- Top Picks
- Rates & Fees
- Buying Cards
- Using Cards
- Card Fraud
Calling Card Per Minute Rates
The per minute rate of a calling card, phonecard, or prepaid plan is the amount charged for each minute of billed time.
Billed time is the amount of actual talk time rounded up to the next billing increment. For more on what that means, check here.
But back to per minute rates: As you shop for a card, you will find that advertised per minute rates vary widely from vendor to vendor and from card to card - like by a huge amount.
It is easy to get confused - maybe that's the goal! And probably nobody really understands how it all works - except maybe the vendors themselves.
In the following sections, we discuss the main factors that influence per minute rates:
One major factor that determines your per minute rate is the originating country you are calling from.
In other words, rates to a particular destination country are different if you are calling from the United States or from the United Kingdom.
The table below shows this for calls to Australia from 3 different originating countries. Note that rates are cheapest from the US, even though the US is furthest away.
Card A is the Jupiter card from ECC
Many cards allow calling from only from one originating country. Such cards have only one price schedule showing per minute rates from that country to all destination countries.
However, some cards allow calls from several originating countries. If you have a card, then each originating country will have it's own per minute rate schedule. The price schedules will show the per minute rates from each originating country to all possible destination countries.
Another major factor that affects rates is the destination country.
For a given card, per minute rates can vary dramatically from one destination country to another. Prices can commonly go from as low as 1.9¢ to 120.0¢ or higher for the same card.
The table below shows actual rates for two different cards to several different countries. Card A is obviously cheaper than Card B, but note how widely the prices differ across the different countries for each card.
The main point is: look closely at the rates that apply to the specific country (or countries) you plan to be calling.
Card A is the Jupiter card from ECC
Some calling cards provide different per minute rates for different cities within the same country - and/or they may offer a lower rate for certain cities than the general rate for the country.
The table below shows rates for several cities in Saudi Arabia.
Calling card and pricing data from ComFi.com
Billing increments can have a huge impact on per minute rates.
Generally speaking, the shorter the billing increment, the higher the per minute rate.
Calling card and pricing examples from CallingCard.com and CallingCards.com
Note that cards with low per minute rates tend to higher connection, maintenance, or other fees.
Mobile vs. Landline Phones
Depending on the destination country, per minutes rates to call mobile phones can be higher than for landline phones - sometimes much higher.
However, this is not always true and in some countries it makes no difference whether you are calling a landline or a mobile phone.
There is normally no price impact if you are calling from a mobile phone - such charges will billed as a normal call by your mobile carrier.
A couple of examples where prices are higher to call mobiles:
Calling card and pricing examples using cards with 3-minute billing increments from CallingCard.com and CallingCards.com
Toll-Free vs. Local Access Numbers
Many calling card companies charge a higher per minute rate when you use their toll-free access numbers. Local access numbers are always free.
If there is a toll-free upcharge, it is typically 1.0¢ per minute.
Calling card and pricing examples using cards from CallingCard.com and CallingCards.com
Other Fees & Surcharges
Many calling card companies keep per minute rates low by tacking on lots of extra fees and surcharges. As a result, your actual per minute calling costs can be much higher than the advertised rate.
Click here for a detailed discussion and examples of advertised vs. actual per minute calling rates.
And look at the example below to see how lower rates can be coupled with higher fees. Both of these cards from CallingCards.com are fairly priced and good cards, but hopefully you can see the point we are trying to make by noting that the maintenance and communications fees are both higher for Card A than Card B.
These calling cards get our 'Best Buy' rating.
Most Popular Pages
AboutCallingCards.com has affiliate relationships with some vendors mentioned on this site. With such vendors, AboutCallingCards.com may be paid a small commission on purchases made by visitors from this site. Details