US expat wanting to keep US phone number

Hi all,

I hope to be moving to Vietnam soon.  I would like to keep my US phone mobile number so I can continue to conduct online banking, insurance, etc. 

I am considering using Google Voice. 

Appreciate any advice you could give.

Thank you.

If Google doesn't do what you need, you can get a US landline number using Skype. You pay a small fee and callers pay normal rates. If you call them using Skype, your US number shows up on their caller display.

Question: Do you mean that you want to keep your current US mobile number or do you mean that you just want to have a US mobile number?

ejmom25 :

Question: Do you mean that you want to keep your current US mobile number or do you mean that you just want to have a US mobile number?

This may help your question.

["I would like to keep my US phone mobile number"]

Yes, I was clarifying because whether they meant "my" or "a" because porting was not mentioned at all. I was trying to be sure the need because that can totally change the answer. Also, because the reason given could be accomplished with any US mobile number.

ejmom25 :

Yes, I was clarifying because whether they meant "my" or "a" because porting was not mentioned at all. I was trying to be sure the need because that can totally change the answer. Also, because the reason given could be accomplished with any US mobile number.

I get where ejmom25 is going with this.  I "keep" my US number but when i arrive I have to switch my SIM card to go to a Vietnamese number.  I can switch back to my US SIM card and number but the rates for calls and data are very high.  I can't "switch" my number to a VN SIM.

From the standpoint of keeping your number when changing carriers, that is a US thing, maybe other countries as well.  Cellular companies lost in court because they wouldn't release numbers to the phone owner.  That left you with the dilema of staying with that carrier that gave you the number originally or switching carriers which meant switching numbers.  Now, numbers are portable.  But, I don't think the OP can port that number to a VN SIM.

I popped over to Malaysia last year so I stuck a local sim for calls and data into my phone, but it still worked with an Indonesian (number specific) banking app - I suppose the other number was still recognised by their system.
My UK HSBC app works perfectly well for their UK app.
That was with a 2 sim slot phone - Pretty average here but not sure about the states.

Hi,

Thank you for all your answers.

I want to port and keep my current mobile phone number and do it in the cheapest way possible.  I don't want to go through the trouble of changing my phone numbers with all the various banks, insurance, etc.  Trying to keep it simple by keeping my current phone number.

I don't want to keep my US sim card and pop it in while in Vietnam and have to pay a monthly US plan and international charges for occasional uses.  Paying $40 a month and international rates doesn't seem like the best way to do this.

I have an iPhone SE 2020, so it has an eSim and a Sim slot (dual sim).  I will get a local Vietnam sim to use and keep my current US phone number as a virtual online number.  That's why I though porting my current number to Google might be a good idea. 

I will look into Skype. Would I be able to get texts?

I appreciate all the help.  If you have other ideas, I would love to hear them.

Thank you again

Option 1: Port your mobile number to a personal Google Voice account

You'll be charged a $20 fee to port your mobile number to Google Voice from most mobile service providers, such as Verizon or AT&T. Moving a number to Google Voice after canceling Google Fi is free.

Not all mobile numbers can be ported into Google Voice. Check the Porting Status page to verify your number can be ported.
   
Don't cancel your phone plan until Google Voice notifies you the port is complete. To verify the port, we'll call your phone with a code. After the port is finished, your service provider will cancel your phone service. If you have multiple numbers on the account, check with the service provider first to find out about their policies. If you want to keep the plan and get a new mobile number, confirm that with the service provider.

https://support.google.com/voice/answer/1065667?hl=en

qnbui's suggestion is one of the best options if you want to port your current US number because it is a low one time cost. I have done this and use Google Voice in Vietnam with no problems, but you should be aware that technically speaking, it is not supported by Google.

From Google: "A Google Voice number is only supported in the United States and a phone with a US number is required in order to use it."

Again, I use it and it works, but I am also aware that it could stop working at any time. And yes, I use both voice and text with Google Voice.

