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Office of Consumer Protection

Pre-paid Phone Cards    En Español

Pre-Paid phone cards allow you to pay for phone use in advance. This may be very convenient and might even save you money but are you getting what you paid for? Some cards charge connection fees, have minimum charge fees or other miscellaneous fees that will cause the phone card to run out of minutes before expected.
Before selecting a phone card, make sure you know what to look for. Use the following information as a checklist before making a purchase.
  • Ask the retailer if they will stand behind the card if it does not deliver the number of minutes advertised.
  • Check the card's package or in-store advertising for domestic and international rates. If you can not find the rate, consider buying a different card.
  • Look for an expiration date.
  • Compare rates.  Very low rates, particularly for international calls, may be a warning sign that the card will not deliver the number of advertised minutes.
  • Make sure you can understand the instructions on the card.
  • Make sure the card comes in a sealed envelope or that the PIN is not visible. Otherwise, anyone can copy the PIN and use your telephone minutes.

For more information, visit the   Federal Trade Commission's  website.

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