Prepaid telephone calls

The term credit card, in Austria also value card, the use of services is circumscribed pre-paid credit accounts, which is widespread in the telecommunications sector. The term commonly used prepaid card derives from engl. prepaid for " prepaid " from.

  • 6.1 In mobile communications
  • 8.1 Germany 8.1.1 vesting of assets
  • 8.1.2 Anonymity of credit cards

Map as data carrier

The access information on the use of the services are usually on cards in the format of a debit card ( 85.60 mm × 53.98 mm ) are stored, which are made ​​of plastic or cardboard and their data in printed or embossed letters, a magnetic stripe or contained in an electronic memory chip or the processor. If the card only serves as an information carrier for printed access and PIN codes, it is possible in principle to remember after buying the digits combinations of the map to destroy the card and then continue to use the noted number combination the service.

Card as payment

The access information on the chart give the owner access to his credit account, which is led by name or anonymously card issuer and of the amounts due (eg for guided telephone calls or the use of vending machines ) are shut booked. The value of the remaining balance will be stored directly on the card only for a few applications. Such systems are often simply constructed for closed user groups, such as prepaid cards for photocopying or hot drinks machines, in which the reader does not have an online connection has to be clearing houses and possibly offline blacklists of compromised cards are kept. In the system of money the credit card is also stored directly on the card, all reservations may be tracked over a shadow account, to regulate exactly after a card damages to, among other things. The access information entitle - regardless of whether they are stored in a chip or printed on the card - the owner to use the credit card. If you lose the card or the card information, a block on the card and / or providing substitute is offered by only a few card issuers.

Contractual relationship

Although acquisition, deposit and use made ​​anonymously - the provider of the personal data of the user so do not know - comes between client and provider, a contract relationship in which " the card" is only used as means of payment, comparable to the use of postage stamps as postage or to be canceled tickets. As such, the advertising of many suppliers with the slogan " no contract " legally untenable. In mobile prepaid card providers require the explicit recognition of their terms and conditions and are legally bound by the Telecommunications Interception Regulation ( TKÜV ) to store the personal data of customers. Conditions are part of many clauses that oblige customers to breach of duty to pay high amounts. It is also dependent on the contract terms, whether a single connecting proof can be viewed by the customer. This is usually met only on application and is possibly also for a fee.

Types of credit cards

Cards for use of telephone call credit

  • Credit card ( Germany ) or phone card ( Austria ) for the use of GSM mobile phones with starting balance and recharging
  • Calling cards: prepaid cards for the use of ( international ) telephone exchanges, mostly anonymous, with or without the possibility of charging; are also offered postpaid
  • Value cards for public telephones: Phone Card ( Germany ) or ÖKaTel ( Austria ); with credit without recharging

Game Time Code

Game Time codes are used in account -based computer games, such as MMORPGs, for the activation of additional game time. They fall under the type of credit cards with printed code.

Other credit cards

  • Credit cards for charging
  • Copy cards for use of photocopiers (either not charged or postpaid )
  • Money cards as rechargeable coin set, such as to parking ticket machines, vending machines and in more and more car parks
  • " Canteen cards " for payment in company canteens (mostly prepaid, partly postpaid )
  • Electronic student ID cards, such as the multi-functional smart card ecUM the University of Mannheim, which must be used within the university campus to pay for drinks, food and books ( loan)
  • Credit cards for the use of operational goods sale and hot drinks machines (such as the above mentioned " canteen cards")
  • Credit cards for Freistempel-/Frankiermaschinen
  • PayCashCards (eg, paysafecard, ukashcard etc. ) to anonymous cash payment of products and services on the Internet
  • Gift cards for retail, which take over the function of gift certificates

Payment of the balance

Before charging the card after consumption of starting balance different payment methods are offered:

  • Value cards made ​​of plastic or laminated cardboard with number combinations for free scratching (so-called " scratch cards ").
  • Expression of recharge codes to their own customers after payment terminals with Bank-/Sparkassenkarte ( D) or debit card ( AUT) (both formerly known as " debit card " )
  • Expression of the charging code via " bettywin online voucher system " ( virtual card - Ticket expression) in an Internet café, call shop, petrol station or kiosk from the shop owner directly to the customer in cash
  • Direct boot into gas stations, kiosks or ( in D and AUT ) in specific bank branches over ATM ( D) / ATM ( AUT)
  • Bank transfer to the vendor
  • Debiting of the credit card or bank account via a written order; via our call center; by telephone in an AVR system with voice recognition or DTMF control; or on the Internet. Many mobile providers offer a regular or charged automatically if the balance falls below a certain amount.

