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Bank of America SafePass Card Bubbles

Summary — As a Bank of America customer who spends a lot of time outside the United States, I have struggled to confirm my transactions due to (a) defects in the Bank of America SafePass card, and (b) being unable to receive a Bank of America SMS on a foreign phone number. This article describes a solution for getting a US mobile number that’s compatible with Bank of America systems, and that can forward SMS messages to a foreign number. Although originally written in 2014, the solution still works today, in 2020.


The problem(s)

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 has implemented standard two-factor authentication, via apps like Google Authenticator and 1Password, 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.

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 1Password.
  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.
  5. Finally, implement a mechanism so that your customers who experience serious problems have recourse beyond front-line telephone support.

The solution

Three years after writing this article, a solution has been found:

  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 Mobile phone number from Phone Numbers → Order a new number, choosing the United States. (Important: Anveo offers two number types, normal and mobile. Only the “mobile” works with Bank of America!)
  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!

How to forward SMS to email at Anveo

You can use Anveo’s “Forward SMS to URL” feature, to have your SMS messages sent to you by email. This is a little technical, and requires the ability to install a PHP script on a web server somewhere. Here’s how it’s done:

In the Anveo administration interface, go to:

Manage Numbers → Edit → SMS → Forward to URL

This is where you’ll enter the URL to your PHP script. That URL (of the GET, rather than POST structure) will contains tokens for the from and message arguments. Here’s mine (with the domain redacted):

http://mydomain.com/anveo.php?from=$[from]$&message=$[message]$

And here is the actual PHP script contents, with the to and from email addresses redacted in several places:

<?php

// This is Matt's secret script for sending email from a URL

// Initialize our KILL function

function died($error) {
        echo "We are very sorry, but something went wrong.";

        $error_message .= "The following were the errors:\n\n$error\n";
        $headers = 'From: [email protected]'."\r\n".
        'Reply-To: [email protected]'."\r\n" .
        'X-Mailer: PHP/' . phpversion();
        @mail('[email protected]', '[Anveo] Mailer Aborted', $error_message, $headers);  
        
        die();
}

// Initialize some variables

$email_to = "[email protected]"; // where you want sms forwarded
$email_from = "[email protected]"; // what the from address should be
$subject = "[Anveo] Incoming SMS from Anveo";

$email_exp = '/^[A-Za-z0-9._%-][email protected][A-Za-z0-9.-]+\.[A-Za-z]{2,4}$/';
$email_message = "";    

// Do some data validation...

if(!isset($_GET['from']) || !isset($_GET['message'])) {
        died('Either the from or the message was not present.');       
}

$body = $_GET['message'];   

// Check for good email syntax

if(!preg_match($email_exp,$email_to)) {
    died("The email address does not appear valid: $email_to");
}

// Make sure we have a body

if(strlen($body) < 2) {
    died("The email body does not appear valid:\n\n$body");
}

function clean_string($string) {
    $bad = array("content-type","bcc:","to:","cc:","href");
    return str_replace($bad,"",$string);
}

$email_message .= clean_string($body)."\n";

// create email headers

$headers = 'From: '.$email_from."\r\n".
'Reply-To: '.$email_from."\r\n" .
'X-Mailer: PHP/' . phpversion();

// Send that mail!

@mail($email_to, $subject, $email_message, $headers);  

echo "Form submission successful.";

?>
Published inRants

219 Comments

  1. jose20 jose20

    I have the exact same problem. Three cards in a row. And it takes forever to get a new card

    • Jose, thanks for the feedback. This is beginning to look like it’s not an isolated case then. And as you say, it’s a real pain in that it takes weeks to get a new card.

      • me0920 me0920

        Hi Matt,

        I was told by a teller that the bank will be phasing them out in the near future and will use text alerts going forward.

        • 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.

          • me0920 me0920

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

          • Allen Allen

            I’m still looking for an explanation as to why Bank of America is incapable of sending an SMS to my mobile phone number in Thailand when Google, Yahoo, PayPal, Microsoft and several other large organizations send me SMS’s without any problem. I pose this question every time I have a BoA customer rep on the line and none on them knows anything.

          • The answer is easy — their systems place a higher technical bar on the question of “what’s a real mobile number?” With most services a Google Voice, Skype or Hushed number will work, but not with BofA.

    • Elizabeth Fischer Elizabeth Fischer

      I live overseas and my US cell phone doesn’t work outside the US. One SafePass failed and I got a new one when visiting the US. Now with Covid-19 I cannot enter and the second SafePass has failed. I have security gadgets from the UK and South Africa and they never fail and work anywhere in the world – do wish Bank of America would upgrade their systems. Have been told the lithium battery doesn’t last forever but having had three cards, some do and some don’t.

