Bank of America SafePass Card Bubbles

Solutions found! — Since writing the following article, two solutions have been found, and are documented at the end of the article.


To authenticate certain transactions, Bank of America issue its customers a physical device called the SafePass Card. Unfortunately, it suffers from a design flaw that frequently renders it useless. This is a showstopper for any customer unable to use the secondary, US-only, SMS-based authentication mechanism. Bank of America customer support believe the problem—which has existed since 2012—is isolated. The 75+ frustrated commenters at the bottom of this blog article tell a very different story. (And that’s just the people who have Googled the problem, read this article, and taken the time to comment. There are surely many more!)

While the broader financial industry have implemented standard two-factor authentication, via apps like Google Authenticator and Authy, Bank of America relies on a proprietary system known as SafePass to authenticate certain transactions. There are two options for accessing SafePass:

  1. Mobile phone — The bank can send authentication codes to mobile phones via SMS. This option is a non-starter for anyone traveling or residing outside the United States, on a foreign cellular provider. You’d think an obvious solution would be to use an SMS-capable Google Voice telephone number. But unfortunately, for reasons nobody can figure out (try Googling it), the SafePass system can not send SMS messages to Google Voice.
  2. SafePass card — The second option is a physical SafePass card which the bank can issue for a fee of $20. Pressing a button on the SafePass card generates and displays a one-time SafePass code.

I received my first SafePass card in 2009, and used it until its internal battery died in 2012. Since 2012, I’ve tried four times to replace that card—and all four replacements have arrived defective and unusable. The defect is the presence of bubbles or splotches in the liquid display the obscure the visibility of the codes.

Here’s what my second replacement card looked like (I didn’t think to take a picture of the first):

Here’s how the third card arrived:

The bubbles started small, but eventually grew to the point that the card became unusable, after which I ordered my forth card. And here’s what the forth card looks like:

Having received the fourth such defective card (in 2014!), my suspicion was that the card was incapable of surviving air transport when mailed to me abroad from the United States. But when I called the bank, the support representative said that just yesterday she’d spoken with another customer in the United States who’d received two defective cards in a row.

She promised to escalate the issue as a potential problem in manufacturing, but stated that, unfortunately, the bank would not follow up with me (or the other customer) as this would be considered an internal matter. The only thing I could do, she said, is order a fifth card, and hope for the best—which I’ve done.

If you’re a Bank of America customer affected by this problem, please add a comment at the bottom if you’ve also been affected. I suspect only as a group, we’ll have a chance of getting the bank’s attention.

My hope is that someone at Bank of America in a position of authority might stumble across this and consider any of the following solutions:

  1. Fix the design flaw in the existing SafePass cards.
  2. Follow the rest of the financial industry in switching to standard two-factor authentication, based on mobile apps like Google Authenticator and Authy.
  3. Update your SMS authentication option to work with Google Voice numbers.
  4. Making SafePass an option, rather than requirement, for the bank’s online banking customers. (I appreciate SafePass, but when I’m abroad and can’t use the SMS method, I’m completely stuck!)
  5. Finally, implement a mechanism so that your customers who experience serious problems have recourse beyond front-line telephone support.

Two Solutions Found!

Three years after writing this article, two solutions have been found:

Solution 1: Anveo

  1. Create an account at telephony provider Anveo. (If you’d like to support this blog, you can enter my referral code 5253170 in the signup process.)
  2. Choose the “Free” subscription plan (screenshot)
  3. Add $15 from My Account → Add Funds. (Anveo is a pre-paid service.) You may have to wait a few hours for the payment to clear.
  4. Order a new geographic phone number from Phone Numbers → Order a new number, choosing the United States. Choose the Per Minute plan, which costs you $0.50 per month, plus whatever you spend in usage.
  5. Setup forwarding of SMSs from your new number, to your local mobile device by going to Phone Numbers → Manage Phone Numbers → Edit → Forward to a phone.

Anveo is a telephony infrastructure provider, and as such providers an enormous number of features, including the ability to associate your new phone number to a “SIP Client” application running on your iPhone or Android device. I initially tried this, but couldn’t get it working given the large number of parameters that must be configured.

Mentioning this in the comments, Graeme pointed out that you can avoid all that complexity by just setting up SMSs on your new US phone number to be forwarded to your local phone number wherever you live. I set things up that way, and gave it a shot with Bank of America, and IT WORKS! Thanks Graeme!

Solution 2: Google Voice

As of October 2017, Bank of America can now successfully send SMSs to Google Voice numbers. Yeah!

138 thoughts on “Bank of America SafePass Card Bubbles”

        1. Hi there,

          Text alerts alone won’t work when people are traveling outside the US on extended stays. The solution, like nearly all modern financial organization use, is two-factor authentication, using mobile apps like Authy or Google Authenticator.

          1. I agree wit that. Let us hope that they are planning on something more than text alerts. I have had the same “bubble” issue.

