How phone cards charge when used from pay phones

April 28th, 2008

Why is there a surcharge when I use my phone card from a pay phone?

When you use any phone card from a U.S. payphone, a surcharge is deducted from the balance of the phone card. This is a requirement of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC requires phone card providers to pay a per call fee to the pay phone carriers for their equipment to be used to place a phone call. This fee is passed on to the customer to pay which is why it is deducted from the balance of your phone card when you use it from a pay phone.

Pay phone surcharges may range anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00 per call depending on the carrier of the phone card. This surcharge is deducted from the balance of your PIN, and will affect the total number of minutes you receive with your phone card. To find out what the pay phone surcharge is for a phone card, click on the name or image of any card and read the tab that says "About This Card." The amount is listed under Important Usage Details.

This just pertains to pay phones in the U.S. Most other countries do not regulate phone card usage from pay phones like the FCC does for the U.S. Many times, the carriers are left to do as they wish when a phone card is used from their pay phones. They can either choose to impose a surcharge per call or per minute, or they can choose to block the phone card all together.

If you try to use your phone card from a pay phone outside the U.S. and it is blocked, my best recommendation is to try it from a different pay phone. I’ve gotten feedback from many customers who have said that trying a different pay phone worked for them. I can’t guarantee that this will always work, but it’s the best I can recommend if pay phones are all you have access to.


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Through May 4th, receive 5% off your purchase or recharge of a Call the World phone card from ZapTel. Use the following code to receive the discount:


Enter the coupon code on the Review Your Order page, and be sure to click the "Add Coupon Code" button on the page to apply the discount. Offer expires at Midnight Central Time on May 4, 2008.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 8:43 am and is filed under Phone Card Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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