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Toll-Free Number in the USA: How to Get One for Your Business

You’ve seen them everywhere: flashing across billboards, tucked into the pages of your Sunday paper, all over the internet and TV. Omnipresent for the past 50 years, toll-free numbers have come to be regarded as the staple of a professional business. They’re also a neat proposal for customers – why would anyone pay for a call they can make for free?

Below, we’ll explore what kinds of companies will benefit from an American toll-free number, point out the privileges it entails, and help you choose the best service provider for your needs.

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What Is a US Toll-Free Number?

Toll-free numbers are phone numbers that are free of charge for the caller. The party that receives the call handles the expenses. The US toll-free number list includes “classic” area code 800 as well as 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. The service is applicable for the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) countries: the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Toll-free Numbers in Canada

What Area Codes Are Available for Toll-Free Numbers in the USA?

As the oldest, the 1-800 number is kind of the “Adam and Eve” of toll-free codes. However, as a business owner, there’s no need to think of “800” as a more reliable area code and hunt after it. All of the prefixes mentioned below are perfectly safe, reliable, and free for people making the call.

Here’s a list of nationally free-to-dial area codes:

Why are there so many toll-free prefixes? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing and regulatory authority for US toll-free numbers. When the 800 code, in use since the 1960s, became nearly used up, the FCC created two new options in the 90s: 888 and 877. As their popularity grew, new codes 866,855,844, and 833 were added in the years 2000-2017. These codes are the most widely- available 800 numbers today. New codes 822, 880-887, and 889 are supposedly next in line.

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When Do You Need a USA 800 Number for Business?

Secure your professional identity – For decades, these “fancy” telephone numbers were monopolized by large businesses. Today, they are widely available, but customers’ mentality is still the same old – we instantly associate toll-free calls with reputable, professional companies.

Beat the competition – Anyone here doesn’t like free goods? The perk of 800 and other similar phone numbers is that they’re free on the callers’ end. This makes customers twice as likely to dial your number than that of a competitor.

Create a customer base in the USA – Let’s say you’re an overseas online store and need a virtual presence in America. These numbers will make it simple for your customers to contact customer support or other departments just like they would for a business in their own area.

Increase customer experience – Customers love to pay less and get more. That’s exactly what you offer them with this free option. Not only does this help with attracting new clients, but it also retains existing ones who are more likely to contact you again for free.

Keep personal and business numbers separate – With a national phone number, you can route calls to any device. At the same time, you’ll instantly see when someone’s calling your business line.

Get other professional phone features – As part of a business phone system, national free-to-dial numbers come with dozens of team and customer-oriented features that make them an incredible deal for growing a business.

How Do You Get a Toll-free Number in the USA?

How to buy a toll-free number in the USA? It just takes a few steps:

  1. Examine the need in your industry/niche – Is your business national or has plans to go national? Are you in e-commerce? Are you a professional practice/firm with a local presence that wants to reach out to clients in neighboring states? All of these are notable reasons to get a toll-free number in the USA.
  2. Choose a country – North American Number Plans work with phone numbers with toll-free codes in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. If you need a number for another country, look into international numbers.
  3. Register the numberCompare VoIP providers and sign up with the service and subscription plan that best fit your needs. You can also go for a free trial to get a hang of all the features that come with your number.
  4. Set up your users and extensions – When you’ve picked a number, don’t forget to add users to your account. These people have access to your company number, and dedicated roles (like user or admin), and are assigned extensions.
  5. Share the number with your clients – Now that your professional presence is ensured, it’s time to put it up on those billboards! Don’t forget to make the number visible across all your customer communication channels.

MightyCall’s toll-free numbers selection

Why Buy a USA Toll-free Number From MightyCall?

  1. All-virtual – have your number up and running in minutes, and connect your whole team to the platform, wherever they are located
  2. World-class security & reliability: your conversation quality will stand the test of time thanks to our 99.99% uptime, 24/7 network security, data encryption, and protection from robocallers.
  3. Other numbers in addition to your 800 number – Competitors often charge extra for adding local phone numbers or vanity numbers, but we know customers need variety and all the tools they can use, so we don’t. You can get these different options with your plan.
  4. Great features – get access to dozens of features, none of which are per-month extras. From team-oriented features like call transfer, and conference calls to call recording and voice-to-text, every aspect of the customer communication cycle is covered to help you convert calls to sales.
  5. Competitive price – with some of the lowest per-user prices without a drop in call quality or feature set, our packages offer some of the best value on the market.
  6. Live Customer support – our customer support consistently gets top reviews because it consists of real people with years of experience. We have numerous ways for customers to reach out if they need help.
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Do I Need to Provide Special Documentation to Get an American Toll-Free Number?

National regulations backed by the FCC require all USA toll-free numbers for business to undergo verification to be able to send SMS. This is a recent measure taken to protect users against phone scams. Your provider will instruct you on how to fill out the verification form when you get a new phone number.

How Do You Transfer Your Existing Phone Number to MightyCall?

