Alternative to phone

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Atlas
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Alternative to phone

Post by Atlas » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:42 am

I am currently in Italy, which is not my home country. I am going to stay there for at least a year.

I opened a bank account. And they really want a cell phone number.

I do not want a cell-phone, since they would not add to my life quality, which is my criterion for about everything.

What are alternatives?

Is there a service online that could receive message with a phone number? I don't need to be able to make calls.

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prognastat
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by prognastat » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:42 am

I mean you could see if there are any local VoIP(Voice over IP) providers that provide phone numbers and allow you to receive calls through an internet connected device.

A lot of places are starting to crack down on VoIP numbers as verification though.

Stahlmann
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Stahlmann » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:54 am

Hmm.

I assume you have old phone. You simply buy 5 eur starter pack and... give them the number.

I worry that sending larger amount of money or transfer to unusual bank account will require SMS confirmation.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:15 am

Google Voice will give you a phone number.

jacob
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by jacob » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:23 am

I recently had the same issue with my bank when I visited Denmark for the first time since 2009 and tried to get "my papers in order". It is just fundamentally assumed that everyone has a smartphone. (They even removed the schedules from the bus stops, because why bother when you can just look them up online.)

I did manage to do my banking business but certain transactions would only be possible with a phone (i.e. what Stahlmann is talking about).

As for navigating public transportation, the answer was carrying lots of coins and memorizing all the directions. Everybody else was just getting their app scanned or whatever black magic was going on. I was only there for three weeks, but I seriously considered breaking and getting a damn phone. I briefly had a dumb phone before (2012-2014), but like the OP this added nothing to my quality of life and I felt stupid for spending $40/year just so I could make a couple of convenient calls per month. However, with a lock-in this pervasive, I just might surrender.

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prognastat
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by prognastat » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:45 am

@Jacob

I think this is only going to get worse through a combination of the assumption that everyone has a smartphone and the increased demands for security through methods such as two factor verification.

The main thing that annoys me is I use google voice and freedompop(Google Voice holds my official number and provides voicemail while FreedomPop provides cellular service to my smartphone) and more and more services are disallowing my phone number since it is a VoIP number with Google Voice despite it being a legitimate way to reach me.
Last edited by prognastat on Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ego
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Ego » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:45 am

You can use any unlocked Android smartphone or an ipod and not buy phone service. You can use most if the apps over WiFi. Google Voice will give you a number for free which will ring when connected to WiFi.

It is more secure to use Google Voice with two factor authentication than it is to use a regular cell phone number because of sim swap fraud.

Many privacy and security oriented folks are dropping their cell phone service altogether, buying an ipod, installing mySudo and using pseudonyms for everything they do online. When combined with privacy.com credit cards they can be almost completely anonymous.

thegreatvoid
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by thegreatvoid » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:00 pm

I have a phone, but no phone number, because i am mostly at home and can Call people via WiFi on Whatsapp.

Opened up a new Bank Account last year and was flat out told, that without a phone number i cant.

So i gave them my Paterents. Was a real hassle

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unemployable
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by unemployable » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:50 pm

If you give them a fake phone number, how will they know? Why would they care to check? They're already making money loaning your money out.

BookLoverL
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by BookLoverL » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:24 am

I hate phones, and if I was being forced into using smartphone apps for banking or anything else, I would be very, very annoyed.

If you do end up needing to get a smartphone because of stupid reasons like being forced to use the apps, you could try to get the cheapest model/see if a friend or relative would donate you their old one for free, and then put it on pay-as-you-go rather than contract and just keep it turned off all the time except when you need to use it for the apps, so that you never use the credit. If you only use the internet on it when you're in range of somebody else's free wifi, even better. And if you're not going anywhere where you expect to use it, just conveniently "forget" to bring it with you a lot.

Jason
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Jason » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:16 am

I can understand the ethical dilemma of giving the bank a non-existent phone number and the reluctance to ask someone to "loan" you their's.

