Toll Free Numbers in the US
For all of the countries participating in the North American Numbering Plan (United States of America, Canada, US territories, etc.), a toll free telephone number is most commonly recognized as an 800 number area code which precedes the rest of the digits (ex. 800 XXX-XXXX). However, you should be aware that the United States also uses 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888, with 822 to be used in the near-future.
Truth be told, when your foreign business decides to purchase a toll free number in the United States, it is using an ITFS number. These numbers, short for International Toll Free Service number, allow US-based callers to dial your toll free number without incurring a charge (which defeats the purpose of a toll free number in the first place. Using virtual phone service providers, like Global Call Forwarding, you can subscribe to phone numbers that are instantly routed to any location in the world, thanks to advances in cloud computing, and tech advances like VoIP.
That being said, virtual phone numbers are changing the way businesses reach the United States by creating new functionalities that companies offer businesses and individuals to reach callers.
Add-Ons for US Toll Free Numbers
US toll free numbers from virtual phone number service providers like can be augmented with a number of add-on features such as:
- Call recording: By using this service, you can ensure that exchanges between your customer service agents and US customers are recorded for quality control. This ensures that quality standards are met, information is recorded for later verifications, and that your business is compliant with many international regulatory committees for certain industries, like banking, investing, and finance.
- Extensions: This add-on gives your customers the ability to navigate your toll free number and directly reach staff members and departments based on a customer’s needs. This can be anything from dialing digits based on departments, to a series of digits to be directed straight to a particular staff member’s phone (or voicemail).
- Call forwarding: Call forwarding allows you to redirect inbound phone calls to another phone number based on your parameters. For instance, you may wish to have business-oriented phone calls forwarded to another phone number (or staff member) during your off-hours. Similarly, you can use a form of call forwarding called “time-of-day routing,” where calls are automatically transferred to another party based on when the call occurs.
- Simultaneous ringing: As a variation of call forwarding, simultaneous ringing allows you to take calls when you are away from your desk, as a call is forwarded to any available user’s phone(s) at the same time. This ensures that inbound calls aren’t lost if you happened to be busy, or if there wasn’t a staff member available to process a call.
- Outbound calling: If you are using toll free numbers via virtual phone numbers, you should know that calling customers and clients can receive your call just like any other phone number. However, their caller ID will display a series of unrecognizable digits that may put off new clients and those who may misconstrue your call for spam dialing. With toll free numbers coupled with outbound calling add-ons, callers will have their caller ID’s display a recognizable phone number of your choosing, including those that reflect the area code and country code (+1 for the United States) that the recipient is familiar with. This increases the likelihood that you’ll connect to customers and clients who see your company as relevant, local, and important.
by Tom Senkus
Author’s Bio: As a resident of the United States, Tom Senkus recognizes the challenges that foreign business entities may encounter when trying to access US markets. For more information on his list of services and published work, visit tomsenkuswriter.com