Phone cards have been used since the 1970s. In modern use, they may take several forms. These include the prepaid phone card; and the credit style phone card.

The prepaid phone card and the credit style phone card are both identical in size and general appearance. They differ merely in the way in which credit is accessed by the user.

The prepaid phone card allows the user to access an exchange service, from any phone, by means of a telephone number and a PIN code. The code is used to debit a charge from the card until the total value of the card has been used up – or until the value left on the card is smaller than the minimum payment required for starting the call.

The credit style phone card allows the user to charge the cost of calls to an existing phone account. In essence the credit style card is limitless, while the prepaid version has a defined shelf life. As such the two are analogous to a contract and a pay as you go service respectively – although with the credit style card, there is no payment to be made simply for having access to the service.

UK calling cards enable modern users to make cheaper international calls. The actual method by which the connection is made may vary from user to user.

There are, for example, a number of access numbers, which may be used to get into the service. The access number you choose to use will be dictated by the kind of phone you are using to make your call; and by the limitations placed on that phone by the contract to which it is tied.

Many landlines in the UK, for example, receive free local calls (either all day long, or at defined times of day) as part of their contract. Therefore, a person using a UK calling card from a UK landline is advised to phone the landline access number. In this example the cost of connection is free – so it is only the actual international call minutes that are deducted from the value of the card.

Were the user in the above example to connect using a chargeable access number, then the cost of the connection would be levied to the landline phone account.

Mobile phone users may call a local access number within their free minutes (if they are calling from a mobile phone on a monthly contract) and have the same effect as that outlined above. A pay as you go mobile phone will charge the local access number in the same way as it does all calls to UK landlines.

There are other access numbers to choose from, including 0800 and 0845 options. These will normally be free from a landline in the UK.

The technology behind the phone call works like this. The access call goes from the phone in the user’s hand, to an exchange. At the exchange, the call is routed to the destination number. It is at this point that the calling card charges begin. If those charges are taken from a prepaid card, each minute will take the relevant value from the total left, until (as noted above) there is nothing usable left.

If the charges are taken from a credit style card, the call or calls may last indefinitely, with their costs added to the telephone account to which the card is connected.

Author Bio: Emily is a technology writer and freelance journalist. She writes mainly about the communications industry and has recently started a blog about uk calling cards

Written By: Tech on the Go Staff

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