Author Topic: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)  (Read 8090 times)

innerscorecard

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Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« on: September 13, 2014, 11:54:07 PM »
I figure there are a few FIRE expats here. I'm not one, but I currently work abroad...and I'm having a lot of problems due to this! I know the standard advice is to make sure you have U.S. bank and brokerage accounts set up before you go abroad, and I did that.

But now that I'm logging in from abroad (even when using a VPN), I've been having a lot of problems:

1. Merrill Edge locked my account for security reasons (I was able to get it unlocked by calling, but I had to say I was abroad "traveling." But what if you always do this - won't they eventually shut you down as not a U.S. permanent resident? FYI I am a U.S. citizen.)

2. Couldn't pay with PayPal today.

3. Schwab hasn't hassled me yet about this. But once when I had to send a wire transfer they called my U.S. phone, which is awkward. I'm afraid of leaving foreign addresses/phone numbers as according to my research they will get you simply shut down.

What do you guys do about these problems? Does Vanguard or IB ever hassle you about logging in from online? There are a LOT of U.S. expats out there, from FIRE people to U.S. executive working abroad. I can't imagine none of them being able to use U.S. bank accounts and brokerages (especially as they aren't able to use those of the countries their working in to do a lot of things due to legal restrictions often!).

LifestyleDeflation

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 12:53:48 AM »
Hey innerscorecard- I don't live abroad, but I travel several months a year and have a couple insights for you.

-All of my services work fine, but when I move around to different countries, I often need to answer security questions again to reestablish my identity.
-Google Voice (plus Groove IP and Ring.TO if you have Android) is your friend! If you don't already have Google voice, log into your Google account and make sure it's set to American English. Then you should be able to setup a Google voice number for free. You might also need to use a US proxy. Once you have a Google voice number, you can make and receive calls from your computer to the US, anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection, for free!
-Take Google voice one step further if you have Android by using the app Groove IP, which will allow you to do the same thing from your phone, with a different phone number (provided free by Ring.TO). I recommend making your Google voice forward to your Ring.TO number. This way you can give people your Google voice number and still receive calls both on your phone and computer. In my limited experience, Google voice is more reliable than Ring.TO.

I can't imagine you'd have any unsolvable problems if you just explain your situation. If you have a US mailing address and phone number, you shouldn't even have to explain your situation. I was able to open my vanguard account while traveling with no problems that couldn't be solved by a quick call to support.

I hope this helps!

SnackDog

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 01:08:49 AM »
I've never had a problem with banking or investing. I have opened Paypal accounts in different countries linked to local banks.  My insurer gets excited depending on what country I am living in and will even cancel insurance at home if they don't operate in the place I am living. It is a real pain as it affects property and umbrella at home.  They are slightly nicer about it if I inform them before moving.

myrax

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 07:35:31 AM »
Beyond the VPN and informing your banks before you leave, the last resort I used when I lived abroad was adding my father to my bank account. I could trust him not to dip into the paltry amount of money I had in my account, and he was able to help me out with any problems that came up, since he was fully authorized on the account. If you have a relative or a friend in the US that you can truly trust, you might look into authorizing them on your account.

innerscorecard

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 02:25:48 AM »
Hey innerscorecard- I don't live abroad, but I travel several months a year and have a couple insights for you.

-All of my services work fine, but when I move around to different countries, I often need to answer security questions again to reestablish my identity.
-Google Voice (plus Groove IP and Ring.TO if you have Android) is your friend! If you don't already have Google voice, log into your Google account and make sure it's set to American English. Then you should be able to setup a Google voice number for free. You might also need to use a US proxy. Once you have a Google voice number, you can make and receive calls from your computer to the US, anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection, for free!
-Take Google voice one step further if you have Android by using the app Groove IP, which will allow you to do the same thing from your phone, with a different phone number (provided free by Ring.TO). I recommend making your Google voice forward to your Ring.TO number. This way you can give people your Google voice number and still receive calls both on your phone and computer. In my limited experience, Google voice is more reliable than Ring.TO.

