Doing the Math with Phone Cards – Calculating Minutes with Calling Cards – ZapTel

ZapTel works hard at making sure all phone cards have total disclosure of rates and other fees associated with placing international phone calls so customers can do the math.  But what does this math look like?  How do you do it to make sure you're getting the most for your money?

Below is an explanation of how total call costs are calculated.  You can apply this to the phone card you're looking to purchase.*

1. Where are you calling from and to?
2. What kind of phone are you calling to? Landline or Mobile Phone?
3. What is the listed rate per minute for the phone card you're looking to purchase? (Be sure to look at the difference between landlines and mobile rates as the mobile rate is likely to be higher.)
4. How long do you estimate each of your phone calls will be?
5. What are the billing increments for the phone card you're looking to purchase?
6. What are the associated fees with the phone card you're looking to purchase?
• Connection Fee
• Surcharge Per Call
• Service Fee (usually weekly or monthly)

1.  Calculate the cost of the minutes you plan to use. Make sure to round the number of minutes to the billing increment indicated on the phone card you're looking to purchase.
Cost of Minutes = Estimated Number of Minutes per Call X Rate per Minute

2.  Add connection fees to calculate call cost.

Call Cost = Cost of Minutes + Connection Fees

3.  Calculate the total surcharge for the card.

Total Surcharge = % Surcharge per Call X Call Cost

4.  Add in the surcharge per call to calculate the total call cost.

Total Call Cost = Total Surcharge + Call Cost

If you plan to call more than once per week, you would multiply the total call cost by the number of times per week you plan to call.  For cards with service fees, you would have to understand how much would be deducted either weekly or monthly from your phone card for this fee.

Here is an example of how to do the math:

1. Calling from the US to Japan.
2. Calling to a landline.
3. Listed rate per minute is 2.9¢.
4. Each phone call will be about 30 minutes.
5. Looking at a card that bills in 1 minute increments.
6. There is a \$0.30 per call connection fee, 10% surcharge per call, and \$0.59 monthly service fee.

Now do the math...

1.  Cost of Minutes = Estimated Number of Minutes per Call X Rate per Minute

Cost of Minutes = 30 minutes per call X \$0.029 per minute

Cost of Minutes = \$0.87

2.  Call Cost = Cost of Minutes + Connection Fees

Call Cost = \$0.87 (cost of minutes) + \$0.30 (connection fee)

Call Cost = \$1.17

3.  Total Surcharge = % Surcharge per Call X Call Cost

Total Surcharge = 10% (surcharge per call) X \$1.17 (call cost)

Total Surcharge = \$0.12

4.  Total Call Cost = Total Surcharge + Call Cost

Total Call Cost = \$0.12 (total surcharge) + \$1.17 (call cost)

Total Call Cost = \$1.29

If this customer planned to call 3 times per week, the total weekly cost would be \$3.87 with an approximate monthly cost of \$15.48.  Including the monthly service fee, this would be a total monthly cost of \$16.07.

The math on flat-rate, no fee phone cards is much simpler:

Total Call Cost = Estimated Number of Minutes per Call X Rate per Minute

On these cards, everything is rolled into the rate per minute so calls cleanly bill off the phone card.

* The explanation on this page is an aid to help customers select the best phone card for their individual calling needs.  This explanation is not a guarantee of the number of minutes you'll receive, but is the best way we can help you estimate your call costs as closely as possible.  If your math is not adding up, let us know at feedback@zaptel.com.  If there is an error, we will work to resolve it.