best virtual phone numbers banking abroad for expats digital nomads

Banking: Best Virtual Phone Number Options for Expats

Virtual Phone Number Options for Expats & Nomads who want to make financial and banking life a lot easier overseas.

Are you trying to figure out the best virtual phone number options for international banking? If so, keep reading here. I’ve compiled pieces of my research and findings from my years of travel life in my own quest for international virtual phone number solutions.

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As you will see, I’m really focusing here on Americans living, working, or traveling abroad. However, I’m sure this info could also be useful to other nomads, travelers, and expats from other countries.

Ready to make your life wayyyyy easier and less stressful?

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How do expats and nomads get a virtual number that rings anywhere?

When you’re living or traveling abroad, having a phone number that allows you to access your financial accounts and bank anywhere is critical.

There’s a good chance that you’ll need to access SMS messages or banking codes sent via text messages. For Two-factor authentication — a pain, but a banking and travel security blessing, right? For account verification or bank verification codes. Or even for making changes or updates to your accounts, like your email address.

Here are some of your options.

Keep in mind, this list isn’t exhaustive. I’m probably missing some clever ideas or solutions. And, please, if I am overlooking a phone number solution that could be useful to expats, digital nomads, or travelers living or working abroad, please drop a comment below and tell me what you think should be listed here.

However, these are some virtual phone number options and solutions that I’ve researched, heard other expats discuss, read about, or personally used over the years.

How to Get a US Phone Number Abroad

How can you get or keep an American Phone Number abroad? Here’s that list.

1. Keep Your US Cell Phone Plan

Of course, you could always use your US phone number with your US cell phone plan, but let’s be real. That can get expensive real fast!

Plus, if you only have one phone that doesn’t have dual SIM capabilities, talk about a pain! If you also need a local phone number in your destination country, switching SIM cards in and out when you need a code is hardly the best or easiest solution.

Plus, depending on your destination, local phone plans can be pretty inexpensive and often include international calling and texting. So, this may mean you only really need a virtual US number that you can use for codes and account verification purposes.

Cons: The cost of keeping a US Plan. The inconvenience of swapping SIM cards. The possibility that your service won’t work abroad or with reliability.

2. Get a Google Voice Number

Signing up for a Google Voice Number before you leave the US is probably one of the most popular options for banking oversees for expats and definitely my personal favorite for ease of receiving and making phone calls anywhere. You can port your ordinary cell number to Google Voice and keep your number.

Virtual Phone Number Options for Expats

This is handy not just for banking abroad, but also for keeping your travel life or new life abroad straightforward and smooth. With a Google number, you don’t have to notify everyone under the sun or your friends or family about a new number each time you move or change places. They can reach you, as always.

If you’re already overseas and need a Google number, don’t despair, plenty of expats have figured out creative ways to get one. 😉

Cons: Some verification systems can’t or won’t send SMS texts to a Google Voice number. Google voice numbers are VoIP numbers and not true mobile phone numbers.

3. Get MagicJack

MagicJack is a solution that expats and digital nomads often talk about for easier banking overseas and communication. In a nutshell, you pay for a MagicJack device (currently $49.99 USD) which you can take anywhere and connect anywhere you have wifi or high speed internet to receive or make calls. You can even port your existing number. You get free calling to the US and Canada, and can take advantage of low international rates to other countries. Expats and digital nomads can also receive SMS texts.

Get the MagicJack Adapter

Cons: The cost. Also some people complain they can’t always receive important SMS messages or short verification codes.

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How Do You Receive Text Messages Abroad?

What virtual phone options for expats, digital nomads, and travelers did I miss? Share the option that works for you. What do you recommend? I’d love to hear from you!

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6 thoughts on “Banking: Best Virtual Phone Number Options for Expats”

    1. I think the best option is to have a cellphone with wifi calling so you can receive 2FA via text over WIFI I have this over T-mobile network using a cheaper plan that is not with Tmobile I have tested it and it works over wifi. Will test when I visit the Philippines.

  1. Great post, thank you – Getting OTA codes and SMS authentication Pins is getting harder by the day without a properly registered Virtual Mobile Number. Many web api’s are deeming Virtual Phone numbers as VoIP and it is getting more difficult to have numbers accepted.

    In addition, some banks are now making phone calls to regisatered phone numbers to play an automated message with embedded code, and simple SMS forwarding will not suffice.

    [ ] has been delivering OTA services for over 8 years and is an expert in the field having pioneered SMS2Email and other initiatives. We have over 30 yeras in high end telecoms including as a Mobile Network Operator and we guarantee our numbers will work or your money back.

    1. I have to agree with you, Mark. I moved from the US to Germany, without porting my old phone number to Google Voice. Now I got a new virtual US phone number from Zadarma. It works fine elsewhere, but up to now I could not register it for getting authorization codes from Wells Fargo or BoA. I am still trying. So far I have to call customer service each time when I need a code, which takes between 10 and 30 min in average… For these calls, I can at least use the Zadarma number. Does anyone know a better way?

  2. Going to give another option. From what I have learned T-mobile has Wifi Calling. There are a number of carriers that work on T-mobile net work. I am planning on one cell phone that will just be used for wifi Calling and receiving text messages. there are plans that will do this for 15 Dollars per Month. Only a US number is going to be just about Guaranteed to work 100 percent/

    1. Hi Nathan, I’ve been struggling with this issue for years for my US accounts transactions. I just wanted to know which specific plans/carriers are you referring to that use the T-mobile network..many thanks

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