all you need to know about
Phone Card Charges
Q) Please explain the different fee structures.
A) Phone Cards have become sophisticated and there are many ways for phone card companies to charge you more.
All phone cards have a combination of one or more of the following charges:
Time based charge:
The actual time you spend online either in units purchased or a time increment in seconds. The time increments vary from 1 second to 5 minutes.
A one off charge for initiating a single call. Each and every time you use the card and your party answers, you will be charged a connection fee which will be deducted from the available minutes. This amount is deducted from the card value either in money or in minutes. If a calling card has a very low per minute rate, the chances are it has either a high connection fee or a surcharge. It is a logical extension that cards with a connection fee are hopeless for short duration phone calls whereas they may be highly effective for long duration calling.
Initial Connection/Weekly/Monthly Service/Maintenance Fees:
Some cards have an initial set up fee. This could be a one off just to get you on the road. Some, however, charge a weekly or monthly fee of around $1.00. This is charged after the first time that the card is used and is deducted in minutes or dollar from the card. Even if you are not using your calling card you may be racking up a charge.
Pay Phone/Cellular Phone Charges:
Nearly all phone card calls originating from a Pay Phone are charged a fee per call. This is required by federal law and the fee typically ranges from $.35 to $.50 per call. This goes to pay Uncle Sam or the owner of the payphone. This amount is deducted in minutes from the card. If your cellular or mobile phone company allows you to call from your mobile phone, there maybe a charge per call fee. Some Cellphone contracts do not allow the use of alternate carriers like phonecards or dialaround services.
There are FCC/State/Local charges taxes based on where the call originates. (This is the same tax that appears on your phone bill each month and is calculated on each call.) Normally this is factored into the rate but it can be deducted separately and will be deducted from the value of the card.