Some business owners already have an American toll-free number but would like to switch to another provider without losing their company identity – that is, the number already associated with their company and familiar to customers. The reasons for this range from a more cost-effective option to a provider that’s more scalable, team-oriented, or offers more built-in integrations.

Whatever your reasons for switching providers, you can port your number easily. At MightyCall, number porting is completely free and consists of just a few steps, most of which are on us:

  1. Collect the information from your current provider – This includes the account owner’s full name, the service address, and the PIN. If you don’t know the PIN, contact your provider.
  2. Send the porting request to MightyCall – In addition to the above, we’ll need your email under the MightyCall account, and the LOA – Letter of Authorization.
  3. Wait 7-14 days – Most porting requests are completed in around a week but may take longer depending on your current provider.

That’s it! You’re then free to enjoy your old number with a bunch of new benefits!

How Do American Toll-Free Numbers Work?

As a caller: If you’re dialing a US toll-free number, the main difference for you is no long-distance charges. Whether you’re calling from a neighboring state or from across the country, the call is free unless otherwise stated. However, note that these types of numbers were designed for use with landlines, so if you’re dialing them from a mobile phone, you’ll still incur roaming charges.

For business owners: With a US virtual number provider like MightyCall, you just pay a flat monthly fee for your number, and that includes unlimited calling minutes per month (on Business plan and higher). Plus, you don’t just get the number, but a unified business phone system. This modern platform includes tons of features to complement your number – like call routing to any device (like the one you’re reading this from right now), call menus, IVR and Multi-Level IVR, voicemail-to-text, call screening, and CRM integrations.

US Toll-Free Number Format

The dialing format for any toll-free number in the USA is standard. It consists of 11 digits. You can dial these numbers on landlines, mobile phones, and via certain online apps like Skype or Viber. (Here’s how, if you’re wondering)

To dial, enter the following on your dial pad:

  • The +sign
  • The country code (e.g. “1” for the USA)
  • The toll-free prefix (e.g. “800” or similar)
  • The 7-digit local number (e.g. “123-4567”)

For example, here’s our own number that includes all of the components above:
+1 (888) 256-8312

Who Pays for a Call to a USA Toll-Free Phone Number?

Many people ask themselves – is 1800 toll-free in the USA? Generally, calls to 800 numbers in the USA are paid for by the recipient of the call – for example, the business or organization to whom the number is assigned. For a business, this is usually a fixed monthly charge, so don’t worry about getting fluctuating bills every month. However, there’s a catch for callers: these numbers are free only when dialed from a landline. Mobile operators will still charge the caller for airtime, unless you have an unlimited minutes plan.

What’s the Difference Between Toll-free, Local, and Vanity Numbers?

A USA toll-free number means a number with the 800 or similar prefix that’s free to dial for callers.. Such a number is valuable for online businesses, national companies, and non-profit organizations. Businesses purchase a toll-free number in the USA to attract callers from out of state since they won’t have long-distance charges.

A local number is a number with a local area code (like 212 for Manhattan). Most states have several local codes, so you can choose the one that’s closest to your community. These numbers are great for local businesses and practices, local non-charity organizations, and other community services.

A vanity number is a number that spells a word. The letters can form the complete number, like “FLO-WERS”, or part of it, like “567-CATS”. These numbers can be paired with both local and toll-free codes. These numbers are easy to remember and are often seen on billboards.

Benefits of Getting a 1-800 Number in the United States

When you decide to buy a 1-800 number in the USA, it’s one of those technologies that you invest in today and they stay with you forever. Or well, until the end of the internet.

  • Quantity that grows into quality – The more people call your business, the more clients you get. Meanwhile, if they have a choice between doing it for free and paying, guess where their loyalty is going to lie.
  • New growth opportunities – Scaling is simple. You can grow into a nationwide (and even international) business without having to adjust your numbers later on and lose customers in the process.
  • Single business phone line – Even if you have several offices in different locations, you can keep them under a single roof with one national telephone number
  • Marketing campaigns – These numbers may be used as efficient marketing tools since they have a national presence. For example, you can use the texting option for SMS marketing campaigns.
  • Accessible for your entire team – Everyone on your team can have their own extension and access to the team dashboard for managing all business communications
  • No hardware needed – With a VoIP toll-free number in the USA number there’s no hardware like desk phones to buy. You can make and receive calls on practically any device you’re using.

Key Features of US Toll-Free Service

When you buy a toll-free number in the USA from MightyCall or port your existing one (more on that below), you’ll get access to a whole swarm of growth-oriented communication features for your team. These include:

  • Call forwarding – Work from anywhere, anytime. Forward business calls to any device and team member, wherever they are.
  • IVR – An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu can automate general business information like hours, location, and important notices, so your team can focus on important calls. We also offer multi-level IVR for larger businesses.
  • Voicemail – In addition to individual voicemail, we offer voicemail-to-text transcriptions and a General Voicemail Box to collaborate on voicemails together and delegate tasks.
  • Business texting – Increase your marketing outreach by sending business texts, reminders, and promotions from your number.
  • Call recording – Boost customer service and remember important conversations. Record calls legally and automatically without external apps.
  • Powerful Integrations – Manage your customer base effectively, by matching business contacts between your phone system and your CRM. Our phone system offers free integrations with top CRM platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot.

