Smart Buying

Retirees, Use Video Chat Freebies to Gather the Family for the Holidays

Free video conferencing apps have become household names this year as Americans turned to them for virtual gatherings throughout the year.

What’s the key to being merry and wise this holiday season? The ability to enjoy all the face time you want with people outside your household while still practicing social distancing. Video chat apps have become household names this year as Americans turned to them for virtual gatherings throughout the year. Most of these apps are free with some restrictions, either limiting the number of people who can attend or slapping on a time limit for your free session.  Of the four video chat apps whose restrictions we describe here, only Facetime works exclusively on Apple products. The three remaining apps can be used on any device. 

  • Facetime: Facetime is free for anyone with an Apple device (it's pre-installed on iPhones and iPads).
  • GoToMeeting: It's free for a two-week trial (credit card not required for trial.) Outside of that, professional use is $12 a month and businesses are charged $16 a month.
  • Skype: Skype offers a free link to host a gathering for up to 50 people. International chats cost $2.99-$7.99 a month, depending on the country.
  • Zoom: Zoom offers unlimited time for two users. For three or more users, there's a 40-minute time limit or $14.99 a month for unlimited time.

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