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Thread: US expat seeks advice for phone plan - keep a USA #, receive bank text codes abroad.

  1. #1
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    US expat seeks advice for phone plan - keep a USA #, receive bank text codes abroad.

    Hi,

    I am a USA citizen who will be living abroad (Asia) soon.

    I want to retain my USA identity and be able to receive verification codes from banks/cc's and to have a USA # they can call me on if they need to or vice versa.

    I've been using the MagicJack phone app for a few years, but it's been down for 4 days now - calls go directly to voicemail, a known issue - and I need something reliable.
    I have a USA phone number from them that all my accounts have, and would want to retain that number and port it over to whatever service I use.

    So far it appears from preliminary research that Ultramobile PayGo and Ting could be the solution.

    I don't know if the roaming rates for international that PayGo lists (25 cents/minute for SE Asia) is only for USA calling to SE Asia, or if it is for both ways - i.e., SEA calling USA at the same int'l. roaming rates.


    I can see that this is a knowledgeable forum, so will be grateful for suggestions/feedback.

    Also for feedback on Ultra PayGo vs. Ting.
    Or another solution.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I would consider Google Fi. Detailed info regarding international texts, calls, and data here: https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6157794?hl=en

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    Why would you want to use Google Fi or Ultramobile paygo or Ting? You want mobile access in Asia on their native plans as data will be cheapest with domestic carriers.

    You need a voip calling service in the USA. Google voice is free or you can choose from multiple other firms as well with USA based VOIP calling. Too many to list but you can use a search engine to find them as well as using google play or app store to find providers with their own applications. They allow text and calling.

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    From my experience even in the USA, I recently have been having trouble receiving bank confirmation calls on my VoIP line with ooma. Maybe banks think VoIP can be spoofed too easily, so they don't go through. My domestic prepaid cell phone number I have no problems receiving these calls. So I think there is a need to have a US carrier and phone number for bank confirmations. Maybe a speed talk world sim, if activated in the US with a domestic number, used abroad, and renewed monthly, would work and be most cost effective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LTENetwork View Post
    Why would you want to use Google Fi or Ultramobile paygo or Ting? You want mobile access in Asia on their native plans as data will be cheapest with domestic carriers...
    I have 2 USA unlocked phones.
    With one I will get a local SIM for local calls/texts, and to call/text the USA if my whereabouts are not important.

    I need Ting/Ultramobile PayGo, or another US SIM account to keep a US based identity.

    For your VOIP comments, will answer in jw530's post.
    Last edited by succeedextend; 09-07-2019 at 07:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw530 View Post
    From my experience even in the USA, I recently have been having trouble receiving bank confirmation calls on my VoIP line with ooma. Maybe banks think VoIP can be spoofed too easily, so they don't go through. My domestic prepaid cell phone number I have no problems receiving these calls. So I think there is a need to have a US carrier and phone number for bank confirmations. Maybe a speed talk world sim, if activated in the US with a domestic number, used abroad, and renewed monthly, would work and be most cost effective.
    Exactly.
    Unfortunately, there are increasing numbers of financial institutions who have begun rejecting VOIP numbers including just for opening bank and cc accounts.

    There is a majority who still do accept VOIP, but those who reject them for "security" are increasing.

    So I'd feel safer establishing a US SIM account using my USA phone #.


    " Maybe a speed talk world sim..."
    Thanks, will research that now. Never heard of it previously.
    Last edited by succeedextend; 09-07-2019 at 07:39 PM.

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    I see that SpeedTalkWorld is $15/month plus roaming.

    Ultramobile PayGo is $3/month for "30 minutes of talk, 30 texts or any combination of both that add up to 30 for only $3 per month. Once you reach 30, additional minutes and texts are just 10 cents each. Pay only for what you use."

    Plus roaming - 25 cents/min. if I call Asia to US.
    2 different reps claimed there is not a foreign roaming charge if someone in the US calls my US PayGo # and I'm in Asia.
    I'm still not totally convinced that they are correct, but even if they are not it would still be cheaper than SpeedTalkWorld, if both companies deliver a similar product.



    Does anyone have feedback on Ultramobile PayGo? Problems?

    Cheaper than Ting also, which would cost me a minimum of $12/month for up to 100 call minutes, up to 100 texts, plus 30 cents/min. int'l. roaming both ways (Asia to US, US to Asia) for voice calls.