  2. Bil Bil

    I experienced the same problem while overseas. Bank of America does not provide solution, so I am stuck

    • 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.

  3. me0920 me0920

    I was told by a teller that the bank will be phasing them out in the near future and will use text alerts going forward.

    • 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.

  4. Jay Jay

    Hi, i have the same problem, the card can be fixed?

      • Kalista Siregar Kalista Siregar

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

  5. Ronald Arevalo Ronald Arevalo

    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?

    • 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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.”

  7. Rudi Rudi

    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…

    • Thanks for posting a comment, Rudi. Hopefully Bank of America will finally acknowledge that there really is a problem.

      • Allen Nacheman Allen Nacheman

        Hi Matt

        I just got my Bank of America SafePass card in Thailand via DHL. I insisted on DHL or FedEx or UPS rather than the USPS that the bank usually uses, and which totally sucks. The customer rep finally and reluctantly agreed. She seemed to have to get an okay from a superior. Anyhow the card arrived within 12 days as promised and apparently undamaged. But I’m still searching for an explanation for why Bank of America cannot send SMS messages to my cell phone in Thailand. Every other organization I deal with – Amazon, PayPal, Microsoft, Google, etc. – all send me verification codes by SMS without any problem. Only Bank of America claims it cannot, and can never explain why not.

  8. Guest Guest

    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.

  9. Astolfo Romero Astolfo Romero

    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.

    • Ghost Ghost

      the same thing, now the 2nd card, this is way to much, it takes few weeks just to get this useless card

  10. Cedric Tsui Cedric Tsui

    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?

  11. Robert Blesse Robert Blesse

    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.

    • 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.

      • Robert Blesse Robert Blesse

        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.

        • 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.

          • Patrick Ricks Patrick Ricks

            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?

          • 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.

  12. Ric Ric

    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 .

    • 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.)

  13. Pedro Castillo Pedro Castillo

    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.

    • Thanks for the reply, Pedro. The situation sucks, for sure.

  14. Shaunak Shaunak

    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.

  15. Barry Farkas Barry Farkas

    te

    • badam badam

      My exact experience.

      • Barry Farkas Barry Farkas

        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.

  16. MugOfEarlGrey MugOfEarlGrey

    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.

  17. JAG_P3 JAG_P3

    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.

  18. Flavio Guzman Flavio Guzman

    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.

  19. Matías R Matías R

    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.

  20. Berna Berna

    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?

  21. Yash Mehta Yash Mehta

    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 🙂

  22. Olesya Konovalova Olesya Konovalova

    Not only overseas problem. Safe Pass arrived with spots here in the US.

  23. Alvaro Urbaez Alvaro Urbaez

    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. 🙁

  24. JP JP

    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.

  25. lostapiv lostapiv

    +1. having the same issue with bubbles

  26. 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.

  27. Patrick Ricks Patrick Ricks

    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

    • 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.

  28. Jesse Schulman Jesse Schulman

    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.

    • Jesse Schulman Jesse Schulman

      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.

      • 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.

        • Jesse Schulman Jesse Schulman

          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.

  29. Jorge Farias Jorge Farias

    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!!!

  30. Jorge Farias Jorge Farias

    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 …

  31. Robert B Robert B

    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.

    • Robert B Robert B

      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.

  32. Patricia Rommel Patricia Rommel

    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.

  33. gayatri m gayatri m

    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!

  34. Esteban Esteban

    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.

  35. Steve Pazsitzky Steve Pazsitzky

    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….

  36. Lin Pengxuan Lin Pengxuan

    me too. 2 cards in a row are all defective… can’t say no more…

  37. ParisTexas ParisTexas

    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.

  38. mrtruffle mrtruffle

    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

  39. Max Moss Max Moss

    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.

  40. Patrick Ricks Patrick Ricks

    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.

  41. Gwen Chen Gwen Chen

    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.

    • Gwen, given my experience, and that of the people commenting here, I doubt a new card would arrive in better condition than the one you just got, unfortunately.

  42. To all who have posted here. If you need to reference this article when talking to others (e.g. especially anyone at Bank of America), here’s a convenient kinda-easy-to-remember URL:

    http://bit.ly/safepasscard

  43. Brian Wilson Brian Wilson

    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.

  44. Kirill Yunussov Kirill Yunussov

    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.

  45. Ghost Ghost

    got my 2nd card Aug 31, same thing, i’m totally stocked with this !

  46. Ghost Ghost

    2nd card and counting, last was on 31 Aug,

  47. Jesus Jesus

    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.

