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July 24, 2008

Cheap Ways to Keep in Touch While Traveling

Are you feeling lost with the growing distance that has suddenly cropped up between you and your beloved as he or she is away from you for some professional or other travel purpose?

Well, there is no need to worry.

If you don't already know, advancements in the telecommunications industry have created some amazingly cheap ways for people to keep in touch while traveling, no matter where they are in the world. We talk a lot on CallingAdvice about Skype, but there are lots of people who are still using calling cards, which are still a much cheaper, more innovative, and easier way to keep in touch with those special souls you love, than just picking up the phone from wherever you are and dialing.

Calling cards (in case you've never used one) are a kind of telecommunications credit card. If you've never used one, you should know that they are used by people worldwide to pay for phone calls. However, there are many varieties of calling cards available. Some examples would be prepaid calling cards (for all kinds of calls), country-specific calling cards, bill-me-later calling cards, international calling cards, and so on.

Prepaid calling cards can be for any type of phone call (local, national, international), and they are basically cards where you pay a certain amount and you will get your long distance calls paid for in advance. The main advantage of prepaid calling cards is that they neither have any monthly payments nor any roaming-on-net charges.

Prepaid calling cards generally offer you the lowest calling rates and let you stay connected to your loved ones.

However you must note that calling cards can have a hidden agenda. As we've written before, with calling cards, there are a variety of additional fees associated.

There is usually a connection cost involved every time you make a new call. The charge varies depending on different factors. One factor might be the country that you are making a call to, another factor could be whether or not the person receiving the call is talking on a cell phone. Your decision of choosing a particular calling card should always be based on your calling rate calculations. So, figure out what kinds of calls you are going to be making before buying a calling card. One other significant factor that you must bear in mind is that calling cards almost always have expiration dates. So opt for calling cards where the expiration date will allow you enough time to use your entire purchased amount before the card runs out.

Additional features:
There are some calling cards which provide you with additional features like SMS or Web call back, SMS refill service, prepaid conference calls, permanent PIN, toll-free numbers (for someone to be able to call you, using the value of your calling card), speed dial (you set a certain phone number, and then you just connect to the calling card company and press 2) and so on. However, the benefits of these additional features might vary from person to person, so you need not waste your time unnecessarily if you just need to call up your family members and friends. Make sure to choose the phone card company that you want to use based on their services, and not just on the basis of the marketing pitch they're throwing at you.

Our recommendations:

If you will have access to high speed Internet and you are fairly comfortable using a computer, get Skype, buy SkypeOut credit, and get a SkypeIn phone number. (At present, this whole thing will cost you less than $60/year for basically unlimited calling.) You can save money on this by going to MyOwnSkype.com).

If you don't have access to a computer, or would just like to be able to use the regular phone without having to find an Internet connection, visit SpeedyPin for your phone cards. Aside from some of the best rates, they also have awesome customer service.

July 23, 2008

Cell Phones: How To Make Cheap International Calling Card Calls from a Cell Phone

These days, a cell phone is considered an indispensable part of a person's life. Today's modern world has made a cellular phone one of the most important modes of communication, and has forced most to accept the importance of a cell phone.

In addition to regular billing from whoever provides your cell service, calling cards can also be used to make calls from a cell phone. There are many different kinds of calling cards, including prepaid calling cards and international calling cards. If you are going to use a calling card on your cell phone, it's really our recommendation to use a low denomination (dollar-wise) calling card. This is because when you're using a calling card on your cell phone (depending on what time of day you call), it's almost like being double-billed, and purchasing a lower dollar amount on the card will make sure you don't talk too long while being "double-billed." These low denomination cards can be used while making a single phone call. There are several phone cards available in the US market that provide you, as the caller, with different rates, depending on what type of phone you are calling from. You should always purchase calling cards based on the type of phone call that you are about to make, because if you use (for example) a card designed to make inexpensive calls from a pay phone, and you use it on a cell phone, your time value of the card can be used up more quickly. Also, if you're using your US-Based Cell Phone, and traveling to, say, Mexico, and then attempting to use a calling card to make a call from your cell phone, it's important for you to know that calls coming from outside the US will almost always have higher rates because of international surcharges.

Because the various cell phone service providers in the US charge a lot for international calls that are directly dialed from cellular phones, the US cellular market is literally flooded with cheap international cell phone cards. (Anyone who's ever been stuck with a large cell phone bill because they made a lot of calls from their cell phone to an international location knows how painful it can be and how much the providers actually can charge on a per minute basis.)

