Alternative Bank Authentication Methods

We’ve recently seen a trend where certain banks, apps, etc won’t send 2-Factor Authentication codes to Republic phone numbers. This is unfortunately caused by a policy issued by NIST (a government standards body) that was lobbied heavily by the telecommunications industry which allows authentication texts to be sent to traditional cell phones, but not more advanced services like Republic. While the number of banks that have an issue with Republic is currently small, I expect that we’ll see more refuse to text Republic numbers as we move forward. The good news, is that the better banks are recognizing that authentication by SMS is not secure and so they’re offering additional methods beyond that. Below is a list of the banks where we were able to determine alternatives to SMS that are available to their customers.

PLEASE NOTE: Appearance on this list does NOT mean that the bank refuses to text Republic numbers. At this time, the only banks on the list I’m aware of that fall in to this category are US Bank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

Some definitions:

  • Call means a call with a one time code is made to the user.
  • E-Mail means an email is sent to the user with a one-time code.
  • Token is a physical hardware device that presents codes for the user to use.
  • App is the Bank’s App which will provide the code for use in signing in.
  • No Alternative available means the bank requires 2 factor authentication and provides no alternative to codes by SMS.
  • No Alternative available if activated means that 2 factor authentication is NOT required by the bank but if enabled, they do not offer an alternative to SMS.
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Thanks Louisdi,
This list helps me in making a decision on which service(s) to use in the future!
Look like USAA is in the lead on this right at the moment!

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USAA is my favorite for so many reasons :grinning:

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I requested to unblock access to all 5-digit short form numbers on my account and that seems to have worked. I am now receiving codes from BofA.

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Welcome to the community Jennifer. BofA has never been an issue with Republic so it should have worked all along. Republic doesn’t block short codes for any customer, so I’m not sure exactly what happened that it started working, but whatever it was, it wasn’t unblocking access as that’s just not something Republic does.

Earlier today that was exact problem - I was NOT receiving SMS codes from BofA. Only until after Republic Wireless put in a ticket to unrestrict 5-digit numbers did they start transmitting again. I was on the phone with BofA and they did some testing with me and the messages were transmitting through on their end. So anyone with BofA - if you’re having this issue - that’s what I’d recommend you do.

I have had a BoA credit card account with them for several months, never had any issues with them texting me via their shortcode. However, when on the phone with them, their system did say that it was not a mobile number, but the rep was able to send the text anyway.

As Republic does not restrict short-code texting, it is quite impossible that unrestricting them is what happened. That’s not to discount that there could have been something gong on that support fixed, it just wouldn’t be unblocking short codes. Did they respond and tell you what they did? It is also possible that your call to BofA caused them to whitelist your number, as described by @speedingcheetah and it had nothing at all to do with the ticket that you opened.

Hi @jenniferm.tk51p9,

I’ve reviewed your ticket and am not seeing anything in the reply that suggest any action was taken that would have already solved an issue with your BoFA alerts. Our technician’s don’t have an “unlock” option for short codes, as there’s nothing locked.

I have actually been updating my BoFA accounts as well over the last few days and until this morning could not receive any confirmation codes on my RW phone numbers, even though alerts were being delivered. Suddenly this morning they began working.

I think the timing of your request to our support team and something being changed or updated on BoFA’s end may have been a coincidence.

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The US Bank app for my mother…been working fine for quite some time, today, however, it refuses to get past the login verification and pops and error Unsupported number. VOIP is not allowed. She not happy that she can no longer deposit checks with her phone. And now has to be driven or take a bus to go to a bank. The companies that choose to set this policy to not allow RW numbers because of the VOIP thing, really hate them. Its been working fine for years.

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Wells Fargo app now does push notifications. As much as I liked receiving text messages from the bank, I can still get notifications through email and push notifications. So I’m not missing text messages as much as before.

I use the Call in Authentication method for the computer but not for the app. My password isn’t remembered in the app, so for now I’m content with that.

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I’m having a problem signing up with Venmo for this reason - not a traditional cell phone. How do we get around something like that?

With Venmo, I’m afraid you don’t. My way around is using the Cash App and Google Pay instead.

There is a Buy Local program in our area https://buoylocal.com/ that I tried to sign into but the RW phone was not permitted.

Can you check on this please?

They most likely do not accept VOIP based numbers. Have you tried contacting them directly via their own contact us page?

I tried my Republic number, Sideline, and Google Voice number. None were accepted. So, it appears that they have blocked all VoIP numbers. Why in the world a Buy Local app would do that, I have no idea. You may want to try to reach out to them at buoylocal@bangor.com to see if they can manually allow your number.

Tried to sign up for Target Circle (their new rewards program) and it requires a cell phone verification. When I enter my phone number I get an error, being told I need to enter a valid phone number (yes, I made sure there were not any typos). Entered an old number from an old flip phone with a grandfathered pay as you go plan that can receive texts and it works. Verification cide received. So at least I have this as an alternative, but not very convenient to make sure I have both phones available. Have the problem with Wells Fargo as well and had exchanged about 10 or so messages to express my dissatisfaction.

Have you tried the phone call method for Wells Fargo? Work Around for Wells Fargo Access Code

I know that’s an option (sometimes it is not possible to be on a call, but you can text). Then why don’t they offer sending the code via e-mail? Unfortunately I am not in a position to change banks.

@elkeb.qjzevy To me the biggest issue with Wells Fargo is that they have not and will not inform their employees that they will not and do not accept VoIp numbers for their bank by texting. They keep their employees in the dark of their corporate decision and as a result frustrate the life out of their customers.

Using phone authentication is a nuance so I only have it set for my laptop. My preferred method is to use their app and I do not have call in authentication set-up for the app. The app will not save the password, it will hold the user name if you want it to. The app does not hold the login like other apps. The app will give push notifications which are similar to texts and email, regardless if you login or not. You can also set-up email notifications in their Security Center on the app or their webpage.

Like you I’m not in a position to switch banks, but I have found using the app to be just as good as, if not better than texting.

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