I can't imagine you'd have any unsolvable problems if you just explain your situation. If you have a US mailing address and phone number, you shouldn't even have to explain your situation. I was able to open my vanguard account while traveling with no problems that couldn't be solved by a quick call to support.

I hope this helps!

Thanks for the advice. Google Voice is a good one. Just wish it weren't so unreliable (i.e. blocked) given the country I live in right now. I do use a VPN, but any way you do it, mainland China is not a great country to be using American online services, especially Google services. Even the best VPNs only work some of the time.

innerscorecard

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 02:30:02 AM »
I've never had a problem with banking or investing. I have opened Paypal accounts in different countries linked to local banks.  My insurer gets excited depending on what country I am living in and will even cancel insurance at home if they don't operate in the place I am living. It is a real pain as it affects property and umbrella at home.  They are slightly nicer about it if I inform them before moving.

From my online research I've seen people on other forums as well who got their accounts shut down because they weren't U.S. permanent residents. The problem is that I do intend to move back to the US within the near future, but before then I am indeed working pretty much full-time outside of the country.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 02:31:36 AM by innerscorecard »

innerscorecard

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 02:33:23 AM »
Beyond the VPN and informing your banks before you leave, the last resort I used when I lived abroad was adding my father to my bank account. I could trust him not to dip into the paltry amount of money I had in my account, and he was able to help me out with any problems that came up, since he was fully authorized on the account. If you have a relative or a friend in the US that you can truly trust, you might look into authorizing them on your account.

Thanks for the suggestion. My mom and dad are already basically my back office (receive mail, forward things to me, etc.). I do absolutely trust them.

Doubleh

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2014, 02:59:45 AM »
Agree with what has been said before. My wife is a US/UK dual citizen and has lived in uk for last 7 years. We've never had any problems or been denied services due to living overseas provided she was able to give a us address and phone no - use either her mom or google voice as suggested above.

We have found that some companies will periodically block her accounts necessitating a call within us office hours to get them to re-activate but this is only ever an inconvenience.

We have found that more modern online only organisations tend to be less agro than old fashioned bricks & mortar ones which are less used to anything out of the ordinary. Eg we have accounts with key bank and ally, and while key have regularly locked her out ally has never been a problem. also has the benefit of being able to cash checks by taking a photo on an iphone app which can be handy if you're a way from a branch. Only complication with ally was when she wanted to open a new account they wouldn't let her do it from outside USA even as an existing user. Dialing in via a VPN fixed that quickly. 

Bottom line is I wouldn't worry unduly, provided you have an address in USA you should be fine

innerscorecard

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2014, 08:20:00 AM »
Agree with what has been said before. My wife is a US/UK dual citizen and has lived in uk for last 7 years. We've never had any problems or been denied services due to living overseas provided she was able to give a us address and phone no - use either her mom or google voice as suggested above.

We have found that some companies will periodically block her accounts necessitating a call within us office hours to get them to re-activate but this is only ever an inconvenience.

We have found that more modern online only organisations tend to be less agro than old fashioned bricks & mortar ones which are less used to anything out of the ordinary. Eg we have accounts with key bank and ally, and while key have regularly locked her out ally has never been a problem. also has the benefit of being able to cash checks by taking a photo on an iphone app which can be handy if you're a way from a branch. Only complication with ally was when she wanted to open a new account they wouldn't let her do it from outside USA even as an existing user. Dialing in via a VPN fixed that quickly. 

Bottom line is I wouldn't worry unduly, provided you have an address in USA you should be fine

Great to hear, any data points helps! Our current conceptions of residency (and even citizenship) are really quite outmoded these days, especially for the globe-trotting portion of us.

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2014, 08:39:55 AM »
Republic Wireless is also a great option for using a U.S. phone number from anywhere in the world that you have access to WiFi. I enjoyed using it to make free calls from hostels when traveling on other continents. Since you'd only need the WiFi only option, it would be $5/month plus the cost of the phone itself.