So, if you're looking for a company that offers inexpensive rates on cellular calling cards, we really like Tel3 Advantage. Tel3 sells cheap international calling cards that offer you the ability to speed dial all the numbers that you might want to call. An international call can be done by dialing just a couple of numbers, which is kind of a nifty feature. They also have high quality connections, and Tel3Advantage offers some of the overall lowest rates available.

Another option that helps to make cheap international calls from a cell phone possible is Send Global. Like Tel3Advantage, Send Global is a company that offers prepaid calling plans and a free trial period during which you will be able to make calling card calls from your cell phone at no cost to you. Click here to find out more about Send Global's free trial.

We no longer recommend SendGlobal due to a highly negative experience with their company (which we believe will be your experience as well). We recommend you check out Tel3Advantage instead.

July 21, 2008

How To Make Money With Calling Card Affiliate Programs

Before actually going into how you can make money with calling card affiliate programs, it would be a good idea, just so everyone's on the same page, to increase your knowledge about what a calling card affiliate program is all about.

Generally speaking, an affiliate program is run by the company selling calling cards (or sometimes a third party). When you become an affiliate, you earn a commission by selling the company's calling cards and/or other products through your web site.

The company gives you a link after you sign up, and you put that link on your web site. When someone clicks the link from your web site, they are sent to the calling card company's web site and are tracked as your referral. When they buy something on the calling card company's web site, you make a commission.

Although this happens to be the basic idea of any affiliate program, there are many modifications seen in several affiliate programs, including programs within the calling card industry, which can make affiliate marketing calling cards and calling products a more lucrative business.

Making money with a calling card affiliate programs is as simple as explained above. But, it can be even simpler. There are few programs, like the Speedypin affiliate program, that offer you a commission every time someone renews their calling card, or gets a new calling card, from this program.

This is known as residual commission.

With Speedypin, calling card affiliates also earn commission on referring new affiliates. This means that anyone who signs up to the affiliate program through you (and subsequently makes sales through their web site(s) will be indirectly increasing your income from the program.

With some calling card affiliate programs, there can be an initial investment to get started. (You see this A LOT in network marketing.) But there are also many calling card companies which have affiliate programs that don't cost anything to join.

Some examples of these would be Commission River (formerly Cognigen), Callingcards.com, and of course, SpeedyPin.

Generally speaking, the commission structure of calling card affiliate programs will only allow you to earn small commissions on individual sales (with recurring residuals on the backend), rather than massive profits upfront. Obviously, this won't make you rich overnight, but if you're willing to put a little time and effort put in, signing up for a calling card affiliate program may could really turn into money making machine for you. The initial set up requires some work, but once you get things going, these affiliate programs will earn you cash for work you did only once (talk about passive income)!

So, if this interests you, your action steps are as follows:

1. Click here to sign up for SpeedyPin's affiliate program.
2. Get to understand the basics of Internet marketing. One great place to do this is by getting the free report on online money making methods at www.ThreeMoneyMethods.com

July 20, 2008

Calling Card Companies: How to choose the best calling card retailer for you?

CallingAdvice has been at this a LONG time (since 2001). If you have a high-speed Internet connection and a computer you can use anywhere you go, we recommend signing up for Skype.

If you're looking to buy a calling card, a retailer you really should check out is SpeedyPin

A Calling card retailer is just a retail shop that sells calling cards. That can be an online store or an in-person phone card location (or an outlet like Wal-Mart or any other big retailer that carries calling cards). It may or may not be evident to you, but the competition in calling card sales is huge. And so right now, there's this push and lots of companies are competing for the title of the "best calling card retailer".

What does that mean for you, as the end consumer? GREAT DEALS on calling rates! As well as a variety of other increased beneficial offers and packages.

So, the question not only becomes about finding the best calling cards or the best retailer to by them from, the question really becomes about how to choose the best calling card retailer for you. When you're looking at calling cards though, here are a few significant factors you will want to to look out for:

