While many people have their own phone plan at a major carrier that will provide them with unlimited international call minutes, many people still rely on plans that charge extra or use a prepaid phone for their day-to-day calling needs. This means that international minutes will often cost more money, which can put stress on the individual’s budget and make it harder to reach their loved ones.
The good news is that, with recent advancements in technology, there are certain apps designed to tackle this problem so that you can connect to others on an international level. But which apps are the best for this use, and what types of benefits will they provide in comparison to similar solutions that may be available?
In order to help you find what you need to call people who are outside of the country, here are the 12 best apps to make free international calls that you should try for your communication needs.
Apps to Make Free (or Cheap) International Calls
We have plenty of other recommendations that will help you achieve great communication for free (or cheap, if you find that you would benefit from the additional services that many of the apps below have to offer). Let’s dive in!
1. Rakuten’s Viber
Have you ever come across the popular cashback shopping platform known as Ebates? If so, you are going to be fairly familiar with this company already. Ebates recently became Rakuten, an internet company focusing on providing users with a host of different internet services, with one of them being an application known as Viber.
Viber is a free messaging and calling app that offers unique and helpful features like instant messaging (which can include photos, videos, files, and voice and video messages), the ability to make both voice calls and video calls, group chats and calls, Viber communities, the ability to create stickers and GIFS, and the ability to edit or delete messages or set disappearing messages that will expire over a set period of time. Whether you are looking to make calls or send messages on your phone, your tablet, or your laptop computer, Viber will provide you with the secure, reliable service you need to connect to those who matter most.
However, while you may see the word “free” plastered all over the internet when it comes to this service, the most important thing to know is that Viber is only free for call and messaging when you are communicating with other Viber users. So, what can you do if you are communicating with someone who doesn’t have the platform?
The good news is that Viber does offer another service known as Viber Out. Viber Out is a cheap monthly plan that will allow you to make unlimited domestic or international calls to landlines and mobile phones, all for $5.99 a month. If you feel like you don’t want unlimited, you can also do prepaid options (although these will cost a little bit more for the regular user).
So, whether you have family and friends outside of the country who have access to Viber or are trying to get in touch with people who do not, you can find both free and cheap services for your communication needs.
Sometimes, the simplest options are the easiest. If you are an Apple user and are in constant communication with other Apple users, using FaceTime is a great way to connect with those both in this country and in others.
Although this app is strictly for Apple users and will not work with other products, FaceTime comes with many of the exciting features that you would enjoy on similar applications on this list. These features include:
- Being able to reach out to others using either their phone number or their Apple ID.
- Use effects in-app like animoji and stickers.
- Switch between the front camera and the back camera while in video calls with others.
- Start audio and video calls with other users.
- Host a group FaceTime with up to 32 others.
- Create favorites or call others directly through the phone app (favorite contacts and recent calls make FaceTiming others easier).
- Use FaceTime over both Wi-Fi and cellular data.
Additionally, as long as you are connecting with others who have Apple products, whether those be laptops, tablets, phones, or iPods, you will never have to pay a cent. FaceTime is always free!
While it’s certainly nice to have free apps built into your phone that makes international calling a breeze, not everyone that owns a phone owns an Apple product (and neither may their friends and relatives). One of the most versatile apps that provides a viable alternative is Skype.
Having been around since 2003, Skype needs no introduction. This popular communication service works on both computers and mobile devices, offering a host of features like audio calling and HD video calling, being able to message contacts that you connect with through the service, the ability to share your screen with others, and affordable (domestic and international) calling to users who do not have access to the application.
Before we move on, Skype is very much a different service than many other free calling apps you would use. This is due to the fact that many users utilize Skype for all aspects of their lives. This popularity has resulted in the creation of a variety of additional services that you should know about (even if you may not need them). Some Skype services you may wish to look further into include:
- Skype’s international calling feature, Skype to phone, gives you the ability to make calls to certain areas, for which the price that you pay depends upon your needs. Subscriptions start at around $3 but there is also the option to purchase individual Skype Credits for your international calling needs.
- Interested in hosting your own meetings without having to go through complicated processes to get your team or group together? With Skype, you can easily create a meeting link, share it with your friends, family, or coworkers (up to 50 people can join), and join automatically (if you don’t have Skype downloaded, it will just open up the web version for you).
- Skype is now compatible with Alexa, making it simpler to connect with others if you are both a fan of this service and Amazon’s services as well.
- Are you a content creator who live streams, hosts webinars, or has their own podcast? Skype will allow you to easily record group video and audio and integrate it into the various types of media that you release.
