800, 888, 877, 866, the list seems endless! You may have heard of some or all of these prefixes before — that’s because they’re all toll-free area codes. While many small businesses opt for local numbers that give clients some idea as to their geographic location, that’s not always the best business move. 

Local numbers can come off as less polished and can also pose logistical challenges for international business communications. Sometimes, clients may even assume you’re a scammer if they receive a call from an out-of-area number. Instead, you may want a toll-free business number with an 866 area code. 

We’ll explain what an 866 toll-free number is, the benefits of having one, how it functions in the U.S. and Canada, and how to get one for your business.

What is an 866 area code number?

Simply put, the 866 area code is reserved for toll-free calls and assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Toll-free calls charge the party being called rather than the person placing the call. 

Toll-free numbers like the 866 area code aren’t limited to a particular geographic area or time zone. This makes it easier to perform business overseas and for customers to dial toll-free within the U.S., Canada, and other countries and regions included in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). From a business perspective, that means that 866 area codes are especially useful for things like customer service, sales, and technical support, although their use extends beyond those contexts as well.

Benefits of having an 866 toll-free phone number

866 area code: Kim's Convenience GIF

What can your business stand to gain from using a toll-free phone number like the 866 area code? The number of benefits may surprise you:

1. Look more professional

Businesses with an 866 toll-free number tend to make an excellent impression on clients looking to avoid scams. Businesses with toll-free numbers appear larger and more established to customers, which can help your company land more clients or simply boost your brand credibility. 

2. Appeal to customers worldwide

Toll-free numbers aren’t tied to a specific geographic area, meaning your business isn’t anchored in one place either. An 866 area code demonstrates your company’s desire and ability to serve North America and beyond, expanding your potential customer base. The credibility of an 866 number also means you’re likely to receive calls from much farther away than you might otherwise. What’s more, your calls won’t be mistaken for spam by customers living halfway across the country. 

3. It’s easy to use

A toll-free telephone number works just like a local number, making it intuitive and easy to use. Plus, with a service like OpenPhone, you can send and receive calls, text messages, images, videos, GIFs, and more.

4. Customers won’t be charged

Are your customers sick of paying long-distance calling fees? With a toll-free number, anyone located within the 20 countries and territories on the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) can call you for free, even if they’re placing an international call. That includes the Caribbean, Jamaica, and more! With OpenPhone as your VoIP business phone provider, you’ll get unlimited outbound free calling to anyone in the U.S. and Canada.

5. Personalize your number

f you’re not already sold on the above features, consider using your new toll-free business phone number as a marketing tool. Vanity numbers allow you to customize your phone number so that it spells a word or acronym. Within the 866 area code, Zipcar fields customer calls at 1-866-4ZIPCAR, while SBC Communications does the same at 1-866-SBC-DIAL. Vanity numbers have shown themselves time and time again to be more memorable for customers than randomly generated phone numbers.

How to get an 866 area code number

Once you decide to take the leap and transition your business phone to a toll-free number, it’s time to get that number set up. Signing up for an 866 or other toll-free area code is fast and simple with OpenPhone. Because VoIP phone systems operate using an internet connection, you won’t have to worry about configuring physical setups or buying new hardware.

It’s extraordinarily easy to claim a toll-free area code for your business online with OpenPhone using the following steps:

  1. Sign up for a free trial with OpenPhone.
  2. Sign in with your Google account or enter your email.
  3. Pick out your new OpenPhone number. You can do so by selecting “toll-free numbers” or by entering a specific toll-free area code that interests you, like an 866, 888, or 844 area code number.
  4. Now all you have to do is enter your credit card information and start calling! You won’t be charged until the trial ends, and you can cancel at any time. We’ll send you a reminder email when your trial is about to end. You’ll now have access to your new number across our web and mobile applications.

Transitioning to an 866 phone number can be completed in these four simple steps, with no headaches involved. Best of all, you can sign up for as many local and toll-free phone numbers as you need with OpenPhone. 

If your business already has a pre-existing phone number you’d like to keep, free phone number porting is also an option offered by OpenPhone. Once the switch is complete, you’re free to start exploring all the features your VoIP toll-free business phone system has to offer.

How 866 toll-free numbers work in the US and Canada

Call Toll Free GIF

Because the U.S. and Canada are members of the North American Numbering Plan, customers in these areas can place toll-free calls to an 866 phone number. This gives your customers (and potential customers) both convenience and affordability. 

But your customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from your 866 toll-free number. With OpenPhone, you can make unlimited outbound calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada, saving you money. Plus, your 866 toll-free number can also be used to send and receive text messages (both SMS and MMS), GIFs, emojis, and more. ✅ Conducting business from your cell phone has never been easier!

How are 866 area code numbers different from other toll-free numbers?

Hello, FCC GIF

The short answer here is simple: There is no functional difference between 866 area code numbers and other toll-free area codes, like the 800 area code or the 855 area code (except your customers will need to call the right area code for your toll-free number). 

In fact, the reason for so many different toll-free area codes may surprise you. Up until 1996, there was only one toll-free area code: 800. That all changed when the FCC, the governing body in charge of assigning toll-free numbers, ran out of 800 numbers. They created an 888 area code to handle overflow requests and kept adding new area codes as demand for toll-free numbers increased. By doing so, the FCC ensured its ability to provide unique numbers to all businesses that request them. Your business could be next!

Use OpenPhone to make the most of an 866 area code

OpenPhone mobile and desktop apps

A toll-free business phone number is an excellent way to market to new clients and improve relations with existing customers. The non-geographic nature of toll-free numbers offers a safe, affordable calling alternative for small businesses and their clients. Best of all, there’s no need to feel stressed at the thought of setting up a toll-free number for your business — it’s easy and quick to do from your cell phone!

With OpenPhone, the process of registering for a toll-free number is quick and painless and can be completed in a matter of minutes, no matter where you are. Our VoIP approach to business phone systems also means you’ll never have to worry about bulky desk phones and complex equipment setup. Sign up for your free trial today to begin building your business’s reputation while expanding client relations.

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Author

By day, Celita is a Florida-based freelance writer specializing in technology, marketing, sustainability, and a plethora of other topics. Nothing makes her happier than reading and writing well-researched content. By night, Celita can be found developing her talents, which include her black belt in karate, her fluent Italian, and her knack for vegan cooking.

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