A payphone is a public telephone, with payment by inserting money (usually coins) or a debit card (a special telephone card or a multi-purpose card) or credit card before a call is made.

The type in which money can be inserted is more and more abandoned because of the high occurrence of attempts to break them open for the purpose of theft of the money.

Payphones are often found in public places, transportation hubs such as airports or train stations, and on street corners but their popularity is falling due to the rise in cell phones and the general unprofitability of payphone service. The abandonment of payphones by telecom companies has angered some people who consider them a communication staple for low-income and low-credit consumers.

In recent decades, deregulation has made possible payphone service provided by a variety of companies, such telephones are called "Customer Owned Coin Operated Telephone" (COCOT). One common implementation is commonly operated by vending machine companies and contains a hardwired list of non-toll exchanges to which it will complete calls.

All payphones on the street and in buildings in Japan are exclusively installed and maintained by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT).

  • 1891: William Gray patents his coin-operated telephone

See also: telephone booth, red telephone box.

Internet access

A new version of payphone is one with internet access, see Internet#Public places to use the Internet.

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