- Looking to make Skype your only phone plan? You can get a local phone number through the Skype platform, paying a low monthly fee for unlimited incoming calling from over 25 different countries and regions (of course, this will not be the right choice for outbound calling).
Overall, Skype is a solid service for free international calls and beyond. Even if you are unable to connect with those outside of your countries on the Skype app, you will be able to pay a small fee to get the type of connectivity you need!
4. Google Hangouts (and Beyond)
Like Microsoft, Google has an entire array of tools geared towards productivity and communication. If you are a fan of Google solutions and wish to make the most out of your G-Suite services, here are a few of the Google products that you should know about that can help you connect with international friends, family, and business partners.
- Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is an audio and video calling (and messaging) service offered by Google that makes it easy to connect with others who are a fan of Google’s services. This app does allow for audio and video calls around the country but will charge a small fee for international calls. These fees will depend upon the location of the person you are trying to reach, and you will need to purchase credits in order to make these calls.
- Google Voice: Aptly named, Google Voice is a free phone service that makes it possible to connect with others via the web. This app actually provides a very similar experience to how a phone normally functions, which is great for those who may be turned off by the functionality of other products on this list. That said, like Google Hangouts, Google Voice does charge a small fee for international calls. You can view the full list of countries it supports and the current rates here.
- Google Chat: Google Chat provides an experience similar to that of an instant messaging application like Slack. With more of a business focus, Google Chat must go through a G-Suite account first before it can connect with others. If you mainly speak with international clients, this could be a solid solution to look into.
- Google Meet: Love going online for video meetings with others. Google Meet, which was previously a premium service, is now free for everyone to use. Just set up the meeting, send the code to those who you want to join, and get together!
- Google Duo: Google Duo is arguably the most underrated yet most useful product on this list, offering you a truly free video chat experience with other users of Duo. If you’re worried about having to pay extra charges and you don’t want to be surprised when trying to reach out to others in foreign countries (they must have the app downloaded on their app, of course), Google Duo is certainly one app that you should turn to for your needs.
Granted, not all of these services will be a suitable solution for your needs, but you may find something that will work best for you in the many different communication services that Google is focused on providing its users.
5. Facebook Messenger
If you are someone who regularly uses Facebook now or has used it in the past, you are most likely well aware of the messaging app that Facebook supplies for users both on and off the actual application itself.
Facebook Messenger is a free messaging platform that makes it easy to connect with other Facebook friends who have the app. Beyond the messaging capabilities (which can send images, voice chats, GIFS, and other files), Facebook also has built-in audio and video call capabilities, which means that everyone you already speak with is just a click away from being heard and seen.
The one advantage that we have to point out on this app in comparison to other apps is that Facebook messenger does allow for you to send money to others via the app. Considering that this is something that may be very important to those who are speaking with their family internationally, this feature is invaluable in helping you give or receive financial support. Many of the other platforms on this list do not have this feature, and sending money through the bank or other apps can often come with more complex processes and unseen difficulties.
While it may not be as popular here in the United States, WhatsApp is a free calling app that is extremely popular over in Europe (and for good reason).
WhatsApp calling is a free mobile/web app that allows you to instantly message or call those around the globe. With features like photo and video sending, voice texts, audio and video calls, and group chats capable of handling up to 256 people at a time, its simplicity makes it a great alternative to other complicated apps that charge for these types of basic functions.
Whether you want to chat on your phone, log onto your computer to chat with others, or even use their free business app for essential calls and communications, WhatsApp is one of the best free international calling apps to use for your needs.
Free calling apps generally fall into two categories: apps that look professional and apps that don’t. LINE doesn’t have the best design, which can make it seem as though it is a scam rather than a functional app, but it does have the track record to prove that it is an application designed to communicate with others on an international level.
LINE is a free messaging and audio/video calling platform that is designed to close the gap between you and your friends or family. Compatible with the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, PC, and Mac, LINE offers basic functionality and features like stickers, video/photo sharing, voice messages, location information, a timeline (with the ability to follow personal accounts of others), games and filters, and a live chat where you can meet others with similar interests. The company also offers a wide variety of games and even has its own store and merchandise on its website.
Funnily enough, this product is actually very similar to Viber. This is due to the fact that calls are only free to other LINE users. The other coincidence? While you can earn free five minute calls to domestic and international landlines/mobile phones, you will have to purchase credits or sign up for the LINE Out 30-day plan (they also offer LINE coins, but these only apply to Android users). These rates are generally pretty low, so if you do run out of free credits, it shouldn’t cost you too much extra to still make calls to users who do not have LINE.
