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888 Area Code: Everything You Need to Know

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Senior Writer:

green tickDate: July 3, 2023

Call us or drop a message on 888 XXX 888 – you must have seen this on the pamphlets dropped in your letterbox, on the TV screen, on billboards, or even heard it on the radio!

Yes, it is the toll-free number businesses in the States and Canada use for customers and prospects to reach out to them. This blog will go deeper into the nitty-gritty of toll-free numbers (888 toll free numbers) and see what they mean for your business.

So, let’s get started. 

To begin, we will answer questions like – “What is a toll-free number?” What is an 888 area code?” “Does my business need an 888 are code number?” and more.

What is a Toll-Free Number?

As the name suggests, a toll-free number is different from regular phone calls because it is free of cost. So, when customers or prospects call on a business’ toll-free number, they are not charged for it.

Businesses use toll-free numbers for lead generation, and customer service purposes and making the customers pay when they reach out would not make sense. In simple words, free calls equal more calls.

Brief History of Toll-Free numbers

Here’s a quick history of toll-free numbers:

  • First Generation Toll-Free Numbers and the AT&T Office

It was a 52-year-old AT&T scientist Roy Weber, from Bridgewater, New Jersey, who first patented the toll-free number. Unveiled in the mid-1960s, the first generation of toll-free technology, was primitive.

Only 5% of all 1800 calls were toll-free. Moreover, AT&T’s network couldn’t provide national toll-free coverage, so numbers were tied to geographic areas. That meant early users (mostly all fortune 500 companies) needed to maintain dozens of 1-800 numbers. 

  • Limitations of First-Generation Toll-Free Numbers

Add to this the limitations of network-switching technology, which also further acted as a hindrance to distributing calls among call centers. In other words, first-generation toll-free dialing was not fulfilling its purpose as it did not serve any small businesses and only served giants, that too, ineffectively. 

  • Roy Weber and His Innovation

Enter Weber – it was 1975 when he started working on 1-800 technology. His challenge was to leverage still-evolving digital technologies to transform the toll-free service for the better. His idea was ingenious.

Under Weber’s innovation – a toll-free number became a pointer to a computer file rather than an actual number. The network instructs the file for guidance on what needs to be done with the call — and then administers an elaborate set of procedures to get the call where it needs to be at the right time.

Let’s understand with an example

For instance, if you want to contact the local post office – the file instructs the network to send the call to the same number all days of the week, round the clock. For more slightly elaborate tasks like customers wanting to connect to their broadband provider – the call can be routed to any location where the call center of the broadband provider is. 

This will be decided on factors like where the call is coming from, the number of incoming calls, and where the agents are free.

  • The implications

Weber’s innovation, patented in 1980 and rolled out in 1981, made toll-free numbers a reality nationwide, where all businesses could use them. Toll-free numbers then became the go-to choice of all businesses; they were easy to set up and use and offered smooth call distribution. 

These 1800 numbers became so saturated that new prefixes came into use, like 888, 800, 850, 488, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877. The most common of the prefixes remains 888.

What Is the 888 Area Code?

888 is the most widely used area code for a toll-free number. The 888 area code was created by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1996. Numbers with this toll-free prefix are majorly used in the United States.

Moreover, the format of toll-free numbers “1-888- XXX-XXXX” can be complex. Here is a quick breakdown to understand what it means. 888 area code phone numbers are written as Phone numbers in the States generally have a country code, an area code followed by the 7 digit phone number. The “1” is the country code for the States.

888 area code is again a toll-free number that will be the same regardless of the business’s location. 

It is important to note that, in order for the calls to reach their desired location and not an operator, all calls made from a landline must have the correct country code.

Which Country Provides 888 Area Codes?

The 888 area code is a North American area code intended for toll-free calling without callers needing to pay long-distance fees within the US, Canada, and other regions in the North American Numbering Plan. The 888 area code isn’t located in any specific city or region. So, the answer to what the 888 area code location is– there’s no specific location it can be anywhere in the US and Canada.

What Is a Vanity Number?

There are also toll-free codes with letters on them, these are also a form of toll-free numbers, known as vanity numbers. These alpha-numeric numbers are formatted in an easy-to-remember manner. For example, 1-800-SICILY or 1-800-WENDY. Vanity numbers are structured for better branding or reflecting what the business is about while offering toll-free calling.

Vanity number benefits

Differentiating Area Code 888 From Other Toll-Free Numbers

There is no difference between toll-free numbers with 888 and those with other area codes. No matter which area code you choose – 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888 – your callers can reach you at no cost.

Though many people may not be familiar with other form area codes, many callers will recognize the “888 phone number” as a toll-free number.

How Do +1 888 Area Code Phone Numbers Work for US and Canada Callers?

