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Expats keeping a phone number in their citizenship country (aka MagicJack not working).


JimmyJ

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Living abroad but keeping an identity in one's home country.

 

Thanks to a helpful person in these forums, I started using MagicJack's phone app, which gives me a US VOIP phone number.

Currently and for the last few years that is the phone number I use with all my accounts including especially financial and government.

 I also pay a US carrier for one of their phone numbers, which I use for everything else including all my calls. The MJ is an app on that phone so it's one phone with it's own number plus the MJ app with its own number on the same phone.

 

Periodically the MJ app would not work, but uninstall/reinstall would usually resolve it.

Then a periodic issue began where phone calls would go direct to voicemail. When that occurred, texts would not arrive.

I'd have to chat with cs, and it would get resolved by refreshing on their end, or they deactivating/reactivating it.

 

Two days ago I woke up, and was logged out of the app which is not normal.

Since then, I have the direct to voicemail problem, but this time cs could not fix it.

I looked at Play Store, and from the reviews everyone posting there is having this problem.

Also, it's usually about a 15 - 20 minute wait to get on the Live Chat. Yesterday, it was 83 people ahead of me, and 90 minute wait.

And they couldn't fix it.

 

This is very alarming, and I'm wondering if anyone has any phone app or other method that is working that they recommend.

I need a USA phone number with my USA area code that can receive texts, and that can receive US phone calls.

 

The big issue is that it's unfortunately become common for financial companies not to use email to send verification codes any more for logging in or making account changes, but to insist on sending a texted code to one's phone number.

 

I'm realizing that if this had happened while I was abroad, it could be very difficult to resolve and bank accounts could end up frozen as it would appear suspicious understandably.

 

The big advantage of MagicJack is that I had a (usually) working USA phone # that could receive texts and could make and receive USA phone calls from anywhere for $45 USD/year total.

 

Even if I can find a working app, this could happen in the future to any of them.

I'm thinking now of keeping my USA phone # active - it's with a major US carrier.

Unfortunately, I just called and the cheapest plan would be including tax about $45 per month. And I would use that just to receive the verification texts and on the occasions when I have to call a bank/cc in the US, or if they need to call me.

Meanwhile I have a spare (2nd) phone, and would use that with a Thai SIM for local Thai calling, data, etc. - everything except phone dealings with US banks/cc's/etc.

 

So I'd be spending about $540/year (plus something like 20 cents/text, and 20 cents/minute for voice calls) vs. $45 per year with MagicJack. That would be the cost of keeping my US identity with banks, credit cards, US gov't.

 

This is now the 2nd day of MJ not working. I'm going to give it about a week at most, and if MJ is still not working, call up all and switch phone #'s - which could become a big hassle in itself since they won't be able to call the phone number they currently have for me to verify it's me. But at least I'm in the US and if necessary could go to a branch of a bank if they wanted in person to show id (for the ones that are local - but I'm using many internet only banks, and they tend to be the most paranoid).

 

Eager for any potential solutions, ways to resolve it for a lower cost, etc.

 

How do you do deal with this?

I know some people have someone to field calls for them in the US, but even so, what happens when the bank wants to speak to you to verify something or you need to call and speak to the bank?

Edited by JimmyJ
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I keep my UK number going in Thailand and My Thai number going when out of Thailand. So which number is used for verification sms both are available. 

Skype is working best, and have for the quality a very good value concerning the price. It´s also possible to buy a USA number with Caller ID ans both way SMS enabled.

I was using google voice ,for awhile I was getting away with just GV but some institutions got wise to this VOIP stuff and claim its not secure enough. One of them , I can't remember who, actually put

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39 minutes ago, sunnyboy2018 said:

I keep my UK number going in Thailand and My Thai number going when out of Thailand. So which number is used for verification sms both are available. 

Are you on a low priced plan for your UK #, or using a low priced carrier?

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6 minutes ago, riclag said:

I was using google voice ,for awhile I was getting away with just GV but some institutions got wise to this VOIP stuff and claim its not secure enough. One of them , I can't remember who, actually put another layer of security such as and it happen to me, sending a code to my GV while their program detected it was a voip and within 5 seconds it disappeared.

Sending code to Voip# and email imop are going to become a thing of the past.

 

I signed up with one of those partner networks .I can't remember the technical name for networks that use the big carrier towers.

I started with Ting mobile just to have a USA phone#, to receive txt messages(I could careless about data).Incoming txt to thailand was free,total cost $6 plus tax pm . Unfortunately for me they decided to partner up with Verizon starting in late 2020. Verizon is a CDMA  network and I have a cheap $30 gsm flip phone .

I transferred the number over to  Mint. They partner with Tmobile I believe. That's $15 plus tax pm.

I don't know what your plans are but if its short term try Ting.For $6 a month you can't go wrong

Long term.

 

"Sending code to Voip# and email imop are going to become a thing of the past"

Yes, I was rejected for a bank account this year partly due to unable to verify phone # (my MJ VOIP #).

First time that was ever an issue.

 

Are you happy with Mint?

Can you make and receive voice calls from the US as well as texts?

Sometimes speaking to cs at a bank or cc company they want to call me on the # I have registered with them, so that ability is essential.

Edited by JimmyJ
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Total cost for a year just to be able to get  txt codes from  financial institution that will only recognize USA phone numbers is around $200.

I'll wait to see if Verizon and Ting have a good marriage and buy a old iphone (I have the Ting chip) and go with them down the road

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7 minutes ago, JimmyJ said:

Long term.

