Are Toll-Free Numbers Free Internationally?

international toll-free number
international toll-free number

Here in the United States, we see toll-free 1-800 numbers everywhere. From retail companies to lawyers, businesses in almost every industry use 1-800 numbers as part of their customer service, sales, and marketing efforts. But what about an international toll-free number?

American companies still have international customers who may need to contact them about their orders, products/services, and other concerns. This begs the question: Are 1-800 numbers free internationally? Can customers from other countries dial a 1-800 number without incurring additional fees?

The answer is slightly more complex than you might think. 

To understand, you need to first understand how 1-800 numbers work and why companies choose to utilize them.

How 1-800 Numbers Work

1-800 numbers are also known as toll-free phone numbers. This means the receiver of the call pays the fee. Therefore, customers can call the company free of charge.

There are several reasons companies choose to use toll-free 1-800 numbers rather than a local number, including:

Easy-to-Manage Phone System

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you know just how complex the phone systems can be. Between individual extensions, pressing certain buttons to dial out, and so on, it can get extremely confusing.

When you opt to use a 1-800 number, your phone number can be ported to whatever system your company elects to use. Whether you want your 1-800 number directed to your personal cell phone or a company landline, it’s all entirely possible.

This option enables companies to purchase and use simple phone systems rather than complicated (and pricey) ones.

Access to a Wide Range of Features

In addition to monitoring phone bill charges, 1-800 numbers offer a multitude of beneficial features, including:

  • Call tracking
  • Call recording
  • Portability features
  • Voicemail to email
  • Call reports

Companies utilize these features to keep up with their customer service efforts and advise the sales and marketing teams.

Branding and Phone Number Recall

Think back to when you were a child. How long did it take you to remember your parents’ phone numbers? Probably quite some time.

Memorizing a random sequence of numbers, such as a local phone number, is difficult. Of course, with technology at our fingertips, we can always look up and click on a phone number, but by the time a customer finds your phone number, you may have already lost the sale.

Instead, companies leverage 1-800 numbers for their branding and phone number recall. This is why many brands also elect to use a vanity 1-800 number, which allows them to customize the alpha-numerical sequence.

After all, it’s far easier to remember 1-800-CONTACTS than the number of your local optometrist every time you need to order new contacts. Studies have proven that 1-800 numbers have a 75% higher recall rate than local phone numbers


Customers believe companies with 1-800 numbers are more credible than those using their assigned local phone numbers. If you’re trying to also convince international customers to trust your business, a 1-800 number is the way to go.

So, Can International Customers Call a 1-800 Number for Free?

Technically speaking, an international customer cannot call a 1-800 number for free. Toll-free numbers are bound by the restrictions, coverage maps, and dialing format of the country it belongs to.

Toll-free numbers are free to use if the caller is in the same country as the business.

To combat this, some businesses opt to purchase a universal international freephone number (UIFN). These numbers can be dialed from multiple countries but are not accessible worldwide. In addition, they are incredibly expensive.

There’s a Better Solution

Instead of pouring the majority of your budget into a universal international freephone number and selecting only a few countries to receive calls from, there’s a better way to help your international customers contact your business with a toll-free number.

Start by purchasing toll-free numbers in the countries your customers are located in. Then, route each call to your customer service or call center. For instance, 1-800 numbers purchased through can be routed to 60 different destinations across the globe.

This solution provides your customers with a toll-free method of contacting your company and helps your business avoid a hefty charge for a UIFN number or international fees.

Allow International Customers to Call Your Company Today

If you operate an international business, purchase a 1-800 number today. The sales team will be more than happy to get you set up to accommodate international calls.