If the use of certain services, such as phone calls abroad ( roaming), is linked to the use of the automatic charge by debiting authorization from the bank account, it is a hybrid of prepaid and postpaid card.

Reasons for the use of prepaid systems

The concept of credit card has the advantage for the provider that he may make his services available, without having to extend credit to the customer (see postpaid ). Moreover, the customer gives the card issuer in the form of credits an interest-free loan, which expires similar vouchers for some providers when not in use.

As a substitute for cash, eg in canteens or vending machines the credit cards allow the seller to save the handling of coins, in order to accelerate the sale and in particular to dispense with buying machines on coin validation and change stockpiling.

In mobile communications

The decision of a customer for a prepaid rate may have several reasons, such as when the customer wants to set a fixed cost limit, distrusts the correct charging of calls to mobile phone monthly contract, benefit from the often cheaper rates as compared to conventional mobile phone monthly contract or want to bypass a usual minimum contract term for mobile phone monthly contract.

Since, according to "pocket money paragraph" in the BGB mobile phone contracts with young people under 18 years are ineffective and invoice amounts paid could be reclaimed, such a risk is eliminated with this system.

The " simplicity ", which also promotes impulse purchases, and the fact that often represent prepaid cards for customers without their own income or with negative credit bureau entries, the only way to mobile phone use, it enables operators for identical products in prepaid systems higher prices charged to provide than the accounting in fixed-term contracts.

The provider can minimize its costs of managing the customer relationship by reducing to the legally prescribed by the Telecommunications Interception Ordinance measure. Usually no customer bills offered for prepaid services.

Credit cards with no credit check

People who can not get a regular credit card with credit reporting agencies because of negative credit entries, use credit cards on a credit basis. Unlike regular credit cards credit credit cards to ensure the benefits of cost and expenditure control as well as increased protection against high credit by external influences (eg theft). This is offset by the disadvantage of always having to provide sufficient coverage and thus to take an often unnecessarily high cash bond in purchasing. Furthermore, mostly to pay significantly higher fees than regular credit cards for the annual card usage.


In the mobile industry start packages with mobile phone, SIM card and starting balance are common, where the phones are usually locked with a SIM lock against the use of other SIM cards. The first European providers who offered prepaid SIM cards, was the Düsseldorf-based company Walter Siebel electronics, which brought in April 1996 ' Siebel 's credit card "on the German market. Siebel 's credit cards were completely anonymous and limited not only by the credit here, but also on your run-time ago. Later the company Mannesmann mobile is made ​​to own the idea of Walter Siebel and brought under his own name the CallYa card on the market. Since 2005, recorded mobile discounter in Germany market growth, offering the SIM card and start credit include a subsidized phone.

Since only the time-dependent calling costs, but no fee is charged, the time rates are usually higher than for post-paid. Especially with mobile discounters, this is often not the case, so often calling rates of mobile discounters are more favorable than the running time contracts.

Across the world, in July 2006, of the approximately 2.3 billion mobile phone contracts 1.5 billion prepaid contracts. Here, especially Africa with more than 90 % and South America and Eastern Europe leading with about 80%. In Germany in 2006 37.7 % of mobile phone owners had a prepaid card, 2012, it was 41.8 %.

If the credit phoned, the number is still a certain time distance ( 2-15 months ). If the credit is not renewed during this period, the card is blocked. It is here between credit validity ( "Phone Time" - 3-24 months ) and subsequent accessibility ( "Message Time" ) distinguished.

