Looking for a free phone number and are tired of getting spammed all the time?
Spam calls account for 18.3% of every call received by Canadians, according to CTV News, meaning that one out of every five calls could be fraudulent.
One of the best ways to avoid this and provide yourself with an added layer of security is to use a virtual phone number service with call forwarding, so you never have to give out your true number.
A virtual number is also great to use for 2FA identification while you’re travelling.
Below, I’ll share some of the best ways to get a free phone number in Canada so you can keep your number private!
What Is A Virtual Phone Number?
Canadian phone numbers follow the same pattern – the country code “+1” followed by ten digits. An example Canada phone number looks like: +1-604-456-7890.
So, what’s the difference between a traditional Canadian phone number and a virtual phone number?
Virtual phone numbers are digital telephone numbers that aren’t directly associated with a physical phone line. Instead of being linked to a specific device or location, they route calls to a predetermined destination, which could be a smartphone, computer, or tablet.
This rerouting capability allows businesses to use virtual numbers to establish a local presence for a specific area code, even if the business is located elsewhere. This is often how overseas companies are able to call your phone using a local phone number, tricking you into picking up.
As scammers use virtual phone numbers to disguise their identities, so can consumers.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology that makes virtual phone numbers possible. Here’s how VoIP works (without getting too technical):
- VoIP records audio and converts it into digital data packets
- These data packets are sent over the internet to the recipient’s phone number
- Once they arrive, they’re converted back into sound waves
VoIP can be used with a Wi-Fi internet connection or using your phone network’s data plan.
This digital transmission method makes integrating other services like video calls, text, and voicemail easy, often at a lower cost than traditional phone services.
This flexibility is why VoIP services are often low-cost or free to use.
- Related Reading: Cheapest Phone Plans In Canada
Best Free Virtual Phone Number Apps: Listed
Whether you’re using a mobile phone or tablet, the following apps can help you get a free Canadian phone number that you can use to make calls, send text messages, and even video chat.
1. Google Voice
- Try It Out: voice.google.com
Google Voice provides users worldwide with a free virtual phone number that can be used for free calls and texts and can be used to make unlimited calls to destinations around the world.
One of its standout features is call recording, allowing users to archive voice conversations for later reference.
Google Voice easily manages your incoming calls and can route them to multiple phone numbers simultaneously. This is excellent if you’re using it for business. and ensures that users never miss an important call.
One of the best reasons to use Google Voice over its many competitors is its ad-free interface. Users can enjoy the service without interruptions, and there’s no need for paid subscriptions.
In a sea of ad-supported virtual phone number apps, Google Voice is simple, functional, and rarely disappoints.
- No ads or “premium” plans that require you to pay
- Can be used for business or personal usage
- Record calls and archive them for future reference
- Receive calls, voicemails, and texts
- Set custom voicemail
- Easily integrates with your existing Google account
- Excellent audio quality
- Available call forwarding
- There really aren’t any – it’s an excellent, safe, easy-to-use platform
- Try It Out: talkatone.com
With over 10 million downloads and a 4-star rating on the Google Play Store, it’s easy to see why Talkatone is one of the most popular VoIP apps in North America. It’s also available on the Apple App Store.
The app provides users with virtual phone numbers, including the often-sought-after Canadian phone number, free of charge. With Talkatone, users can make calls, send texts, and even communicate internationally without added data costs.
It operates seamlessly over Wi-Fi or mobile data, which saves minutes on your phone plan.
- Free to use
- Make international calls
- Available for Android and Apple devices
- No call recording feature
- Periodic reports of the app crashing
- Try It Out: telosapp.com
Telos offers virtual phone numbers for Canadian and US users, similar to Talkatone.
While Talkatone and Google Voice cater to specific markets, Telos offers its users a wider array of international numbers, which may be good if you’re trying to establish a business presence in an international market.
The app has a very user-friendly interface and offers crystal-clear call quality (which many VoIP providers lack). The only drawback is that Telos isn’t 100% free. Unlike other free phone number apps, you’ll only be given a limited number of free daily messages and calls.