    1. Hi Bill, thanks for posting. It doesn’t seem related to overseas shipping, as people in the US are experiencing the same problem. Hopefully more people will stumble across this blog, and post a comment, so that eventually Bank of America will have to recognize it’s a wide-spread problem.

    1. Text alerts alone won’t work when people are traveling outside the US on extended stays. The solution, like nearly all modern financial organization use, is two-factor authentication, using mobile apps like Authy or Google Authenticator.

      1. I have the same bubbles problem. When you order new ones, do they replace it or do we have to pay again every time?

  1. Thanks for the information given, I have exactly the same problem , I’ve ordered 3 cards and all with the same problem of bubbles in your case you already have a card without bubbles?

    1. Ronald, BofA are right now sending my fourth card, but it hasn’t arrived yet. So right now, I don’t have any card at all, and all three previous cards arrived with bubbles. You can definitely tell from these replies, that the problem is not an isolated incident; there is definitely a problem with the manufacture of those cards.

  2. Two cards in a row. As mentioned here, the bubbles were small the first day but after a week they grow in a way that you can’t read the digit.

    I asked for the second card two months after I got the first card, again it has an small bubble. I used it for a while, then the bubbles grew. The last time I used, I had to push the bubbles to a corner or a side, to be able to read the digits and even if I was able to read the digits the website didn’t accept any of them.

    So here is a second tip: they told me over the phone that sometimes the clock in the card gets out of sync, so if you see bubbles and you do a lot of pressure to move the bubbles to a side, you might end up with a clock out of sync.

    I hope they add support for Google Authenticator or other similar systems.

    1. Thanks José, well it seems more and more obvious to me that a general problem exists with these cards. The real challenge, is how to get the information to whoever in Bank of America would have the authority to take action. When the BofA twitter representative called me, she said that she would “pass on the issue to her superiors” but that as per their policy, I would receive no follow-on contact with additional information. When I asked her how could I possibly know when it’s safe to order my fifth (!!!) card, she replied, “The only thing I can say, is that I appreciate the troubles you’re having.”

  3. I’ve also had 3 cards in a row arrive damaged, each one being forwarded to me overseas. Can’t receive international texts, can’t use Safepass, can’t access my money. So infuriating…

  4. Hi friends, this is Astolfo from Venezuela.

    Have received my third card (October 9 in my mailbox) and it started showing bubbles two weeks then of receiving (October 25). Right now I dont have safepass codes to do my transactions. Bank Of America must change this method because this cards are absolutely a problem for people outside the country. Google authenticator app sounds great.

    We got limitations without a safepass code.

  5. Hi friends, this is Astolfo from Venezuela.

    Have received my third card (October 9 in my mailbox) and it started showing bubbles two weeks then of receiving (October 25). Right now I dont have safepass codes to do my transactions. Bank Of America must change this method because this cards are absolutely a problem for people outside the country. Google authenticator app sounds great.

    We got limitations without a safepass code.

    BofA must do something.

  6. I was going to order a smartcard, but now I don’t know if I will bother If the darn thing isn’t even going to work. I think it’s absurd that they won’t send them to addresses outside of the US. On the phone, they advise that I circumvent the system by listing a friend’s address as my own, and then having that friend mail me the card. The fact that they can give that advice, but refuse to mail the card outside of the US themselves is absurd! They are telling me to misrepresent my residence address with them, a financial institution. Isn’t that a form of fraud?

  7. I’ve had four SafePass cards in the U.S. over the past year and they were all unusable with huge blotches. My wife and I moved to Italy in early September and for a while we were able to receive sms texts with the code to enable us to wire funds to the owner of our apartment for the rent. After November 8, we could no longer receive them and after several painful discussions with BofA representatives it looks like we’re out of luck. So, I’m having another SP card sent to my sister who will activate it and send it to me. One BofA rep told me I could activate it here in Italy and the next one I talked to said absolutely not. Bank of American really needs to do something about this arcane and outmoded way of dealing with customer security.

    1. Robert, thanks for writing in. You definitely can activate your cards in Italy. I have activated all of mine from Spain. You just login to the Bank America website, navigate to the SafePass area, and enter two codes from the new card.

      1. Thanks, Matt. It’s very helpful to know I can activate the card here rather than have someone try to do it in the U.S. before sending it to me. After four conversations with different BofA reps yesterday, I’m convinced none of them have the same information.

        1. Yeah, that’s what’s frustrating about all this; BofA is so large, that it’s simply impossible to get in touch with whoever is responsible for this situation. Anytime I call about the issue, I’m told that mine is an isolated case, and that they have no knowledge of a general problem with SafePass cards.

          1. As Matt knows, today I shared my thoughts on this–a little additional info–first I was told–today–that I could not activate the card here(Turkey, by the way)–this is nonsense–if the bubble problem does not exist and one can read the numbers one can(and I did previously) activate the card overseas. The quality problem is the focus–and yes of course it can be activated in the states and then sent, but if the numbers can’t be read?

