You can use many of Google Voice’s features for free, including making most calls to the U.S. and Canada. See how using Google Voice on your cell phone may impact your cell phone bill.
Google Voice on your mobile phone
If you're calling from the United States and Canada to a number within those countries, almost all calls are free, but a few U.S. and Canadian destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number. You can look up the cost through the calling credit page for your Google account.
When you use Google Voice on your mobile phone, domestic calls will use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan.
Each time you place a call, instead of dialing the number you want to reach, Google Voice dials a U.S.-based direct access number. The Google Voice server then forwards your call to the actual destination number. This allows for faster call setup and the ability to place calls without a data connection. These direct access numbers may show in your phone's call log, or on your phone bill.
A unique direct access phone number is assigned to each person that you call. The direct access numbers are stored in the Google Voice application, not in your Contacts. They can be purged from your phone at any time by signing out of the Google Voice app.
Direct access numbers are assigned randomly, and may include numbers that are out of your local calling area, or even out of state. If you don't have a nationwide calling plan, you may be charged long distance rates by your carrier.
When you use Google Voice on your mobile phone, international calls use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan and are placed through direct access numbers. You may also be charged additional roaming fees by your carrier. You can pay for the international calls with your Google Voice credit, at Google Voice international rates.
If you have a U.S.-based phone number, and try to place calls through Google Voice while you are in another country, you will be charged the Google Voice international rates, and may also be subject to additional roaming fees from your carrier.
For every international call, you’ll hear a message that says how much the call costs and that the call is being routed through Google Voice.
If you don't hear the message, your call isn't being routed through Google Voice, and you may be charged by your mobile carrier. You may need to check your settings because your settings could have changed from a recent app update or another app could be conflicting with Google Voice.
When you use Google Voice on your mobile phone, text messages are sent through your data plan instead of your text-messaging plan, so there won't be any text messaging charges for messages that you send to numbers in the U.S. or Canada.
For mobile devices: If you have your mobile phone listed as one of your forwarding phones in your Google Voice account, replies will come to the Google Voice app but will also be duplicated to your phone’s message app. Depending on your carrier, you may be charged for your received text messages. To disable this and only have messages sent to the Google Voice app, go to Google Voice. Then go to Settings > Voice settings > Phones > (your mobile number) > Edit > Receive text messages on this phone > Uncheck and Save.
You can also send and receive text messages for your Google Voice account through Hangouts on your computer or Android device.
Caroline is a Google Voice expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.