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    Incidentally - I've been using the MagicJack phone app for a few years for I think $45/year.

    But today is the 4th day it's been down, and I have to get away from it due to that.

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    Interesting ultra mobile plan $3/mo plan. Where is it on the website? I only see their > $14 plans. Are they using the T-Mobile network in the USA?

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    Some of those providers are still seen as VoIP by some companies, while others will accept them as "mobile". Any MVNO that uses a modified "dialer" is most likely VoIP. MagicJack is VoIP too.
    Also, read the TOS for all those plans. Most of those will limit the ammount of roaming that you can do in relation to home use. They will disconnect accounts that are used exclusively in roaming outside their coverage area.
    Also, there are other conditions. For example Ting FAQ:
    "International roaming feature is available for Ting accounts after 3 months of active service with usage. Account needs to be in good financial standing in order for International roaming to be enabled."

    Now, about the legality of claiming US physical presence (residence) while living abroad... that's a whole other can or worms.
    Banks have legal requirements to ask for US residency, they don't just do it to annoy people. Money laundering is only one of the reasons.

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    Disclosure: I work for Ting, so I'm speaking only for us. Most of what I say here in theory should apply to other MVNOs, but I can make no solid promises.

    If you have a phone that supports WiFi calling, just about any US MVNO should allow you to connect that way using something like this: https://ting.com/blog/ting-international-roaming-wi-fi/

    We do have the 3 month limit for international roaming, but WiFi calling doesn't count as international roaming. It's entirely domestic and billed as if you were on US soil.

    The above blog post was one I wrote while on vacation in London and Paris and needed access to my US phone number for bank SMS and calling my credit card company, who needed a call to them to come from my registered number. It's still registered as a US number (not VOIP) even when using WiFi calling.

    Once the 3 months are over, you can enable roaming internationally to supplement your coverage abroad, but as with most carriers you'll be subject to roaming at that point, and we're no different on that front.

    Rest assured we will NOT disconnect for exclusive roaming if you don't give us reason to. An expat looking to keep their number and access to it with WiFi calling is a completely valid use case for our service and is not a reason we'd disconnect. All our disconnection decisions come after a team of actual humans reviews an account.

    If this is something you'd like to pursue with us, let me know either here (though I've been lax on checking HoFo recently) or via my work email at [email protected]

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiterallyUnlim View Post
    Rest assured we will NOT disconnect for exclusive roaming if you don't give us reason to. An expat looking to keep their number and access to it with WiFi calling is a completely valid use case for our service and is not a reason we'd disconnect. All our disconnection decisions come after a team of actual humans reviews an account.
    That's great, I suggest to link that in Ting FAQ about International Roaming, because it is a big plus. The Blog post doesn't show up for normal search...

    Usually all the carriers that rely on VoIP have inherently that feature, but not too many of the "true" mobile ones have it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by succeedextend View Post
    Exactly.
    Unfortunately, there are increasing numbers of financial institutions who have begun rejecting VOIP numbers including just for opening bank and cc accounts.

    There is a majority who still do accept VOIP, but those who reject them for "security" are increasing.

    So I'd feel safer establishing a US SIM account using my USA phone #.


    " Maybe a speed talk world sim..."
    Thanks, will research that now. Never heard of it previously.
    Speaking from experience, a Google Voice number will work 95% of the time. Even when it's not accepted for SMS verification, you can still sometimes verify with an automated call. If that isn't an option, you can often call the bank to verify.

    As a backup, you might consider a Truphone prepaid SIM. That gives you a US # which you can receive SMS on free worldwide, with no monthly fee. It, too, may not work since it's a non-standard carrier, but at that point I'd say you really need to complain to the bank, and consider taking your business elsewhere.

  14. #14
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    I have one bank that won't accept Google Voice to text a verification code to. But that bank will email me a verification code. I don't know if the banks you're dealing with have that option, but it might be worth looking into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw530 View Post
    Interesting ultra mobile plan $3/mo plan. Where is it on the website? I only see their > $14 plans. Are they using the T-Mobile network in the USA?
    https://www.ultramobile.com/paygo/

    It was formerly the T-Mobile $3 plan, but now T-Mobile only sells the "starter kit" (SIM), and will not answer any questions about the service but refers to Ultramobile.

    So I would think it is still using T-Mobile's network in the USA.

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