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I'm an Australian travelling in Asia on a budget. I've always travelled without getting local SIM cards so no phone. I rarely make purchases online.

About four months ago I bought a flight online with my ANZ Visa card from Taiwan to Japan with no problems. Last night I tried to use the card to buy a flight online with a different airline from Korea to Bangkok, but this time a popup window informed me the transaction has to use "Verified By Visa" which sent an SMS to my old Australian mobile phone number I haven't used since January. There were no options to "verify" any other way.

ANZ online banking does not have a way to remove my mobile phone number, just to change it. At the moment I don't have a friend's number I can change it to. In any case the popup had a message from ANZ telling me I had to make an international phone call to them to change the phone number associated with Verified By Visa. (Hence I do not know if the VBV phone number changes when I change my phone number in my online banking.)

I refuse to pay for an international phone call which will probably result in getting put on hold. And in any case I don't have a SIM card and am about to leave this country so won't get one.

While I'm waiting for ANZ to reply to my message sent via online banking, does anyone here know if it's even possible in 2019 to use Verified By Visa with ANZ in some way other than SMS to a mobile phone number?

(I recall being surprised and frustrated by Verified by Visa on other trips before in other ways but don't recall the details. Probably forgotten rarely used passwords or two factor authentication via Gmail blocked in China or something.)

  • Update: A friend let me use their phone number. So I associated that number with my ANZ accounts. But that did not propagate to Verified by Visa, which still sent a new verification code to my old mobile number. – hippietrail Aug 19 at 0:33
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    You may be able to use an app instead of an SMS (SMS is no longer a good second factor for these sort of things - people are attacking SMS systems). That doesn't help you if you don't have a phone of course. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Aug 19 at 13:40
  • @MartinBonner: Possibly but my old phone died and I bought a new one on this trip. Apparently I won't be able to get the app to work on the new phone until I go back to Australia though. I forget the technical details behind it now. In any case I think the app and ANZ's internet baking have the same "securemail" feature for contacting the bank without the risks of plain email. I'm waiting to hear back from them there. – hippietrail Aug 19 at 14:13
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Well a friend offered to buy that ticket for me and I'll transfer the money back to him. But I also got a reply from ANZ bank.

It appears the answer is generally "NO", but also "maybe yes if you ask each time you need to do so".

Here's the main parts of their reply:

Regretfully your new request is not possible because it defeats the purpose of Verified by Visa however you can request a temporary exemption (usually 24 hours) on a case by case basis.

Please confirm the card number of the card you intend to use your flight to Bangkok and we can make the request on your behalf.

(They seem utterly unaware of the fact that the security community does not believe two-factor authentication via SMS is secure at all.)

They go on to tell me I can call them reverse charges from overseas and even detail exactly how to do so from Korea. That's pretty good for a bank I have to say!

If I have to use one of these temporary exemptions later in my trip I'll add details to this answer, or post a new Q&A in case anybody else finds themselves in a similar situation.

  • I googled and found this: "Your Visa card will be pre-enrolled into VerifiedbyVisa so there will be no additional effort for you. However, if your mobile number is incorrect, please contact ANZ by calling 13 33 50 to update." It might be a mechanism for you to permanently change the recorded phone number to your current number. – Lawrence Aug 19 at 20:57
  • @Lawrence: I belive these 13... phone numbers are special and can only be called from within Australia much like 1-800 numbers in many countries. – hippietrail Aug 21 at 8:03
  • That’s right, but it shows there’s a mechanism in place to deal with the issue. Also, once connected to the bank on another number, you might be able to get them to redirect you to that 13... number if necessary. – Lawrence Aug 21 at 9:17

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