Prepaid Calling Cards

(Things You Should Know!)



Prepaid calling cards (also known as “debit cards” or “phone cards”) are a hot commodity in the telecommunications industry. You can find them at your local convenient store, grocery store, service station, or many other retail outlets that make these cards available. Using a prepaid calling card fills the communication void created for those consumers who don’t have a home telephone, or those who have a home telephone but don’t have a long distance carrier. These cards are convenient to use when one is away from home and doesn’t want to incur expensive charges associated with making an operator-assisted call. You may purchase phone cards in different dollar denominations and for various blocks of minutes. But are these minutes “talk time?” Some of your minutes are used to cover connection costs each time you make a phone call from a payphone using a prepaid card.


The Georgia Public Service Commission (Commission) wishes to advise consumers of several things to take note of when purchasing a prepaid calling card. Doing so will ensure that you get the best possible value for your money, and that you are purchasing a card that meets requirements for prepaid calling cards set forth by the Commission. Following are things you should consider before buying a card:


  • Are instructions provided to ensure proper use of the card?
  • Is a toll-free or local number listed on the card that you can call for information or to report a problem?
  • Is the value (dollar amount and/or number of minutes) displayed on the card?
  • Are minutes used up for connection? If so, will your minutes decrease each time you initiate a call? (Minutes used for connection will decrease the amount of time you can talk using the card).
  • Will you be alerted of any time remaining on the card, and will you be warned during a conversation that you are close to exhausting your minutes?
  • Does the card expire? How long is the card useable before expiration?
  • Is the name of the Company providing the service printed on the card?


If you have a problem with a prepaid calling card, report it to the service provider (not to the store where you made the purchase). Should you be unable to resolve the matter with the service provider, you may contact the Georgia Public Service Commission’s Consumer Affairs Office at 1-800-282-5813, or 404-656-4501, press Option 1.