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Learn How to Pick the Best Billing Increment

February 03, 2010

If you do a search on the website for a calling card, you'll get a listing with the main specifications of the cards available. These specifications are what makes one card different from another. Amongst these, we will find: the rate per minute, weekly maintenance fee and billing increment. We are going to talk about the latter one here.

To start off with the definition, the billing increment is the smallest call duration measurement unit, used to calculate the cost of your call. On BananaCall's cards, billing increment can range from 1 second (on the Tropical Banana plan) to 8 minutes (on Banana Smile and Banana Split plans).

Example: on a billing increment of 5 minutes (like on the Banana Cream and Banana Fun plans), your call length is considered to be a multiple of 5 minutes. If you talk for 28 minutes, your call will be approximated (rounded) to 30 minutes (the next multiple of 5), and you will be billed for 6 x 5-minute units.

So then what's the advantage of picking a bigger billing increment, if your call is sometimes considered to be longer than it actually is? Well, if we take a look at the rates and compare them to the different billing increments of various cards, we will see that the bigger the billing increment, the lower the rate.

In this case, when is it best to pick a bigger billing increment, and when should you pick a smaller one? The catch is to get a bigger billing increment if you plan to make long calls - and obviously, a smaller billing increment for short and more frequent calls.

But let's take an example to see exactly how that works:

We will compare the Banana Split plan (8-minute billing increment) with the Sweet Banana plan (1-minute billing increment), for calling India from USA.

We're going to take the case of a long call first. So let's assume you're calling your mother in India, to see what she's been up to lately. There's a fair chance she'll want to tell you ALL about it, so you'll be on the phone for let's say 22:14 minutes. Let's see how much this will cost you:

  • Calling with Banana Split: your call will be approximated to 24 minutes (3 x 8 minutes). The rate to call India from USA with Banana Split is $0.014, so your call will be: 24 x $0.014 = $0.336 for your call.
  • Calling with Sweet Banana: you will pay for exactly 23 minutes (as it is approximated to the next 1-minute unit). The rate is $0.035, so the total cost for your call in this case will be: 23 x $0.035 = $0.805.

Conclusion: you're clearly better advised to get the Banana Split plan, as you'll pay almost two times less than with the 1-minute rounding on the Sweet Banana plan.

Let's see what happens on a shorter call. Assume you're calling a friend to get another friend's phone number, so in this case it's fair to assume that you will stay on the phone for 1:43 minutes.

  • Calling with Banana Split: your call will be approximated to 8 minutes, so the total cost will be 8 x $0.014 = $0.112.
  • Calling with Sweet Banana: your call will be approximated to 2 minutes, and this means: 2 x $0.035 = $0.07 for the entire call.

Conclusion: In this case, using the Sweet Banana calling plan, you will end up paying a lot less that with the 8-minute rounding provided by the Banana Split plan.

Try to figure out what kind of calls you're most likely to make to your international destination(s) and based on this, pick the appropriate billing increment. Keep in mind that the secret is to get a bigger billing increment if you're going to make longer calls and a smaller billing increment if you will be making short, more frequent calls.

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