 

"Sending code to Voip# and email imop are going to become a thing of the past"

Yes, I was rejected for a bank account this year partly due to unable to verify phone # (my MJ VOIP #).

First time that was ever an issue.

 

Are you happy with Mint?

Can you make and receive voice calls from the US as well as texts?

Sometimes speaking to cs at a bank or cc company they want to call me on the # I have registered with them, so that ability is essential.

I use skype to call the usa or Wifi, Line  and Viber. I haven't used Mint to call while in Thailand. But they do have roaming and they said one can call the states but the cost are high. 

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1 minute ago, riclag said:

I use skype to call the usa or Wifi, Line  and Viber. I haven't used Mint to call while in Thailand. But they do have roaming and they said one can call the states but the cost are high. 

I have experienced these companies wanting to send codes to the registered number while speaking to them directly  from skype on my laptop! That worked for me

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Another thing to factor in if you change companies, is having your number ported over ! If you change numbers some institutions policies won't recognize your numbers for a least 1 month(Synchrony Bank and a few others).

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Matzzon said:

Skype is working best, and have for the quality a very good value concerning the price. It´s also possible to buy a USA number with Caller ID ans both way SMS enabled.

Skype is a VOIP correct?

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3 minutes ago, Matzzon said:

Yes, it is.

Its true many VOIP serve their purpose! But for this OP getting some financial institutions to send verification codes to him through MagicJack another (VOIP), has  caused him problems! Some institutions find these unsecured and refuse to accept them 

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3 minutes ago, riclag said:

Its true many VOIP serve their purpose! But for this OP getting some financial institutions to send verification codes to him through MagicJack another (VOIP), has  caused him problems! Some institutions find these unsecured and refuse to accept them 

In my case, MagicJack has a system technical problem affecting many users.

 

All the institutions I deal with have no problem sending the codes to my MJ phone #.

 

1 bank refused me an account partially because they couldn't verify the phone #, but it was a small bank. That's the 1st time I've encountered that issue.

Edited by JimmyJ
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17 minutes ago, riclag said:

Its true many VOIP serve their purpose! But for this OP getting some financial institutions to send verification codes to him through MagicJack another (VOIP), has  caused him problems! Some institutions find these unsecured and refuse to accept them 

Sure, they do! Never said anything about that. Only gave the advice of using Skype as a Voip service, where it works and are accepted of course, because it´s the best choice with the best quality.

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2 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

Are you on a low priced plan for your UK #, or using a low priced carrier?

I have an O2 SIM in my dual SIM phone. Every now & then I call it from my Thai SIM or Skype but do not answer, and vice versa. That keeps it alive. I sometimes get messages or OTPs from UK as well.

Edited by wgdanson
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Is it not possible to buy a prepaid SIM in the US?

I have a prepaid from my homecountry and therefore this is free (except of the 1 SMS per year which I have to send to keep the SIM active)!

I would guess the US should have something similar. And I use a Dual SIM mobile so always have both SIM's active in my phone.

For calls I use skype, which is connected with a real landline phone number from homecountry as well. So never encountered a problem with this settings!

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12 minutes ago, Banana7 said:

I use MJ as a land line by using its box, connected to a router into the internet. Worked ok today. 

Yes, I asked cs about that yesterday and was told connecting MJ to a land line phone does not have these issues. But I need to receive texts so in my case it doesn't help.

(And paying for a land line is not in my plans).

Edited by JimmyJ
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1 minute ago, JimmyJ said:

Yes, I asked cs about that yesterday and was told connecting MJ to a land line phone does not have these issues. But I need to receive texts so in my case it doesn't help.

Are you sure? I think I received a text that was converted automatically into speech.

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Just to confirm - You received a text sent to an MJ phone # and you had the MJ connected to a landline phone when you think it converted text to speech?

(I never considered that possibility).

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6 minutes ago, JimmyJ said:

Just to confirm - You received a text sent to an MJ phone # and you had the MJ connected to a landline phone when you think it converted text to speech?

(I never considered that possibility).

I believe that is correct. It was converted by a computer/automated attendant didn't sound like a human, but it was understandable and clear.

 

Try it, do a test.

Edited by Banana7
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39 minutes ago, Banana7 said:

I believe that is correct. It was converted by a computer/automated attendant didn't sound like a human, but it was understandable and clear.

 

Try it, do a test.

I checked the website and it doesn't mention it but will check with cs tomorrow.

 

It seems like the land line method doesn't work for me currently.

 

There's a 3rd method of using the computer and the MJ device jacks into the computer and a landline type phone connects to the MJ device also.

But I'm reluctant to load the MJ device software onto the computer, since I don't have confidence in MJ's tech abilities at the minute.

 

If cs says they have text to speech though, it's a temporary workaround and I'll try it.

 

But for travel I need something like the MJ phone app where I can receive texts anywhere without having to have a computer available and/or a landline phone which I don't expect to have in Asia.

 

Or getting a SIM into my spare phone from a low cost company and porting my MJ phone number over to it, since all the banks have that #.

And riclag mentioned: "Another thing to factor in if you change companies, is having your number ported over ! If you change numbers some institutions policies won't recognize your numbers for a least 1 month(Synchrony Bank and a few others)."

I understand them doing that for safety reasons, but I'd like to avoid going thru that.

 

 

 

Edited by JimmyJ
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