          2. Of course is possible to activate the card from anywhere in the world; I’ve activated mine from Spain. The problem is that when calling the bank, it’s impossible to get past their first-line support, who aren’t qualified to address any issue not in the manual.

  8. Hi ,Its been a fiasco since 2012 with Bank of America’s Safe Pass card . I purchased it and it never arrived . I changed my address and was told I had to wait 30 business days for the change and another 10 for transit.I told them I would be out of the country and they said they can only ship it within the USA.When I did receive one I made the mistake of not activating it in the 30 day window(its rendered in operable) I was thinking I would when I traveled out side the country . So I ordered another,it came in with a small blotch I called BA they said that there’s nothing they could do other then send another.I received it and activated it before I left the country I made 1 indefinite transfer of funds in the states (Tx G) .Because when I arrived at my destination it bubbled up, the code wasn’t recognizable.I called they said there’s nothing they could do other then have another shipped and have my daughter activate it .

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ric. It’s definitely clear that the bubbles aren’t an isolated incident. I’m trying to get the BofA folks to have a look at this article, and its comments, but so far the only people following up are the BofA Twitter people (who can’t help at all.)

  9. I have the same problem, i damaged the first card trying to fixt it, then i order a new one and today i was going to make a transfer and realize i had the same f problem. I live outside of the USA so is the only way to the bank confirm its really me. BOA should do something more effective.

  10. Yeah, I face the exact same problem – it’s ridiculous. Although I did keep one of the old cards (the one with the bubble) and one of them kind of fixed itself. I do think its a problem with the temprature, not the air transport.

      1. Strangely, The bubbles on my card sometimes temporarily clear up or diminish, even to the extent where I can use it. But I can’t trust it enough to let go of my phone line.

  11. Frustratingly Bank of America have still not resolved this issue – it is February 2015 and there is still no support for foreign mobile numbers or common forms of multi-factor like Google Authenticator.

    To make matters even more fun, when I spoke to a representative from the company the other day he said he could not provide help until I returned to the US. Joy.

  12. Hello Guys, I have the same problem with my safepass card from BOFA. I ordered on Jan and got mine in February. just received in the mailbox and there was this bubble on the screen making a complete digit not visible to me, also sometimes it seems that the screen blinks. I live outside of US but received the card in USA and the problem was there. It is a really big problem that has to be addressed because of the limitation when doing wire transfers above 1000$ and you don’t have your US cellphone available traveling overseas.

  13. I have the same problem too. This is my second defective card, I live in Argentina and there is no other way of authenticating. This sucks.

  14. I have the exact same problem and landed here looking for a solution. I live in Argentina, so when my first SP battery died I ordered a new one, which came with a huge bubble in the middle. It’s unusable. I’m looking into ways of fixing it, since it looks like liquid and maybe there is some way to remove it.

  15. Second safepass card they send me and the same problem, a big bubble that makes impossible to see 2-3 numbers. When are they gonna do something about it?

  16. Same problem.

    Total 3 cards received. 1st card, damaged (LCD splotches). 2nd card, undamaged but about a month later, it stops spitting out numbers and gives me 6 Es (see attached). 3rd Card just received yesterday – damaged (LCD splotches – see attached).

    Not sure what is taking them so long to sort this issue out. I was with Chase Commercial for 1 year prior to my B of A relationship – they issued a RSA Securid key fob which worked like a charm because they are plastic encased LCD screens which do not require a press of a button, rather it simply keeps regenerating numbers constantly. Much more suitable, and certainly more durable! Its obviously cheaper for B of A to issue these flimsy little credit card type “SafePass” cards, but I’m sure that pales in comparison to the number of man hours spent by their representatives dealing with their customers with damaged Safepass cards. That’s ignoring the inconvenience cost (which according to me is priceless) to their customers!!

    I live abroad, but if I was in the US, I’d walk into another bank immediately and transfer my account to another good regional bank that issues better quality security tokens.

    THIS IS PATHETIC. Get your act together Bank of America.

    Good on you, Matt, for creating this blog. Very comforting to know it isn’t just me. Felt like Biff Loman until I came across this site 🙂

  17. I came here after searching for “bank of america google authenticator”, thinking in perhaps those guys could have made their 2-phase authentication more standard, but, based in your comments, it looks like they will never do something like that. Why make something in the easy way if you can do it by the hardest way.. I’ve ordered my first SP card almost a month ago, and it still hasn’t arrived to Miami, I’m living overseas too, in Chile, but my temporary US address is in Miami, and the card hasn’t arrived yet; I’ve called to BofA, and a friendly miss told me they was experiencing troubles with their SP cards, she asked for another card to me. I start to thinking this won’t have a happy ending. 🙁

  18. Same problem, I am on my second card, both cards developed bubbles about a month after I received them. I am over seas and stuck too. A fob type would have been a better solution.