I think the bigger issue is that it's an inconvenience by design. You are fighting an integrated, calculated effort between financial institutions and technology companies.

And it's moving to something even more universal, healthcare.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/what-is ... -care.html

http://time.com/5472329/apple-watch-ecg/

Sharks need to keep moving.

IlliniDave
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:43 am

It's getting harder and harder to resist. I still have my original "dumb" flip phone which is fine I suppose for multi-factor authentication, but I imagine someday before long the providers may stop supporting such antique devices. I also wonder if we're not headed to the point where what one can do with a computer on the internet may start trailing as interaction with phone OSs becomes increasingly the norm on the web.

As far as the OP, dunno. I don't like giving out my cell number, but I've been increasingly forced to do so as a security measure for online accounts. If you can get away with VOIP they are pretty cheap, but it seems as though we'll all soon be forced to go around with our electronic collars/tracking devices 24/7.

The Old Man
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by The Old Man » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:41 am

You can use Skype or Google Voice. Skype has recently been upgraded to support receiving text messages. However, some institutions do not support VOIP. Banks want to be able to reach you, so give them a number - any number.

The big issue is that institutions are moving towards 2-factor authentication where they will need to reach you somehow. For my purposes I have used email whenever possible. For the few circumstances where email was not feasible I have been able to use Google Voice for 2FA.

The Old Man
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by The Old Man » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:44 am

I really don't understand the hate for mobile phones. I find them to be invaluable - GPS applications and Uber are the most important. But, there are other applications that make them useful as well. Mobile phones, however, are not a substitute for a land-line phone when dependability and reliability are an important consideration.

slsdly
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by slsdly » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:53 am

@The Old Man, I gave up on mobile phones 5 years ago. I still possess the hardware, and for the rare occasion, I will use it for offline maps, tickets, and such (plus WiFi) when I am outside my usual stomping grounds. My dislike for them lies in how addictive I find them. Always pulling it out to look at this and that. When I find I use something almost involuntarily, the easiest way to stop is to cut it out entirely. I feel much better.

Atlas
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Atlas » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:22 am

One poster asked why people hate smart phones/cell phones, etc..

Here is why I hate these phones:

1) They cost money. By definition, anything that cost money is draining my energy, my time, and my precious life. But even if they were free, I still would not want one.

2) They are convenient. They give instant gratification through easy access to internet, to instant messages. Anything that lead to a quick reward has a potential for addiction. The quicker the reward, the worse the addiction. Notice how people are checking their phones all the time? And how it is not improving their life quality? How people are doing nothing productive and wasting their life answering mindless text messages and playing mindless video games. So, no, I don't want the convenience. Thank you very much, I'd rather have personal human interaction. The quest to convenience is the road to perdition.


That said, I found a solution to my conondrum. I have an italian friend, and she graciously offered her phone number.

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luxagraf
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by luxagraf » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:22 pm

prognastat wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:42 am
A lot of places are starting to crack down on VoIP numbers as verification though.
As a non-phone owner who relies on Google Voice for this sort of stuff I find this alarming and I don't understand it -- is there some reason that VoIP services are somehow inferior for auth purposes?

Optimal_Solution
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by Optimal_Solution » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:57 am

I think there are two reasons that VOIP numbers are treated as second class citizens:

1) Fraud is more likely to involve a VOIP number because they can be easily obtained anonymously and for free. Some companies block these numbers as a risk management measure.

2) SMS interoperability with VOIP sometimes doesn't work because the bank/company only bothers to support interoperability with "real" phone carriers. VOIP is an edge case that they didn't test and is therefore unsupported.

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prognastat
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Re: Alternative to phone

Post by prognastat » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:34 am

Those do seem to be the main reason. For places that used to support VoIP numbers and stopped reason 1 seems to be the main reason given. I guess it's easier to simply ban VoIP numbers rather than build in further security to reduce fraud.

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