January 11, 2010
If you're at least a little bit familiar with the calling card market, than you've probably read and heard a lot about using local access numbers, and how they give you lower rates (or in fact, more talk time for the same amount of money you have on your prepaid calling card). If you are still confused over how this works, then read this article and we'll show you how to pick the best calling method (through a local access number or through a toll-free number) in order to get the most savings.
So, how to decide which one is better to use? Well, it's actually rather simple once we explain it with the help of an example.
Let's take the Tropical Banana calling card, for calling from US to Canada. This particular card will give you a rate of 3.5 cents / minute, but with no extra fees (no maintenance and no connection fees) and a 1 second rounding.
You now have the option of dialing using the toll free or the local access number. When using the toll free, your rate will be the old rate plus 1 cent / minute, as it happens with all cards (from BananaCall and other providers, as well).
In order to see if you're better off using the local access number or the toll free number, you must know if the phone you're calling from has free national talk minutes included or not.
If you have free national calls, then making a 10 minute call to Canada from US will cost you exactly 35 cents on the Tropical BananaCall calling card, with no extra cost to your landline or cell phone bill (since you dialed the local access number, from your provider's point of view it's just as if you made a national call, so this adds no extra cost to your bill).
If on the other hand, your landline or cell phone provider bills you 5 cents / minute for local or national calls, then here's how this will look for you, for the same 10 minute-call to Canada:
- calling with a local access number: you will be charged 35 cents on your Tropical Banana calling plan, and then you will also be billed for 10 minutes of local calls, on your phone bill: this means 50 cents. Total cost for the call: 85 cents
- calling with a toll-free access number: in this case, you get the 3.5 + 1 cents / minute rate on the calling card. For the 10 minute call, this means a total of 45 cents. Also, calling this way implies no extra cost on your phone bill, because you're using the toll-free access number (the call from your cell / landline to the access number is free of charge; and then the 45 cents are charged from your Tropical Banana calling card). Total cost for the call: 45 cents.
Conclusion: the best way to go is using a local access number IF you have free local or national calling included. If you don't you're better off using the toll-free number, as this will add no extra costs to your phone bill.
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