Prepaid Services are a means of making telephone calls by purchasing a set
amount of minutes used to make long distance phone calls. These are usually
sold in the form of a prepaid calling card. Prepaid phone cards are typically
sold for specific dollar amounts and typically include a 1-800 number and
Personal Identification Number (PIN) (printed on the back of the phone card)
that customers then use to make phone calls. Prepaid phone cards are widely
used by consumers wishing to take advantage of reduced
long distance rates or because they don't have access to a telephone in their
The cards provide minutes based upon the specific rates set by the provider. As
calls are made, the usable minutes are automatically deducted from the card
balance. Some cards are also rechargable, allowing the user to add more time by
dialing a toll-free number or accessing an Internet site and using a major
Prepaid phone cards are sold across Illinois at a wide variety of locations such
as restaurants, supermarkets, liquor stores, specialty shops, and department stores.
Certified Pre-Paid Service Providers in Illinois
Entities involved in the sale and distribution of prepaid calling cards and
other prepaid calling services will want to be familiar with the requirements
set forth in the Illinois Public Utilities Act (220/ILCS 5/13)
added by the Public Act 93-1002.
What Should You Do If You Want To Participate in the Prepaid Services Industry?
The ICC is charged with certifying "Prepaid Calling Service Providers." If you
are an entity that wishes to participate in the prepaid industry in this way
then you must be certified by July 1, 2005. You must also keep your information
up to date by informing the ICC promptly of any changes to your legal name or
toll-free Customer Service Numbers. The following link will supply you with the
application: Certification Application.
I already have a Certificate to operate in Illinois; do I need to apply for another certificate?
Yes. However, if you already hold a Certificate of Service Authority from the
Illinois Commerce Commission then you may be able to obtain your Certificate of
Prepaid Calling Service Provider Authority without a hearing upon a showing
more particularly described in Section 13-404.1(b) of Public Act 93-1002.
What if I am only a "Retailer"?
Retailers that only make available their place of business as a location for
the sale of prepaid cards of unrelated providers do not need to be certified.
You should review the above reference statute however to ensure that you fall
into this category and be aware that provisions were added to the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act that may apply to you.