  19. My fourth card arrived with only a tiny bubble, so that I could still actually see all the digits — but now, after having it for a few months, that tiny bubble had developed into a huge bubble, and now the card’s unusable. So, so frustrating.

  20. thought I would add my 2 cents–same problem 1000th verse, I suppose. First card the bubble gradually got worse–just received the 2nd card and its unreadable from the get go—any real solution around? BOA today never really acknowledged the problem, quite frankly–they first tried to divert me by tossing an overseas issue or two at me, but never really got around the actual quality control issue of the manufacture of the cards

    1. It’s clear from the huge number of comments on this post, that there exists a problem in the quality control of these cards. And unfortunately Bank of America don’t offer an alternative for people living outside the US, as their SMS codes can’t be sent to systems like Google Voice (for whatever reason.) The solution is to implement a standards-based external authentication system like that implemented in Google Authenticator, Authy and 1Password.

      My only suggestion is that everybody commenting on this thread repeatedly tweet your concerns to @BofA_Help, and hope someone monitoring that channel will surface this issue to someone in management at Bank of America.

  21. 2nd card in a row received was defective, requesting a 3rd now, hopefully it will work. My problem is that I am regularly in an area that does not have cell phone service. If I could optionally receive the code via the App on my phone or over wifi/email somehow, it would be great.

    1. On another note, BofA did acknowledge to me that they are aware of the problem and believe it may be related to transportation in hot vehicles (mail trucks). As it has been hovering around 100F for the past month here, I can definitely see that as the problem. They have been looking into a replacement design. When I said what if the BofA app could supply the code, she said what happens when someone gets ahold of your phone? I said, the same thing if Safe Pass sent a text message to the same phone lol.

      1. Jesse, who did you speak to that acknowledged the problem? This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone at the bank acknowledging the problem. If you could give me their contact details, I’d love to contact them myself—just as another data point for them, in terms of understanding how many people this is affecting.

        1. I just called the number on the back of the card, I think I pressed option 5 for tech support. When I called about my first card, they said they had heard of the problem before as well.

  22. Im from Venezuela, and have exactly the same SafePass dots problem, i think is time to escalate a change in Bank of America, can be a at http://www.change.org or similar, also propose the #Hashtag on twitter #BofAChangeSafepass to make some noice in the social network to @BofA_Help @bankofamerica and @BofA_Community, i alerady put a lot online,my twitter in @jorgeluisfarias hope can change that!!! Thanks!!!

  23. Here are the Chnage.Org Petition to change the safe pass Method change.org/p/bank-of-america-bank-of-america-change-your-safe-pass-system?recruiter=48806166&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive …

  24. Just received a safe pass card, here in US, with exact same problem, bubbles on a screen. I’m leaving soon to other continent. After reading this article I am thinking of closing BaM account at all – seems to be not manageable overseas, only if you have us cell number. silly. and google voice number is not working as well.

    1. Just received my second card, also defective.

      PLEASE BE AWARE IF YOU PLANNING TO STAY ABROAD FOR A LONG TIME Bank Of America is absolutely no choice for you. Bank of America don’t provide any good way to manage your funds overseas if you don’t have US cell phone. Just went to the bank and talk to the useless representative who basically confirmed that, and giving me very ‘valuable’ ‘secure’ advice to add somebody I know in US to my account.

  25. I also have the exact same problem. Impossible to read the numbers! I leave in Germany, work from time to time in the US and just like you, I do not want to keep a US cell phone when I am not in the US (or my prepaid card won’t work outside of the US). And it also took quite a while to finally get my first card.

  26. I moved to India about a year and half back, while I was in US my safepass card worked fine, and after my plane trip to India last year I saw the splotch and the card became unusable. I had another card sent to my uncle in US and he brought it to me when he was visiting and the same thing happened again. It is unusable yet again. Have no idea what they are going to be doing. It’s pretty frustrating. It would be great if BOA could provide the code over the SMS to our phones to continue our transactions. I spotted this blog just now when I was talking to a representative and she was saying that she wasn’t aware of this issue as well. I hope they see this blog, i did mention about this blog to her. Thanks Guys! Good luck to us!

  27. A friend is trying to use one in Colombia (S America). He asked B.o.A to deliver the SafePass card to my place in Houston, Tx. I Fedex the envelope with the card to him ($90 USD) and it arrived unusable with a big bubble. I blamed Fedex bending the envelope. He orders another card from B.o.A and this time I open the envelope before sending it to Colombia. The card arrived with a bubble already to Houston. B.o.A needs to use better packaging but even if it arrives in good shape I doubt the card will last long. It is a very poor manufactured card. For those of you with a broken card but active already, you can slowly bend the card and the bubble will move around uncovering the number and covering other numbers. You’ll be able to get all the numbers this way but it is a short term workaround.

