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 homes.

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 credit card.

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)External Link added by the Public Act 93-1002External Link.

  • 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 93-1002External Link.
  • 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 ActExternal Link that may apply to you.