About to dial an international phone call with a mobile phone? ZapTel's latest rates make phone cards a cheap way to call, but use them properly to avoid surprise fees

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When using a mobile phone to dial another country, often times a prepaid phone card will offer the best rates. With ZapTel's latest rate updates, here's how to use an international phone card the right way to save money on phone bills.

Phone cards delivered by email

ZapTel.com offers 33 different phone cards from 5 leading carriers

Great way to make International calls cheaply. Well done. Good service, good after sales service, easy to understand. Keep up the good work. - David O.

With the popularity of Skype and other internet VOIP calling, you might not think of the old fashioned phone card as the best way to make some international calls. Yet often it is. ZapTel Corporation, celebrating 10 years in business with online recharge, just lowered rates to dozens of countries around the world.

A phone card essentially provides a fixed amount of access to a low cost network of routes around the world. The caller dials a special toll free access number to get into that network, then a unique personal identification number (PIN) to access the account. Then the caller dials the destination number and an announcement tells how many minutes are available to that destination.

Unlike most VOIP options, the top tier phone cards, like those from ZapTel.com, utilize a high tech “service provider” that monitors call quality and rates and sends the calls via both traditional or VOIP routes that meet the quality and pricing for each destination, all transparent to the caller. These routes are often cheaper than the built in plans on many mobile phones. Here’s how to take advantage of the savings.


Prepaid phone cards work from most mobile phones when service is provided to those phones by a cellular provider. There are a few tips to be aware of before using a phone card from a cell phone to ensure that other surpise fees are charged to your mobile phone bill.

If calling from a cell phone, do not press send button on the phone after dialing the destination number, or the caller may start a new call that does not use the phone card. ZapTel recommends the best way to avoid billing disputes or calling mistakes is to cancel the international service part of the cellular phone carrier service before placing calls in the United States using a phone card.


Phone cards alone cannot connect the caller to a mobile telephone system. The caller still needs a mobile carrier for the cell phone dial tone. Once the caller knows where they want to call, they can save money by dialing a phone card access number and using that service for the international portion of the call.


Make sure the mobile phone is enabled for global usage.

Before taking a mobile phone outside the country, make sure that the provider will support service to the phone in the country where it will be used. This is an important step for these types of users:

1.    You're traveling outside the USA - 48 States and planning to use your USA based mobile phone outside the country.
2.    You're traveling to the USA - 48 States and planning to use your mobile phone that's associated with a different country other than the USA - 48 States.

This is not needed if you plan to use a phone card from a USA mobile phone in the USA.

To make sure your mobile phone is enabled for global usage, contact your mobile provider. They can tell you whether or not they can provide mobile service to your phone while traveling outside the country and at what cost. Phone cards with global access are not a substitute for making this arrangement with your mobile provider.


Do not dial the international number from a mobile phone book.

A caller may have phone numbers stored in their mobile phone. Normally when they dial these numbers, they look up the number and press either "Send," "OK" or "Dial" depending on the type of phone they have. Pressing any of these buttons to dial the number will disconnect the caller from the phone card and the caller will end up dialing the number directly from the mobile phone provider. Charges from this call will appear on the mobile phone bill at the mobile phone carrier's international rates. To prevent this, follow one of these suggestions:

1.    Dial the number out number by number. For calls within the USA, dial 1 + Area Code + Number. To dial numbers outside the USA, dial 011 + Country Code + City Code + Number.
2.    Some cards have Speed Dial available. Program the phone numbers so all it takes to call is pressing the speed dial number and the pound key (#). ZapTel.com offers several phone cards with this feature.

Prevent dialing an international call directly.

The most effective way to prevent dialing an international number directly from the mobile provider is to contact the provider and have them disable international calling. The caller can still dial the access number for the phone card and dial the international number as as before, but without the risk of using the carrier's routes by accident.

If the caller chooses not to disable international dialing with their mobile provider, they must ensure they hear the following when using a phone card:

1.    When dialing the access number, listen for the prompt to enter your PIN. If using a pinless dialing feature, listen for the balance available on the phone card and a prompt to enter the destination number now. If these prompts are not heard, hang up and dial the access number again.
2.    After entering the PIN, listen for the balance available on the phone card and the prompt for the destination number entry. If these prompts are not heard, hang up, dial the access number again, and follow the prompts.
3.    After entering the phone number to be called, listen for an announcement of the number of minutes available for the call. If this announcement is not heard, hang up, dial the access number again, and follow the prompts again.

Use pinless dialing and speed dial to make international dialing easier.

Both pinless dialing (called PINzap™ at ZapTel.com) and speed dial can make calling internationally easier. The caller may associate the mobile phone number with the phone card through PINzap. This allows the caller to dial the access number from the mobile phone and access the phone card without the PIN. Then all the caller has to dial is the speed dial number and the pound key (#) to complete the outbound call.

If the caller is in the United States, and needs to select a phone card to make international calls with a cell phone, choose a Flying Colors International Phone card from the zaptel.com site, it is delivered instantly by email, and it has all the features recommended here.


ZapTel.com was a pioneer in first offering phone cards virtually by email over the internet in 1999, with the first integrated online recharge capability in 2002. ZapTel customers have online accounts where they can self-provision calling cards features, recharge their pin balances, and see call detail records for many of the phone card products.

ZapTel has friendly US based telephone and email order support, and is located in Chicago, Illinois.
ZapTel’s growth makes it an INC500 company, known as a leading supplier of phone cards to international students studying in the USA, and industrial contractor sites around the world where workers are far from home.


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