2.1) Like making a regular telephone call
Phone cards are very simple to use because it is just like making a regular phone call. The only difference is that there are two extra steps. First, you must dial one of the access numbers for your phone card. This allows you to perform the second step which is to enter your pin number. The final step is to dial your destination number.

2.2) Major players


1) Service Carriers
Service carriers are the companies that actually own the telephone lines and make some of the rules on how to use their phone cards.


2) Resellers
Resellers are the companies that buy the minutes from the carriers and distribute the minutes to phone card issuers and make any additional phone card usage rules.


3) Issuers
Phone card issuers are the companies that set the rates for a particular phone card and provide the access numbers to use the phone card.


4) Distributors - distribute phone cards
Phone card distributors purchase the phone cards in bulk quantities and distribute them to phone card retailers.


5) Retailers - sell phone cards to customers
Phone card retailers purchase the phone cards and sell them directly to customers.


2.3) Elements


1) Rates
Rates are the prices associated with a phone card. Each phone card has its own rate table. The rate table states the price per minute for each destination location available to the phone card.


2) Expiration date
The expiration date is the how long the card can be used. Most phone cards expire after 60 - 90 days.


3) PIN numbers
PIN numbers are the unique identifiers that allow you to make your phone calls. It also keeps a record of the calls you made and the appropriate amount to deduct from the balance on your phone card.


4) Access Numbers
Access numbers are special telephone numbers that must be dialed in order to use your phone card. There are two types of access numbers. First, local access numbers are phone numbers in your area and provide cheaper rates which give you more minutes for your phone card. Second, toll free access numbers are numbers that start like 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, etc. These numbers have a slightly higher rate than local access numbers, but they are more reliable and less frequently has busy signals.