FreeCall is a unique international calling solution that breaks away from the traditional model and establishes a new standard for those who rely on international calling to reach loved ones.
To be quite clear, FreeCall advertises itself as a cheap international calling app, which means that you will need to buy into it in order to reap some of the benefits that it has to offer. Rather than starting out with a free service and having to pay later on when you run out of free options, FreeCall works the other way around. To get started using their app, you have to purchase credits that will be used to make phone calls. By buying credits, you get access to free days that won’t charge you any credits. (Of course, you can also purchase a subscription for unlimited calls to certain countries, but this would defeat the point of using the service for its free minutes).
Beyond this feature, this is a very basic calling service, which means that it doesn’t come with all of the fancy extras that you can find in other apps on this list. However, if you need an app that won’t break the bank and will reward you for purchasing the credits you need to talk to others outside of your country, FreeCall may just be the right platform for you.
Whereas most calling and messaging apps seem to be relatively neutral about connecting with others, you can tell that Libon is a company that is very focused on family, especially when it comes to making sure that they stay connected internationally.
Libon is an international calling app that allows you to make calls to landlines and mobile phones in a wide variety of countries. Boasting benefits like very low rates at per second billing, no fees for connecting, no expiration dates on the minutes that you purchase, and the ability to connect from anywhere in the world, Libon truly is a good option to turn to if you need to speak with loved ones in another part of the world without running up your phone bill. You can also purchase an unlimited plan in the future if you find that Libon is your favorite app to call from.
Where this solution really stands out though is the fact that it allows you to not only top up your minutes but pay to fill up your family’s SIM cards as well. If your loved ones rely on you financially and with their phone payments so that they can speak to you, this is a crucial feature that you are certainly not going to see with other international calling platforms. Although this is only one feature, it is definitely one that we recommend diving deeper into Libon for.
TextNow is an app that doesn’t seem to have much visibility online, which is surprising given the features and functionality that this app provides.
TextNow is a free messaging and calling app that offers the phone service you need without the bill that typically accompanies it. With TextNow, you can call and text others across the United States and Canada for free, group messaging, voicemail boxes, and conference calling included across all devices (over Wi-Fi). Looking for something that you can use when you’re out and about? TextNow also offers its own SIM activation kit for those who want to be able to tap into the Sprint network rather than having to rely on local internet connections. They also offer ad-free plans and plans with data if you really want to provide yourself with a typical phone experience.
But what about international calling? If your family and friends live outside of North America, don’t fret. Some countries are still free of charge, such as Mexico and Italy. If your country does cost, the rates are still relatively low and affordable, making reaching your family a breeze. If you want something that can do it all and your family happens to live in one of the countries where there are no calling rates, TextNow may be the perfect service for you.
Some of the best options are simple, and this is something that PopTox aims to provide its users.
Instead of requiring you to download an app and sign in to make a phone call, PopTox gives you the option to simply make a call right from their website, either on a PC or a mobile device. All you have to do is go to the website on any web browser, enter the phone number and choose the country from a drop-down menu, and click the call button to make a call anywhere in the world (where PopTox allows).
Even though its relatively basic, this free option is perfect for those who want a hassle-free experience when making a call to a mobile phone or landline outside of the country.
VoipStunt (and the next recommendation that we make), is one that we believe you should be relatively cautious around. There are plenty of people that say that they like this service, but the layout of the website and some of the terms and conditions set forth by the company doesn’t give us the best impression.
VoipStunt provides users with free (and paid) calling to landlines and mobile numbers throughout the world. Unlike apps, which can be installed on your phone, you have to install the free VoipStunt software to get started. From there, you can either make calls via your computer, mobile devices, or fixed phones. They also offer texting services on the side.
Now, here is where it gets tricky. The company reserves the right to charge you whenever they see fit, which they say is after a certain amount of calls. At this point, you will have to purchase credits in order to speak to others internationally, but the rates are still relatively low through VoipStunt, which is a bonus. If you’re interested in trying out, it should be able to provide you with the services you are looking for, but you do need to remember that it may cost and it may be a bit more difficult to use than the average VoIP service.
We’re not going to go deep into VoipBuster as this is the same company that is behind VoipStunt, which means that it comes with the same functionality, terms, and use as the above. However, if you can’t seem to find your desired country on VoipStunt, you may want to look at VoipBuster and see if you can find that country there instead!
Stop Paying High Prices for International Calls
No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you are sure to find an international calling app that will present you with all the features you need, whether it is a free service or one that charges small fees. If you want to cut down on the large bills you have for calling loved ones outside of the states, use the guide above to learn more about the 12 best apps to make free international calls on!