Receiving SMS while abroad?

I have my Taiwan phone number linked to a few banks, brokerages, and other sites that require SMS 2-factor authentication. This becomes a minor problem when I am abroad for vacation or work and cannot receive SMS on my +886 number.

I am worried about being locked out of important services like my bank if I cannot receive the SMS code to login. The other issue is that most taiwan services like banks only allow local numbers and you cannot use an international virtual number like Google Voice.

Any easy way to receive SMS messages while abroad but also have a +886 number? Are there specific carriers that have international SMS plans?

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You will need a Post-Paid Plan as TW Prepaid SIMS will not work outside Taiwan.

Don’t seem to have any issues receiving SMS abroad with Taiwan Mobile, although it’s annoying to switch SIMs just to get a 2FA code.

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I always receive text msgs on CHT # whenever I am abroad (same with wife who has different telecom company), and there are no charges.
The charges are if someone calls your Taiwan cell phone when you are overseas and you answer. You are paying the transmission fee from Taiwan to wherever you are. Do not answer, unless you want a heart attack on your next monthly bill.

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I know it’s not particularly helpful, but it’s the same issue the other way round: I have several German mobile numbers at multiple carriers, and none of them work for SMS receiving in Taiwan. That includes a “real” monthly paid SIM card, a prepaid card, a virtual SIM and a real SIM of a sister company of that virtual SIM provider. If I remember correctly at least one worked for a while, but since a few years only voice works. No SMS whatsoever (OK not counting the SMS “Welcome to Taiwan! Reply XYZ to enjoy mobile internet service for an enormous amount of money per tiny amount of data!”). Customer support was useless, didn’t get anything to work.

Next time I’m back home I’ll change my setup there: probably set up an android phone with remote access, so that I can receive SMS in Germany to the German SIM card and read them by remote access to the phone.

If anyone has better ideas let us know…

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Not just Taiwan either, most Telecom providers are into this extortion. I think the EU legislated for a set fee among the EU countries a few years ago.

My uk bank uses my Taiwan number, i couldn’t input it on the app but after verification they did it over the phone, they also have an app i can use to log in.

As for Taiwan bank the SMS’s are ok when travailing (but i have a post pay plan), you can normally log in with a card reader connected to your computer and your bank card, this may be a back up option.

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GoogleFi/Google voice outside Taiwan, local carrier inside Taiwan.

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GoogleFi gives a US virtual number right? Those have worked well for international websites.

Will ask a few local carriers to see if can still receive SMS while abroad without roaming fees

Google Voice gives you a virtual US number that can receive SMS messages. I’ve also found many services that block Skype numbers for 2FA will accept a Google Voice number. Google FI gives you an actual SIM you can use in your phone. I use both extensively.

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Any better ideas? Maybe from our tech freaks like @Marco , @slawa and so on?

I’ll probably try setting up something like this soon, to ensure I can receive Taiwan SMS while outside Taiwan…

You can use Tasker for any automation on Android. This is quite technical, not for everyone.
Otherwise I am sure dedicated apps exist for this.

Forward SMS to email

Use Mail Task plugin, use the native SMS variables to pull out your info then send using the plugin

Then leave a cheap phone with the simcard in Taiwan connected to wifi. Make sure to test it properly.


For remote control route (can be used as backup) you can try The Fast Remote Desktop Application – AnyDesk

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Simquadrat works fine for me. Prepaid, no monthly fee and availability as an eSIM.

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Thanks for the reply. Actually, Simquadrat is one of the providers I have. No chance of receiving SMS in Taiwan (and generally they don’t really yet seem to fully/reliably support SMS anyway).

Do you use successfully Simquadrat to receive SMS in Taiwan?

Yes. They sometimes take some time to arrive (especially if I haven’t enabled the SIM for some time), but so far I have received all the security codes I needed.

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Yes, I get my SMS.
I have a Pixel 6 and use the eSIM. Can be set up in minutes, don’t need to wait for shipping of a physical SIM.

But obviously most Taiwanese services will not accept a German number to sign up. I use it for international services that need SMS verification.

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Thanks a lot @slawa and @qwert_zuiop. Maybe the issue is PEBKAC then, and not with the carriers. Will investigate…

I have dual SIM phone. No problems with Taiwan CHT SMS receipt or the USA SIM I get before leaving Taiwan.

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I have a similar problem with a prepaid Taiwan number (CHT) and a post office bank account and Visa card.