A telephone card is most commonly a credit card size piece of plastic containing pre-paid credit that enables the bearer to make telephone calls from a public or private payphone that accepts telephone cards.
During a telephone call using a phone card units or the cards credit is consumed by the cardphone. Once all remaining credit has been used, the card cannot be used to make phone calls again. A new telephone card is then required to make subsequent or a continuation of the phone call. The used phonecard can then be discarded in a bin or becomes a collectors item and forms part of a collection. To read more about collecting telephone cards click here.
Did you know? A collector of telephone cards is known as a fusilatelist.
Although all telephone cards serve the same purpose, over the years there have been four distinct technologies used in Phonecards from around the world.
Optical cards - the following year Swiss telephone card manufacturer Landis & Gyr (L&G) starting producing optical cards.
Chip cards - a decade later in the mid eighties and with advances in technology, phone cards using a embedded micro chip, known as "chip cards" were introduced. Many of these chip cards were pre-programmed to expiry after a specific date, meaning the card had to be used before the date indicated.
Remote cards - another advance in technology and phonecard users could simply dial a telephone number from almost any phone to make a phone call. The user would simply need to scratch off a panel to reveal a unique code found on the reverse side of the phonecard. Many of these telephone cards on the other side contained a chip, giving the user ultimate choice where they could use their phonecard.
Different countries from around the world used different card technology and the names that countries or their telecommunication companies gave to their phonecards differed as well. But the premise of what a telephone card achieved is the same the world over.
Below is a list of some of many countries including what their telephone cards are called:
‣Bulgaria - фонокарта (fonokarta)
‣Canada - Payphone Pass
‣Denmark - Telekort
‣Estonia - telefonikaart
‣France - Telecarte
‣Germany - Telefonkarte
‣Great Britain - Phonecards
‣Great Britain - Mercurycard
‣Greece - Thaekapta
‣Holland - Telefoonkart
‣Hungary - Telefon Kartya
‣Ireland - Callcard
‣Isle of Mann - Phone card
‣Israel - Telecard
‣Latvia - telekarte
‣Lithuania - telefono kortele
‣Japan - Teleca
‣Jersey - Phone card
‣Maylasia - Kadfon
‣Mexico - Ladatel
‣Norway - Telekort
‣Peru - Targeta
‣Portugal - PT Card
‣Sweden - Telefonkort
‣Switzerland - Taxcard
‣Uganda - Smart Card
‣USA - Telecard
Do you know of more countries? Do you know of any countries not to use telephone card? Click here to contact me and let me know, so I can update and add to the information on this web page.
Last updated: 22nd September 2016
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