  28. My first safe pass token card was working for 5 years without a hitch. When the battery has finally given up, I’ve ordered a new one. Arrived with bubbles. Than ordered another one, and another one. This is the 5th card within a year that became useless. I am moving back to the US in September, but this is not a solution. B of A just does not give a flying you know what about this problem, while it is extremely inconvenient for us to do our banking with them. I’ll just switch to a different bank….

  29. Oh, no. I’m part of an epidemic! I just moved to Japan and the card that was sent to me here doesn’t work because of a gigantic bubble. Add me to the growing list of BofA customers that is suffering because of this stupid card.

  30. This is my 3rd one and I had bubbles. The 2nd one had bubbles I ordered a new one and then BAMN it fixed itself! WTF. I too had it froward to Australia from the USA so I dont think it likes being flown!

    Frustrating as hell. I’d rather pay $100 for a solid safepass than these cheap POS

  31. I have just received my third card and it follows exactly the same pattern you have described. I was told by a bank clerk that similar problems had been encountered in the past. Right now I am stuck. I need the card to do transfers but I have no way to do it. Help!!!!! I am also overseas but I received my previous two ‘dud’ card in the US so I don’t think it has anything to do with overseas flights and delivery. Let’s face it – within the US items are delivered via air mail as well. Unbelievable that Bank of America can’t solve the problem.

  32. Hi, Matt–remember me? (from 2 months ago). Just received defective card number 3 at my daughter’s apartment in the states(she was here during the summer and I showed her two previous ones. Apparently this one is worse, because she could only read the first and last numbers. Although I have ordered a 4th card and BOA ALMOST acknowledged the problem, I’m not particularly optimistic. I am therefore actively pursuing another alternative(bank). Plus, I will be in the states in about a month–I’ll look there as well. Royal pain.

  33. Thanks Matt to share your experience. I received my safepass mailed from US to France. A big bubble in the middle of LCD screen. I’m wondering if I should order another safepass since your experience tell me that a new one might be defective.

  34. Just got my card today (Aug 28/2015) and exactly the same problem. A nice oval shaped bubble in the middle of the code number line. It’s so perfectly shaped, I thought it was intended. Anyway, I got 1 digit to the left of the bubble, and 3 digits to the right. Nothing in the middle. They are sending a replacement, so until then, I am stuck trying to make a transfer greater than $1000.00. I also don’t have a US cell phone number, but I do have a US land line number, which doesn’t seem to count in the system.

  35. Yep, two cards in a row with a huge bubble right in the middle of the screen. On the phone with them right now, ordering the third card… fingers crossed.

  36. Hi everyone, I am living in Spain and unfortunately I have the same problem…I’ll order the third one, but honestly it is not a solution…BoA has to solve the problem.

  37. I have an admittedly sketchy fix; pop a hole in the screen of your card! I just received my first defective card very close to a payment deadline where getting a second card was simply not an option. Out of desperation, I took a safety pin and poked a hole in the upper right corner for the screen. I’ve been able to get the bubble out, as well as getting a clear view of the digits. Will it bubble back up later? Maybe. But for now it works. TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK! I am in no way responsible for damage to your card, your financial well-being or anything else that you might attempt after reading this! 🙂

  38. I have received my 6th card today with the same problem. I guess I must have won the trophy of having screwed the most by this issue. 🙁

  39. Needless to say, we have the same issue – first card worked well for years, second third and forth with bubbles. The bubble on the last one was minor, so we used the card until the splotch grew so large that we had to guess one digit. I then went and disabled the “need safe pass code for sign in” feature, so that we could at least access our accounts. Now, after this super-long, hot and dry summer, the card has miraculously cured itself, which leads me to thinking that it’s a humidity issue. — Anyways, happy it was useable again, I signed in to “Manage Safe Pass setting” to turn the Safe Pass Feature back on – but lo and behold, there is no menu any more that would let me do it. The card still shows as my SafePass device, correct number and everything, but it now only lets me rename it or remove it from my account. Does anybody know how I can turn the feature back on? Thanks in advance

  40. Same problem. My SafePass card started with a small bubble and that has now completely eclipsed the third digit. I can no longer log into my BofA account while travelling unless I have my US SIM card installed. MAJOR hassle, BofA.

  41. Same problem. This is my 3rd card in a row and can’t use it !!! Last year I made 17 transfers < 1.000 usd with a cost of 35 usd each because I couldn’t use my safepass card. this is 595 usd compared to 35 usd if I was able to make a single transfer instead of 17…. Please fix this problem BofA.

  42. I am on my 3rd attempt to get a functional safepass card and again it arrived with the infamous bubble that prevents me from seeing the generated 6-digit code. Front line operators on the BoA chat service act as if they have no clue about the problems with the safepass card. I have been a BoA customer since the 1970`s. BoA representatives always thank me for being such a loyal customer but they don’t fix the problem with the safepass card. My saga to get a card started in September 2014.

