International calling cards for cell phones & landlines

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Prepaid calling cards, particularly international calling cards, help you stay in touch with friends or family who are living overseas. They’re convenient and affordable and are popular with students, travelers, and workers who make frequent overseas calls. They’re also useful for individuals who have telephones or cell phones but don’t have a long-distance service yet. 

Let’s take a look at calling cards, how they work, and how they can keep people connected despite distance.

What are calling cards?

Calling cards, also known as phone cards, telephone cards, or international calling cards, are prepaid calling cards that you purchase and use to make long-distance domestic and international cell phone or landline calls. When you’re purchasing a card, you’re essentially buying telephone or cell phone credits in advance. 

There are two types of calling cards: disposable and rechargeable. The former is consumable, meaning you can use up $20 worth of credits, for example, then throw the card away once you’ve used up its credits. Meanwhile, a rechargeable card allows you to add more value (and more minutes) to your calling cards. Note that for rechargeable cards, some companies may add recharging fees. The price of the card will depend on the number of call minutes it offers.

Prepaid calling cards offer convenience because you won’t have to bring loose change every time you make a long-distance call. They also help those without a phone service make domestic or international calls. Furthermore, they’re technically more affordable compared to collect or third-party calls. You also won’t usually have to pay any additional fees like taxes because they’re already incorporated into the card’s purchase price. 

However, before making a call using a calling card, you should find out whether or not there are any additional charges when making calls to certain phones.

How so calling cards work?

Calling cards basically offer pre-payment for long-distance calls. Once you’ve purchased prepaid calling cards, you’re given a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and a toll-free access number. To use your card, you have to key in the toll-free number and the PIN. You’ll then be connected to the issuer’s computer, which tracks the length of the call and lets you know how much more time you have left on your card. 

After being connected to the issuer’s system, you can dial the number of the landline or cell phone, including the country code for overseas numbers, you want to call. 

Based on the call’s length, the appropriate value will then be deducted from your card. Depending on the card type you purchase—disposable or rechargeable—you can throw it away or recharge it once you’ve used up all your credits. 

If you’ve never used calling cards before, don’t worry. They usually come with usage instructions either on the card itself or on the packaging. 

Before using the card for international calls, it’s best to do some research on that country’s country code. Also note that some countries may restrict the use of calling cards, so check if your destination allows calls to be made using prepaid calling cards.

How do I choose a prepaid phone card?

Before buying a phone card, here are a few considerations you need to take into account:

  • Check if the minutes on the card are meant for use on a single call or if they can be used for making multiple calls.
  • Look for cards that charge lower fees for calls. Searching for cards with low or no maintenance fees also helps you save.
  • Read the fine print on the card to know its limitations or restrictions.
  • Know the card’s rates, whether or not it has maintenance fees or if its value decreases because of fees charged when a call is disconnected or when you hang up.
  • Find cards that are transparent about rates, fees, and call credits. Some providers may resort to false advertising, promising users hundreds or even thousands of call minute credits without holding up their end of the bargain.

Where to buy international calling cards

While you can purchase international calling cards from gas stations, supermarkets, airport terminals, and even vending machines, you can also buy calling cards online. Other places that sell calling cards include convenience stores, newspaper stands, and large retailers like Walmart. 

Buying international calling cards online

Nowadays, there are plenty of options when it comes to buying calling cards online. For example, you can use the BOSS Revolution website to make international calls, especially if you find it difficult to find international calling cards near you. 

Use the BOSS Revolution website to purchase call credits so you can make calls whether you’re online or not. To start using the service, simply register on the website, top up your account, and use access numbers to make calls. Below are the access numbers for the language you prefer:

  • English: 716-271-BOSS (2677)
  • Spanish: 716-770-BOSS (2677)
  • Creole: 716-328-1927
  • French: 716-328-9007
  • Arabic: 716-328-9027
  • Amharic: 716-328-9057

You can also use BOSS Revolution’s toll-free access numbers:

  • English: 1-800-374-4922
  • Spanish: 1-800-376-5077

When using the toll free access numbers, a surcharge of 1.5₵ per minute will be applied. When prompted, dial the phone number you want to call. If you’re making a call using the phone you used to register on the site, the system will automatically validate your device. If you’re using a landline phone to call, send your security code so the system can determine whether or not it’s you who’s making the call. 

You can use BOSS Revolution to call worldwide, for example:


BOSS Revolution Rates
(Special Calling Plans are available only for Boss Revolution App users)


India – 1.5₵

India Cellular – 1.5₵

Special Calling Plans:
India (Unlimited) - $11, valid for 30 days


Philippines – 9.6₵

Philippines Cellular – 15.1₵

Philippines Cellular-Globe – 12.5₵

Philippines Cellular-Smart – 13.5₵

Special Calling Plans:
Philippines Smart (Unlimited)- $10, valid for 30 days

Philippines Globe (2000 minutes) - $13, valid for 30 days


Nigeria – 6.6₵

Nigeria Cellular – 7.9₵

Nigeria Cellular-9mobile – 7.8₵

Nigeria Cellular-Airtel – 9.6₵

Nigeria Cellular-Globacom – 9.6₵

Nigeria Cellular-MTN – 7.8₵

Nigeria, Lagos – 6.6₵

Special Calling Plans:
Nigeria 1-Day 32Minutes - $2, 32 minutes valid for 1 day


Mexico – 1.5₵

Special Calling Plans:
40+ Countries Unlimited - $5, valid for 30 days


Canada – 1.6₵

Canada, Yukon – 5.6₵

Special Calling Plans:
United States and Canada (Unlimited) - $2, valid for 30 days