- Look at the rates offered to your calling destination. It is usually given as 'x'$ /min (i.e. a specified amount of minutes per specified amount per dollar). Check whether these rates fluctuate (as some do) and yes, international calls cost a bit extra.
- Also, (phone card companies can be tricky!) make sure the rate remains constant throughout the day, because sometimes it changes based on the hours you're calling.
- Opting for minute billing over the minute rounding schedule is better for a calling card. In a 3 minute rounding schedule, if a call lasts for 4 minutes, your remaining talk time will be debited as if you had talked for 6 minutes. In this same situation, if you were on a minute by minute billing, your remaining talk time would only be debited for 4 minutes.
- The additional taxes and fees are often in the habit of playing "hide 'n' seek" with you. Don't let this happen to you. Before buying a calling card, make sure you have thoroughly investigated what additional fees and taxes the calling card retailer might charge. These additional taxes and charges are often significant in the amount of minutes you actually receive with your calling card.
- If you get locked into a card that just stinks (if you've already purchased one or do in the future), making a long single call is often more economical than many shorter calls.
- Check expiration dates: After the expiration date, your minutes left are, in most cases, literally useless. Will you be able to use up most/all of the time you've pre-purchased?
- Make sure the phone card company you go with has a money-back guarantee which is longer than the expiration date on your minutes, or at least gives you an opportunity to use the card a few times before the refund period runs out. Many phone card companies don't even have a refund policy, but few rare companies do, so that's something you want to check out for any calling card retailer you look at.
- Know in advance if attempting a call that does not connect will cost you a charge.
- Make an assessment of the connection or access rates and the disconnection rates of the calling card offered by your calling card retailer. This varies usually from $0.01 to $1.

The best of calling card companies will give you the details of the additional taxes and charges right up front, but again, as already stated, often times, you'll find that the fees are just buried in the fine print.

The best advice we can offer you is to not be hasty when getting a calling card. Have all your questions sorted out with the calling card retailer before making a purchase. The above lists give you a good idea of what to look for from whatever calling card you decide to purchase.

CallingAdvice has been at this a LONG time (since 2001). If you have a high-speed Internet connection and a computer you can use anywhere you go, we recommend signing up for Skype.

If you're looking to buy a calling card, a retailer you really should check out is SpeedyPin

July 18, 2008

MCI World Traveler Card and Military Morale Calls: Best Calling Cards For Soldier Morale Building Calls

CallingAdvice Special Link:
Save money on the MCI World Traveler Card here

Currently, the United States has deployed 145,000+ soldiers in Iraq.

Elsewhere in the world, an additional quarter of a million servicemen and servicewomen are doing what they need to do as part of their jobs.

Whether you are from the United States, or some other country in the world, it is apparent that military morale can often be boosted by having a great phone call with home.

A common saying is that there are only three true professions of pride in the world. One is of a teacher, the other of a doctor and the last one of a soldier.

It is very true indeed that the difficulties a soldier needs to conquer require exceptional bravery. Often, our brave soldiers are away from home serving their country. So, morale calls are provided especially for soldiers to keep in touch with their family and loved ones. Soldiers located on any base of the USA (be it in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere in the world) can make morale calls to their loved ones without having to fear expensive long distance costs. These morale calls can be done either on-base or off-base.

Morale calls are usually done through specialized calling cards available to the soldiers. The best calling cards for soldier morale calls are inexpensive for the soldiers living in extreme conditions, who need to keep in touch with their loved ones.

MCI World Traveler happens to be the best in terms of calling cards you would use in order to make soldier morale calls. The fact that MCI World Traveler is already widely used by soldiers is a testimony to it being among the best in terms of calling cards that are available for soldiers to use, at a discounted rate, for making morale calls. AT&T also offers calling cards for soldier morale calls, however, the calling cards offered by MCI World Traveler have no connection fee. One of the nice things about this card as well is that there are different options on the cost of the calling card, depending on what you need. MCI World Traveler enables a soldier to call back to the USA from more than 130 countries. Calls to the US from US military bases worldwide can be done at costs as low as 4.8 to 5.5 cents/minute (and in some cases lower than that. Calls made to and from Hawaii, Alaska, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico are charged the same rates as if a soldier was calling from within the continental U.S.

Some other advantages:
- The billing of these calling cards is done by one minute rounding i.e. minute billing.
- All the network services are provided by the MCI World Traveler network (meaning all of the phone calls are actually carried over lines that are owned by MCI itself.

To obtain an MCI World Traveler calling card is very easy. All it requires is that you have a subscription along with an authentication code (a PIN (personal identification number)),for the calling card to be sent into your inbox (or to your residence through postal mail). Of course, yo could go down to the local Wal-Mart or other superstore and buy a card to physically send to your soldier, but we've talked in other articles on this site why that is pretty expensive to do (the store has to get their cut somehow). The recommendations sway towards purchasing a calling card online, because of the benefits that come attached with it (cheaper rates, possible to send via email, etc.).

So, calling with the MCI World Traveler will provide you (and your soldier) one of the cheapest rates available for these types of calls, and when you're talking with a loved one overseas, you really want the best in quality in terms of the call connection. So, the MCI World Traveler really is a card that we would recommend to you.