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Choosing Long distance Calling cards - Points to be Careful:

Prepaid phone cards charge a lot of hidden fee reducing the number of minutes. This 
article looks at the various hidden fees charged by the phone card companies. But charges from our company are well advertised and clearly stated.

1. Connection fee: This is also known as Access Fee. This should be known to most of the 
calling card customers. This fee is charged whenever one calls to the destination. This 
usually varies from 5 cents to 1 dollar. The worst thing that can happen with this 
connection fee is, when the card buyer makes the call and either the answering machine gives
a reply or the call is routed to a voice mailbox. This immediately deducts the connection 
fee even though the customer has not really uttered even a single word.

   The best option to get over this problem is to choose a card, which has no connection fee. 
There are a lot of companies, which sell cards without connection fee. Before buying any 
Calling card, just find out the average rate per minute after taking into account all the 
costs. This would definitely give a clear idea about the best option.

2. Service Fee: This is charged on a pro-rata basis with reference to the call charges. Thsi 
is usually around the levels of 5 - 15%.

3. Billing increment: Also known as Minutes Rounding. If the company says it has 1 minute 
rounding, a call of 50 seconds will be charged for 1 minute and 200 seconds will be charged 
at 4 minutes. This 1 minute rounding could be a better option among the rounding types. The 
higher the rounding period, the more loss to the customer.

4. Maintenance fee: This is a very notorious, hidden fee. This gets charged on the phone 
card either on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. While buying the phone card itself, the 
customer should read the fine prints to find if there is a Maintenance fee. If at all there 
is this fee, this card should be chosen only if the customer is going to exhaust the card 
before the specified period.

5. Payphones: There are surcharges on the phone cards for the calls made from Payphones. 
This will be charged on the customer's phone card irrespective of whether the call goes 
through or not.

6. Access Number: The billing also depends on whether one calls a local access dial in 
number or a toll free number. Usually a caller realizes very less number of minutes if he 
calls a toll free number. It is advisable calling the local dial-in number as it works out 
cheaper compared to the toll free number.

7. Long Talking Fee: Some phone card companies charge a long talking fee if the call goes 
beyond a specified duration. This duration is usually around 20 minutes. It is better to 
know and reconnect around this period.

8. Expiration date: Most of the pre-paid calling cards have an expiration date. There can be 
two types of expiration dates. One is the date from which you start using the card and other 
one is a General expiration date for the card. One cannot use the card even if he has talk 
time left after any of these dates.

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