The method of making a toll-free call is similar to normal landline calling. Although, in order to make a toll-free call, clients use the toll-free code (888, for instance) rather than using the local exchange code.

Customers from NANP countries like the USA and Canada can even send bursts of text messages using toll-free numbers. But for this, you need to choose a service provider that offers text-enabled phone numbers, like CallHippo.

Additionally, there is absolutely no long-distance call fee. The prices of different toll-free number providers are different. If you choose a VOIP service provider like CallHippo, then you will enjoy unlimited calling in the US and Canada. 

Why Choose An 888 Area Code Number?

Here are the benefits of having a toll-Free 888 business number – 

benefits of a toll free number

1. Better Customer Service

Leading businesses are becoming people-centric, i.e., they are creating their business – products or services and customer service around people’s needs and wishes. They are investing in tools and technologies to ensure excellent customer service and even customer success. 

This will enable them to build brand loyalty and pool to increase customer lifetime value. In order to step up the customer service game, businesses are creating easy avenues using 888 toll-free numbers for the customers to contact the business as and when they need. 

Customers and prospects would get really pleased when they get the help that they need by being connected to an agent in real-time.

2. Boost in Sales

It is statistically proven that given a choice, customers and prospects are more likely to call from an 888 toll-free number than from a regular, long-distance number. 

Moreover, the toll-free number acts as the first point of contact between the prospect and the business, enabling smooth communication in the first place. Therefore it can be said that all toll-free numbers help big in lead generation efforts.

When, in the first instance, prospects are able to speak with a human agent, trust is established. Because of this human connection, businesses are most likely to land increased order sizes. This might not be the case should the communication be done over email.

On the phone, customer service reps are also better positioned to answer any questions leads might have to move them down the funnel effectively. 

3. Decreased Returns

While having no-questions-asked returns and refund is a good policy to have – but receiving a large chunk of returned products constantly can definitely chip the profits of any business, especially considering the current volatile landscape marred with inflation. 

Having a toll-free number offers an easy way to reduce the chances of customers asking to return the products. Here is how: customers claim to return products when they have doubts and queries they cannot resolve or if the query is taking too much of their time. 

In both cases, quick access to your agents can help. Your agents can clear their doubts through the toll-free number. Since most clients are able to successfully resolve their problems by attending to more incoming calls, customer satisfaction remains at an all-time high, thanks to a toll-free number.

4. Accessibility

One of the major contributing factors to increasing sales, order volumes, and customer satisfaction is by reducing the first response times, also known as FRTs.

Toll-free numbers reduce your first response times to almost zero, as all customer queries are answered in real-time. One of the biggest benefits of toll-free phone numbers is that they enhance the accessibility of customer service reps, ensuring customers are responded to round-the-clock.

Additionally, call recording and forwarding features ensure that customers can reach team members without waiting in long telephonic queues.

Moreover, 800 toll-free numbers can also connect to your agents’ numbers to increase their productivity, as they can take calls on the go.

5. Improves Customer Retention Rate

It is known that customer retention is multiple times cheaper than customer acquisition. 

Some insights from Thinklmpact shed light on how higher customer retention rates improve the bottom line.

  • Customer Retention has a huge impact on ROI – a 5% increase in CR results in a 25 – 29% increase in revenue.
  • Retaining existing customers has been shown to increase profitability by 25% to an astounding 95%.
  • About half of a company’s revenue is from approximately 8% of its most loyal consumers.

Moreover, happy and loyal customers are proven to increase their lifetime value as stats say customers are willing to spend more on products and services if they are offered a good customer experience. And you now know how a toll-free number aids in enhancing your customers’ experiences.

6. Number Portability  

It is common for business leaders to travel overseas for meetings and other related purposes. And sometimes, these overseas stays could stretch for longer durations, and number portability becomes an issue. You would not only miss out on many potential leads but also ensure that your existing customers note your new number and do not dial in the old one can be a hassle.

Here are some of the other reasons you might need to port your toll-free number:

  • Caught in less-rewarding long-term commitments 
  • Bad voice and audio quality
  • Lack of good customer and technical support
  • Exorbitant monthly bills
  • Need to connect with a more global audience 
  • Poor internet connection causing a high number of calls getting dropped
  • Need to migrate to cloud network
  • Want advanced call management features to support to scale business 
  • Need for a reliable, flexible, and scalable phone solution

7. Engage With Customers

Many marketing leaders say that one of the multiple uses of a toll-free number is that it acts as a very effective tool to engage customers. For instance, you can get product feedback. Let’s assume that you are a beverage company launching a new flavor and want your customer’s buy-in. 

You can just slap your toll-free number for customers to call and share feedback; this does not necessarily need to be a human agent attending the calls; it could also be a script. For e.g., press 1 if you liked the taste and 2 if you did not.

