Sponsored by Skype — Use
Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.
Skype is free software that allows you to call other Skype users, landlines, and mobile phones around the world. While known for making computer-to-computer calls, Skype can now be installed on your computer, on your smartphone or tablet, your smart TV, and even on your Xbox One. That means you can make calls to friends and family around the world from almost any device.
Here’s how to get started using Skype.
Step 1: Sign Up for a Skype Account
Go to skype.com, and click on the “Join Us” link in the upper-right corner. On this page, you can use an existing Microsoft account, set up a new Microsoft account, or connect with your Facebook account.
Your Skype username will be unique to you — like an email address, but for making online calls. Whether you are using Skype on a computer, on your smartphone, or even on your TV, your Skype name is the identifier people use to find and contact you.
Step 2: Download the Skype Software
In order to make Skype calls, you’ll need to download the Skype software on the device (or devices) you want to make the call on:
- On your computer, visit this page to download it for your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer.
- Skype is also available as an app on your smartphone. Skype works on iPhones, Android phones, Blackberries, Nokia phones, and Windows Phones. The easiest way to install Skype on your phone is to visit the page linked here and enter your phone number. Skype will send a text message to your phone with the download link.
- You can also install the Skype app on tablets, including iPad, Kindle Fire, Android, and Windows tablets. This page has specific instructions for each tablet.
- Skype is even available for some TVs. That means you can connect with friends and family around the world with free video calls from the comfort of your living room. Here is a list of the hundreds of smart TV models that are ready for Skype.
Step 3: Adding Contacts to Your Skype Account
Now that you have your own account and have installed Skype on your preferred device, it’s time to add contacts you’d like to call.
On the Skype software or app, look for the icon of a person with the plus sign:
This icon will let you search for a contact. You can search for a friend using their Skype name, full name, or email address. Skype will search for the contact and offer a list of possible matches. If one of them is your friend, click on that person’s name, and they will be added to your contact list.
If you cannot find your friends, simply ask them for their Skype names. Because every Skype name is unique, it is the easiest way to find your friends and add them to your contact list.
You can also add landline and mobile phone numbers as contacts on Skype. See Step 5 below for details on how to add and call regular phone numbers.
Step 4: Using Skype for Chatting Via Text, Voice, or Video
Now comes the fun part of using Skype — actually talking to your friends and family.
Because Wise Bread is a virtual company — meaning all dozen of us work from home — we rely on Skype to stay in contact. We chat with each other on Skype using text, voice calls, and video calls. We also send each other files and share screens using Skype.
But let’s start with the basics — text and voice chats using Skype.
The most common way I use Skype is through text chat (also called “instant messaging”) with my colleagues.
To initiate a chat, look for the name of the contact in your contact list or the list of recent conversations you’ve had. If you’re using Skype on your computer, the lists appear on the left side of the software.
Click on the name of the contact, and you will be able to start typing in your message at the bottom of the right side window. You can also initiate a voice or video call by clicking on the “Call” or “Video call” buttons.
I use these features daily to talk to my coworkers, and I also use these features daily to talk to my friends on the other side of the country and to my cousins on the other side of the world.
And remember when I mentioned that Skype is available on almost any device? I take advantage of that by keeping in contact with coworkers on my Android smartphone while standing in line at the supermarket or using my iPad while sitting in front of the TV in my living room. I love that Skype allows me to stay in contact even when I’m not in front of my computer.
Step 5: Calling a Landline or Mobile Number From Skype
One of the cooler features of Skype is that it’s not limited to making Skype-to-Skype calls. While I use Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging to stay in contact with my coworkers daily, I can also use Skype Credit to call regular landline or mobile phone numbers. This allows me (and my parents) to contact people who are not on Skype — meaning that I can call any cell phone or landline number around the world using Skype.
For example, my mom (who lives in California) uses Skype Credit to call her aunt in Canada — which only costs 2.3 ¢ per minute (a small connection fee applies). Click here to view rates for calling various countries.
Before you can call landlines and mobile phone numbers, you’ll need to purchase some Skype Credit. You can purchase packages for $10 or $25, and you can even set your account to automatically reload Skype Credit when you’re out. (Click here to buy Skype Credit.)
To call a regular phone number using Skype, click on the phone icon in the app:
A dial pad will appear, and you can enter the regular phone number you want to call.
If you regularly call the same number, you can also save the phone number on your contact list by clicking on the “Add to Contacts” button on the dial pad.
My mom now regularly calls her aunt in Toronto and her siblings in Manila using the Skype app on her iPhone. Now that my parents are getting older, it makes me happy to know that she can talk to her family overseas on a regular basis without having to worry about the cost.
Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.