Smart Buying

How to Make Free Calls

Software and apps you can install on your computer or smart phone can help you save money on calls.

You’ve likely heard that ditching your landline is a good money-saving move. But if you’re relying on your mobile phone to make all your calls, you might have to pay more to get unlimited minutes. So to keep costs down, consider using a free Internet calling service. There are several you can download to your computer, smart phone or tablet. These services also are ideal for people who make international calls and for college students who want to keep in touch with friends and families. Because they're free, you can try out all of the services below to see which works best for you.

Skype. To use Skype, you need an Internet connection and a computer or mobile device with a microphone and speakers. It only takes a few minutes to install it and create an account with a username that will serve as your contact information (rather than a phone number). Then you can make free voice and video calls (if you have a webcam) to other Skype users. You also can use Skype for instant messaging and file sharing.

Viber. Unlike Skype, Viber doesn't require you to create an account with a username. Instead, it uses your mobile phone number. So you must first install it on your smart phone. Then you can install it on your computer if you want. In addition to free voice and video calls, Viber offers free text and photo messaging and location sharing with other Viber users. Just make sure you use a Wi-Fi connection rather than 3G so you don't use your phone's data.

Vonage Mobile. This relatively new Android and iPhone app lets users make free voice and video calls and send free text messages to others with the app. You also can use it to make free calls to Vonage home phone customers. Like Viber, it uses your mobile phone number as your caller ID.

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