40+ Countries (Unlimited) - $5, valid for 30 days

El Salvador

El Salvador – 9.3₵

El Salvador Cellular – 17.5₵

El Salvador Cellular-Claro - 14₵

El Salvador Cellular-Digicel - 14₵

El Salvador Cellular– Movistar - 17₵

El Salvador Cellular-Tigo – 17₵

El Salvador-Claro - 14₵

El Salvador-Movistar - 17₵

El Salvador-Tigo - 17₵

Special Calling Plans:
El Salvador 1-Day 36 Minutes - $3, 36 minutes valid for 1 day

Jamaica Pay-as-you-go:
Jamaica - 20₵

Jamaica Cellular - 20₵
UK (Great Britain)

United Kingdom – 1.5₵

United Kingdom Cellular - 5₵

United Kingdom Cellular-Premium - 25₵

Special Calling Plans:
United Kingdom-Unlimited - $2, valid for 30 days

40+ Countries-Unlimited - $5


Ghana – 17.8₵

Ghana Cellular-AirtelTigo – 22.2₵

Ghana Cellular-Glomobile – 26.4₵

Ghana Cellular-MTN - 22₵

Ghana Cellular – Vodafone – 22.2₵

Special Calling Plans:
Ghana 1-Day 20 Minutes - $3, 20 minutes valid for 1 day


Cuba - 65₵

Special Calling Plans:
Cuba 1-Day 10 Minutes - $5, 10 minutes valid for 1 day

Iran Pay-as-you-go:
Iran – 16.6₵

Iran Cellular – 14.7₵

Iran, Tehran – 13.3₵
Vietnam Pay-as-you-go:
Vietnam – 6.6₵

Vietnam Cellular – 7.6₵

Vietnam, Hanoi – 6.6₵

Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh – 6.6₵

The data shown in the table is up to date as of November  17, 2021. Current data may differ slightly due to changes in policies and fluctuations in the calling rates.

Best international calling card providers

If you’re still wondering where to buy calling cards, here are some options:

  • AT&T

AT&T offers Virtual PrePaid Minutes, a prepaid calling card that lets you make US long distance and international calls to and from over 150 countries1. It’s rechargeable and offers low per-minute rates. You’ll also be only paying for the credits that you use, as it’s free of fees, taxes, and monthly charges. 

  • BOSS Revolution

BOSS Revolution is an all-in-one service that lets you make international callstransfer money, and top up your or your loved one’s mobile phone credits. With BOSS Revolution, you can make affordable international calls and save up to 90%, whether you’re online or offline.  

  • Walmart

Walmart also offers a range of international calling cards from providers, like AT&T, Straight Talk, and Tracfone, that you can purchase in-store or online. It also offers its very own Walmart Family Mobile calling cards. 

  • Comfi

Comfi has an all-in-one cross-platform service that lets you make calls from various devices. With Comfi, you can make calls using calling cards, its mobile app, web calls, direct dial, speed dial, and more. It also has military phone cards, international student calling cards, and travel phone cards. 

  • Verizon

Verizon offers a variety of rechargeable international calling cards that you can purchase from their website or from online and in-store retailers like Amazon and Target. 

  • Straight Talk

Straight Talk has global calling cards that serve as an add-on to Straight Talk Service Plans. You can choose from Global Calling for international long-distance calls and Unlimited for nationwide calls and calls to Canada and Mexico.

  • Pingo

Pingo currently offers two plans for international calls: Pingo Premium starting at 1₵ per minute2, which is ideal for occasional calls, and Pingo Platinum, which starts at 0.7₵2 per minute and is ideal for frequent calls. 

  • Reliance 

Reliance offers a variety of international calling cards that have low call rates and can be used for calls from any device. Depending on the plan you choose, you can enjoy calls to over 150 countries3 or enjoy calls to select countries, including China, India, and the Vatican City.

Calling app alternatives

If you find it difficult to find cheap calling cards, there are several calling app alternatives to choose from:

  • BOSS Revolution Calling App

The BOSS Revolution Calling App lets you call international destinations while providing you with free calls and a crystal-clear connection. You can also use it to send texts, read the news from any country, and top up your family or friends’ phones. 

  • Google Voice

Google Voice is an app that can be used for both personal and business use. It promotes smart voice calling and provides you with a Voice number that works on smartphones and the web, so you can make or receive calls wherever you are. It also lets you forward calls and block spam calls.

  • Drupe

The Drupe app lets you make international calls easily. Simply swipe any contact to your app of choice and start calling. Furthermore, you can view caller ID, check spam indications, record incoming or outgoing calls, and more. 

What you should do if you’re having problems with a prepaid phone card

Calling cards aren’t impervious to issues such as PINs or access numbers that don’t work, slow or poor service or connections, rates that are higher than advertised, charges for calls that don’t connect, and hidden charges. 

When you encounter such problems, you can try calling the customer service number, which can be found on the card. Alternatively, you can contact the retailer who sold the card. If you’re unable to reach the provider or resolve the issue with the retailer, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). You may also seek assistance from your local Consumer Affairs Department, the Better Business Bureau, or your state Attorney General.

Sources: all third party information obtained from applicable website as of May 16, 2022




This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to address every aspect of the matters discussed herein. The information in this article is not intended as specific personal advice. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory or other professional advice from IDT Payment Services, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “IDT”), and should not be taken or used as such by any individual. IDT makes no representation, warranty or guaranty, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is current, accurate, or complete. You should obtain professional or other substantive advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the information in this article.

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