Do Callcards still work?...
Pictured: Traditional style Irish phonebox. Photo credits: Kilgarron
A question I am quite often asked, do Callcards still work? The answer may surprise you. Callcards lost popularity back in the late nineties due to the increase in affordable mobile phones. Gradually shops stopped stocking Callcards and Eircom (now Eir) started to decrease the number of public payphones.
By the end of 2009, Eircom have already removed half of all phoneboxes. The current payphone type Eir implemented back in the early ‘00s function as both a coin and card payphone. Even to this day the cardphone functionality is still active. This means that Callcards with remaining units can still be used today!
Just after the millennium Eircom produced a new variety of Callcards, rather than the Callcard containing a Unit for credit, a cash value was used instead. Prior to the euro changeover earlier Callcards displayed the price in Irish Punts (£) and can be seen on the early Simply Talk series.
This in itself brought some interesting changes. Rather than blocking earlier Callcards with Unit denominations eircom decided to convert the Unit values to cash ones. As a result of this changeover the Callcards value was changed as below:
- 5 Units – N/A
- 10 Units - €4.00
- 20 Units - €7+€3 Free
- 50 Units – €15 + €10 Free
- 100 Units – N/A
Pictured: Callcard showing €12 remaining credit. Photo credits: Adverts.ie
Another interesting feature of this implementation is that Eircom recycled many older Callcards by printing over older cards with the new design. Even though the cards were reprinted it is generally quite easy to identify which Callcard was overprinted. For more information about overprinted Simply Talk cards click here.
The Last issue Callcard is believed to have been produced sometime around the years 2005 and 2006. Some shops in Dublin City Centre even continued to sell Callcards up until very recently.
This callcard contains a very bland design. This card is part of the "Simply Talk" definitive card series. Interestingly only a €15 Callcard was produced using this design, €4 or €7 versions are not known to exist.
For Callcard collectors, a Callcard reader device is required to check if a Callcard has full units or has been partially used. Particularly for Callcards which did not come in a wrapper.
Pictured: An Eircom branded Callcard reader that is capable of reading a Callcards remaining unit count. As can be seen from the above photo, the Montage Callcard is mint with all 5 Units still on the card. These readers were sold to the general public via the Callcard collectors Club. These particular readers can read Irish Callcard chips only (they will not work for international phonecards).
When was the last time you used a Callcard or a phonebox? Feel free to comment below!