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Old 13th October 2019, 04:24   #1
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Default SoftPhone options in India - Virtual phone number for receiving SMS & OTPs

One fallout of the OTP world has been that now almost no banks/cards/etc offer OTP to foreign account numbers or email. Its always an Indian phone number.

When you do not live in India, it means your family members have to be vigilant to catch these OTPs etc., and for USA, the time difference is a big problem.

So I was thinking about softphone number with +91 code.

I checked online and I only found BSNL wings. But most local shops are not aware, and BSNL itself may cease to exist very soon. Moreover you cannot buy it online. You have to go to India, and then have to present them with your birth certificate, proof of nursery class talent show, platelet count, blood group, brainwave scan, and what not.

Are there any other operators available in India which can offer you a softphone account. Ofcourse security is important. Having a SiM means it can be hijacked through social engineering with ease.

So what are the solutions your propose?
Worst case scenario an app which can forward all SMSs to an email account, and then you just buy data plan and keep that phone always on in India.
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Old 13th October 2019, 04:58   #2
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

I have faced the same problem when on-board a ship and there is no network coverage. I cannot proceed with any bank transactions. But nowadays, HDFC Bank and Yes Bank (don't know about other banks) are giving the option of sending the OTP to the email id as well. The "Send OTP to email id" tab opens after about 60 seconds of sending OTP to registered phone number. So I have started using that option in-case there is no network coverage or Indian number does not register on to the local network.
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Old 13th October 2019, 07:02   #3
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

As long as the mobile network is available, one can get by just by using a basic phone with the original sim (the number registered with the bank). Incoming messages are free in most cases.

Will the eSim of Apple help, just curious?
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Old 13th October 2019, 07:07   #4
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

I get OTPs of Standard Chartered bank on email. But account opening will still require the same documents as you did for BSNL.

You could try that and check your mileage.
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Old 13th October 2019, 07:42   #5
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
You have to go to India, and then have to present them with your birth certificate, proof of nursery class talent show, platelet count, blood group, brainwave scan, and what not.
No operator in India would allow you to get a SIM without the ID verification (prepaid) and address verification (postpaid). These are government mandated.

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Worst case scenario an app which can forward all SMSs to an email account, and then you just buy data plan and keep that phone always on in India.
I have used this app in the past to deal with SMS messages (they appear under a label in your Gmail account):

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...oggles.smssync

Recent reviewers suggest it has stopped working though. But I'm sure there are similar apps (its own See More section would be a good place to start), or it ought to be easy to write one of your own / cheap to get it written.

Incidentally, NRIs are not allowed to retain resident accounts, no? Do NRO/NRE accounts also have to go through this OTP rigmarole?
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Old 13th October 2019, 12:06   #6
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
One fallout of the OTP world has been that now almost no banks/cards/etc offer OTP to foreign account numbers or email. Its always an Indian phone number.
HDFC Bank (bank account) & American Express (credit card) both email the OTP across. You can check them out.
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Old 13th October 2019, 12:54   #7
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

All banks allow you to choose to receive OTP by email as far as I am aware of.
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Old 13th October 2019, 17:46   #8
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

I refill 100 rupees every 45 days in my Airtel prepaid to keep the SMSes incoming when I am abroad. Been working for over a year.

Last edited by Eddy : 13th October 2019 at 17:58. Reason: Please use proper capitalisation in your posts. Thanks.
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Old 13th October 2019, 18:12   #9
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

Another suggestion: An incoming text message on any one device is pushed to all devices on the same iCloud account, be it your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or the Watch. This can be configured, and can be made device specific too. iCloud text push to other devices (which did not originally receive the text) is also almost instantaneous.
The devices can physically be anywhere as long as they're signed in to the same iCloud account and have an active data connection.
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Old 13th October 2019, 19:48   #10
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

If you need to just receive SMS, get an Indian SIM with long validity recharges options which is typically less than 25 USD a year.

SoftPhone options in India - Virtual phone number for receiving SMS & OTPs-screen-shot-20191013-7.39.10-pm.png

When you need to use phone banking/ IVR for other banking services which requires you to call from the registered mobile number, please recharge with an international roaming pack, which comes in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs.

SoftPhone options in India - Virtual phone number for receiving SMS & OTPs-screen-shot-20191013-7.40.25-pm.png

For basic banking needs I would suggest you to use google pay which doesn't require any OTP based authentication, once the app is set up.

You can do almost all basic banking ops like transfer between accounts, balance check, utility bill payments etc., without any need for OTP authentication. Please remember, the initial setup will require an OTP for authentication.

PS: I would suggest Airtel for all international purposes because of their slightly better customer care experience and most of it can be done over a call without having to physically visit any center.

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 13th October 2019 at 19:55.
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Old 13th October 2019, 19:57   #11
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
HDFC Bank (bank account) & American Express (credit card) both email the OTP across. You can check them out.
HDFC is a strange beast. For credit cards they do send the OTP to both mobile and email. For netbanking in some cases they give you the option where you want the OTP to be sent to, but for other situations they send it only to the mobile number. Sometimes even just to log in. To me this appears very whimsical that I'm sure there are several variables they consider here.

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Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
For basic banking needs I would suggest you to use google pay which doesn't require any OTP based authentication, once the app is set up.
Just be aware the Google Pay (and all UPI-based products) requires the SIM registered at the bank to be physically present in the mobile where the app is being used with mobile network connectivity.
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Old 13th October 2019, 20:03   #12
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

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Originally Posted by binand View Post
Just be aware the Google Pay (and all UPI-based products) requires the SIM registered at the bank to be physically present in the mobile where the app is being used with mobile network connectivity.
It would still work because no outgoing SMS is sent. Incoming is anyway free. I don't know about other countries but this technique works in the Middle East.
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Old 13th October 2019, 21:39   #13
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

For online transactions that cannot be done without an OTP either PayPal or a mobile wallet which can be reloaded or auto reloaded remotely can be alternatives. Otherwise barring the OTP on email options I have tried two methods
1. Carry the number on cheap international roaming with free incoming SMS and set an incoming caller tune that says number is on international roaming to ward off to an extent the spammers or 'not so intelligent yet worried and concerned" relatives.
2. Some banks do send the OTP to international number, please talk to your bank for the same. At the maximum they may ask you to convert your account into Nri account.
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Old 13th October 2019, 22:05   #14
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
So what are the solutions your propose?
Reminds me of Hamlet's "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".

As others have posted, keep an IN number and remember to top up or pay the monthly bill as relevant. A couple of cousins have maintained the same numbers (both Airtel) for 15+ years in the US and Australia without any major issues, and actually manage all IN banking + digital payments on a daily basis for their aged parents.

Just a matter of getting used to it. IF you are a shippie, then get all SMS alerts moved to email as most of my Captain and Chief Engineer friends do.

Last edited by itwasntme : 13th October 2019 at 22:07.
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Old 14th October 2019, 00:32   #15
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Default re: SoftPhone options in India - Virtual number for receiving SMS & OTPs

I am not aware of softfone, even if that exists, I would be wary of disclosing OTP to third party softwares.

The safest option is already suggested by an earlier comment. If you hold 100 rupees in Airtel-prepaid, incoming SMS remains active. Plus there is no hassle of being dependent/favor of a third party (and their nocturnal habits) to duly keep the phone charged everyday and safeguard it.

Another option, slightly expensive would be going with bare minimum international roaming packs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickgoan View Post
I refill 100 rupees every 45 days in my Airtel prepaid to keep the SMSes incoming when I am abroad. Been working for over a year.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 14th October 2019 at 00:34.
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