Calling Card Bills In 5-Minute Increments

Have you ever read the back of a calling card? This one takes the cake. I’ve seen, one and three, but this card billing calls in 5-minute increments. So if your call is five minutes and one second long, they’re going to deduct 10 minutes worth from the card. Yeeks. Better talk fast.

The way many calling cards work is that companies buy bulk minutes from the major telcos and then resell them in these cards. Profit comes from fee arbitrage. Calling cards, operating in a Wild West of regulation, are full of them. It’s neat, too, how they perforate the card to make it easy for you to throw away the part of the package that has the fees on it.

Have you ever used a calling card? I’m not talking about the one your mom gave you so you could call home from summer camp, I’m talking about the straight-up bodega-style card, sold for $2, $3, and $5. Did it have any exciting fees or did you find yourself surprised by how few minutes it had?