Everybody knows small cards, resemble to a usual credit or discount cards, for telephone services paying. There are two types of such cards: cards with the prepaid balance or with the credit card system. Usually payment system and the way of using card for communication depends on the country and service provider. Now the most popular systems work with the prepaid cards, the cost of these cards depends on the balance. After calling a sum is taken from the balance. Sometimes the balance is counted in national money or specific points, equal to money. When your balance is over you just buy new card, some cards can be refilled, but the most of them are disposable. Now many phone communications companies offer a card with the printed PIN-code for a charging calls to one account. Nowdays there two different technologies for a telephone cards: stored-value and remote memory.
Stored-value cards are carrier of balance by itself. You just insert the card into the card reader of telephone, and it read the balance like teller machine at a bank do it. There are several ways to programm the value into the card, they differs in technology and encoding sophistication. The first technology is based on magnetic stripe like the saurse of information for the card reader. It was invented in
On the other hand such cards are easily hackable, thats why they were withdrawn from prodaction and selling in the most countries. Now they stay popular enough in Japan and some other regions. The third method is a chip cards with a small initial microchip inside. The large output of such cards started in France, where they were used by France Telecom since 1986. All Europe followed France in early 1990, like Ireland and Great Britain in 1994. Originally chip cards were easily hackable: you could just scrape the programming-voltage contact, and the reader became unable to deduct money from the card after calling. But producers have find a lot of ways to protect cards, and now there are a lot of secure technologies for protection cards from illegal usage.
Remote memory systems
In the cards with the remote memory system the balance is not on the card, it’s just symbolized. This technology uses the method of toll or toll-free access number to connect with database and check the bakance. You buy card with the sequence of numbers, dial the sequence and the number of endpoint after it. Such card appeared in the United States, and there are some reasons for it. At first the US never has a centrilized national phone system or even domination phone provider in a state. All local companies never has a reason or way to work according to the world, that became a cause for a great divercity and independence. Usual cards sliding into a machine wasn’t popular because of fear, that machines could be destructed by vandalists. The first card with the remote memory was produced in
Main advantge of remote memory cards in comparison with stored-value one is no need in special card reader. You can use any telephone with tone-mode, thats why such cards are much more accessible and cheaper. So remote memory cards spreaded very fast. Of course, they are not so comfortable in use becuse of a long number to dial. If you want to call with the remote memory cards you have to dial the number of provider, key number and a special secret code, which usually consists of seven and more numbers. After dialing the secret code your phone connects to the database, the automatic responding machine announce your remaining time and you can call through the base.
The main point is that such cards are the text information, just sequence of numbers, so it is easy to by such card through the Internet, getting all information by e-mail. Now many virtual on-line shops offer cards via electronic connections. Nowdays you can buy remote memory phone cards in almost every country in stores or retail chains, they are released by many companies all over the world. There are a lot of types of remote memory phone cards for calling to certain countries or just abroad, to another regions or popular city, capital etc. Sone of them has specific features like speed dial with a short number, dialing without a PIN-code or rechargeability. Many cards has different connection fees, when you pay not only for conversation time, bur for connection too, come cards with such fees has a fixed taxes for time calling in every region. So it’s easy to find the card cheap and fruitful for your own needs.
Many providers offer calling accounts, and this service become more cheap and convinient for customers every day. Great competition in this sector make companies reduce costs and invent a lot of new profits for users. Thankc the Internet accounts are available in electronic form and may be purchased via e-mail. Usually the letter contain the PIN-code for the account and instructions how to use it. Every company has a support service for customers.
But there is another point of increasing attractiveness of phone cards for consumers. The card is carrier and many companies place on them advertising, portraits of different celebrities, maps and pictures, pictures and so on. All these methods make cards not only a piece of plastic but the object to collect, and many people use collecting it like a hobby. It’s as an old money, absolutely useless but beauteful and collectible. The last point is very importent and many companies issue hole series of cards. This occupation is called “fusilately” and collectors are known as a “fusilatelist” in Great Britain. Americans call them “telegery”. The interest in collecting phone cards appeared in the mid 1970s and reached it’ peak in the early 1990s. Now more than 2 million people regard collecting phone card as a hobby.
In the Internet you can find a dozens web-sites devoted to the collecting with a millions cards from different countries. Every card has a personal story. Several years the hobby decrease in some countries because telecom companies suspended issuing phone cards. Another interesting point: the metaphor of telephone stored-value card was used in Europe during accepting and legitimation Euro and other homologations. That helps to attract people and get public agreement and loyality. The authorities refer to experience in using phone stored-value cards in traveling to explane advantages of common currency terms.