When it comes to making international calls for most of us this brings up feelings of stress knowing that you will need to keep an eye on the clock to make sure you are not talking for too long never fully enjoying the conversation.
Thankfully, there are some good options available with many people now using calling apps to connect with their friends and family abroad.
I myself will use calling apps but only in certain scenarios which I’ll outline in this article.
For the majority of international calls I will use international calling cards which tends to surprise a lot of people since I rely heavily on technology and apps for everything else I do on the day to day.
In this article, I’ll share with you why I rely more on international calling cards than free calling apps when making international calls.
Every tried making an internet call to a country with unreliable internet? I tried making a call to a friend in Indonesia and not only was it incredibly laggy (screen freezes and out of sync audio) but they will have times where the power goes down for hours at a time.
International calling cards are perfect because you are able to connect with people without relying on the internet, all they need is access to their mobile phone or landline and you can talk to them without issue.
Don’t get me wrong, if I’m calling to friends in countries that have fast, reliable internet I will sometimes use calling apps mostly for video though, because even in these countries just being able to call someone on their mobile is all I need 99% of the time.
Generally speaking, international calling cards are more reliable than calling apps since the technology behind international phone cards has been around for so long.
In fact, international calling cards use the exact same technology as your landline and mobile phone.
The only time I’ve had problems with phone cards is when dealing with low quality services who will cut costs by using cheap carrier lines – carrier lines are what connects you to the person you are calling so the higher the quality the more reliable the connection overall.
“When using lower quality carrier lines you will frequently experience issues like calls dropping, cross-lines (people from other countries answering your call), poor audio quality, or calls not connecting at all – finding a reputable service provider is more important than finding the cheapest one.” JT, phonecardchoice.com.
I should say that even when using high quality calling card services you will at some point run into one of these issues but when dealing with reputable phone card services they are typically able to fix these types of problems very quickly.
No download required
Today there are an endless number of apps that will help you connect with your friends and family overseas most offer free calls and some have paid options.
The problem with this is that you end up having multiple calling apps on your phone since people will tend to have their favourite and in certain countries there will be a dominant calling and messaging app that most of the people use as well.
There is also no sim card to install – you pay for the phone card you want and then you are sent an email with the local access number, your PIN number and instructions on how to make the call – it’s super simple.
The downside is that you are entering in a lot of numbers to make a phone call but how I get around this is I program the entire sequence into my mobile phone so that if I want to make a call I just tap the contact inside my address book and it’ll run through the entire process automatically.
Calling apps collect your data
This is the dark side to calling apps that no one really thinks about, how do you think free calling apps make money? They are not designed to help you connect to your friends and family because they like you, their tools help them collect various types of data that they can then on sell to third party companies.
Apps like these are expensive to maintain and often have expensive developers to pay so how do you think they make their money? It’s not just from ad revenue.
It’s not unreasonable to suspect think that some of these companies would have the ability to record conversations as well.
I don’t think most people understand the importance of privacy today.
International calling cards work on an old system and do not collect user information unless of course they have an app as well which could introduce the same issues including not only collecting your personal data, but your phone numbers and the numbers of the people you are contacting.
My advice is to go with a traditional calling card.
Contactable customer service team
Ever tried contacting a major tech company like Facebook for assistance? It’s frustrating, the same is true for all of the big companies, most of the time you are going to have to do your own problem solving by trawling forums and community help desks trying to find a solution to your problem.
Reputable calling card companies will have a customer support line that you can contact quickly to resolve your problem.
This brings me to an important rule: avoid buying international calling cards from general retailers like supermarkets or newsagents since they will not be able to help you with any issues, the most they will be able to do is offer a refund but that doesn’t really help, you now will need to go looking for another retailer.
I’d recommend using an online calling card provider who only sells phone cards.
The benefit to this is that they will not only be able to help you with any questions (general retailers will often only know about as much as you do) but will ask you questions that you may not have considered to ensure you find the best international calling card for your specific situation.
When making international calls my go to is the international calling card, it’s been around for decades and uses “ancient” technology that doesn’t allow for video calls or allow you to share twerking videos, it is just a simple technology that allows you to get your calls through without any complication.