Calling cards, usually similar to credit cards or bank ATM cards in shape and size, come in two variations. Standard phone cards have a fixed load limit that you have to consume. After you have consumed the load in your standard phone card, you can no longer make a phone call. You have to purchase another card. Some phone cards also come in re-loadable versions. You no longer have to buy another card even when you have already consumed the available load. You just simply have to go to the nearest reloading outlet and replenish your consumed load. It is even advisable to replenish your load even if you have not yet fully consumed it. In that way, you can make a call anytime you need to. Different cards usually have different payment modes and regulations. Originally, phone cards are used in public payphone booths. However, with the advancement of technology, phone cards can now be used in mobile phones.
All phone cards have magnetic stripes. These magnetic chips serve as the information database of the phone card. The chip contains the available balance of your card. Some phone cards also use the optical storage feature where the phone card owner can see the amount or balance left in the account on top of the card. Some phone cards require the user to call a toll-free hotline number first to activate the account before making any regular calls or before using the card.