ZapTel - International phone card | calling card | recommendations
Discover What's Right For You

Looking to see all the money-saving products we offer? Want some recommendations on the right phone card for your particular needs? You've come to the right page.

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Quick Recommendations

Where are you calling?

Calling to other countries from the U.S.

Most of our phone cards will connect you to hundreds of countries from the U.S., even though you may purchase one based on a favorite destination or rate. For example, Call the World includes rates for the entire world in its rate table, but you may only use it to call Canada. Other good all-around choices include Precision World (6 second rounding) and Flying Colors! (great rates per minute, no other fees).

If you want one phone card for both domestic and international calls, check out Student's Choice (4 cents US, few fees) or Extreme Talk Time International (0.9 cents US, but more fees).

To purchase and use one of these cards, add it to your cart, check out, and receive your PIN by email. Call the toll-free U.S. access number provided, then enter your PIN, and then 011 and the number you are calling. Typically the phone card will announce how much value remains on the card, and how many minutes of time you have to the destination phone number you entered. Use Rate Search with your destination to find the best phone card for you.

Calling the U.S. from other countries

ZapTel offers several phone cards with toll or toll free numbers in other countries for calling back to the U.S. Check out Global Caller, Global Line, Absolute Global, True North, Study Abroad Student's Choice , Absolute World our newest. Using Rate Search, for example, select Germany as your FROM country and US-48 States as your TO country. The results show you which cards have access in Germany, and what the rates are. Be sure to click on the Access Numbers link on each card's detail page to view any special instructions for that card.

To purchase and use one of these cards, place your choice in your shopping cart and check out. You will receive your PIN and dialing instructions by email. In addition, it is up to you to look up the access numbers for the countries you expect to call from and jot these numbers down along with your PIN number. Take the access numbers and your PIN number with you when you travel.

Please note there are often restrictions on use of cell phones with these services, and often time payphones may not be used, but hotel phones can be. These special conditions are usually stated in our detail on the card. With so many governing bodies involved in international telecommunications, be prepared for the occasional problem.

Calling within the U.S.

Several of our products have very competitive rates for long distance calling in the 48 states and Canada. Hawaii and Alaska are typically higher.

If you will also make calls to destinations outside the US, you can buy one phone card for both. Good examples are the Extreme Talk Time International and the Student's Choice cards, which are excellent multi-purpose cards.

If you simply want low cost domestic calling, then these are your best choices:

Extreme Talk Time 1.9 cents per minute, excellent quality, some minor fees, rechargeable, PINZap
Extreme Talk Time International 0.9 cents per minute (with a local access numbers), rechargeable
EveryDay USA 2.9 cents per minute, excellent quality, expiration is 1 year, rechargeable
International Student's Choice 4.0 cents per minute, rechargeable, call records online, never expires if used once per year

Calling entirely outside the U.S.

The Absolute World card is unique in offering "flat rate" services for country to country calling in Europe. Absolute World is one of our best sellers for making calls within Europe and from Europe back to the US.

Specific recommendations for:


If you are traveling outside the U.S. and want to call back to the U.S., take a phone card with you from the list above in "Calling the U.S. from other countries."

If you have Internet access while overseas, you can even order another PIN instantly from your ZapTel account since we don't have to physically ship you anything.


Use a phone card at home to save money and to manage your phone budget better without any monthly commitments or bills.

The trick is to pay only for local phone service from your local phone company. Then use a ZapTel phone card for all your long distance calling, whether domestic or international. If you have another long distance service, consider canceling it.

Then set up an account, such as a Flying Colors card, and register your home phone number with PINzap. To make a long distance call from home, you then just dial the 800 number (which you could program into your phone as a speed dial if you wanted), The ZapTel service automatically recognizes your home phone number so no PIN is required, then just enter the number you wish to call.

Take it a step further and create up to 99 speed dial numbers in your online ZapTel account, cutting out even more key presses. When your account funds run low, just 5 mouse clicks on the ZapTel website let you recharge up to $100. Finally, you can decide the size of your monthly long distance phone bill.

These features are available on ZapTel's Premier series of cards (see below).


Are international telephone calls a part of doing business at your company? Consider cutting expenses by using a phone card. Call the World is designed for this purpose. Good land line and cellular destination rates, rechargeable up to $100 at a time, with detailed call records available online anytime for expense reports or call tracking. Register all your office phone numbers with PINzap and zap the need to enter a pin for international calls from work. Even your mobile phone can use minutes from the same pin that you set up for your office. Use Speed Dial to save a little time when calling your favorite vendors or customers.


ZapTel is the site for students. Check out the International Student's Choice rechargeable phone card, with optimized rates to destinations international students call most. Includes online access to your call history to track your calls and costs.

Love your mobile phone? Set up ZapTel as your International carrier and use the money you save for more iTunes or online gaming. Log into your online ZapTel account, register your cell number, create a few speed dials, and now you've got an integrated international plan that is only a speed dial away whenever you want to call friends or family overseas. You'll still use domestic minutes on your plan for the 800 call, but you'll have rock bottom rates for your destination.

Learn more about your calling options with a phone card primer written just for students.

Remind your parents that they can purchase a phone card on this site as a gift and have it emailed directly to you.

Are some of your student friends into VoIP? Check out the VoIP comments below


When someone is away on duty, phone cards are a great way to stay in touch. Use Rate Search for your FROM and TO countries to find the best card. Use the gift feature to email a phone card to someone you love. The new Absolute Global card offers dialing from over 100 countries back to the US, including Iraq.

If the military base has a direct line to the United States, then just buy an EveryDay USA card for 2.9 cents per minute calls to anywhere in the US. Or, try out our special AT&T Phone Card

If you want to send phone cards as a gift to soldiers in the military, most have access to the United States phone system so they can dial an 800 number. In this case, any of our phone cards will work. Make your decision based on where they will be calling. If only to US destinations, EveryDay USA is a great choice.

Cellular / Mobile / Wireless

Are you calling a destination outside the US that is using a cellular or wireless phone? Due to local tariffs and phone service, rates are almost always higher when calling a cell phone. ZapTel lists these rates for our cards, so you are not surprised.

Are you using a cell phone to make your calls? Our phone cards work with your cell phone just fine. Just remember that any charges your cell phone applies for calling our toll-free access numbers still apply.

Check out the excellent ZapTel Wireless World card for pinless international dialing right from your cell phone. If you make international calls, this is the best thing you could do for your mobile phone. Whether you subscribe to AT&T Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint or any other billed or prepaid mobile phone plan, Wireless World is the smartest way to enable low cost, one touch, international calling to the phone in your pocket.


Even though your pocket book is smiling, do you dislike getting a new PIN with each new purchase, or having to enter the PIN number each time you call lengthy international phone numbers?

Three ways to ease the pain.

  1. Zap the need to enter a PIN with ZapTel's PINzap™ on select cards. This self service features lets you register up to 10 phone numbers in your account. When you use your 800 access number from one of these registered phone numbers, the system recognizes you and you can skip entering a pin. All PINzap cards are also rechargeable. Check the card detail page to see which phone cards have this feature.
  2. Purchase a rechargeable card like Europe's Best, and you only have to remember one pin number, and it is ten digits just like a phone number so you could memorize it. If you often use the same phone to make your calls, take the ten minutes to figure out how to program the access and PIN number into your phone so they are just a push button away.
  3. Use Speed Dial to register up to 99 phone numbers for your account

Want the absolute least number of key presses to dial your friend in Luxemburg? Register your phone number with PINzap so you can skip entering a PIN, create a speed dial for the international number, and program the 800 access number as a speed dial in your phone. Then it looks like this when you call: Press the speed dial on your phone for the ZapTel 800 service to reach our platform, we recognize you and skip the pin request, then press your speed dial digit and you are connected to Luxemburg (or the destination of your choice!) with only 2 key presses.

And some other categories by popular request:

Cautious phone card buyers

Are you the type that has an up to date photo-copy of all the contents of your purse or wallet, in case it gets lost or stolen? We're thinking this is what you really want to know about ZapTel:

  • We've been a growing business on the Internet for over 12 years
  • We believe that crime doesn't pay
  • We're registered with the Better Business Bureau and have no unresolved complaints
  • We use industry standard SSL encryption when handling your personal information
  • Our site gets tested by SecurityMetrics regularly for security
  • Friendly, helpful customer service is available if you need it
  • Our family members who use phone cards all buy from this store
Not sure which card to buy? Assuming you are making your calls from a US phone, just buy a $20 Flying Colors card and give it a try.

"Want to see my call records" phone card buyers

Usually not many phone cards come with real time online detailed call records. But ZapTel has 7 of them — all the ZapTel Premier Card series cards. Each one gives you this detail for each call you make:

Gadget-lover phone card buyers

If you carry the latest Motorola® cell phone model or a Blackberry®, an Apple ipod® and a Dell® laptop, then yes this is your category.

Assuming you want to call the world using your cool US cell phone, but at half the cost your buddies are paying, check out any of the ZapTel Premier Card series cards listed below. Buy a Destination Cell, for example, and now you've got a complete self service online account where you can:

  • register your mobile number so you don't ever have to type in the PIN again
  • build a speed dial list for one digit dialing to your best friends on the other side of the earth
  • recharge the account up to $100 at a crack online 24/7 with no long term commitments
  • check real time, online call detail to see how much your new girl friend is really costing you
  • log in anytime to see the balance on your account
  • hold the ## for two seconds at the end of your call and make another right away

And this is proven service, using the best lines available to your calling destination, whether they are traditional land lines or VoIP. You don't have to worry about choosing land line or VoIP, our network center (which looks sort of like NASA command central) is watching 24/7 to get you the best route to your country.

Also check out Oceans and True North™, and Extreme Talk Time International™, new exclusive ZapTel cards featuring PINzap™, recharge, and local access numbers to save even more. These three cards use a completely different carrier than the ZapTel Premier Card series listed below. Sometimes this carrier might have a better route to your target country than one of our other carriers -- this is why we have integrated three different carriers into our store for you. We think our carriers are the best out there - one is bound to have a great rate and great quality to your calling destination.

The ZapTel Premier Card series-full service prepaid phone cards:

  • Great domestic and international rates
  • Each card optimized so you can find the one with rates best for you
  • Rechargeable online 24 hours a day, or by telephone during customer service hours
  • See call detail records online including phone numbers, call length and cost
  • PINzap pinless dialing; save time and skip the step of entering a PIN when you register your phone number (s) in your account
  • ZapTel SpeedDial for one button access to your most often called destination phone numbers. Available today for these ZapTel exclusive phone cards:
  • Extreme Talk Time
  • International Students Choice
  • Flying Colors!
  • Wireless World
  • Call the World
  • Precision World

"Just want to make phone calls" phone card buyers

Does technology usually just get in your way? Do you like to buy the no-frills version of things?

Then give ordering a phone card online a try. Just pick a straight rate card from the "Keep it Simple" section on this page. People tell us our online shopping experience is a good one. You'll be calling in no time. But if you just prefer the old fashioned way to order, it is ok to call us to order by phone, at 1-877-532-2737 during business hours of 8am to 5pm Monday - Thursday, Friday 8am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm, Sunday 1pm to 5pm, US Central time.

"Wondering about VoIP (Internet calls)" phone card buyers

Bottom line, you just want to make low cost calls with reliable service and good sound quality, right? And typically, you want your service to be portable - to work from pretty much any phone you want to use - your dorm phone, your mobile phone, a payphone, maybe your friend's phone, or your business phone.

So bottom line again, just set up a ZapTel phone card account and you get the best of both VoIP and traditional, proven phone service:

  • no monthly subscription or commitments with ZapTel
  • no special phone or hardware needed
  • your service is portable, works from any phone
  • you don't need an Internet connection
  • works even if the power is out or Internet is down
  • great per minute rates to the world

You just dial your destination number, and we do the work to pick best routes to your calling destination for your ZapTel phone card. When you buy a ZapTel phone card, you get the advantages of VoIP because we automatically route your calls over the best value connection available to each country, whether it is VoIP or land line. This is called inline VOIP, and you don't have to worry about it - we take care of it for you.

Keep-it-simple billing types

Are you the type that just wants 10 cents a minute to be 10 cents a minute? Forget the surcharges or maintenance fees or taxes. Even if you could figure out how to beat the system, you don't want to play that game. These phone cards are for you, with the least extra fees:

Card name Other fees that impact the rate
AT&T Phone Card None
Flying Colors! None
Wireless World None
T-World None
Absolute Global None
True North None
Study Abroad Students Choice None
Everyday USA 7% surcharge
Call-the-World None
Minute by Minute None

Long talkers

You know who you are. Might be for business, or for pleasure. The idea here is to focus on the lowest rate per minute cards, even with lots of other fees, because you talk a lot. Here are some great choices for you:

Phone Bank Popular $1 connect fee card with excellent rates
Extreme Talk Time International Lots of minutes for long callers
Global Line Lots of minutes for long callers
Oceans Oceans of minutes for when you talk a lot
Extreme Talk Time Talk a lot in America? This 1.9 cents/min card is for you.

Buying a phone card for someone else to use

Great idea! Two ways to do that, get the whole scoop on the phone card gift page.

What is the difference between using a LOCAL access number versus a TOLL access number

ZapTel offers several phones cards that have both Local and Toll access numbers - True North, Oceans, Study Abroad Students, Choice, and Extreme Talk Time International. Using Local access service is the best way to enjoy lowest rates per minute, giving you a savings to anywhere you call. The service provider also makes available a Toll access number for your convenience. Using a toll access number will add 1 cent to the rate per minute.

Please note if the customer chooses a local number to access the phone card, it is the customer's responsibility to make sure that the local number is recognized by their service provider as a local call at no additional cost to their phone service. If their service provider does not consider it a local number then the customer is liable for any fees that their phone service charges. ZapTel is not liable for the charges.

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Phone Cards Absolute Global Absolute World Card Africa's Best Asias Best AT&T Au Pair's Choice Call The World Destination Cell Europes Best Everyday USA Extreme Talk Time International Extreme Talk Time USA Flying Colors! Genesis Global Caller Global Line Indias Best International Student's Choice Mexicos Best Middle Easts Best Minute By Minute Oceans Africa Oceans Asia Oceans Europe Oceans International Philippines Best Phone Bank Precision World Senior Friendly Phone Card Study Abroad Student's Choice True North T World Wireless World Prepaid Mobile Refill Cards