USA to Afghanistan with Banana Smile) + $2.99 (connection fee) = $5.342

The no connection fee card:
48 minutes x $0.129 (rate per minute for calling Afghanistan with Banana Split) = $6.129

As you can see, in this case you're better off using the connection fee card (Banana Smile), as you'll end up saving 0.85 cents - that's another 17 minutes of talk time on this particular card!

As a general rule, if you plan to make long international calls using your calling card, you will make the most savings using a card with a connection fee, as you will get a lower rate per minute and an overall lower cost for your calls. If, on the other hand, you make rather short (and more frequent) calls, you're better advised to get a card with no connection fee.




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