Traveller cash emergency, my Vonage saved the day

Talking with a friend about calling technology, I was reminded of a calling lesson I hadn’t thought to share here. In early December, I was hanging out in the sitting area of Bambu Hostel in David, a fellow traveller approached me and asked if he might borrow my iPhone. He was having problems with his bank card and his bank needed to call his bank as soon as possible. Happily, I was able to help.

I had three calling options installed:

  • Skype
  • Vonage Mobile app
  • MagicJack

Vonage Mobile was the instrument that saved me when I needed to call my own banks. It even lets me call the US for free (for now).I knew MagicJack could call the US as well. However, this guy needed to call Europe. I don’t recall where he was from. Maybe Sweden, Denmark or Germany. The issue was simply that I had never used these apps to call any place but the US, which has been free for me so far.

In this case, we needed a way to put calling credit into the app and we needed it to be immediate. I looked at Skype and then Vonage. We also checked their calling rates. The rates were similar — and this guy was shocked by how low the rates were!


In Vonage Mobile, I clicked the More button and then Add Credit. This is the screen that presented itself. We were in luck. I happened to have credit in iTunes so calling credit was just a click or so away. I don’t recall the exact process but I pretty much just had to enter my iTunes password and the $4.99 credit appeared.

Within minutes, the guy was calling his bank.

The only thing left for me to do was pray that the internet connection held long enough for him to complete his call. The internet in David may or may not be good, but Bambu’s wi-fi router and Ethernet cables are literally falling apart and, from what I have been told by other travellers, needed replacing a full year ago.

Impressively, with even such a poor, spotty wi-fi signal, Vonage Mobile held the call. This was not a short call, and it went on without flaw. At no time did we hear our companion saying “can you hear me” or “repeat that” and he didn’t have to move from his seat on the couch to find better signal.

What the bank could do for this guy was limited — but thanks to Vonage Mobile, he was able to do all that he could to rectify his bank problems.

And the cost of his lengthy call to Europe? I didn’t think to check but to taking the screen shot I share with you here, I noticed I still have $4.73 left on my account. The call cost .26 cents!

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