The mobile operators operate credit systems usually via an intelligent network (IN). In the IN network nodes SCP / SMP both the map data is stored as also calculates the call charges.

Some of the mobile operators offer prepaid systems parallel to contracts with logging on, another part only sells prepaid cards.


Cards offered by the German mobile operator called, among other things: BASE prepaid (E -Plus), CallYa (Vodafone ), O ₂ prepaid (O ₂) and Xtra (T -Mobile ). Cheap offers, so-called no-frills offers are available directly from the Internet (eg, mobile image,, callmobile, congstar, Fonic, ring, Data protection, solomo ) or at retail chains such as Aldi ( ALDI TALK ) Edeka Mobil, Lidl mobile ( FONIC ), penny ( PENNY mOBILE ), Plus, Rewe ( yes! mobile), Schlecker ( smobil ) Tchibo ( Tchibo Mobil), see mobile discounter.

Vesting of assets

After two judgments of high courts may at mobile operators O2 Germany and Vodafone Germany no longer expire the credit, not after the expiry of a grace period even after early termination. Moreover, now there is also a judgment that it prohibits the payment of an additional fee to prepaid credit request.

Anonymity of prepaid cards

Since 2004, providers of prepaid cards may only after stating the name, address and date of birth unlock ( § 111 para 1 TKG). The providers are not obliged to control the information provided by the customer on the basis of identification. Wrong data are not prohibited by law, as long as one does not submit a foreign passport (see abuse of identity documents ). On the client files of network operators than 1,000 agencies have online access. Will be held 6 million hits per year.

After appropriate commercial offers were reprimanded, the Internet is a non- commercial Handykarten Exchange is offered.

A constitutional complaint against the German identification has forced the Federal Constitutional Court in 2012 rejected " in view of the not very far-reaching information content of the data collected ." The complainants have announced, however, to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights ". Thus every person without fear of disadvantages take telephone advice or help, report crimes and can put the press of grievances in regard to " The society needs anonymous telecommunications,


Cards offers Austrian mobile providers are: B-Free (A1 - Mobilkom Austria ), three Reload ( Three ) Klax (T -Mobile Austria ), Orange Prepaid Card - formerly TAKE ONE - (Orange), YESSS! and mosquito ( Tele.ring ). The mobile phone company eety only offers credit cards cards in supermarkets (Hofer ) on.

A registration requirement as in Germany is not in Austria.


In the Swiss mobile market following prepaid offers are currently available:

Prepaid cards of mobile operators:

  • "Free" of Sunrise
  • " NATEL ® easy " Swisscom
  • "Orange Me" and " Orange World" by Orange

Prepaid Cards by service providers:

  • " Cablecom mobile ready" Cablecom
  • " CoopMobile " Coop ( retail chain )
  • " Lebara Mobile " from Lebara
  • " Lycamobile " Lycamobile
  • "M- Budget Mobile " from Migros ( retail chain )
  • "Mobile zone light" of mobile zone
  • "OK -. " Valora AG
  • " Salut Mobile " from Aldi Suisse ( retail chain )
  • " Talk Talk Standard" at The Phone House
  • " Yallo " of Sunrise Communications AG

Registration requirement: If you buy a SIM card in Switzerland, must register for their activation. For registration requires an ID card, if not issued in Switzerland, is allowed to cross the border into Switzerland. The registration requirement was introduced in 2004.

Literature on payment procedures via prepaid cards

  • Ernst Stahl, Thomas Krabichler, Markus Breitschaft, Georg Wittmann payment transactions on the Internet - meaning, status quo and future challenges. Regensburg 2006, ISBN 3-937195-12-2. For more information about the study and management summary as PDF
  • Markus Breitschaft, Thomas Krabichler, Ernst Stahl, Georg Wittmann: Secure Payment Methods for E -Government. In: Federal Office for Security in Information Technology ( Eds.): E -Government Manual. Federal Gazette Verlag, 2004. Updated Version May 2005, ISBN 3-89817-180-9. Study for download in PDF format from the BSI