  43. I face the very same problem I’m on my 4th Safepass now. Hoping it gets intact here. I live in Brazil. It’s a mess.

  44. My BofA manager has escalated this issue. This has happened to me as well. 4th time I request for a Safepass. I hope it helps you guys as well. Thanks!

  45. I live in China and finally after 1 year and 4 cards, my 4th card arrived just fine. The cards were always protected in bubble envelopes – it wasn’t that they were damaged in the mail, they were produced with bubbles in them!! VERY FRUSTRATED! Customer support on the phone acted very surprised to hear about the bubble problem even though I knew there had to be thousands of people calling with the same problem.

    European banks give little keyfobs with screens much more difficult to damage – why is Bank of America shipping these crappy thin cards? Just give us keyfobs!

  46. Me, too. On my fourth card (since February 2015) but I have hope. I showed my collection of bubble-cards to my local BoA person – she made phone calls and said that my next card would be hand-picked from the next manufacturer’s batch as “looking good”. Whoever she talked to seemed well aware of the defects. We shall see — it has been in service for 3 weeks now – no bobbles or blotches.

  47. Hi everybody, just a quick update about my experience with these SafePass cards. After my fourth card was defective, and my fifth one arrived to my address in the US, I had it forwarded to me here in Spain using UPS, rather than regular US Postal. (The reason is that I suspect the cards can’t withstand the conditions of air transport.) It was expensive — $45 — but using UPS, the card arrived in good shape, with no bubbles present. (Of course, it could be that BofA changed the manufacturacting process, and the UPS delivery didn’t actually make any difference — but who know…)

  48. I have a workaround. Get a ring.to number. BoA SafePass works with ring.to numbers, at least it did with mine! Then you can set your ring.to number to forward SMS messages to your Google Voice number … and from there you can read your BofA short messages anywhere you can receive a Google Voice or Hangouts message.

    Oh, of course if you don’t care about Google Voice, just use Ring.To, which offers SMS and voice access from their website and/or forwarding to any other phone number.

    Here’s a cheap way to get a ring.to number. Get a cheap SIM on ebay that includes at least a trial of a few minutes and text messages. Pop it into your (gsm) phone. Or if you have an old Verizon phone you can put that on PagePlus for cheap or may nothing by calling them with the ESN number… Then port your cheap or free number to ring.to … Voila … Worked for me. I’ve ported numbers from both PagePlus and SimpleMobile to Ring.to … even after draining the cell accounts or letting them go a few days past the end of the last paid day. (Ring.to seems happy to port-in and collect numbers … I think they squeeze some money each time they receive a call…)

    Some related peculiar facts. Both ring.to and Google Voice actually go through the same infrastructure managed by Bandwidth.com – So it’s a minor mystery why Google Voice will not accept Short Codes whereas Ring.to will. Perhaps it’s contractual/legal/liability things. Anyhow it works to forward one to the other, and the connection / pass-off is super-fast, probably because it’s all done on the same infrastructure of digital switching/networking gear.

  49. Problem is not only with the physical cards,safe pass with 2 cell phones does not work. Codes came in just fine when setting them up, until you actually attempt to use safe pass, then NOTHING! ..Thinking they do NOT want much money leaving their bank,its that simple.

  50. It’s not just Bank of America, I have a Merril Edge Safe pass card that does the same thing! This article was written almost 2 years ago and it seems BofA has done NOTHING to address this…my guess is they have a bunch pre-made ones in the warehouse so they need to utilize them or it would be a wasted cost

  51. It’s not just Bank of America, I have a Merril Edge Safe pass card that does the same thing! This article was written almost 2 years ago and it seems BofA has done NOTHING to address this…my guess is they have a bunch pre-made ones in the warehouse so they need to utilize them or it would be a wasted cost

  52. I had a BOA Safe Pass card that went bad over a year….I think the quality of their materials/construction is just poor….there are good solid RSA cards out there that will last a decade of use..but apparently it is impossible to get one for BOA accounts.

    Why not use cell phone SMS? Because SMS can be hacked…..there are new social engineering attacks going on that target telco providers to emulate a targets cell phone.

    Do I care about those attacks for most accounts? No. For my main checking account, absolutely yes…

  53. hi, it is me again, i’m not sure if this will work for any one else, but here goes, DEEP Freeze the crape out of it !!!, I’ve kept mine for a couple of weeks inside the freezer to be honest i’ve forgot about it until one day i was checking on something when I’ve notice that the bubble is gone !, pressed the button and its working, kept out side for few hours just to make sure, ….it worked !

  54. It looks like GrooVe is only for Android (I use iOS), and I gave a try to Anveo — and OMG you need a Ph.D. to use that! 🙂 I created an account. OK. Then I added a number. OK. Now, how do I use it? It seems I would need to install a “SIP client” on my iPhone, and configure it. Entering my username and password returns, “404 unregistered” errors. Oh, the “SIP password” is different than your account password. OK. Finally got it “registered”, tried to send and receive an SMS, and go nowhere. Investigating, I’m wondering if “SMS over SIP” has to be enabled. But that doesn’t work, because my account level doesn’t allow it. (Whatever that means…) Definitely not user friendly!