  48. jpyeatt jpyeatt

    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! 🙂

  49. DulYang DulYang

    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. 🙁

  50. Jesus Jesus

    I put the card in an envelope along with a silica gel sachet and now it is working, no more spots

  51. Danatash Danatash

    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

  52. badam badam

    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.

  53. Jean I. Jean I.

    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.

  54. Joanes Joanes

    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.

  55. Renaud Adorno Renaud Adorno

    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.

  56. Renaud Adorno Renaud Adorno

    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!

  57. B Sloan B Sloan

    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!

  58. Jstackpo Jstackpo

    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.

  59. 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…)

  60. Bob Teatow Bob Teatow

    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.

    • Graeme Pyle Graeme Pyle

      Argh, RingTo is no longer accepting new sign-ups. Do you know of a similar service?

      • RingTo didn’t work for me; I had the same results as with Google Voice. (And if they use the same infrastructure, that’s not surprising…)

  61. Justthefact1 Justthefact1

    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.

  62. David Do David Do

    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

  63. David Do David Do

    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

  64. Matthew Marlowe Matthew Marlowe

    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…

  65. Ghost Ghost

    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 !

  66. 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!

    • Graeme Pyle Graeme Pyle

      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.

      • Wow. Oh wow. It actually works. Thanks SO MUCH. I’m going to update the article with this solution.

  67. Jose Jose

    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

  68. Shadowsony Shadowsony

    place the busted CARD in the Freezer for a couple of days, the bubble will disappear !

  69. Murtaza Hussain Murtaza Hussain

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

    • eli eli

      Hi, I am in Australia, you said anveo SMS forwarding work, this is without the safepass card?

  70. dora dora

    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!

    • 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.

      • dora dora

        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!

        • ryu ryu

          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!!

          • ryu ryu

            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.

          • Pete Pete

            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.

  71. 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.

  72. eli eli

    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.

    • 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.

      • Eli, note the comment at the bottom — it seems that Google Voice NOW WORKS!

        • Hanna Hanna

          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?

          • 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.

  73. eli eli

    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?

    • 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?

      • eli eli

        Yes, definitely makes sense, I understand very well now, Thanks you so much Matt, I really appreciate your help,

        • Eli, please note what another commented just pointed out — that Bank America SafePass now works with Google Voice. So that might even be a better option for you.

          • eli eli

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

  74. Jeremiah Jeremiah

    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

    • 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!

  75. Alex Alex

    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!

  76. Jeff F Jeff F

    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

  77. Oleg Oleg

    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.

    • 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?

      • Oleg Oleg

        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.

        • 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?

          • Oleg Oleg

            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.

          • 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.)

          • Oleg Oleg

            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).

          • 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.

    • Jonny Jonny

      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

      • Pedro Pedro

        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

  78. Jonny Jonny

    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

  79. joao cabral joao cabral

    Having hard time trying to create an account at anveo…they r not sending the email confirmation

  80. joao joao

    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?

  81. joao joao

    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

    • Min Min

      Thanks, Joao! I ordered the new geographic number today, and couldn’t receive SMS. How long did you wait to start receiving SMS? Did you switch to the Mobile number on Anveo? Anveo support told me that many US customers chose Mobile number instead of Geographic number.

      • Min, my original number is a Geographic number, and I later got a Mobile number for my business. Both can receive SMSs without problem, so that shouldn’t be the issue, although I believe there are still services that might not recognize the Geographic number as mobile. But for sure, Bank of America can send to both (since I use it them both with BofA.)

        • Min Min

          Thanks a lot, Matt. So far, my geographic number couldn’t receive SMS from BofA. Talked with Anveo support, and they believe that’s BofA’s issue. Is there any waiting time for the geographic number to be able to receive SMS? 🙂

          • Is your number able to receive SMSs from other sources than Bank of America? If so, then it could be the issue between Geographic vs Mobile, in which case you’d want to switch to Mobile. But as I say, the number I use is Geographic — at least I think it is. It’s whatever type of number was on offer before there was a choice.

          • Min Min

            Thanks a lot, Matt! Can’t reply to your post since there is no “Reply” button 🙂 I asked my friends in US to send SMS text to my geographic number, and i can get it. So, i think there may be some compatibility issue between the way of receiving SMS at Anveo side and the way of sending SMS at BofA side. I will test out the mobile number option, although it is going to cost another 10 bucks of setup fee. 🙁 something I don’t like Anveo is that you can’t switch the type of number and pay for the balance within a trial period.

