Need US SIM card for receiving bank SMS verification

16 posts in this topic

Does anyone know of a US SIM card that I can use in Germany to receive SMS text verification messages from US bank accounts, something that doesn't charge monthly fees and only charges for the minutes and text that you use, like how German prepaid cards work?

 

I used to simply give the banks my US Skype number, but recently they want to send a verification link or code by SMS, which Skype numbers can't receive if they're sent by SMS short code. So I'm going to ask a friend to buy a SIM from the US and mail it to me.

 

But I don't see any prepaid SIM cards that don't require you to buy a monthly plan with a monthly fee. The cheapest prepaid SIM card plan that I could find is Ultramobile (T-mobile) PayGo, which is $3 a month, with international roaming allowed.

 

However, I don't know if SMS short codes work while roaming internationally with the Ultramobile SIM card. I've read that some people were  not able to receive them with some of these prepaid SIM cards.

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I was faced with the same issue with respect to my UK bank account. I received a notification that online log on had to be confirmed via sms but only to UK telephone numbers. I called the bank and complained bitterly and I suspect I was no alone because a short time later confirmation was allowed via non UK numbers!

Try giving your US bank a call and complain and escalate to a manager.

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1 hour ago, keith2011 said:

I was faced with the same issue with respect to my UK bank account. I received a notification that online log on had to be confirmed via sms but only to UK telephone numbers.

 

I had somethng similar with my UK bank (RBS).

When entering my mobile number into my profile there it clearly offered the option to select the code for a particular country including Germany but then I got a stream of letters (correctly addressed to me in Germany) stating that it looked as if I was using a non-UK mobile phone & woudl I please change as they could not send me "Alerts"!

After a while I wrote a somewhat shirty letter including screen shots from their own web page (& suggesting they lokk at their own web pages) & after several weeks got a letter saying they they disabled these "Alerts".

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I raised this question not long ago on here...

 

Ask your bank for the number/ID from where the sms will come and you can add it to a "White-list" in your phones SMS settings. 

 

That worked for me and still does!

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I'm afraid that I can't help the original poster, but I have an alternative solution for UK users.  I have a pre-pay SIM from Tesco mobile which accepts SMS messages from the UK for no charge.  The only, very minor, problems are:  The account will be closed if it goes six months without incurring a charge and it is not easy to purchase a top up voucher without a debit or credit card registered to a UK address.

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1 minute ago, starkebogen said:

The account will be closed if it goes six months without incurring a charge and it is not easy to purchase a top up voucher without a debit or credit card registered to a UK address.

 

Can you not just send an SMS or make a short call to keep it active?

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30 minutes ago, starkebogen said:

I'm afraid that I can't help the original poster, but I have an alternative solution for UK users.  I have a pre-pay SIM from Tesco mobile which accepts SMS messages from the UK for no charge.  The only, very minor, problems are:  The account will be closed if it goes six months without incurring a charge and it is not easy to purchase a top up voucher without a debit or credit card registered to a UK address.

 

 

 

https://www.recharge.com/de/grossbritannien

 

Can pay with Paypal... 

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There are German online stores that sell foreign SIM-cards. This is handy when you want to travel abroad but do not want to have the hassle of buying the card at your destination:

 

www.travsim.de

 

www.simlystore.com/

 

I didn't look through all the options but I am confident that the banking problem can be solved this way.

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23 minutes ago, starkebogen said:

The account will be closed if it goes six months without incurring a charge and it is not easy to purchase a top up voucher without a debit or credit card registered to a UK address.

 

Did you try with a Revolut or with a Transferwise Borderless account? They come with sterling accounts and in my experience when you purchase something intangible online you can just enter a fictitious address (in this case in the UK) and the transaction goes through as long as you approve it in your smart phone. I am not saying this works all the time, but it's worked for me in the past.

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fraufruit asked "Can you not just send an SMS or make a short call to keep it active?".

 

The simple answer is that's exactly what I do!

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On 23.12.2019, 22:33:21, thomash2 said:

Does anyone know of a US SIM card that I can use in Germany to receive SMS text verification messages from US bank accounts, something that doesn't charge monthly fees and only charges for the minutes and text that you use, like how German prepaid cards work?

 

I used to simply give the banks my US Skype number, but recently they want to send a verification link or code by SMS, which Skype numbers can't receive if they're sent by SMS short code. So I'm going to ask a friend to buy a SIM from the US and mail it to me.

 

But I don't see any prepaid SIM cards that don't require you to buy a monthly plan with a monthly fee. The cheapest prepaid SIM card plan that I could find is Ultramobile (T-mobile) PayGo, which is $3 a month, with international roaming allowed.

 

However, I don't know if SMS short codes work while roaming internationally with the Ultramobile SIM card. I've read that some people were  not able to receive them with some of these prepaid SIM cards.

I’ve used Pinger or Textfree for the past 9 years which gives me a US number where I can receive text messages and phone calls. You can also call 800 numbers in the US for free. I’ve never had a problem with it.