8. Cost-Effective Approach

Even with the multitude of features and the numerous benefits of 888 toll-free numbers – it might be surprising to many that the toll-free numbers are very cost-effective. Moreover, 888 toll-free subscriptions cost less than general telephone subscriptions.

9. Powered By Cloud Technology

New tech solutions like CallHippo offer 888 phone number solutions powered by cloud technology. Cloud infrastructure decreases the cost and increases the reliability of toll-free numbers in comparison to conventional hardware solutions. Cloud-based toll-free numbers are also easy to install and use. 

Moreover, these service providers not only give you the feature to make and receive calls, but they also help measure key metrics like call duration, callback frequency, and more. Gathering such data can help you optimize your business strategies and make amends to fix loopholes and bottlenecks.

So, cloud-based toll-free solutions help you equip your business with the cutting-edge power of the cloud.

Some Tips to Consider Before Choosing an 888 Area Code Number

You have come really far. Have you decided to go ahead with the area code 888 phone number now?

If so, then keep in mind the following best practices!

  • Go through the customer reviews on Trustpilot, Clutch, G2, and Google Reviews first, before making the purchase.
  • Take a free trial in order to test the effectiveness and compatibility of the toll-free number provider.
  • Pick a provider that offers all the business features that your business needs.
  • With features, also consider the price. Ensure that you are making a financially viable purchase decision and see that you are getting the best value for money.
  • Ensure that your toll-free number provider offers you many toll-free area code options.
  • Leverage vanity numbers to make your brand identity stronger.

How To Get Your 888 Area Code Number With CallHippo?

Now that you know about a toll-free number and why your business needs it, let’s understand how to get one.

The process is not different from getting a local virtual number. You must follow these steps: 

Step #1: Sign up with a reliable VoIP provider like CallHippo 

Step #2: Choose the toll-free number you want. You can also port your existing one. 

Step #3: Choose a plan.

Step #4: Add the users you want via extensions.

And you’re good to go.

Are There Any Cons To Toll-Free Numbers?

888 area code number

Like all things, toll-free numbers also have some drawbacks. Though these drawbacks are benign and can be easily tackled.

1. Unsolicited Calls

When calls become free, it might result in many unsolicited calls. Miscreants may use this just to pass the time and cause trouble. This might waste your resources in more ways than one since your agents will have to handle people who are not interested in your products and services at all. 

2. Not a Stand-Alone Solution

To run a business, your sales team will need more than just a toll-free number. You will still need to use local phone numbers to ensure better customer responses and a better local presence.

What Is The Future Of Toll-free Numbers And Should You Get One?

Toll free number

Regardless of your industry or business size, you certainly need a rock-solid avenue for your customers to reach out to you. Toll-free numbers are a comprehensive solution that can be used to ensure smooth two-way communication between your leads or customers and you. If you cater to a global audience, toll-free numbers will help them reach out to you from wherever they are.

The outlook of toll-free numbers certainly looks promising, as leading businesses are still leveraging toll-free numbers as vital marketing and business communication assets.

888 toll-free numbers come with myriad features, like offering companies flexible routing plans regarding the call volumes, call times, and origin of the call. This ensures that no call is missed and that every customer and prospect is attended to.

Getting an 800 toll-free number is a relatively easy task nowadays. Credible service providers like CallHippo specialize in VoIP phones and can easily set up toll-free phone lines for your business. They can personalize your toll-free contact center in a super simple, quick, and hassle-free way, enabling your call center reps to start receiving business calls in a matter of seconds! 


1. What area code does 888 belong to? 

The 888 area code is a toll-free number used in the US and Canada, regardless of the region the call is being made from. 

2. Are 888 numbers safe?

This question arises as some businesses use toll-free numbers for cold calls giving these numbers the impression of being spam numbers. However, 888 numbers are safe. They are often used for advertising and outreach by businesses. 

Also, note that calls to and from a toll-free number other than the ones mentioned above shall be avoided as they could be spammy and malicious. For eg. 1 887 XXX XXXX is NOT a toll-free number and is spam. More information here

3. Where do phone calls starting with the number 888 come from? 

An 888 area code is a toll-free number, and it can come from anywhere in the US or Canada.

4. Is there any difference between an 800 telephone area code and an 888 telephone number? 

800 is the predecessor of the 888 area code. The 800 area code got saturated and the 888 area code is now being used.

5. What is a toll-free prefix? 

The three-digit numbers starting with 8, like 800, 888, and more are toll-free prefixes.

6. How to find the business associated with a particular 888 number?

There’s a website named Click “By Phone Number” on the website. Insert the 888 toll-free number in the “search” box and then click the “Find” button. will display all possible search results for that particular number and the business or organization associated with it.

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