    1. Yip, not very user-friendly. I think the easiest is to forward SMS’s to another number, forget about SIP.

      Choose “Phone numbers” from the top menu, then “edit” on the phone number. Choose the “SMS” tab and the “Forward to a phone” option.

  55. Agree about using mobile apps like Authy or Google Authenticator or use email address. SafePass card sucks! This is my 3th time I order a safeness card and still have the same f…ing problem with bubbles inside screen. I can believe how a huge bank like BANK OF AMERICA use this horrible way to security

  56. The anveo.com solution with SMS forwarding worked for me (I am in Australia and the SMS forwarding worked perfectly). Thanks.

  57. not sure whats the problem for me that i still cant get msg from boa after using anveo. shall i call bao to cancel my safepass first and readd the avneo number to have a try? Thank you!

    1. When you setup Anveo, you should first confirm that you’re receiving SMSs successfully through it, so that if you do NOT receive an SMS from Bank of America, you’ll know it’s a bank issue, and not an Anveo issue. So once you have Anveo correctly setup, then you can simply add it as a second SafePass method, and still keep your SafePass card as an active method too.

      1. Thank you for your promptly reply! acutally, yes, i’ve tried to send a msg using google voice to anveo number and it worked. then i tried boa but failed. I gonna call boa to see what’s next. wired wired safepass i’ve ever met. Thank you!

        1. Mine also does not work. While logis to BOA through SMS is possible, but safepass code does not reach. Clearly, BOA changed their configuration recently!!

          1. As far as I tried, the problem may be safepass system not our VOIP phone because even real US cell phone cannot receive my safepass code. I doubt their system has a serious problem.

            Dora If you resolve the problem by calling to BOA, I hope you report the result, which will help us.

          2. Worked for me, Im in Australia. Initially didn’t work but after about 30 mins I was getting SMS’s all ok through Anveo straight to my Aussie mobile. BOA safeness SMS’s coming through fine. Make sure that you haven’t locked any of your cards otherwise I don’t think they come through if your cards are locked.

  58. I tried anveo today and i tested a short code SMS via the anveo website to the code “change” and in the text, I wrote “me” and it forwarded fine to my spanish mobile text. But with safepass I never get anything. So my number supports short codes but it isn’t working with safepass. Oh well, what a pain.

  59. I am in australia, I read the comment but no one is clear abut to getting from Anveo SMS forwarding without the safepass, I do not have a safepass because I thought it was not worth having a sapass if it does not work, but I would like to know if anveo forwarder sms can work simply by receiving the bank code verifying through my local phone here in Australia. Can someone help me with this information please I really will appreciate it very much, non be able to move my money from Bank of america in U.S drive me crazy.

    1. The word “SafePass” is used both as the name of the program, and the card you can optionally choose to order. But when enabling SafePass, you don’t have to order the card. Instead, you can choose SMS messages to a mobile phone number. And for this, as I mentioned in the article, I’ve been using it for a couple of years successfully now.

        1. Hello, I tried to use google voice number to receive safepass code. Still not working. However I still reveive confirmation code from BOA, which is strange. Did you successfully receive safepass code using google voice by yourself?

          1. Yes, although I decided to stick with Anveo, I did confirm that I could receive codes to my Google Voice number. I wouldn’t be surprised though, to find that what once worked no longer does. For sure, to the Bank, the Google SMS interface looks technically different than standard interfaces like this provided by Anveo.

  60. Thanks you so much for your information , Sorry I wasn’t clear , I understand that I don’t need to have a physical safe pass Card with me here in Australia , if i enable safe pass mobile to receive a bank verification code through Anveo from U.S in my local phone mobile in Australia, is that correct? in that case i need to get Anveo u.s phone number to provide to my bofa and them enable the safe pass mobile. is that correct?

    1. Anveo will give you a USA mobile number that is compatible with Bank of America’s SMS sending system. (As you read and may have experienced, SkypeIn and Google Voice numbers are NOT compatible.) Once you have an Anveo number, Bank America can start sending SafePass SMSs there.

      But then you need to get them from Anveo to yourself in Australia, and there’s several ways to do that. Personally, I have Anveo configured to forward incoming SMSs to my mobile phone in Spain. This option is found on the “Edit phone number” screen, in the “SMS” tab. See this screenshot: http://d.dafacto.com/VLMUQR

      Unfortunately, you have to pay for the ability to forward SMSs to a mobile number, and I can’t recall exactly but it might be a bit less than $10 per month or something. And I don’t use SafePass enough to consume anywhere near the amount I spend each month for the Anveo plan. So, basically, it’s a fixed expense that I’ve accepted simply to be able to use Bank of America.