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I'm not talking about normal SMS from a normal telephone number. The SMS "Short Codes" (the short telephone numbers that you see when you receive these types of SMS) that US banks (and probably European Banks) use to send the verification codes, don't work with Skype or other VOIP systems.  I've also read elsewhere that they don't work with these "international" SIM cards with US numbers, that aren't provided by one of the main US telecom companies.  Well, anyway, I asked someone to mail me an Ultramobile US SIM card, which is run by T-mobile.  I'll give it a try when I receive it.

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I have a Google Voice account (https://voice.google.com) with a US mobile phone number and it works for the various US-based services (bank, credit card, investment accounts) I use which require two-factor authentication.

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Hm... I read on other forums that some people have problems receiving the SMS with Google Voice for bank verification.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Googlevoice/comments/98ljd2/using_google_voice_as_bank_verification_number/

https://support.google.com/voice/thread/10436160?hl=en

https://support.google.com/voice/thread/1592118?hl=en

https://support.google.com/voice/thread/7848754?hl=en

 

Oh, I tried installing Google Voice, but it is region locked and won't sign in if you have a German IP address.

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I use Google Voice for this purpose all the time. When I moved from the US to Germany, I ported my number to Google Voice but you should be able to request a new US-based Voice number too. 
 

I receive all SMS two-factor authentication notices this way. For example, from my banks or Amazon account or whatever. Whenever my Voice account receives an SMS or voicemail, I get an email directly with the contents. It has always arrived within 15-30 seconds so there’s enough time in the usual 60 second window. 

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I was able to get Google Voice to work. And it does seem to be able to receive some US SMS short code text messages, although I haven't tested it yet with all of the services that I use that require SMS authentication.  I was finally able to unlock my credit and debit cards!

 

I used a PC browser to signup, although the same method might apply to the phone app. The problem I had was that signing up for Google Voice requires a US IP address.  So I used a VPN with a server in the US.  Then you need a US mobile number to link with Google Voice, but the SIM card for that number does not need to be physically in the phone that you want to use Google Voice with.  You still need to receive a one time SMS code to that number for verification, so you can either put the SIM card into another phone, or put it in your only phone and sign up on a PC browser. I received a prepaid US SIM card for Ultramobile (T-mobile) from my brother.  The Ultramobile number costs $3 a month to maintain (specifically the PayGo SIM card that is only available in brick-n-mortar stores), but text and calls while on international roaming are very expensive. I entered this mobile number into Google Voice and got the authentication SMS code.  However, you then need to select a new US telephone number for your Google Voice number, but after choosing a number, nothing happened when I pressed the submit button. I found that it was due to the VPN.  So I deactivated the VPN and returned to a German IP address.  After, pressing submit it gave me an error (or it may have changed to a skip button), but the browser proceeded to the next page and I successfully received an account, while being able to logout and login while on a German IP address.

 

While on the German IP address, after successfully getting a new account, I was able go through the steps again to choose a new US telephone number. I tested the SMS function a few times and it seemed to work.

 

There is an option to forward SMS and calls that are made to your Google Voice number, to the linked US mobile number. But receiving calls to the Google Voice number is free, at least from US numbers but I'm not sure about from international numbers, while forwarding the call to the US mobile number would incur international roaming charges.  So it makes more sense not to forward the calls.  Google Voice will not forward calls to non-US mobile numbers, so you cannot link your German mobile number to it.

 

One interesting feature of Google Voice seems to be the ability to make calls from your Google Voice number through your linked US mobile number by cellular voice connection, in case there is no internet data connection available.  I'm not sure if I understood this feature correctly, but it doesn't make sense to do it while roaming internationally because that US SIM card needs to be in the phone that you're calling from, which would then incur roaming fees from your US mobile carrier. If the SIM card is in your phone and you are roaming internationally, you would probably want to deactivate this function, otherwise you might get surprise charges.

 

I haven't tested the voice quality of Google Voice, but the international rates seem as good or better than Skype, while Skype needs a paid subscription to get a US telephone number that can't receive some forms of SMS messages.

 

I read an article somewhere that Google Voice and Skype use different types of routing systems, so call quality and time lagging experienced could be different between the 2 services when under different circumstances.  However, with Skype I sometimes experience disconnects or the microphone dropping out while calling the credit card hotline and having to go through the whole queue again to try to get the credit card unlocked.  So I'm willing to try Google Voice to see if it's any better.  At least I can (probably) now properly receive SMS authentication codes.

 

The other thing that is useful is a VPN service.  Some websites block non-US IP addresses, for example some of the sites from the big 3 credit reporting services.  During the big data breach, I tried to freeze my credit report, but the sites were not allowing me to access the webpages. The VPN set to a US address fixed this problem.  I had tried the Avast / AVG VPN service, but it disconnected frequently and many of their servers were blacklisted by the websites that I was trying to access.  I then switched to one of the other more prominent VPN services with many more servers and IP addresses available, and they work most of the time.

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