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I am neither a U.S. citizen nor resident there — I live in southeast Asia. I want to be able to buy Kindle ebooks on Amazon.com, and to shop on other U.S.-based e-commerce websites for digital goods. Yet, a lot of these websites require you to have a U.S. credit/debit card with a U.S. billing address.

I am looking into using a card something like US Unlocked. The application for such a debit card requires my personal identifiable information, such as my passport number and utility bills proving that I am staying at where I claim to be.

My questions:

  1. Are cards such as these safe? Meaning if I sign up, is my information safe from being misused?
  2. Will the U.S.-based commercial websites detect that these cards are for non-U.S. citizens and hence foul my attempt to use these cards on their websites?
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    Amazon does not require a US Credit Card. I have purchased items with Indian Credit Card and had it shipped to an US address, shipping to Indian address was expensive. – Dheer Jul 10 '13 at 4:31
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    @Dheer, I am talking about buying digital goods such as Kindle ebooks. And yes, you do need a U.S. credit card as Amazon needs to make sure that you are resident in the U.S. for certain purchases. – Graviton Jul 10 '13 at 4:44
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Many companies allow adding additional address to your account for verification. So you can ask your credit card issuer to add your American address to your foreign card.

However, many sellers can identify foreign-issued cards by their BIN numbers, and chose to filter them out. They can similarly filter out this card since it is advertising itself as providing information which is "virtual" and not real. According to their own FAQ, some major service providers refuse to accept their cards.

Also, keep in mind that this is a prepaid card, where you load it with your own money, and then hope it will stay there for you to use later on when you need it. I'm sure in case of a problem, recovery will be difficult. They do not provide a physical card, so you can only use it for online shopping.

The only store you mentioned, Amazon, has no problem with foreign issued cards and foreign billing addresses.

Keep in mind that many times US sellers will not ship to a shipping address that differs from the billing address, especially with "suspicious" or untraceable payment methods.

If you happen to visit the US, you can open a local bank account and get a PMB (private mail box) from UPS Store or a similar place for a street address (they often also provide mail forwarding services, so you can actually ship there). You can also buy prepaid cards in any supermarket.

  • +1 for buying prepaid credit cards in a supermarket. I used that method when I was actually in the U.S. and wanted to buy MP3s from Amazon.com. My Canadian credit card wouldn't work for that purpose, even though I was able to use it to buy Kindle books from Amazon.com. For MP3s, it seems Amazon was checking both the payment source and the IP address, because I wasn't able to buy any more MP3s (without a proxy) once I got back to Canada. – Chris W. Rea Jul 17 '13 at 12:42
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I never had any problem buying from amazon with my creditcard or paypal acound i use a virtual us adress that forwards my packages to my country

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The first question was : Is it safe? Using the card is very safe as it a prepaid card. You have to enter a PIN to get access to your card details. The PIN is only known to you as it is sent to you in an SMS.

The second question was whether US merchants will detect the card is for non-US users? Merchants care mostly whether the transaction is authorized and won't charge back. Ways to prevent your order to be flagged are: connect over VPN with US IP address and use the same address for billing and shipping.

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