      Does that all make sense?

          1. Happy now, My Anveo phone number is working linked with my local phone number, I got verification bank code, hurrraaaa finally, Thanks guys

  61. I ported my USA mobile to google voice and originally I could not get safepass to work with it but a year later and it magically started working and I get the safepass messages now in google hangouts via my google voice account

    1. Jeremiah, just editing my comment — YES, it seems that Google Voice NOW WORKS. That is amazing, as it means the Anveo solution isn’t necessary any longer! Thanks SO MUCH for the heads up!

  62. Thank you! I’ve relocated to the UK a few years ago and my SafePass does not generate codes anymore, I guess the battery died. BoA wont send a SafePass to a foreign address even if my profile has my current foreign address. I call them just to get more frustrated that my only option was to travel to the US, get a local number or I guess rent an apartment so that BoA can send me a SafePass! The Anveo option worked for me and yes, I used your referral code. BoA really needs to start realizing that there are 194 other countries in the world!

  63. This blog as a God send. I have been with BOA for 20 years but based in Australia. They wanted to freeze my account and sent me an e-mail on Christmas Day stating that I need to ID myself. I called then and the only place I could ID myself was in the US! Even though they have a Rep office in Sydney. I have to have this account because I am a retiree employee from a large US Multi and I have their stock on the NYSE. So I traveled to LAX to spend 40 minutes in a BOA branch ID myself so the account can be keep open! Now I need to transfer funds out to Australia and I hit all the problems outlined in the comments on this blog. However thanks to this blog I now have a Anveo US based phone number and it works perfect. Bank of America just does not get it, they are a joke as a large bank and cant see pass the 48 States! Thanks Matt for providing this information, I have spend so much time trying to talk to BOA and now I have them beat!

    Jeff

  64. Hello everyone! Few words about my experience. Unfortunately Anveo option doesn’t work for me (I used your referral code). It’s forwarding SMS from other cellphones, but not from BoA. Tried to use it in Russia.

    1. Hi Oleg, I use it frequently and have reports of many others, and so I’m guessing it’s something on your side. I have noticed that I have lots of problems using Bank of America online banking, if I don’t login from the USA using a VPN. Maybe give that a try?

      1. Thank you for reply. You’re right VPN is good option for Russia today 🙂 Unfortunately still doesn’t work. We made a call to bank, and they said that we’ll not get any messages to Anveo number, only real mobile numbers supported. Sad.

        1. Hi Oleg, the fact is that I and many others are using Anveo with Bank of America, so the problem isn’t with Anveo, that’s for sure. I wonder if you chose the correct type of number when you signed up there? Have you tested that messages you send your self are properly forwarded?

          1. I’ve done everything as written in your upper post, and everything works fine – I recieved sms from cellphones I have around to try. But not from BoA. I think the problem is in my current location 🙂 Thank you.

          2. Hi Oleg, it has happened many times that SMSs were arriving to my Anveo number, but not getting forwarded to my foreign cell phone. I emailed Anveo support, and they quickly fixed the problem. Perhaps that’s what’s happening in your case. It can’t be that Bank of America doesn’t like you location, because if you VPN in, they can’t know. (I only access the bank via VPN, since if I login on my home IP address, I’m shown a message that online banking isn’t available.)

          3. Matt, you’re right – online banking needs VPN, and I use it. And (I check it again) – no sms I’ve got from BoA. But my sms all there :)) Anyway I solve my problem in some other way. I’ll go to NY soon. Will see, what can I do: perhaps I’ll do something with google voice (it works only with USA numbers).

          4. HI Oleg, well, I’m really sorry to hear that.It’s disappointing if it’s true that the service works for some, but not others. If you do find a solution, please report back here for the benefit of others.

    2. it didn’t foward to my Colombian number neither, but I just logged in the Anveo website, and checked the inbox section.

      The bank of america text codes were there and I was able to use them for my safepass option

      1. This happened to me too in Mexico, SMSs from local phones would get forwarded back to my phone perfectly, but BoA SMSs where not.

        Saw you post and checked my anveo inbox and my BoA codes where in there, thanks for the suggestion.

        Thx to the OP for this post too

  65. Hi, I usually don’t comment on blogs, but, this solution works perfect, I used the option Anveo, it really worked, I’m from Colombia, and I was looking for a good solution.

    Thank you for your help. I tried google voice before and it didn’t work, now I’m happy with Anveo, can’t believe it’s only 6 dollars a year jajaja

  66. What state in usa u selwcted to have the sms work woth BoA? I selected miami area code 786 for the phone…did not receive the sms. And there is nothing in the inbox. How ling after creating the phone number does it work?

  67. Finally figured all out. It takes time to receive the confirmation email, then more time to activate account credit. And after ordered the phone number took time too to start receiving SMS. But its all good. Thank you so much

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