Phone cards fall into three main categories:
- Pre paid Phone cards which have an initial fixed value and can often be recharged. This type of phonecard may be daily and total limits on recharging, which can vary between suppliers. These calling cards can be purchased from retail outlets, online or over the phone. They are often promoted as offering cheap overseas call rates, but can be used for other services. There may be restrictions on calling certain types of numbers, such as 1800 or 1900 numbers.
- Post-paid billing cards are attached to a standard telephone account. Calls you make from outside your home or business are charged to the home or business account. Special rates may apply and often include a surcharge or verification fee for use of the card. These calling cards are currently only issued by major telecommunications companies and you need to apply to the company concerned.
- Pre-paid payphone cards are designed for use with payphones-the Telstra Phonecard (for Telstra payphones) and the TriTel Smart Phone Card (for TriTel payphones).
To select a phone card to best suit your needs, consider the types of phone calls you are most likely to make with it. Services available using phone cards include local, national and international calls, calls to mobiles within and outside Australia, calls to satellite phones, fax calls, Internet access calls, call back to Australia from overseas and calls within and between certain countries overseas billed at Australian rates.
Your access to different types of communications equipment can also influence your choices. Cards can be used with payphones, mobile and fixed line phones and fax machines, and for computer-based Internet access. If you have access to a phone or other communications equipment but do not want charges to be billed to the person or company who pays for the service, a card may be the answer.