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Pre-paid Phone Cards For consumers who either do not have a home phone or need to make phone calls when away from home prepaid phone cards can offer ease of use convenience and savings While there are numerous such cards to choose from not all cards are created equal Nor are all cards problem free Virtually unheard of in this country just five years ago today prepaid phone cards are available just about everywhere in the United States Such cards enable consumers to make calls when away from home or office The cards can be used at just about any touch-tone telephone as well as at pay phones The cards eliminate the need to carry coins for pay phones allow persons without a local telephone service account to make calls and generally cost less than traditional collect third party and telephone company calling card calls Prepaid phone card calls are also cheaper than most long distance calls made with coins from a local telephone company pay phone However like many new consumer products prepaid phone cards are not trouble free Prepaid phone cards originated in Europe in the late 1970s as a method of reducing vandalism of pay phones and are widely used overseas In the United States prepaid phone cards hit the market in the early 1990s mainly as promotional items The direct marketing of such cards to consumers is recent but has grown at a staggering rate Today prepaid phone cards are produced by hundreds of companies ranging from major telephone companies and credit card issuers to extremely small start up businesses The cards can be purchased in small denominations typically 5 - 20 at most major transportation facilities such as airports at many convenience stores and newsstands and at a variety of other locations such as gas stations drug stores and even United States Post Offices While prepaid phone cards offer convenience the real attraction of such cards for consumers
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