Making and receiving calls while on holiday or working overseas shouldn’t leave you with an eye-watering phone bill when you get home.
We’ve put together a run-through of some of the free international call apps for Android and iPhone, to help you avoid excessive call charges. Along with other ways to save while travelling, like using international payment apps such as TransferWise.
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More on that later.
When using any app, keep-in-mind that although they are free to use - data charges may still apply.
For apps that require you to enter a number, you'll need to remember to enter the '+' followed by the country calling code of the number you want to call. For example to call a German registered number, it would need to start with calling code:+49.
You may already have one or more of the popular free international call apps on your phone, such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Skype - but which one has features that work for you?
WhatsApp has over half a billion daily users¹. It’s a great app for free messaging wherever you are in the world, but did you know that it’s also great for making free calls in Europe and worldwide?
It works just the same abroad as it does in the UK - so it’s simple to use while you’re away.
There's no need to limit yourself to voice calls or messages when - WhatsApp lets you make international video calls for free too. Fire off messages to contacts all over the world, just as you would when chatting to friends at home.
Is FaceTime free internationally? You bet, and it works just the same as at home. The Apple app allows you to make free international calls from mobile and tablet devices.
You can make voice and video calls to people around the world, providing they have an Apple device - with free international calling over WiFi (iPhone 4 or later) and mobile data (iPhone 4s or later). You’ll also be able to group FaceTime with up-to 32 people at once. The app is geared towards voice and video calling only -for messages they offer iMessage. ³
Ideal for business-related calls, Skype is completely free when you’re calling someone else with the app. However, it’s also a cheap international calls app for calling landlines and mobile phones which don’t have Skype installed. It’d normally cost a bundle to make these kinds of calls, but by using Skype on your side you can shave a decent amount off the bill.
Although Skype-to-Skype calls are free, if you need to call a mobile or landline there will be a cost. The cost differs depending where you need to call, but as an example if you needed to call India the cost would be: £6.60 /mo, whilst calling the US would only be £2.40 /mo.⁵
Viber is a popular video calling app with over 1 billion global users⁶. Like others, it’s free to make calls to other app users – no matter what country they’re in – as long as you’re online. And while you can’t make free calls online without registration, it is super-fast to sign up.
International calls and messages to other Viber users are free. Although calls to landlines and mobiles are chargeable as part of the Viber Out plan.⁹
This instant messenger app offers a simple, free way to contact other imo.im users around the world. You can message or better still, take advantage of great quality HD video calling. It doesn’t offer a dazzling array of features, but imo.im is a great WiFi calling apps in terms of simplicity and clean, user-friendly design.
Calls to imo.im users in any global location, through WiFi or mobile internet.If you need to bring the gang together, you can do it through imo.im – for free as long as everyone has the app. Their group chat option allows you to chat with a group of up-to 100K people.¹⁰
Google Duo offers simple, high quality video calls for smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart displays. Connect via WiFi or mobile data, to call anyone anywhere, as long as they have a Duo account.¹¹
Google Duo also gives you the option to send a video message if you want to just share something quick, or if the person you’re calling can’t answer.¹²
In addition to an array of messaging features, Facebook also lets you do voice and video calls via their platform. You can even use filters when you hop on a call - optional.
Although Facebook Messenger offers voice and video calls, you won’t be able to do this with Messenger Lite. You’ll need the full Messager if you want to use the calls feature.¹³
You’ve sorted the international calls situation, but what if you’re paying unnecessary costs elsewhere during your trip?
Don't lose money when abroad - get the multi-currency app from TransferWise and spend in any currency with ridiculously low fees.
You’ll also get a free TransferWise debit Mastercard®, to spend at the mid-market exchange rate with low conversion fees.
With the travel-friendly apps above, you’ll have all you need to make free international calls online. And with a super handy tool like the TransferWise, you’ll also have a sure-fire way to manage your money while abroad.
- Stats on number of WhatsApp users
- WhatsApp FAQ: Voice and Video Calls
- FaceTime: App Store Preview
- Skype: International Calls
- Viber: About
- Viber: Features
- Viber: Download
- Imo.im App
- Google Duo: FAQ
- Google Duo: About
- Facebook Messenger: Features
Sources checked on 15-October 2019.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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