A telephone card, calling card or phonecard for short, is a credit card size plastic or paper card, used to pay for telephone services (often international or long distance calling). It is not necessary to have the physical card except with a stored-value system; knowledge of the access telephone number to dial and the PIN is sufficient. Standard cards which can be purchased and used without any sort of account facility give a fixed amount of credit and are discarded when used up; rechargeable cards can be topped up, or collect payment in arrears. The system for payment and the way in which the card is used to place a telephone call vary from card to card.
Calling cards usually come equipped with PIN for user protection and security. Most companies require user to enter the PIN before granting access to the calling card's funds. PINs often are printed on a piece of paper found inside the calling card's packaging. Once the users makes their first call, some companies offer the option of eliminating the PIN altogether to speed up the calling process. Companies that sell virtual calling cards online typically PIN via email.