  82. I was not able to use Anveo with a second number. I found this explanation online, it might be useful for some of you:

    “What happened is that i was trying to add the new phone as a second number and I had to confirm my intention by receiving a SafePass on the first number! So the reason i never received the SMS was because they were sent to the first number and not the second one.

    for reference purposes, the process to add a second number is: 1. receive/confirm SafePass code on the first number. This allows the user to add a second number 2. receive/confirm SafePass code on the second number. This activates the number.”

    Source: https://forums.att.com/t5/Data-Messaging-Features-Internet/Text-messages-from-Bank-of-America-SafePass/td-p/3702511

  83. Jeremy Havard Jeremy Havard

    Amazing, I have a BofA account managing properties we own in the USA being in Australia. I applied for and they sent me that damned card. Had to send it to a friend in the USA first and sent registered mail to Australia by him. Then arrived damaged same damn problem and couldn’t use it. I then tried everything, bought U.S sim cards without roaming, Cricket Wireless card which is $25 per month and doesn’t connect to Australia, VOIP numbers, nothing worked. Pulling my hair out for years. Have had to phone my friend in the USA from Sydney to do the most simple of transactions with BofA. Thank you very very very very much for posting this great solution from Anveo. I just signed up and waiting for the payment to appear before getting a number. Well done!

  84. Aaron Aaron

    I just wanted to say a massive thank you to this author and the people who have commented. Two of my 3 BoA safepass cards broke/ran out of batteries at the same time after a flight. Not sure if that’s a coincidence, but I’m overseas and needed to make a quick payment. Anveo worked in this situation…I just followed the instructions above. Even if it doesn’t forward to your international mobile phone, you can check your inbox for text messages under My Account>Inbox. Thanks again, and I used your affiliate code 🙂

  85. Min Min

    I just tried out Anveo today, and I couldn’t receive the authentication code from BoA to my new Anveo number. I’m contacting the support now.

    • Aaron Aaron

      I commented above saying BoA worked, but as of July 2019 this seems to not be working. I had Anveo support test and they said everything is fine and I can receive short code. So either BoA is just not working today or something has changed. Min let us know how it goes or if you find a workaround, thanks, Aaron

      • Aaron, I just confirmed that I also can NOT receive SafePass codes currently, and I can also confirm that the last time I did, was in June. So I hope it’s a problem only today, and not some kind of update they’ve done in July that messed everything up.

        • Min Min

          Matt, do you mean you couldn’t receive the code on both Anveo numbers,Geographic and Mobile? Thanks!

  86. Min, I just tested again, was able to successfully receive a SafePass code on my Anveo Mobile number but NOT on my Geographic number.

    • Min Min

      Thanks, Matt! Anveo support told me yesterday that a lot of US-based customers are using Mobile number, not Geographic number. I believe there might be some settings or configurations on Mobile number are different from Geographic number, which BofA checks. I’m trying to get a Mobile number now.

  87. Min, Aaron — I just created a new “Mobile” number at Anveo, and updated my BofA account with that number, and SafePass codes are again arriving successfully. So definitely the MOBILE number is the only one to get for this usage.

    • Min Min

      I just tried today and unfortunately, I didn’t have the same luck as Matt had. I asked for help from Anveo support, which isn’t very helpful either. I tried a different service provider, TextNow, and without any cost, I could manage the register the TextNow number with BoA. Whoever interested, you can give a try at https://www.textnow.com/. Just go with the free package.

      • Fer Fer

        Excellent! It worked right away. I was really worried about flying to the US just to get a SMS for BofA’s sake. I’m intrested in the anveo solution just to have another solution in case that TextNow stops working.

    • Aaron Aaron

      I did what Matt suggested…I created a new ‘mobile’ number at Anveo and that did the trick. My previous number was geographical which stopped working. Thanks again Matt.

  88. DD DD

    Hi and thanks Matt for the article and everyone for the discussion.

    Did any of you recently try Skype Number if it can receive authentication messages from BoA now or not? If not, what other similar services (Google Voice, the mentioned Anveo, else ) can still work with BoA?

    • DD, I’ve tried Skype, Google Voice and Hushes. Previously Hushed also worked, but as per this discussion of the change BofA apparently did in July 2019 only the Anveo Mobile number is now working for me.

      • DD DD

        Thanks Matt. I was about to get a Skype number, but i’m glad I bumped into your blog before that. I guess it will be Anveo now.

  89. Hi, I’m having the same issue with the SafePass card. When creating an account in Avneo, should I choose USA as country of my residence country? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Ivan, I don’t think that’s necessary. The only thing that’s important is that you choose a US number and choose “Mobile” as the type, and NOT “Geographic”. It seems now that Bank of America will only send to the Mobile type numbers.

