Collect call

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A collect call in Canada and the United States, known as a reverse charge call in other parts of the English-speaking world, is a telephone call in which the calling party wants to place a call at the called party's expense.

Collect calls were originally only possible as an operator-assisted call, but with the introduction of computer-based telephone dialing equipment, it became possible to place a collect call without using an operator. Automated reverse charge dialing eliminated a service that could be provided, at a higher fee, only on operator-assisted connections: the person-to-person call, in which there is no charge unless a designated person is available.

In the US, while Mother's Day is the holiday with the highest number of phone calls, the day with the most collect calls is Father's Day.[1][2]



Australian telecom companies provide reverse charge services with the number 12550.[3][4] However, in the case of prepaid phones, this service is accessible only when a caller has sufficient credit to call 12550.

Several companies previously provided reverse call services in Australia, including 1800MUMDAD, 1800Reverse and 1800PhoneHome. In 2019, major telecommunication providers Optus and Telstra ceased billing services on behalf of third party content providers, causing these services to close.[5]

Telstra ran a reverse charge service called HomeLink during the 1990s and 2000s. Homelink consisted of an 1800 number and PIN that could only be linked to the user's home phone service. Calls were billed at a slightly higher cost than a standard local call. HomeLink grew out of popularity with the rise in mobile phones.


In Brazil, reverse calls are available for every land or mobile line call. All local reverse calls must be started by dialing 9090 and the desired phone number. If the user is not in the same zone as the recipient the calls must be started by dialing 90 + carrier code + area code + the desired phone number.[6]


In France, the service was called PCV (per ce voir). France Telecom discontinued the collect call on 1. August 2014.[7]


On 31. December 2020, Deutsche Telekom discontinued the option to make collect calls.[8]


There is not a simple way to make a reverse charge call for free in India. In early 2019 a private tech company launched services to enable a person to make an overseas reverse charge call.[9] AT&T also provides a number to make collect calls from India to the United States. The number is 000–117.[10]


Landline operator Telkom provides reverse charge services. A customer who needed the service had to call customer care and then request for reverse call. If the other person accepted, the call would then be connected and charged on his or her bill. In June 2019, the largest mobile service provider Safaricom started rolling out reverse call services to all its customers. To access the service, a customer has to dial # before dialing the desired number. The caller's details would appear on the recipient's screen as usual, but when the recipient answers the phone, a voice notice would informed them that the call is a reverse call. The recipient could then choose to accept the charges for the call by pressing 1 on the dial pad. Safaricom said that the cost of reverse calls is the same as the cost of normal calls.[11]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

A collect call service operates under 800 Reverse (operated by Reverse Corp Ltd),[12] in the Republic of Ireland. It offers reverse charge calls from any fixed line phone, pay phone and most mobile phones (even if the prepaid credit has run out), to most fixed land line and mobile phones in the Republic of Ireland.[13] The company charges €2.99 to connect the call, including the first 60 seconds of the call, and €0.593 for every subsequent minute.

Eircom offered national and international reverse charge calling services until 24 February 2009.[14] Prior to the cessation of services, national reverse charge service could be obtained by dialing the operator on 10 or, from payphones via 1 800 28 28 28 and international reverse charge services could be reached via the international operator on 114 or 1800 457 457 from payphones.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, a number of services offer reverse charge calling. A caller can dial the operator on 155 and request a reverse charge call.[15] Before these services were discontinued, 08000MUMDAD, 08000686323, 0800 Reverse also provided reverse charge calls. Reverse charge calls can be made for free on some mobile networks, although the person being contacted via this service may be charged a considerable amount for accepting such a call.

Freefone numbers indicated that a business agreed to automatically accept reverse charge calls to that number.

United States and Canada[edit]

Verizon discontinued collect calls on its landlines in 2016.[16] AT&T similarly discontinued its collect call services for the United States. [17] 1-800-COLLECT remains operational.

Prior to the introduction of the toll-free 800 area code in 1967, a Zenith number (in the U.S. and Canada) or an enterprise number (in the U.S. only) would indicate to an operator that the business agreed to automatically accept collect calls to that number.

In popular culture[edit]

The movie Dr. Strangelove contains a scene in which a character attempts to place a collect call to the President of the United States after finding he does not have enough change on hand for the payphone.

In seasons 6, episode 16, of The Simpsons, Bart Simpson damages Australia–United States relations in a series of escalating events beginning with an $900 international collect call.

The Fluffy Movie features material about collect calls, their antiquity, and the familial politics of placing a collect call.

In the video game Darkest Dungeon, the Collector's ability to summon his minions, "Collect Call," is a pun-based reference to collect calling.


  1. ^ "We Love You: Call Collect". 4 May 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  2. ^ Gogoi, Pallavi (14 June 2005). "Father's Unspectacular Day". Bloomberg.
  3. ^ "Special Calls: Reverse Charge Calls".
  4. ^ "C Blue Plan rates" (PDF).
  5. ^ "1800 Reverse finally hangs up on collect calls business". iTnews. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  6. ^ "Como realizar chamadas a partir do celular" (in Portuguese). Anatel. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  7. ^ Présentation de PCV France
  8. ^ Kostenlos telefonieren per R-Gespräch
  9. ^ "You can make collect calls to US now - Times of India". The Times of India. 31 August 2002. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  10. ^ "How To Make Free Collect Calls from India to USA". Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  11. ^ "Safaricom rolls out reverse call feature to all customers". Safaricom. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  12. ^ [1] - Reverse Corp Ltd Website
  13. ^ "No Credit? No Loose Change? It's Time to Call 1800 Reverse". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-01. - 1800 Reverse (Ireland) Website: About Us
  14. ^ eircom Alarm Clock Call and Reverse Charge Call charging information[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Safaricom rolls out reverse call feature to all customers". BT. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  16. ^ "Verizon seeks clearance to discontinue collect calling, other legacy voice services | FierceTelecom". 10 June 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  17. ^ "AT&T wants to discontinue collect calling, international directory assistance services | FierceTelecom". 14 June 2016. Retrieved 2023-09-20.