Two-factor authentication problems

Travel Forums General Talk Two-factor authentication problems

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1. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1781 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi. How do you deal with the two-factor authentication/verification when on a different continent? We have USA SIM cards in our phones in the USA, and switch to French SIM cards in Europe which means we have a French phone number. Our credit card sends a code number to our phone when we try to log in. However, they won't send a text message to a European phone number for some reason, and we can't get the text on the USA phone because we have the French SIM card in when we're in France.

They refuse to email the code which seems like the perfect solution and we're at our wits end. How do you folks deal with this? Obviously, we need to pay our bills even on vacation. I hate this safety measure. I'm sure a hacker would have no problem getting through; it's just account owners who can't use their own accounts.

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2402 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Get a more helpful bank?

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 3503 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

"Get a more helpful bank?"

👍 👍

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If you are writing about an ATM withdrawal, can you contact your card provider by email? Maybe they have some other method of verification.

When I go on a holiday overseas I notify my card provider as to where I will be before flying out.

"...we need to pay our bills even on vacation."

Guess you have to use one of your back up cards.

Good luck.

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2402 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

If this is for paying utility bills, can you automate them? Ours are direct debit.

Or talk to the bank about their intransigence over European phone numbers. Are other banks more helpful on this?

What's the reason for the 2FA? If it's a credit card payment, would using a debit card have the same issue? Bank transfer instead?

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5658 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Get a second cheap (non-smart) phone for the second sim card, purely for receiving those SMS codes? (Going to the website of a random electronics store here in the Netherlands, the cheapest phone I see is a €14 nokia 110 (which even has dual-sim), and I see several other options under €20.)

Of course, it's ridiculous that the bank requires insecure SMS as their only option for 2 factor authentication, so I can only echo the advice for going for a better bank.

[ Edit: Edited on 9 Sep 2021, 18:28 GMT by Sander ]

6. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1781 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

We don't use a credit card for ATM withdrawals. We use a debit card with no fees. Paying bills automatically is fine if you know what the bill will be and we have those on automatic. However, some things, like water, change a lot every month. Getting a second phone with a second SIM card would be silly; it's still a European SIM card and the bank won't call it. It has to be a USA phone number. It is Chase Bank which is all over the world and that is why we can't understand why they won't take our French phone number. It's a great card with no fees and a great reward program that's gotten us lots of free trips.

We have no trouble paying the credit card; we have no trouble using the credit card. The problem comes when we seem to check in on a strange device. We have been using the same computer for years and they still insist it is a new device and needs to be verified. Obviously, when we are in France (on the exact same computer), this becomes a problem when they won't recognize our French phone. My husband likes to check our accounts every day to see if anything weird is going on and he is also Treasurer of our local arts organization and checks that while on vacation. That account is also Chase.

A lady at Chase suggested a Google phone number. Does that ring any bells for anyone?

7. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 3503 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!
  • Update. Posted this reply below almost the same second you came back with additional info. Maybe it will be helpful for someone else.

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For paying bills back home I use Bill Pay offered by my banks and a credit union. They allow me to set something up for months in the future.

For a couple transactions I use Auto-Pay. Money goes out of one account into another account automatically. (Bill Pay transfer scheduled monthly after my retirement checks show up!)

(Presently paying off a car loan automatically.)

  • I pay almost all of my bills using my computer, for an old fart I kind of like it!

Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 9 Sep 2021, 21:38 GMT by karazyal ]

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1781 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thanks Al, but both our banks have automatic bill pay and we both have various bills set up on automatic payment. Some bills are not recurring and several change from month to month so are difficult to set on automatic. I don't particularly want the bank debiting my account for some unknown amount when I'm wandering the world. A certain amount of control is stress relief.

The problem seems to be that the stupid bank doesn't seem to recognize our computers from one visit to the next. We both delete cookies and that may be the problem. We're going to try the phone app and see how that goes. It's funny; I love technology but sometimes it makes me furious, mostly when large companies try to protect me from myself.

In a perfect world I'd have a Lady in Waiting taking care of all this for me . . .

9. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5658 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

We don't use a credit card for ATM withdrawals. We use a debit card with no fees. Paying bills automatically is fine if you know what the bill will be and we have those on automatic. However, some things, like water, change a lot every month. Getting a second phone with a second SIM card would be silly; it's still a European SIM card and the bank won't call it. It has to be a USA phone number.

Buy a phone. Without a contract, sim card or anything. Just a phone. Put your US sim card in it (I'm assuming you have it with you?). Now it's a phone with a US number, which will receive text messages (just don't ever call from it, since roaming fees...)
Yes, it's silly that this is necessary, but for under €20, it seems to me to be the easiest way to deal with the situation.

Or hell, a second phone isn't even necessary, since you trigger the moment that the text message is sent by logging in. Just swap out your French SIM for the US SIM a minute before you log in, and swap back when you've received the text message. (Though that isn't advisable for doing daily, really.)

[ Edit: Edited on 10 Sep 2021, 08:31 GMT by Sander ]

10. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1781 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Sander, The USA SIM card doesn't work in Europe. The number is broadcast on a different bandwidth than used there. The USA uses two different bandwidths for broadcasting than most of the rest of the world for some stupid reason. That's why we have a French SIM card. I wouldn't really care about roaming fees since we don't use it that much.

And you're right, swapping out the card every day would be a pain for me and for the phone.