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Are WalMart Phone Cards Really that Cheap?

As loved ones spread across the globe, we’re all looking for the best way to stay in contact without racking up huge costs.  At first glance, a phone card may seem like an easy, cost efficient option, however community feedback has led to differing opinions.  Here’s why.

1. Most WalMart calling cards are specific to certain networks. These include Verizon, T-Mobile, StraightTalk, Virgin Mobile, and TracPhone, among others. If you buy one of these cards under the impression that it is valid for long distance calls and you aren’t on the required network then you will be left disappointed.

2. Some WalMart phone cards are also designed for prepayment of web and phone services. These generally have a much higher cost per minute than voice only or voice and text minutes. Make sure you aren’t buying a card that covers web access.

3. Other WalMart calling cards (such as ones that state “AT&T”) can be used for calling from any phone - but the price you pay per minute can be steep. While it’s around 7-9 cents per minute to make long distance calls in the US, you are also using up the minutes in your calling plan.  Furthermore, hidden fees and admin charges can result in your minutes being utilized far quicker than you first thought.  Checkout this page on calling card reviews for further examples of some of the dangers of hidden terms and conditions.

4. WalMart phone cards are also especially liable to “minute rounding” which varies from state to state. In DC, IL, IN, MA, NM, RI, TX, and the USVI, charges are billed in one minute increments. In AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, GA, HI, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PR, SC, TN, UT, WI, and WV, minutes are rounded up in three minute increments. In AK, AZ, CO, FL, IA, ID, MN, MT, NC, NH, OK, PA, VA, VT, WA, and WY, increments expand to five minutes, and in ND, SD, and MO minutes are rounded up to a staggering eight minutes! This means a one minute call that ends in voicemail would deduce eight minutes from your card balance!

An Alternative

The smartphone revolution has brought so many options to our finger tips, with great apps available for keeping in touch at extremely low costs over long distances.  Skype, Tango, Google Voice and Rebtel are just some of the providers that negate the need for the potential hassles and disappointments of a calling card. 

For example, with Rebtel you can enjoy low costs and high quality with an ease of use service and transparent rates (without the rounding!)…Checkout your options for smartphones and tablets before falling into the potential trap of a calling card.  

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If you have a smartphone, you can also download our iPhone and Android apps to call cheap to your loved ones.