  90. Phil Phil

    Hi Matt! Thanks for your blog post, glad I found this! I tried funding my Anveo account, but before getting any credits approved they are asking me for pictures of my passport. I’ve never used or heard of Anveo before, so I am quite hesitant to share that type of information with them. Did you also have to do this?

    • Hi Phil, I didn’t have to do that, but given the KYC laws in place now for organizations that provide phone numbers (especially mobile ones) I’m not surprised they’re requesting that. I’ve been using them for years, and I wouldn’t personally have any problem sending them that information.

      • Phil Phil

        Thanks for the lightning-fast response!!! Ok glad to know they’re somewhat legitimate. I also tried looking into using Google Voice as I saw in some of the comments that it works now too – but in order to get that up and running you need to have a US-based phone number to verify your account and to have incoming calls to be forwarded to?

        • I have a Google Voice number and it doesn’t work with Bank of America. My original Anveo also no longer works — I had to contract one of their specific “mobile” numbers.

          • Hi Matt, I tried your method with a U.S. mobile number. I can receive texts from my friends in the U.S., but still no luck on BOA safepass message. Is your number still holding up?

          • Kyle, when you say “my method” are you talking about an Anveo Mobile-specific number? (Remember, they now offer two, and the one that’s not mobile-specific does not work.) As of last week, mine is still working.

  91. Fer Fer

    Hello Matt,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m heading out the US in 4 days and i’d like to add the anveo number to my BofA online banking. I managed to add the TextNow provided number, and it’s actually working. However, i don’t want to rely solely on that solution. I’ve a prepaid us-based number that will die in 10 days (also, it’ll be useless outside US). I’m confused with the signup Anveo page, it request a number; should it be an US number or can i use my local mobile number (argentina based). I don’t know if i’m being clear. Because, for what I understand, the SafePass SMS deadlock happens right after you left the US. My scenearios are: A- just use the TextNow number (already configures and tested) B- A + signup in Anveo with the prepaid US number and then foward SMSs to my argentinian number and then configure the Anveo number while i’m still in the US. C- A + signup in Anveo with my Argentinian based number and the anveo number after i leave the US, and use the TextNow (working) number to receive the SafePass SMS and add the new Anveo Number.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Fernando, I don’t recall the Anveo signup workflow offhand, since it’s been a while for me (and it may have changed), but the idea is the you purchase a US “mobile” number there (important to choose the mobile variant, as they also sell “non-mobile” numbers, which don’t work with BofA!) You can then have both calls and SMSs forwarded from that number to your Argentinean mobile. (I personally don’t forward SMSs to my mobile, but rather have a URL triggered that sends the SMS to me by email. A little techy, but I needed the SMSs to go to both me and my wife.) Hope that helps!

  92. Martin Riva Martin Riva

    Hi Matt, I created an account and purchased a Mobile US phone number in Anveo, however I still can’t make it work with Safepass. Have you have any other tip to provide? (ex: wait 48hs after purchase).

    • Hi Martin, when you say it doesn’t work, what happens? Have you tried sending an SMS to that number via some other means, to confirm that the number itself is working?

      • Martin Riva Martin Riva

        Hi Matt, the anveo number is working just fine if I send SMSs from other devices (i’ve even tested it using a phone number from other countries), the problem is that I’m not receiveing the SMS with the verifcation code that BofA sends to validate the mobile device added to enroll the Safepass program. Just to clarify, this is the very first step of the Safepass enrollment process, this is not related to a wire transfer as I couldn’t reach that point yet.

        • Hi Martin, you’re positive you bought the mobile phone number and not the normal one from Anveo? Both can receive SMSs but only the mobile one works with BofA.

  93. Ingrid Ingrid

    Thanks for documenting this. Just set it up from the Netherlands, works perfectly. I did have to pay $10 activation fee, and it’s $2 per month for the mobile number, but that’s well worth it.

  94. Lenin Gomez Lenin Gomez

    Hola Matt,

    Thank you for documenting this, I had the same situation since months ago and last night I found this forum. I did what you said in your post (also used your referal code) and recieved the BofA SMS code on my local number in Uruguay to do wire transfers /SafePass .

    I want add that is necessary to have $16 in funds to contract the mobile phone number ($10 for the contract fee, and $6 for the minimun service of 3 months ($2 per month) ), so I recommend to add $25.

    Beforte this, I used Skype Number service for this but it doesnt support anymore incoming SMS from Short Numbers

    Again, thank you 🙂

  95. Joe Joe

    Hello! Thanks for the info. I am buying the line through your referral code 🙂

    One question, i selected mobile as type of number. Which Area Code should i pick. My banks are all in Florida.

    Thanks!!