However, you can sign up for a Telos unlimited plan for as cheap as $2.99/month, which is pretty fair considering what you get.
- Excellent call quality
- Wide array of international numbers
- Affordable paid plan
- Calls and texts are limited without a paid plan
- Try It Out: dingtone.me
Dingtone is a versatile virtual phone number app with a platform for free voice calls, text messaging, and international communication.
While it offers free credits daily through in-app actions, users might need to purchase additional credits if they plan on using the app for frequent daily calls and texts.
One of Dingtone’s standout features is its superior call quality, even in regions with lower connectivity.
- Free calls and texts
- Supports international communication
- Earn credits through in-app actions (watching ads, offers, etc.)
- It’s not 100% free
- Ads can be annoying and cause in-app lagging
- Try It Out: burnerapp.com
At its core, Burner was made for individuals who prioritize anonymity, be it for online sales, dating, or job searches. With its intuitive interface, the app allows users to “burn” or discard numbers at their discretion.
Burner sets itself apart in the realm of virtual phone apps by offering temporary or disposable phone numbers, which are ideal for short-term tasks or simply protecting your privacy.
While it does offer a 7-day free trial, extended use requires subscription packages.
- Free phone number app that offers multiple disposable numbers
- 7-day free trial
- Simple user interface
- No unlimited calls without subscription
- Try It Out: dotmobile.app
DotMobile is a cloud-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that’s a bit different from some of the other virtual phone number apps I’ve mentioned so far.
Similar to a traditional phone plan, users must order a SIM card, either physical (made from eco-friendly materials) or an eSIM for compatible phones.
The service includes voice calls, texts, and the option to select or port a phone number. DotMobile’s “Data on Tap” feature provides customizable data usage, subscription flexibility, and data-sharing capabilities.
While it offers a free plan, a $7/month Basic plan is required for a Canadian number on messaging apps, and a comprehensive $14/month plan unlocks all of the additional features.
- It’s reliable and similar to a traditional phone plan
- Users can vote on company actions and offers
- Free to use if you want a non-Canadian number
- $7/month plan required for a Canadian phone number
- Try It Out: hushed.com
Similar to the Burner app, Hushed prioritizes user discretion and flexibility. It’s tailored for those seeking temporary phone numbers or who want multiple lines.
Hushed is an excellent solution for those who need privacy for personal, business, or even dating phone calls, messages, and voicemails.
Its simple design allows users to acquire, use, and just as easily discard numbers.
While it does offer a free version, the app’s more comprehensive features may require a subscription.
- Free version available
- Allows you to create and discard Canadian phone numbers easily
- Great user interface
- Paid plan required for advanced functionality
- Try It Out: fongo.com
Fongo is a cost-effective, Canada-centric app that offers its users a free Canadian phone number for no additional fees. It also has a handy caller ID feature, which isn’t common with other virtual phone number apps.
The app is great for voice calls as well as text messaging and doesn’t charge any monthly subscription fees. Instead, the app is largely supported by ads and promotional content.
While this can be a bit distracting at times, it’s not a deal-breaker.
- 100% free to use
- Useful caller ID feature
- Free Canadian phone number
- The app is ad-supported, which can be annoying
- Try It Out: textplus.com
Through the app, textPlus users can obtain free Canadian numbers and use their Wi-Fi/cellular data for calls and texts. With an intuitive interface, users can easily navigate features like group messaging and voicemail.
The only downside is that textPlus isn’t great for international communication. Although it supports international calls and texts, this service costs additional money.
- Get a free Canadian phone number
- International calling available
- International calling costs extra (about 2.2 cents per minute)
- Try It Out: openphone.com
Unlike most other apps I’ve reviewed so far, OpenPhone caters to small businesses and start-ups looking for an intuitive communication system to manage calls, texts, and CRM. While it supports personal use, I’d say that its business platform is a lot better.
The service offers a business line for calls, messaging, and CRM tasks. Users can share numbers, allowing co-workers to access inboxes and make calls remotely.
