Pre-Paid Phone Cards

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection handles pre-paid phone card complaints. Consumers can contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555 or at www.attorneygeneral.gov. The website provides online complaint forms under the heading "Public Protection."

Because of its convenience, many people are using prepaid phone cards to make long-distance telephone calls. Cards are usually sold in dollar amounts or by number of minutes. These cards are popular among students, travelers and those who have not selected a long-distance carrier. For international calls, many times a prepaid phone card will offer rates that are much lower than a telephone company's rates. This will depend on the country you call or the way you make the call.

Each card contains a toll-free access phone number and a personal identification number (PIN) printed on it. To make a call, dial the access number and enter the PIN. An automated voice will ask you to enter the phone number you are trying to call and will tell you how much time is left on your card. You may receive other information or options as well.

Phone card companies keep track of how much time you've used on your calling card by the card's PIN number. Some prepaid phone cards allow you to add time to your card by billing the cost to a credit card. If you cannot add time to your card, simply buy a new one once all the time has been used.

Beware, some prepaid phone cards have expiration dates on them. Be sure to keep track of these expiration dates so you don't lose unused minutes.