  96. Hello Matt,

    Great post. This is a great solution to BofA system limitations, and exactly what I was looking for, especially now that BofA imposes 2FA as of october 2020. As an expat if France, I’ve been looking for a solution and this could work perfectly. My question is: when I scrolled through the Anveo website there is a link to confirm which cell networks (for receiving SMS) are compatible in France. 3 of the big 4 are compatible but unfortunately I’m on the 4th, non listed network. I might take the gamble and set it up for doing a test, however you mentioned your technical trick for having the auth code forwarded to email. Can you provide any technical advice on how to set this up? This could be my work around should my network not receive the texts. Thanks so much for any info you can provide, excellent post and happy that you’ve kept it updated.

    • Hi Mick,

      I have just updated the article with instructions on how to forward SMSs via email. It requires a little technical expertise, but it’s not difficult. Have a look at the bottom of the article now, and let me know if it makes sense.

      • Hey this is great! Thanks so much. I think I can make this work. At first I was thinking I’d set it up on my Synology NAS, but of course that would mean firing up webstation, modifying firewall etc. but I typically prefer to keep the NAS inaccessible on the public side. Then I thought, duh, I can set it up on the public server that hosts my wordpress site! I’m a bit green when it comes to these things, but I love a challenge. A couple of questions:

        -Does it matter which version of php my server is running, curently 7.3.6 and do I need to specify that in the script? I see you’ve left it blank- phpversion()

        • Do I just place your script in the root/public_html folder of the wordpress installation (after modifying all of the necessary email addresses of course)? I suppose I could place it anywhere so long as the URL provided to Anveo points to the right location of the script, correct?

        -And lastly, anyway to test the script before signing up to Anveo?

        Thanks for any advice you can offer. I promise not to hound you with a ton of questions where I might be able to find the answers elsewhere.

        Cheers

        • In your WordPress installation, you could put it in, say, /uploads/scripts/anveo.php (having created the “scripts” folder inside /uploads/. That’d keep the script from being mixed in with the WordPress installation files. I don’ think it’d matter which version of PHP you’re using.

          Yes, you can test it by just hitting the URL in your browser:

          http://mydomain.com/uploads/scripts/anveo.php?from=test&message=test

          That should result in an email getting sent to you.

  97. Hey Matt, excellent, muchas gracias, very simple. I was able to set up the script in five minutes and it checked out fine using a browser. I’m going to give Anveo a try with the setup. I came here because BoA had been informing me for a couple of months that 2FA was going to become mandatory, and at my last sign-on attempt 2FA is now imposed with no possibility to opt out. For years I’ve been using just a strong password and the occasional secret question if I deleted cookies. I had never tried the SafePass card. Furthermore, I’ve never had any problem connecting to BoA on line banking from France without using a VPN (desktop browser only), so I was surprised to see some people saying they were unable to connect from overseas without a VPN. Thanks so much for your help.

    • Yeah, VPN is another issue. Bank America and Ally don’t like mine, so I had to setup a second one just for that. Anyway good to hear the script works for you! Just remember at Anveo to get the MOBILE number version and not the normal one.

  98. Gerd Gerd

    Servus Matt, thanks a lot for your kind and thorough work to bypass the outdated BofA service for customers living abroad ( Austria ). I will try to set up an Anveo account to get my banking working again. I did spend hours with customer service via Skype after my SafePass Card failed.. Thanks again – I let you know if I could succeed 🙂 Gerd

    • Hi Gerd, remember to get the “mobile” number option, and not the “normal” option.

      • Gerd Gerd

        Got it and the Anveo option works fine although it s not for free it s a great solution. Thanks again

  99. JESUS MORA JESUS MORA

    Thanks for your article Matt, you saved my life….

      • Jesus Mora Jesus Mora

        today, it stopped working, I have sent three codes and anveo have not received it

        • Hola Jesus, in my experience this happens from time to time with Anveo — the SMS forwarding just gets “stuck”. If you raise a support ticket with them, they usually fix it within a matter on a hour or so.

  100. Oooh!! This is so troubling. I spent almost an hour on a call to BoA trying to get my identity verified so I could bypass receiving the verification code that was supposed to be sent to my mobile (to transfer funds from PayPal into my account). From Johannesburg this was an EXPENSIVE call. The call centre was FINALLY able to help me but this is untenable in relation to verification for every transaction that requires authentication. Is it not worth changing to another bank in light of this …

  101. Just in case anyone is interested; I’ve managed to receive the SafePass 2FA SMS to not only one but two mobile numbers, and none of them is Anveo. The first number (and the main one in Online Banking) is parked at NumberBarn (https://www.numberbarn.com/). Basically, you pay 25USD per year to have a US-based mobile number. Like Anveo, it’s completely compatible with SafePass and redirects the SMS to an email inbox. The second number is from TextNow, a free service which provides a number from a pool of numbers. You can keep the basic plan with ads, and also it requires to send a SMS to another number each 30 days in order to keep the same number. To avoid the adds and the expiration time, you can pay monthly. As a bonus track, I keep a free number from TalkATone. I’ve read that the phone number is compatible to the toll free BoA customer support number, better said… you can use TalkATone to call BoA or to let them call you to that number. It has the same policy as TextNow, send an sms each 30 days or pay per month to keep the number.

