Are you tired of always digging in your pockets for change just to make a phone call? If so, a calling card may be for you. Calling cards are a safe and easy way to make a call from almost any phone, anytime, anywhere.

TYPES OF CALLING CARDS

There are two major types of calling cards. One uses prepaid time, usually called units, and the other is offered by your long distance carrier where charges are made to your account. Both types are popular and relatively easy to use.

Prepaid calling cards are simple and handy. You can purchase them at most grocery/convenience stores and post offices. Telephone charge cards must be obtained from your long distance carrier or local telephone company. With most calling cards, you first dial the toll-free number, then enter your card number and an identification number. After taking these steps, you can enter the number of the person you wish to call. It's quick, easy, and you don't even need to dig for change!

FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Calling cards often display their minute-rate, but that isn't always the whole picture. The following factors should be considered when shopping for a calling card:
• How much does each unit cost? What is that unit based on? Seconds, minutes, or some other measure of time?
• Is there a surcharge or connection fee for using the card?
• Will you be informed of the number of remaining units each time you use the card; can you call to find out?
• Does the card expire? If so, when?
• Can the card be used to make international calls? How?
• With prepaid cards, is there a money back guarantee on unused units if the company goes under?
• Can you add more time to the card?

The convenience of calling cards is available to everybody, whether you are at home, college, or stranded in Vegas. Just be careful; prices can vary considerably. Use these handy guidelines to help you keep that pocket change for yourself.