PHONE CARD DOCTOR: Using your phone card from hotels outside the US

September 15th, 2008

"I am trying to use my global phone card from a hotel outside the U.S., but I cannot connect to the access number.  Why is this happening?"

Many hotels outside the U.S. may block phone cards from being used from their phones.  This is usually the policy of the hotel and is not in the control of the phone card carriers.

My best suggestion to those buying phone cards to use while traveling abroad is to contact the hotel where you’ll be staying and ask them if they allow phone cards and toll free numbers to be dialed from their phones.  They should be able to tell you whether or not they do. 

If you’re already abroad and now know that your card is being blocked, there are a couple different things I can suggest that you try:

  • Try to use your phone card from a pay phone.  You can try to use your card from a payphone to see if you have better luck.  The problem with this is that many pay phone providers abroad also block phone cards from being used.  Again, this is a policy of that particular pay phone provider and is not in control of the phone card carriers.  If you’ve tried one pay phone, try another one if you can.  Customers have reported to us that trying a differnt pay phone has worked for them.


  • Try a local access number.  If you have a True North or Study Abroad Student’s Choice calling card, try a local access number from the hotel phone.  Some hotels block toll free access numbers but allow local access numbers.  Please be advised that you may incur a per call or per minute charge from your hotel for dialing a local access number.  Check with the front desk of your hotel before trying this.


  • Test a different access number from a different ZapTel phone card.  While the carrier of the phone card you’re using may be blocked, you may find that another carrier may have better luck.  Take a look at a different ZapTel product and look up the access number for that card.  If you dial it and it asks you for a PIN, then it should work from the phone you’re dialing from.  The PIN you’ve purchased will only work with the access numbers for that card, but if you test another card, we’ll know if it is a particular problem with that carrier or a blockage all together from the hotel.  If we find that a different product will work for you, then please contact to see if we can replace the original card you purchased. 

PLEASE NOTE:  At ZapTel’s discretion, we provide refunds or replacement cards if you have a problem with the card that the phone card carrier cannot resolve.  Because our product is virtual and is instantly delivered in the form of a PIN that has immediate monetary value, we must be cautious when providing refunds and exchanges. Our product cannot be re-sold, thus, you should be very careful in selecting the phone card you want.

Another note about using phone cards from international hotels… 

Before you use your phone card from a hotel phone, please check with the front desk at the hotel to make sure that your room won’t be charged a per call or per minute fee for even just picking up the phone.  We’ve heard from customers who did not do this and have been unexpectedly surprised when they check out at an additional cost to their room.  Neither ZapTel nor the carriers whose cards we sell are responsible for any additional cost the hotel chooses to charge its customers for using a phone from their rooms. 


ZapTel carries 7 global phone cards for you to choose from depending on your overall calling need:

Click here to do a rate search for where you will need to call from and to while traveling.

To see the answers to some frequently asked global calling questions, click here.


Phone Card Coupon for Week of September 15th 

Through September 21st, receive 5% off your purchase or recharge of a global phone card from ZapTel (card links are in the above blog). 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 September 21, 2008.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 15th, 2008 at 11:00 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.

Comments are closed.

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »