Use a Dial Around Plan to Save Money on Long Distance
There is no doubt that you will save money on long distance by using a discount phone rate. When I first started using a dial around number four years ago, I saved a lot of money compared to what I was paying with my primary long distance carrier. When you use a dial around number you are in fact dialing around your long distance carrier, and can even use a dial around plan if you have no primary carrier.
The great thing about all of this is that you are not limited to using just one dial around number if you don’t want to. So if you find a plan that has low cost long distance for state-to-state calls, use it. But if that plan has a higher rate for in-state calls, you can always use a different dial around number to get the best phone rate within your state.
For example, www.CheapTelephoneBills.com lists a few calling plans where you can switch your long distance to receive a rate as low as 3.9¢ per minute for all state-to-state calls, but your in-state rates might be higher. In this instance, you could use a separate dial around number with a cheap phone rate per minute for your in-state calling.
Tips on Discount Long Distance and Dial Around Calling Plans
Below are some tips on choosing and using discount long distance, including dial around calling plans. These will better inform you of what to look for and to explain how to choose a plan that is right for you. Consumers can save a lot of money by using a cheap long distance phone rate, but remember to read the fine print of every plan you consider.
Choose a plan based on your needs and compare calling plans: Look at the specifics of every long distance calling plan and don’t be afraid to use more than one of those plans to fit your needs and to receive a cheaper phone rate. If you find a dial around number with a discount phone rate when calling another state, what are the in-state rates for that same plan? It cannot be emphasized enough.
You might use one calling plan that has a discount phone rate for state-to-state calls but that same number has a much higher rate for long distance calls within your state. Check the in-state rates! In some cases (not all), you might save more money by using one long distance carrier for your state-to-state calls, and a different number for your in-state calls.
Check to see if the plan has a monthly fee: This is one area where some consumers can actually lose by using certain dial around numbers if they make only a few quick long distance calls per month. Now, if you make a lot of long distance calls every month, sometimes using a plan with a monthly fee is fine. But if you don’t make many long distance calls, watch out for plans with a monthly fee.
Let’s say you average 15 minutes of long distance calling per month and then choose a plan that offers a low 5¢ per minute rate but has a $4.95 monthly fee. Your bill for that month would be $5.70. This means that in reality, you have paid a whopping 38¢ per minute for that month. If you make only a few short calls per month, consider whether a plan with a monthly fee is worth it or not.
Check to see if the plan has a minute minimum charge per call: Some domestic and international calling plans will have for example, a 10 or 20-minute minimum charge on every call. This means that if you use one of these dial around numbers and then get connected to just an answering machine or voice mail, your call might only last 2 minutes but you will be billed for the minimum minute charge.
Watch for different rates for days, nights, or weekends: As if phone bills weren’t already hard enough to figure out, some companies will have one rate for certain hours during the day, then a different rate for evening or night hours. Some might even have a different rate for weekends. This is nonsense. To say this can get confusing is an understatement.
When you are shopping for a low phone rate, be aware if the plan you are considering has these rates based on the time of day. As always, read the fine print and know what you are getting.
Connection fees: When you compare calling plans, check to see if there is a per-call connection fee. Some companies will hit you with a fee just for connecting your call. Read the small print.
Watch for calling plans that have different in-state (intrastate) rates: I am emphasizing this again. Many plans will have different (higher) rates for in-state long distance calls. This means that you might get 5¢ per minute on all state-to-state calls, but then get nailed with a 15¢ per minute rate for any in-state long distance calls.
Remember that Intrastate means calls within your state and Interstate means calls from state to state. Always ask what the in-state calling rates are and if you need to use a separate plan for just your in-state calling, do it.
Watch for rate plans based on the person you are calling having the same plan as you: Some companies offer a calling plan with unlimited calling for a set monthly price. For example, you might find a calling plan where you pay $19.95 per month to cover all of your calls.
But the catch is this: The person you are calling must be subscribed to the exact same plan as you. And if they aren’t? You will get hit with a much higher per minute rate on top of the $19.95 a month. Furthermore, even if the person you are calling does have the same plan as you, make sure you are making enough calls to justify that $19.95 charge every month.
Using a dial around number on a business phone: Many dial around numbers can be used on a business long distance phone for the exact same rates as if the call was being placed from a residential phone. Read the fine print and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on plan websites.
Make sure you dial the correct dial around number: Although this sounds very simple, it is important. If you have a dial around number you are using, make sure you use the correct number. If you misdial on just one digit, it’s possible you could end up using another long distance carriers dial around plan that has a higher rate.
Payphones and dial around numbers: Dial around numbers cannot be used when making a call from a payphone. This also applies when making a call from most hotels.
No matter who you have your long distance phone service with, watch for rate changes. Whether you are using one or many dial around numbers, you are considered a casual user of the companies that own those numbers. It’s very possible that if there are rate changes, you will not be notified of those changes. A good idea is to periodically contact the company and ask them for their current rate. In many cases, if the rate has been lowered since you started using the number, you can request to be switched to the new lower rate.
Using a dial around number in a family home: If you have a household full of people, make sure they all know and use the dial around number. One good way to do this is to place a sticker with the dial around number on every phone. Using a dial around number can save a consumer a lot of money, but to get those savings the dial around number should be used on every long distance call.
If you are having a problem getting everyone in the house to always use the dial around number, keep in mind that most calling plans are available as pre-subscribed service. This means that you could choose that company and plan as your primary long distance carrier and then just dial 1 + the area code + the number to receive the same cheap phone rates as you would by using a dial around number.
This would assure that every family member could just use 1 + dialing and you will always know you are getting the same low phone rate as the dial around number you were using. (There are some pre-subscribed plans listed on the www.absolutelowlongdistance.com website that will also allow you to deduct 5% from your monthly bill if you pay by credit card over the Internet.)
Using a dial around number from a friend or relatives home: If you need to make a long distance call while visiting a friend or relative, using a good dial around number might be the best way to go.
As an example, the Call 4 Cents plan charges 40¢ for the first 10 minutes and 4.9¢ per minute thereafter. You could simply use this dial around number, time your call, and know exactly how much to reimburse your friend or relative. If you make a call lasting 10 minutes or less, you would owe them 40¢. Or if your call lasted 32 minutes, you would owe them $1.48.
(NOTE: If the dial around number you use needs an activation code to be used for the very first time to use that dial around number on a phone line, you will need to know this activation code.)