Free International Calling: Duo Video Calls, WhatsApp and More

Photo Courtesy: Ivan Pantic/iStock

In the past, if you wanted to make calls to family or friends in another country, you had to use international calling minutes on your phone plan or pay for a long-distance call. These options certainly were not cheap. Thankfully, many free apps today, like Duo video calls, let you make international calls without worrying about costs. 

You can freely text and call your friends and family worldwide with a stable internet connection. To help you make your next call stress-free, we’ve compiled a list of the best free international calling apps. These apps allow you to text or call for free over a secure connection. They are compatible with multiple devices, have an easy-to-use interface, and have few to no delays when relaying messages. So whenever you’re ready, here are the top free international calling apps for global travelers.

Duo Video Calls

Google Duo is a video calling app from Google that is simple, fast, and secure. You can make video calls with anyone, anywhere, without having to create an account or enter any contact information. It is most suitable for travelers seeking free audio and video international calling apps. 

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With up to a 32-participant capacity per call, professionals can use Google Duo to hold international video call meetings with in-call chat messaging available to consumers and businesses. Duo video calls are end-to-end encrypted, meaning your conversations are secure from eavesdropping. It also shows you the caller ID and a live video preview before you answer in a feature called ‘Knock Knock,’ so you’re never surprised when you get unknown calls.

How Duo Video Calls Work

Getting started on Google Duo is pretty straightforward. You only need to download Duo for Android and iOS or go to duo.google.com to access Duo on the web. To receive calls from people outside your calling list, you can choose to verify your phone number. After that, people with your phone number will see that you use Duo and call you for free via the app. Alternatively, you can connect Duo to your Google Account, which allows your friends and family to connect with you across Google services.

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Price of Duo Video Call

Google Duo is entirely free to use! The Duo Free version allows up to 10 users. However, you can upgrade to Duo MFA, Duo Access, or Duo beyond for under $10 per user per month for better security and premium customer support services.

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Compatibility

Google Duo is compatible with all smart devices and desktop computers, from iOS and Android devices to Windows or macOS, and even smart displays like the Google Nest Hub Max.

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Pros

  • Easy to use
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • High-quality audio and video
  • Knock knock live video preview
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Cons

  • Needs signing up
  • It requires an internet connection
  • Can’t reject a call with quick messaging
  • It doesn’t have audio calling without video
  • Possible data privacy since Google collects user metadata
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WhatsApp

Over two billion people from more than 180 countries actively communicate via WhatsApp because it offers fast, private, and secure calling and messaging over the internet for free! Facebook recently acquired WhatsApp and is making versatile renovations to provide seamless group chats, video calls, and sharing of multimedia files, including documents and user locations. Popular features include live location sharing and dedicated business accounts for managing business profiles. Users enjoy fast and private conversations anytime with a 500 group chat capacity and end-to-end encryption.

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How WhatsApp Works

WhatsApp relies on your phone’s internet connection. Head over to your phone’s iOS or Android store to download the app at no cost. You’ll need to create an account using your phone number, after which WhatsApp will automatically add WhatsApp users on your contact list to your WhatsApp account. Sending and receiving texts or calls is easy on individual contacts or group chats. When adding a new international number to your contact list, make sure to include the international calling code, a ‘+’ sign, and the country code as a prefix to the person’s local phone number.

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Price

You only need a stable internet connection. Otherwise, WhatsApp is entirely free to use!

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Compatibility

WhatsApp offers cross-platform functionality across Android and iOS devices.

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Pros of Duo Video Calls

  • No ads!
  • Free to use
  • Cross-platform
  • Friendly user interface
  • Extra safety through end-to-end encryption
  • Versatile use like sharing multimedia formats
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Cons of Duo Video Calls

  • Needs signing up
  • Needs phone numbers
  • It requires an internet connection
  • It has a transfer limit for large video files
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FaceTime

Apple exclusively launched FaceTime for iOS devices to connect with people around the world through audio and video calls. It comes built-in when you buy Apple products. So if you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you’ll need a stable internet or cellular connection to make free calls from anywhere around the world. You can also make video calls from Apple devices to other platforms, including Android.

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How FaceTime Works

Once you buy an iOS device, open the FaceTime app and enter the person’s phone number or email to start audio or video calling others. Compared to the traditional Phone voice call app, FaceTime works over the internet, so you don’t have to spend on calling rates. If you’re using an Android or PC, you can join the call by clicking a link shared by the caller.

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Price

FaceTime is free to use via a Wi-Fi connection. Otherwise, you’ll get charged out of your cellular data allowance.

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Compatibility

Facetime is available across Apple devices. However, Apple users can call other platforms, including Android or Windows.

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Pros

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Pre-installation in Apple devices
  • High-quality audio and video calls
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Cons

  • Uses high data rates
  • Only available on Apple devices
  • Needs high-speed internet connection
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WeChat

WeChat is a popular Chinese instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app. It’s the largest standalone app with more than 1 billion users worldwide. WeChat is described as a lifestyle for its users where everything is instantly accessible in one place. Users can pay for all public services through WeChat Pay. It’s also translated into 17 languages for easier adoption.

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How WeChat Works

WeChat works using QR codes. Each user has a unique QR code. To add new users to WeChat, you can scan another person’s QR code. Or otherwise, you can use their phone number or ID to add or search for people nearby. Download and sign up to the WeChat mobile app to get started.

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Price

The WeChat app is free to use. However, extra charges may apply when you exceed your data usage. You’ll need roughly a $99 annual fee to verify an official account. Transactional fees on the platform also apply when using WeChat payment systems.

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Compatibility

WeChat is available on multiple devices, including iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.

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Pros

  • Supports advertising
  • Verified official accounts
  • Can make online payments
  • Can integrate third-party apps
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Cons

  • Needs internet connection
  • Lacks privacy where nearby users can view your profile
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