In this report
Overview
How cards work
Calling-card tips
Comparison chart of phone cards

Comparing phone cards and alternative services

Find out whether your best option is a card or service

Last reviewed: February 2011

Below are examples of international prepaid phone cards and alternative services. If you're making a lot of international calls, the alternative services may be your best bet. Keep in mind that, depending on the service, the cost of your calls is deducted from the amount you pay or minutes you buy. In other cases, the cost of calls is an addition to any monthly charge. In a third scenario, unlimited calling is included in the monthly charge.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Charges do not include sales tax and other taxes and fees, which may be applied on a per-call basis or to the entire cost of a card or service. For example, the AT&T Worldwide Value Calling plan charges a 15.5 percent Universal Connectivity Charge on international calls. (Prices are current as of January 2011.)
  • Rates and other information for the prepaid cards were taken from the cards or from websites where we found them being offered; other sellers may have different terms for the same cards. Please check for updates before buying, because rates and other charges can change at any time.
  • In the case of services in which the customer buys a specific number of minutes each month, unused minutes may not roll over to the following month and may therefore be lost, as is the case with Comcast Carefree Minutes Worldwide 300.
Card or service Per-Minute Rates
(Rates to cell phones)
Fees, charges, and select terms
Calling cards and services
  Mexico Dominican Republic Guatemala Argentina  
AT&T Virtual PrePaid Phone Card
(AT&T Alascom in Alaska)
6¢ to 18¢  
(29¢)
11¢  
(18)
16¢  
(19¢)

(33¢)
• Up to 10-minute or 70-cent pay phone surcharge depending on card and where it is purchased
• Cards purchased from the AT&T website do not expire. For cards purchased elsewhere, see card or packaging.
Boss U.S.A.
(IDT)
2¢ to 9.8¢
(27.8¢)
5.9¢
(13.5¢)
12.2¢
(14.9¢)
1.5¢ to 2.3¢
(20¢)
• 69¢ maintenance fee beginning the second day after first completed call and then every 14 days
• $1/call pay phone fee
• 1.4¢/min higher for calls using the toll-free access number
• Expires if not used during any consecutive 12-month period.
Clarito Internacional
(Sprint)

(8.8 to 9.3¢)
1.3¢
(7.1¢)
6.7¢
(13.2¢ )
1.7¢
(10¢)
• 69¢ weekly maintenance fee
• 10¢ post call disconnect fee
• $1.49 to $3.99 post call fee, depending on initial card value
• 99¢/call pay phone fee
• Expires 90 days after first use
Crazy U.S.A.
(Entrix)
1.8¢ to 10¢
(26.3¢)
3.4¢
(9.6¢)
9.1¢
(11.5¢)
1.8¢
(16.1¢)
• 69¢ earlier of the second day after the first completed call or 75¢ of use, and then every seven days.
• 30%/call service fee
• 15¢ hang up fee for calls lasting 120 seconds or more
• $1/call pay phone fee
• 1.2¢/min higher for calls using toll-free access number
• Expires if not used during any consecutive 12-month period.
• 1 minute plus 3 minute call rounding
Mexico’s Best
(ET)
1.1¢ to 4.7¢
(9.5¢)
2.7¢
(7.9¢)

(11.2¢)
.8¢ to 1¢
(11¢)
• 99¢ weekly service fee starting midnight after first use
• 19% surcharge per call
• 79¢/call pay phone fee
• 3-minute billing increments
• Expires if not used at least once per year
MinutePass Prepaid Long Distance Phone Card
(Verizon)
32¢
(32¢)
27¢
(27¢)
54¢
(54¢)
38¢
(38¢)
• $1/call pay phone fee
PennyTalk Global Calling Service
(IDT)

(16¢)

(19¢)
12¢
(17¢)

(19¢)
• 49¢ for each connected call
• 99¢ monthly
• 90/call pay phone
Pingo
(iBasis)
1¢ to 6¢
(15¢)
6.3¢
(10¢)
11.5¢
(15¢)
1.8¢
(12¢)
• 98¢ monthly
• 65¢ pay phone
• 1¢/min higher for calls using toll-free access number
Alternatives          
  Mexico Dominican Republic Guatemala Argentina  
AT&T Wireless World Connect
(25¢)
18¢
(27¢)
24¢
(28¢)
18¢
(35¢)
• $3.99 monthly
Verizon Wireless International Long Distance Value Plan
(25¢)
18¢
(25¢)
24¢
(26¢)
18¢
(36¢)
• $3.99 monthly
AT&T Worldwide Value Calling 9¢ to 10¢
(24¢ to 25¢)
17¢
(24¢)
24¢
(29¢)
17¢
(35¢)
• $5.00 monthly
• 25¢/call surcharge calls to Mexico and Canada; 75¢/call surcharge to other countries
• Must subscribe to AT&T long distance service
Comcast Carefree Minutes Worldwide 300
(27¢)

(27¢)

(28)

(27)
• $14.95/month for 300 minutes to 100 countries
• $29.95 activation fee
• Requires subscription to Comcast Unlimited or Local with More service
Vonage World
(10¢)

(8¢)
14¢
(14¢)

(6¢)
• $14.99 monthly for three months, then $25.99 monthly
• Requires Vonage adapter (free with rebate and $10 shipping), high-speed Internet service, and touch-tone telephone or computer
Skype Unlimited World See below See below See note 3
(17.2¢)
• $6.99/month for unlimited calls to landlines.
• $10.29/monthly for 60 minutes of calling to cell phones
• Computer-to-telephone calling requires computer with microphone headset. Also uses Internet telephone $40+
Skype Unlimited
Mexico Cities
0¢ to 3¢
(15¢)
See below See note 3 below   • $6.99 monthly for monthly Mexico plan
• Computer-to-telephone calling requires computer with microphone headset. Also uses Internet telephone $40+
Skype Pay Monthly
(Dominican Republic 120 minute plan)
See above
(0¢)
See note 3 below See above • $5.49/month for 120-minutes of calling to landlines
• $11.99/month for 120-minutes of calling to cell phones
• Computer-to-telephone calling requires computer with microphone headset. Also uses Internet telephone $40+
Time Warner Cable International One Price
(27¢ to 28¢)

(26¢)

(28¢)

(41¢)
• $19.95 monthly for 1,000 minutes to more 100 countries; regular rates apply after using 1,000+ minutes
• Must have Digital Home Phone and Digital Cable or Road Runner High Speed Online
Computer-to-computer voice and video calls to other Skype users worldwide are free.
Rates apply to cards purchased on the AT&T website.
No monthly plan for Guatemala. Prepay rate is 15.2¢ to landlines and 16¢ to cell phones, plus 8¢ connection fee.
Rates for New York
Regular rates. Plan does not include calls to mobile phones