LifestyleDeflation

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2014, 12:10:55 PM »
Ahhh- I didn't realize you were behind The Great Firewall. I wonder if Republic Wireless would work in China as the above poster suggested.

As an aside, I'll be spending some time in Taiwan and possibly the mainland as well from October indefinitely, till I decide to head home. Do you have any suggestions about finding a job? I have an extensive background in teaching, but no degree.

MustardTiger

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2014, 06:46:10 PM »
I use vpn4all and deal with similar issues, so far it has been solid.  You can also pay more and just get a dedicated IP.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 07:14:20 PM »
I had a problem with trying to open a brokerage account as i did not have a US employer. Luckily I still had a brokerage account open with my bank. I have had no problem wiring money back and investing it. i dont even use a VPN. The only thing I can't do is netflix and the like, but thats not really a big problem.

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 07:54:34 PM »
Eight years living abroad in Mexico, but with long summers in the states. I find notifying the CC companies and Schwab that "I'm traveling for the next 6-9 months in Mexico" suffices. The occasional account locks and such, but no other issues (with my Mom's US address on my records).

On the VPN front, I mostly do not use them, but I find certain ones work for awhile and then go kaput. Finding the newest free provider that people are happily reviewing seems to work for a month or so, and then onto the next service.

I've had no issues with logging into Vanguard, but I'm only reviewing records, not initiating transactions (beyond the automatic transfer done from my US bank account every month.) Further, there are tons of retired senior citizens in my city (Oaxaca) who do as I do and it mostly goes smoothly.

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 05:43:20 AM »
If you have a business trip or vacation in China, make sure to have a reliable VPN connection like http://www.sunvpn.net/ so that you can access websites abroad. I am glad my friend told me to use it during my vacation in Beijing. I was able to read my emails and stream videos too.

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 06:31:46 AM »
I've done a bunch of transactions as well as account checking via Vanguard, Mint and others. I've had zero problems thus far.

I will note that we use a US address via our family for all of these accounts. Perhaps that helps?

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 10:25:56 AM »
Can confirm that Republic Wireless works from China--talked to DD in China today on her Republic phone, using my Republic phone in Ghana.

Idk what VPN she's using in China, but Hola is still working for me in West Africa.  No problems with Vanguard or my banks.  ymmv.

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 10:38:50 AM »
Jamaica, you're in West Africa? Where are you? I'm in Cameroon.

Dodge

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Re: Technical problems of living abroad (foreign IP address)
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 01:07:41 PM »
I figure there are a few FIRE expats here. I'm not one, but I currently work abroad...and I'm having a lot of problems due to this! I know the standard advice is to make sure you have U.S. bank and brokerage accounts set up before you go abroad, and I did that.

But now that I'm logging in from abroad (even when using a VPN), I've been having a lot of problems:

1. Merrill Edge locked my account for security reasons (I was able to get it unlocked by calling, but I had to say I was abroad "traveling." But what if you always do this - won't they eventually shut you down as not a U.S. permanent resident? FYI I am a U.S. citizen.)

2. Couldn't pay with PayPal today.

3. Schwab hasn't hassled me yet about this. But once when I had to send a wire transfer they called my U.S. phone, which is awkward. I'm afraid of leaving foreign addresses/phone numbers as according to my research they will get you simply shut down.

What do you guys do about these problems? Does Vanguard or IB ever hassle you about logging in from online? There are a LOT of U.S. expats out there, from FIRE people to U.S. executive working abroad. I can't imagine none of them being able to use U.S. bank accounts and brokerages (especially as they aren't able to use those of the countries their working in to do a lot of things due to legal restrictions often!).

Instead of a standard VPN, you can rent a server from a place like Linode.com in the US for $10 a month, and remote in to that machine for your browsing.  It might be easiest to have your parents put Teamviewer, or some other free (for personal use) remote desktop software on a spare laptop specifically for your financial browsing.  This type of activity won't attract attention like a popular VPN, I doubt you'll have any trouble.