Some of its standout features include call recording, automated voicemail, screen sharing, and browser extensions that are compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.
After its free trial, OpenPhone charges $10 or $20 monthly for standard and premium plans, with an enterprise option available on inquiry. International calls are offered at varying rates, excluding free trial users.
- Great for online businesses
- Supports automated voicemail
- Screen sharing
- Available browser extensions
- Free trial available
- After the free trial, you’ll be required to upgrade to a paid plan
Reasons To Use A Virtual Phone Number
Still on the fence about using a virtual phone number? Here are some of the main reasons why you may want to consider one for personal or business use.
Helps You Stay Organized
A virtual phone number can streamline your communications by offering a dedicated line that separates your personal contacts from business, school, and work.
This helps you to categorize calls and messages based on their nature, which can help you better manage your time. Many of the VoIP apps I mentioned above allow you to set custom ringtones and notifications, which can help you prioritize your communication.
Buying Or Selling Online
When buying or selling on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Kijiji, to running your own e-commerce website, using a virtual phone number has several advantages, including:
- Privacy Protection: Sharing your personal number online can expose you to unwanted spam and security risks. A virtual number masks your primary number, ensuring personal details remain confidential.
- Record Keeping: Many virtual phone services offer call recording and text archiving, which can help you keep track of interactions.
- Custom Voicemails: You can create a personalized voicemail for your virtual number, informing callers about your product availability, pick-up times, and other important details.
- Temporary Use: If you’re buying or selling one-off items, you can discard or deactivate the virtual number once your transactions are complete.
- Enhanced Credibility: Having a dedicated contact number makes sellers look more credible and trustworthy to customers.
Dating And Networking
If you’ve ever been to a business networking event, you may remember how many business cards you give out and receive in return.
While communicating is the point of networking, not everyone you meet will respect your personal space. Some will be overly salesy and may hound you day and night, trying to get your business.
The same thing applies to dating.
Whether you’ve just met a stranger during an evening out or you’re swapping numbers through a dating app, it’s not always easy to tell who you’re dealing with. Until you get to know the person better, it’s often safer to give them a virtual phone number. If things go south, at least they won’t be able to contact you directly.
If you’ve just applied for a new Canadian phone number through a major carrier, you’re probably enjoying the peace and quiet. With a new number, few (if any) SPAM callers have your direct number.
Once you start signing up for apps and using your phone number, though, it’s amazing how quickly scam call centres get ahold of your contact info and start blowing up your phone.
Instead, I recommend using a virtual phone number whenever you’re signing up for newsletters, rewards programs, or apps. Save your direct line for personal contacts who you actually want to talk to.
Helps You Avoid Messaging Fees
If you don’t have an unlimited messaging plan, every single SMS you send over your monthly cap can cost you. Using a VoIP service like the ones I mentioned above can allow you to save on your phone plan, as you’ll be able to use it for most of your messaging purposes.
FAQs About Virtual Phone Numbers
To wrap up, here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about virtual phone number apps.
Can Virtual Numbers Be Used For International Calls?
Yes, most virtual phone number services can be used for international calls. Some apps allow free international calling, while others charge additional rates.
Do You Need A Phone To Use A Virtual Phone Number?
Using a smartphone is the most straightforward way to use your virtual number. However, most VoIP services can also be used with a tablet and/or your computer.
Are Virtual Phone Numbers Safe?
For the most part, virtual numbers are safe to use. Most apps have strict policies about data collection, and some also offer encrypted messaging. That being said, records are still kept somewhere and could be used against you in certain legal instances. As with your regular number, exercise caution and avoid discussing potentially harmful topics over the phone.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Way To Get A Canadian Phone Number?
The easiest way, by far, to get a free Canadian phone number is to download the Google Voice app. It’s 100% free, doesn’t have any ads, and has an excellent user interface. You can also record calls and voicemails, which can be incredibly useful if you’re a small business.
Looking for more ways to save money? As banking fees with major banks continue to rise, consider using one of these fee-free online banks to manage your money instead!