If you are in need of more options such as forwarding calls/SMS/MMS to mobile numbers globally, and/or voice/text programming, you should check out Twilio. I also use their services and have ported US numbers to them. This is not free and will incur monthly charges.

Vietnamkid :

Hi all,

I hope to be moving to Vietnam soon.  I would like to keep my US phone mobile number so I can continue to conduct online banking, insurance, etc. 

I am considering using Google Voice. 

Appreciate any advice you could give.

Thank you.

You've gotten most of the right advice already (IMHO) especially what ejmom25 has to say.

From my U.S. citizen experience, having moved here in August, 2018:

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to do is to FIRST establish/verify your cell number (active with a major U.S. cell phone carrier) as the mobile phone authorized to be used online and through any available financial services apps BEFORE ever porting the number to Google.

With some companies, it might not make a difference.

However, I made a mistake with my U.S. Bank company account:

Before I left America, I had first ported a number to Google, but it wasn't the number on my U.S. Bank company account.

Once I got here, I attempted to install and use the U.S. Bank app, but when I used the Google number to verify, their system recognized it as a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number.

Trust me, I have now talked with every person in all levels of their customer service, including their fraud_security department.

They are not going to budge on this and somehow program it is in as an acceptable number.

VoIP fraud is a huge problem for them, with Vietnam being the source of some of the biggest problems.

IF I had downloaded the app in America and installed it on my phone before porting the number to Google, I'd be able to use the Google number with them now.

It's really cramped my ability to use two U.S. Bank credit cards online, though Point of Sale (POS) still works fine here.

Online sales don't go through because I have no number they can use for additional verification.

The second most Important thing is to make sure all of your telephone contacts are added to your Google account.

You will almost certainly need to go through all of your contacts and make sure numbers are entered with +1 and area code:

+1-xxx-xxx-xxxx format

This is especially true for toll free numbers.

Otherwise, in line with something mentioned by ejmom25, Google will send you an error message when you attempt SMS or phone conversations within the Google Hangouts app.

PayPal sends me verification codes through my Google phone number, and I have no problems receiving those SMS messages in the Hangouts app.

HOWEVER, sometimes they (and others) will send me a security challenge FROM a five digit number, asking me to reply.

That will NOT work in the app; Google will give you an error.

However, you can then access Google on a laptop (maybe a tablet too) and replies sent from there go through.

I also *believe* that using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with a U.S. server is always the best practice when doing any kind of business with U.S. companies.

For some reason, when I am accessing the Discover Card website, if I don't use a VPN and they attempt to send a verification code to my Google number, it never goes through.

However, when I attempt to access their site using a U.S. server via VPN, the code they send always makes it through to Google Hangouts.

Finally, when you set up Google Talk (Voice) I highly recommend choosing the option to copy all messages to your Gmail.

Every now and then an SMS may not go through to your Google Hangouts app on YOUR phone, but it always goes through to email.

I hope everything works out well for you

Not sure how the US cell networks operate,bit if they allow you to swap your mobile contract to a pay as you go service then you keep the number and just pay £1 a month. Make sure your handset and provider use calls over internet where service is not available... Same as VOIP. Switch of network useage and rely on internet calls only.

Someone using the above would still send and receive calls as normal providing the phone was connected to WiFi..

I would start by talking to your current provider and see if they can operate this way.

I assume your online banking sends you a SMS authentication when you log in and that's why you need the number still

[at] OceanBeach 92107

I know this is getting a little off topic, but as regards your problems with your US credit cards. I assume you are referring to the two factor authentication(2FA) they are wanting you to do when you login to their website. And they are wanting to use a US mobile number to send the verification code to. And they can see that the Google Voice number is a VOIP number and will not allow that. Is that correct?

You may already know all of this and/or have done this, but I was just going to tell you that for my US accounts that are like that, the bank or credit card often will allow you to verify with their app on your phone for the 2FA. So, the app will produce the code you need and it is not dependent upon the phone number at all.

