Can Cell Phones Accept Collect Calls?

Collect calls don’t take place very often, but they still occur from time to time. These calls allow you to contact someone else free of charge while that person “collects” the fees for the call. Before you dial that number though, you need to make sure the other person can receive your connection. Can cell phones accept collect calls? How much are mobile collect calls?

What Are Collect Calls?

Collect calls, also known as reverse charge calls, are designed to connect you to another caller without you having to pay for the phone call. This most often occurs on pay phones, where the caller does not have the money to cover the cost of the call. In the past, operators were on hand to arrange collect calls, but most telecommunications providers have automated systems now. You tell them the number you want to connect to, and they reach out to the other person.

Do Cell Phones Accept Collect Calls?

Cell phones can accept collect calls just like landlines. The only difference may be in the amount of money you get charged for accepting a collect call. The standard fee for collect calling is $9.99 for the connection. The minutes you spend on the phone will count toward your monthly allowance.

Note that if you have a purchase blocker on your account to prevent extra charges from showing up, you will not be able to accept collect calls. You will need to have that block removed in order to talk to the other person.

How Do Collect Calls Work?

To make a collect call, a person must first contact a collect call operator. Most pay phones will have numbers like this listed. For instance, AT&T’s Text to Collect service is available at 1-800-225-5288.

Once the person reaches the operator, he must tell the operator who he is trying to reach. Most collect call providers will allow the caller to say their name in a recording so that the other person knows who is trying to reach them. The operator will contact the other party and let him know that someone wants to call him collect. If the person accepts the call, the two individuals are connected with one another.

Some phone companies have limits on how long you can talk on a collect call. The time frame is typically 20 minutes. After the conversation is complete, the person receiving the collect call gets a charge on his bill, which he pays with his normal monthly charges when his bill comes due.

Forwarded Calls

If you have your home phone forwarded to your cell phone while you are out of the house, you can still accept collect calls that come into your home phone. The minutes will count against your wireless account, but the charges will go on your home phone bill. For instance, if you use Verizon for your wireless service and AT&T for your landline, you will get the extra charge on the AT&T account while you use up minutes with Verizon.

Unaccepted Collect Calls

If the wireless customer you are trying to reach will not accept a collect call, you can either choose to call him directly or not contact him at all. If you are receiving a collect call you do not want to be charged for, you can choose not to accept the call. You will not be charged anything more than the minutes used to listen to the message.

Collect calls do not happen often anymore, but sometimes they are a necessity. If you have a cell phone and someone needs to reach you through a collect call, you will have no trouble talking to that person.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.