Should The Telecoms Industry Tighten Regulations On Prepaid Phone Cards?

Prepaid phone or call cards are communication tools purchased and used to make long distance or overseas phone calls.

These calling cards are generally sold by the number of minutes a cards is good for, however extra minutes can be charged for fees, surcharges and other add-on charges. There is a little known fact that many cards can be used for local calls from a local payphone or public phone, with applicable FCC payphone surcharges Download Aadhar Card.

As such, you would call the 800 card number and then your local number including the area code. This means you’ll have a more convenient way of calling than paying directly with coins or having local calls charged to your hotel bill. Consumers are advised to always check with a hotel about any charges for 800 calls made using prepaid call cards.

How to Deal With Card Expiration Concerns

Some prepaid card providers want to make sure they will always earn a minimal monthly revenue from each wireless subscriber. Prepaid cards offer a cheaper alternative for low usage phone users, but providers wouldn’t want someone to buy a prepaid phone, then add $15 worth of service and last on it for years. You need o now that since you have to buy a new airtime card every 30, 60 or 90 days, they know that, whether you talk a lot or not much, you will always end up paying a minimal fee each month.

However, some phone card providers offer cards that expire after a full 365 days, and they are generally more expensive upfront, but for those who plan to use their prepaid cards only very rarely, this may be an excellent solution. In a constantly changing marketplace, consumers need to shop around regularly,and a Consumer Action study noted that discount clubs in the US, like Costco and Sam’s Club, tend to offer the best deals in prepaid phone cards. Pharmacies and discount stores also offer good deals.

Consumer organizations advise that once buyers find a good price, start asking questions, like “Who is really providing the service?”, “What are the terms and conditions?”, and, “Is there a toll-free number if you have questions before or after you buy?” The International Prepaid Communications Associations notes that “you should not have to buy a phone card and open it up to discover the issuer or the rules”.

Some Governments Have Begun Tightening Phone Card Regulations

In light of the entry of unscrupulous prepaid card operators and providers, some governments have begun instituting tighter measures to curb phone card fraud and misuse.

The Chinese government has implemented newer regulations which are aimed to stem cellphone fraud and unauthorized data transfers, including pornographic or politically charged content. China would join countries like Singapore and Malaysia in requiring registration of prepaid-card users for security purposes. China has begun running a trial program in Shanghai for the registration of prepaid card users since September 2005, and an estimated three million users have registered, according to official sources.

Chinese telecoms officials first ordered operators to weed out illegal cellphone charges in June. Singapore, which was the target of a terrorist plot in 2001, has began requiring purchasers of prepaid calling cards to submit a passport or identity card for storing and reference into a central database. The step is aimed at preventing these devices from being used in attacks. Malaysia also has required mobile phone companies to register details of their prepaid customers by Dec. 15.

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