Also, depending upon the type of 2FA supported by the bank or credit card, you may also be able to use a third part app as a form of verification, such at Google Authenticator or Authy.  Also, if you use any password management apps(such as 1Password) they often support this function as well. None of these are tied to your phone number or SIM in any way.

OceanBeach's suggestion to change all your contacts to include the country code was a very good one. Like he said, all US contacts would be in this format...

+1-xxx-xxx-xxxx

This is also very good because you mentioned your phone is an iPhone. With your contact numbers in the above format, as an Apple user, you will be able to text any other iPhone, Mac, iPad, iPod Touch user worldwide with no SMS charges from your carrier(data required of course). BTW, you can also text to their AppleID email address from directly within the messaging app for free, and this can be done to communicate with anyone who has an AppleID - no phone or phone number required.

The requirement for this to work for free is that the numbers be in the above mentioned format and it can only be to other Apple users.

I don't know about other banks, but we have accounts with Schwab, BofA, Chase, Barclay, and Amex.  Our addresses and phone numbers on record with all of them are:

1-  Primary:  our address and telephone numbers in Vietnam
2-  Secondary:  our daughter's address and telephone number in California (she's also the Power of Attorney for all of our accounts)

When we need to contact the banks, which is quite often with this morning the most recent time, we use Skype.  They know where the call is originated and not one bank/credit card company has any problem with the fact that we no longer live in the States.  Recently, the most important identification they've needed from us is the verbal password and not the last 4 numbers of our SS or the answers to secret questions anymore. 

The only hassle we encounter is that whenever a verification code is needed, it can only be sent to a US number, thus we need daughter to relay the code to us within the allotted time.

Our card replacements have always been sent to Vietnam via couriers.

Jlgarbutt :

Not sure how the US cell networks operate...

Noted

Without the sarcasm, pay as you go services are available in the US but not always with the major carriers.  They seem to be mostly with small carriers that piggyback on the bigger networks, and I might add seem to have storefronts in lower income areas.

Jlgarbutt :

Not sure how the US cell networks operate,bit if they allow you to swap your mobile contract to a pay as you go service then you keep the number and just pay £1 a month.

I have no comment one way or the other on the rest of the post.

This is good to know but may not be true of all US financial institutions.

Ciambella :

I don't know about other banks, but we have accounts with Schwab, BofA, Chase, Barclay, and Amex.  Our addresses and phone numbers on record with all of them are:...

I am no longer with them, but I know that Scottrade did not used to let you open a brokerage account unless you had a US address.  I don't know if they would cancel you if you changed to a foreign address as I never told them.  The only exception was that they allowed new accounts from Mainland China and Hong Kong.  :mad: It's amazing how big money can create exceptions.

I also had a life insurance policy with NY Life cancelled for living in Vietnam when I sent them a payment by certified mail with VNPT.

Thank you everyone for your help.  Hope all of you are enjoying life in Vietnam.  Can't wait for VN borders to open up.

OceanBeach92107 :
Jlgarbutt :

Not sure how the US cell networks operate...

Noted

Assuming by noted you have more useful info ?

Hi, I am David. I am new to this forum. I had the same issue in the past. If you can afford your US mobile bill while in Vietnam, I may suggest bringing your own US mobile, it is 100% reliable. US mobile carries works perfectly in most countries in Asia.  Good Luck

DMUNL08 :

US mobile carries works perfectly in most countries in Asia.

Vietnam is not included in those countries.

I think my carrier wanted $4.00 per MB of data.  Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Ciambella :
DMUNL08 :

US mobile carries works perfectly in most countries in Asia.

Vietnam is not included in those countries.

Wrong, I had been using Sprint on daily basis  while staying in Vietnam over a period of  4 years.
Since COVID 19, having my US mobile with me is being a bless. 100% reliable service.

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