  102. Tom Tom

    Thanks Matt for the epic thread and useful info. I’m in Vietnam and normally my POS in the US does my BOA transfers from my BOA account to my USD account in Vietnam. However, I may need top transfer funds myself from and thre seems to be no way to get the Safe Pass code which goes to my POA’s phone. It seems so strange that SafePass will not take a non US number. When I sign in to my BOA account it wants to send a verfication code to that same number but I click “trouble receiving SMS” so it sends the code to my registered email. Why can’t SafePass do the same? TextNow will not download if Vietnam for some reason, even with a VPN. So tomorrow I will try Anveo mobile number and see if it works with SafePass. I’ll let you know. Thanks again for the information!

  103. Lee Wang Lee Wang

    Jesus christ why the f don’t they just support FIDO security keys already, it’s a much better solution than a phone number that is easier to comprimise than a phyiscal key you need at the client end.

  104. Mike Mike

    I experienced the same problem. Before leaving the US i had set up the ability to make wire transfers by phone, however about a year later they removed the ability to do that from all accounts with an overseas registered address. So I was very glad to find this thread. I set up with Anveo and it worked fine to begin with, however it isn’t any more Last time I used it was March 2020, it was OK then but not now. I have a ticket open with Anveo but no fix. I see that Microsoft says Skype will only forward from “real” cell numbers and not short codes and wonder whether the same now applies to Anveo. BoA uses short code 73981 to send SMS and I’m wondering whether Anveo is no longer forwarding from shortcodes. When I tried to test by sending a text from my UK number it showed “not delivered” and Anveo confirmed that they do not support forwarding of SMS that originate from non-US numbers..

    • Hello Mike, Anveo is definitely working. I just did a test, and my SMS messages arrived fine. It seems to be correct that Anveo doesn’t forward SMSs originating from non-US numbers, but you can test your forwarding using a Skype number. Every now and then forwarding gets stuck, and I have to raise a ticket with Anveo, but they always resolve it within an hour or so. Hope this helps.

      • Mike Mike

        Many thanks Matt. I am starting to wonder whether it’s a network issue. Since the last successful use via Anveo I changed my cell service provider. I was with Three UK but switched over to Smarty, which is actually a sub-brand of Three, that uses the Three network. In theory nothing should have changed but you never know. I’ll raise a ticket with Smarty as well and see if they can fix it.

  105. louis louis

    I have used anveo to receive BOA SMS for more than 3 years, but today it doesn’t work anymore. But anveo can receive text messages from Google

    • Hi Louis, I’ve noticed two things that sometimes happen:

      1. Bank of America’s system gets stuck, and so although Anveo is working, BofA aren’t actually sending the SMSs that they claim to be sending. This seems to sort itself out after some hours.

      2. Anveo can get stuck (this happens to me maybe three times per year). I usually raise an issue with them, and it’s resolved in a few hours.

      If you test Anveo via other means, and confirm it’s working, then the problem is likely the first.

  106. Tom Schmedes Tom Schmedes

    Hi Matt, I live in Germany and tried the “Anveo way” you described to get savepass working. And it did work in January when I got my Anveo number. This morning, I tried to make a transfer via savepass but the SMS didn´t come through to my US number with Anveo. I just tried again and still it wouldn´t come through although other text messages do arrive. Even a SMS I sent from a Geman mobile number to my Anveo US mobile number arrived instantly and got forwarded to my other German mobile number. So, I guess it´s the BofA system that´s stuck today because also louis who posted the issue earlier today didn´t receive SMS from BofA. I hope it´s just a problem of today. Thanks again for this thread, it is very much appreciated and so helpful.

    • Hi Tom, yeah, I imagine it’s just a delay on BofA’s side. Did it clear already? (I’m a bit late responding to your comment.)

  107. Tom Schmedes Tom Schmedes

    Hi Matt, no I didn´t try today. Instead, I made a transfer yesterday where I didn´t need savepass because the amount was small enough. I keep you posted in case it happens again.

