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Old 19-12-2020, 02:11   #1
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International Banking Info Please

We are 20 year + liveaboards and have been out of the USA for 17+ yrs. In all that time we have belonged to a small credit union which gave us personal service. Now they have merged with a larger CU and the service went away. One problem is our not having a US phone # for any transaction verification. As I see it we have two options; get a US phone # that will receive SMS messages internationally, or move banks. I'm looking for info/advice or personal success in one or both of these areas. We will not be going back to the US.



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Old 19-12-2020, 02:47   #2
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Re: International Banking Info Please

Get a Google Voice number. You won't even need a phone. Any voice mail can be accessed via internet and you can make calls via a computer or tablet and the internet. If you do have an international mobile, you can point your calls to transfer to that number and answer your bank or whomever right on your mobile phone should you want.
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Old 19-12-2020, 04:21   #3
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Re: International Banking Info Please

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Get a Google Voice number.
"You must have an existing US-based mobile or landline phone number to qualify."
https://voice.google.com/u/0/signup

I would get cheapest prepaid US mobile.
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Old 19-12-2020, 04:30   #4
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Re: International Banking Info Please

What type of service do you want from your bank. I think I d talked to mine once in the last 12 months
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Old 19-12-2020, 04:31   #5
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Re: International Banking Info Please

Personally Id open a Revolut account
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Old 19-12-2020, 04:48   #6
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Re: International Banking Info Please

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Personally Id open a Revolut account
What's a Revolut account...?
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Old 19-12-2020, 05:06   #7
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Re: International Banking Info Please

This was discussed recently -- a lot of cruisers have this problem.

I don't know any good solution -- my bank (Bank of America) knows and does not accept "virtual" mobile numbers which accept text messages. I do have a code generator card which works with most transfer instructions -- see if you bank can give you one of those.

Prepaid mobile plans are not that cheap and a PITA to keep up. For years I had a very cheap (I think $3 month) TMobile plan that worked, but if you forget to top up in time it burns the number, and that plan is no longer available. A $10 plan is $120 a year; $20 is $240. This is a lot of money just to be able to receive a few text messages a year.

One of our guys on here, Jedi, suggested a mobile phone subscription which works on wifi. You might do a search in the archives for that.

Or just forget the U.S. bank account and go Revolut or Transferwise.

I have European bank accounts, but I have been really loving Transferwise, which is brilliant. A particular advantage of Transferwise is that you get frictionless conversion of currencies, which will save you a ton of money over converting currencies through banks. You can get a debit card with it, too, and there is no authentication via text messages. You authenticate biometrically using your smartphone.
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Old 19-12-2020, 07:16   #8
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Re: International Banking Info Please

I have a skype account linked to a real phone number (that has a area code matching my mailing address). I've never had a problem with banks, brokerage houses, etc using it.
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Old 19-12-2020, 07:19   #9
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Re: International Banking Info Please

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I have a skype account linked to a real phone number (that has a area code matching my mailing address). I've never had a problem with banks, brokerage houses, etc using it.

I have a Skype number too. It works fine for voice, but not for text. The problem is text message two-factor authentication.
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Old 19-12-2020, 07:46   #10
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Re: International Banking Info Please

If all you need is a US-based phone number that can receive texts, take a look at MagicJack. They offer US (and Canadian) phone numbers. You can access their full services through their app, so you don't even need their dongle. Pretty modest cost.
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Old 19-12-2020, 09:51   #11
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Re: International Banking Info Please

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Personally Id open a Revolut account
I second that. Ive been a Revolut customer for three years and Im very satisfied with the service.
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Old 19-12-2020, 09:56   #12
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Re: International Banking Info Please

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Get a Google Voice number. You won't even need a phone. Any voice mail can be accessed via internet and you can make calls via a computer or tablet and the internet. If you do have an international mobile, you can point your calls to transfer to that number and answer your bank or whomever right on your mobile phone should you want.
This. Do it, you will be happy. With a data connection anywhere in the world you will receive phone calls and texts. My bank texts me to verify wire transfers and this is how i can receive and respond.
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Old 19-12-2020, 09:59   #13
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Re: International Banking Info Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
I have a skype account linked to a real phone number (that has a area code matching my mailing address). I've never had a problem with banks, brokerage houses, etc using it.
Same here, "Skype number" worked even in Japan, surprised even Japanese, obtained a Japanese driving license within 24h, address was hotel, tel. was skype-out

N26, a free German internet bank, active in US & neighboring countries as well as in 22 countries in Europe, registration over internet is easy. I use them but I am European. N26 work with transferwise for money transfer. Read
www.howitravel.co/n26-turkey/
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Old 19-12-2020, 10:04   #14
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Re: International Banking Info Please

I don't know about revolut or transferwise, it would be nice if people using those services could chime in on them.

I remember a Gone with the Wynn's episode where they had an issue with their bank that could only be resolved with an in-person meeting. Once resolved, there was no further need to be in-person. Got me thinking. My plan is to have a very trusted friend be a signatory on my accounts. If there's an issue, he will deal with it for me.
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Old 19-12-2020, 10:09   #15
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Re: International Banking Info Please

Finance Industry professional here that also is a US citizen, living aboard, internationally. ID verification is going to be a hurdle if you are switching banks, domestically and even more so if you want to open a foreign account depending totally on your public records footprint.

The advice regarding Revolut (which I also have) and similar services are good, however make sure if you go with a service like these, you are fully understanding of the fee structures.

There are several MSBs that are held to far greater FINCEN, FINRA, standards regarding licensure and safety than even your FDIC brick and mortar bank. These companies specialize in moving money internationally whether it be cash or electronically with less transactional fees as well as lower exchange rate spreads.

Transferwise is one of those mentioned here. Although a decent service, there are many more that are faster, cheaper and far more INDIVIDUAL customer service oriented which is what one of you pain points are.
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