What Is Required for the Implementation of US Toll-Free Service, Including Equipment?

If you’re wondering how to get a toll-free number in the USA with minimum hassle, start with these:

  • US toll-free number provider – To set up a reliable, cost-effective service, most businesses use Voice over IP (VoIP) services. Unlike with landlines, with VoIP, you don’t need any hardware, special equipment, or long-term contracts.
  • Fast internet – VoIP utilizes an internet connection to handle calls. You cannot have an internet-based number without a stable internet service – Wi-Fi, mobile, or cable.
  • Device for making and receiving calls – Most providers allow you to use any internet-powered device. This includes your cell phone, tablet/iPad, laptop or PC, an IP phone, or a VoIP adaptor that transforms your regular desk phone into an internet-connected device.
  • Softphone (Optional) – this is completely up to you to use or not. However, you’ll need a softphone to make calls from the desktop on your laptop or PC.

Types of Toll-Free Numbers in America

There are several USA toll-free number types you can get if you want customers to get through to you without paying extra.

Domestic toll-free numbers

These types of numbers are country-specific area codes. In the United States, they are covered by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), also active in Canada, and the Caribbean. Getting US toll-free numbers generally implies such numbers for domestic use in North America.

Vanity toll-free numbers

These types of numbers combine the vanity number option with the toll-free area code. This is a win-win for potential customers: the letters spelling out a word of your choice make the number memorable, while the area code provides free calling. The most famous example of such a number is 1800-FLOWERS.

International toll-free numbers

You can also purchase country-specific numbers that will make calls from that country to your number free. For example, if you have a company branch in Paris, you can get a French toll-free area code. This is a great option for companies that have customers or office branches in specific world regions.

Important Points About 800 Numbers in USA

How much do USA toll-free numbers cost?

Different providers offer different plans on a monthly or annual subscription basis. The prices range from $10-$20 per month. Some providers go an extra step and charge the recipient another $0.06-$0.30 per minute. With a VoIP service like MightyCall, it costs as low as $15/per user/month.

Do you need to pay extra fees for toll-free service in the United States?

This depends on the provider that you purchase your toll-free plan from. Some providers charge you extra costs for add-ons or special features. With MightyCall, you pay just a flat fee that offers unlimited minutes (applicable for the Business plan and above).

Who owns the US 1-800 number after purchase?

Once you purchase a 1-800 number for the USA with MightyCall, you/your company will be its official owner. That means that you will be able to use it, port it, transfer it or do anything else with it within the legal framework.

Can I send and receive text messages with my virtual 800 number?

Yes. You can use SMS just like with any other number. In a business context, this is particularly useful for marketing campaigns, appointment reminders, and promotions. However, note that 2022 national regulations require all US toll-free numbers to undergo verification to have the outbound texting feature enabled.

How to Choose Between USA Toll-Free Number Providers?

We’ve looked through the major benefits that free-to-dial numbers have for consumers and companies. But there’s more: another major reason for their popularity is they are cheap and simple to set up. There are numerous toll-free service providers in the USA. Most of them offer packages.

Here are some questions to help you sift through the providers:

  • What is the service-price ratio? – An extremely cheap toll-free service provider is more likely to give poor service. Paying an astronomical amount of money doesn’t seem reasonable either. Focus on providers with a flat monthly fee and unlimited minutes.
  • Is it Voice over IP (VoIP)? – For small businesses, a VoIP phone number is preferable to a landline. Along with the number, VoIP services offer additional options and tools to manage business communications.
  • Is the service cross-device compatible?– If calls are your major tool of communication, opt for services that support multiple devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, IP desk phones, etc.) that your team can use to answer calls.
  • Is the provider flexible? – Even if you like your provider, you’d better have a portability option. Porting your existing number means keeping the familiar number while obtaining the features and support of your new provider.
  • Do they have a vanity option?– Who doesn’t remember the classic example, “1-800 FLOWERS?” For a small business, a vanity number (e.g. a combination of letters and digits) is an excellent step toward business scaling.

Make the Most Out of Your US Toll-Free Number

1-800 is the magic “free number” for your customers. This means they can make the first move without worrying about charges, with all the focus on your product or service.

And speaking of free, you can get a free trial for any number of your choosing from MightyCall. An award-winning toll-free service provider, MightyCall is packed with 30+ business features for teams of all sizes and is also simple enough if you’re new to VoIP.

Whether you’ll put that phone number up on a billboard or online, we’ll help you get more satisfaction, reliability, and security out of your business phone.

Michelle
Michelle Hernandez
She writes all about VoIP product tips and how to ensure an excellent customer experience with virtual phone systems.
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