  108. Just wanted to share my story with you guys as i’ve been dealing with not being able to receive the safepass code at all for over a year. Having read your thread i thought i had the same issue so i signed up with anveo and some text forwarding apps. None of this was working for me. Not a single code sent from the 73981 safepass short code. I finally got a high up tech support at Bank of America that was absolutely convinced it couldn’t be them and had to be my cell phone carrier (AT&T). At this point i had spoken with BofA tech support and AT&T a half a dozen times. This time i went back to AT&T and didn’t stop until i was at a specialist. He found some default sms security settings and just turned them all off. Boom that was it. 10’s of hours spent with my financial advisior, tech support on both sides and it was just a security setting. I’m located in the US Virgin Islands so there are often glitches with systems that don’t recognize the USVI as the states but also not as international and we get stuck in limbo-land. Hopefully i save someone’s week dealing with this by reading my post.

  109. Maria Maria

    Hi Matt, I just received notification from BOA that they are phasing out the SafePass Card as of August 2021. The alternatives will be a US mobile phone number or a security USB device that you can buy at any tech store. I am paraphrasing here because I can no longer find the notification. A. Did anyone else get that notification? B. Does anyone know what device they are talking about? Is it like the iLok stick I found online at a chain store? We too live abroad and need to live on the earnings which are deposited into our BOA account. Thanks! Maria

    • Hi Maria, thanks for the comment. The USB device they are talking about is probably something like a Yubikey, which you an order from Amazon. I think they were invented a decade ago, so not surprising that Bank of America are providing that as a possibility today. Yubikeys produce one-time-codes, so my guess is that you’ll also be able to use Google Authenticator or 1Password rather than the physical USB device. Either possibility will be better than the SafePass card. Finally, I’m shocked they will still support SMS, as that is known to be incredibly insecure (due to SIM-swapping.)

      • Randy Walser Randy Walser

        There is an article on the Yubico blog titled, “Bank of America Joins FIDO Alliance – Yubico”, so you may be correct (dated 2014, though). The Yubikey generates more digits than they would trust a human to re-enter – it sends the code when activated by the push of a button.

  110. Michael Cross Michael Cross

    A follow up. Having had Anveo fail to forward BoA texts to my UK phone I started using Google Voice instead which worked fine. I now have three phone numbers on my BoA account, Anveo, Google Voice, and my old inactive US cell. The only one marked OK to use for calls and text is Google. However the other day I tried a transaction and only got one text on the Google voice number. Subsequently I saw a bunch of texts on my UK cell. So I tried again and sure enough the Anveo texts were being forwarded once more, even though the number was marked as not OK for texts. – go figure! Mike

  111. Randy W Randy W

    I’m seeing that they now allow authentication through a “USB device”, but only if you have a debit card. I don’t have one, so I can’t get past that screen to see the details, but it says I’ll be able to use one after Aug 31

  112. Gary Gary

    Anveo support pointed out the following to me: 1.) there are two types of Anveo virtual phone numbers: “Geographic” and “Mobile”, 2.) most of Anveo customers use a “Mobile” virtual phone number to receive verification codes, 3.) some banks block SMS messages to “Geographic” virtual phone numbers. If I understood correctly, Michael Cross mentioned above that his Anveo virtual phone number was NOT “marked OK to use for calls and text” (in the BoA online banking system?), but eventually “Anveo texts were being forwarded once more, even though the number was marked as not OK for texts”. Can someone with a Bank of America account please confirm that either an Anveo “Geographic” or “Mobile” virtual phone number actually does still work for verification codes?

    • I can confirm. I use the “Mobile” numbers with no problems.

  113. Randy Walser Randy Walser

    Yes – I use mine for B of A authentication of logins and “Safe Pass” transfers.

  114. Sethuraman Rajendran Sethuraman Rajendran

    Thanks you, Matt. I got a mobile number from Anveo and SMS forwarded to an India mobile number. There were no issues with my Android phone. When I changed my phone to new iphone12, my troubles restarted. I flipped settings->iMessage ON/OFF, rebooted the phone several times, ensured location services were ON and available, ensured the quality of Wi-Fi and the telecom signals were good enough etc., Still the messages would not be received by my iPhone. To make the story short, I found out there was an issue with the local service provider. They use some sort of a translation table and short codes to deliver international messages. It took two days to exhaust all possibility and prove it was some issue with them. When I gave them my Anveo mobile number and the timestamp of the forwarded message, they found the problem, and turned on delivery of messages! Now I am back on track! Thanks again. I have no idea how I could have accessed my bank account without this feature. My next steps are to use USB Security Key for Bank of America N.A and try to avoid telephone number altogether. Let us hope for the best!

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