The phonecard was a credit size
BT Phonecards were available nationwide, brought typically from newsagents and petrol stations and were available in different denominations (value of credit) ranging from 20 units to 200 units - each 10 units was comparable to £1.00 GBP. The later BT Phonecards which used a microchip (introduced in 1996), didn't include a units amounts instead just the price of the card e.g. £10.00 GBP.
Used Phonecards could be discarded and a new one was then needed to make subsequent calls. BT had considered a charge card system whereby a used card could be recharged with new credit. But it was thought that this would be open to fraud.
With so many Phonecards being needed to supply the UK's demand, and following BT's decision in 1986 to allow advertisers to print their logo, company message, etc on the front of their Phonecards. A new hobby was born in collecting the seemingly ever increasing number of cards.
Telephone card collectors or fuselilatists as they
demise. With the increasing use of the "mobile phone" BT found that their payphone network usage was dropping, which of course included their Phonecard payphones. Finally in 2002 a decision was made by British Telecom to end production of the BT Phonecard.
This decision naturally had knock on effect to the collectors market, and in the subsequent 10+ years, UK collector numbers have dramatically fallen. As have the prices that phone card collectors are willing to pay. The hobby does still live on, but in seemingly ever decreasing numbers.
For more information about collecting telephone cards and specifically the history and story of the BT Phonecard, please see http://www.telephonecardcollector.com.
BT Cardphone 1A >