Bank Security SMS Text Breakdown

I bank with Millennium and had no problems until last month. Logging on to either the webpage or phone app has two additional security features, other than a login name: (1) a three digit code selected randomly from a seven digit numerical personal code and (2) an SMS text to be sent by the bank.

I cannot receive the SMS text. A friend of mine from the U.S. has the same problem. I called technical support and the bank acknowledges the problem, but maintains that it is the carrier (AT&T) that is blocking the text from being delivered.

Does anyone else have this problem with other Portuguese banks when trying to access account from the U.S.?

I bank with Millennium BCP from the USA and have not had any issues with the sms multi factor authentication, but I do not think I used it in the past month. I use a T mobile reseller however and usually use the multi channel code for logging in, although many transactions require an sms for me as well.

I might suggest trying a google voice number or even getting an additional non-ATT sim like Tello. They have call/text only plans that go for $5 a month and run on the T-mobile network. It might be easier than switching banks depending on your preferences.

I bank with Millennium BCP and their sms have been working fine on my non-PT mobile number.
I suggest you may get a PT sim-card (e.g. buying it on ebay) and ask the bank to send sms there.
Some other foreign banks I use can only do MFA with their ‘home’ mobile phone numbers.

By the way I had another problem with that bank recently, but not because of sms.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Thank you for the suggestion. I hope your other problem wasn’t serious.

Yes same here. I am getting my card and token so I don’t have to rely on sms. This happened to me twice now.

how do you request the token? At the local branch or somewhere online?

I requested over the phone. They mailed me the token first. Then I got a letter that gives me the activation code for the card. Then you have to call back, verify the code, and then they give you the card. It takes a bit.

I’ve had similar issues with a Millennium subsidiary using my Google Voice number in the past. I changed it to one of my EU numbers and haven’t had any issues since.

This kind of crap is the reason why I have active SIM cards from more than a handful countries, just to receive texts from banks.

If you’re an iPhone user I’d recommend using the eSIM “slot” for your first extra SIM card, and then dig up some old iPhones from a drawer or buy a second hand iPhone SE 2nd Gen (cheapest dual-SIM iPhone) and pop the extra (e)SIM in there and leave it at home, connected to power and WiFi. Any messages received can be received on all your iOS and MacOS devices, you just need to toggle the Messages > Text Message Forwarding setting.


Thomas, that’s some anarcho-Mr. Robot ingenuity!

Now, how about a solution to the Prime Minister’s announcement to kill the Golden Visa program? I just purchased the property in June and submitted my application in September. I don’t think I will hear from SEF for a least 6 months and probably much later. I hope we still qualify. My consultants insist that the Parliament would have to phase it out over time and that we should be fine. But talk about taking the Portuguese winds out of our sails.

We bank with Credito Agricola and yesterday had the exact same problem. We are currently physically in the US and have both our US and PT cell lines active while we are here.

We are NOT on ATT, we are on T-Mobile in the US and our PT cellular carrier is MEO. We have had intermittent issues like this in the past as well.

Based on us having the exact same issue and we are with a different bank and different cellular, I would say that it is most certainly not your carrier…. And it appears it is not your bank either. :thinking:

We thought this was our bank problem and have been very frustrated with the weird multi-digit plus SMS process for security as it is prone to failure and intended to switch banks as soon as we returned once we found a bank that had a different process that maybe used an authenticator app or something like that.

We thought this cumbersome process was specific to our bank, but it sounds like maybe more PT banks use this process?

Does anyone have a bank that uses a different process than the one that CA and Mellinium uses?

Thanks for sharing your experience. I thought of switching to your bank since they have a branch in Sagres where I bought property. I will not now due to your report.

I Google these phenomena and found people reporting the same problem with Spanish banks. Millennium insists it is the U.S. carrier, but I called AT&T and the person I spoke to said that AT&T has not been informed of any problem by any Portuguese bank.

Happy to report that Millennium has corrected the problem (or someone did) and I can now logon on both Edge and Chrome browsers.

Same here for Credito Agricola. Today I was able to log in and do all the functions needed. :woman_shrugging:t3:

But we still would like to know if there are banks in PT that don’t have the numbers plus SMS security for making payments…

Is anyone with Activo? Do they do that?

We re looking for a PT bank with low/no fees and good online interface that has a true English option (Google translate doesn’t work well on a Portuguese site as only certain parts translate).

yes, they do. their english is quite good, considering. I have had to have complicated interactions with them and their english was fine.

I use a PT number, which costs me a pretty penny when they call me. I cannot say if they will use a US number. Though I imagine a no-fee bank would not be thrilled about paying EUR 0.50 or whatever for a non-PT text message for your convenience, especially given that you are not their target market and they could probably care less about losing your business over it. :slight_smile:

FYI: Milliennium phone app allows for face recognition sign on with no need for SMS text authorization after you set it up.


I work in the telecommunications software sector and I can tell you that they (at least mbcp) uses US toll free numbers to deliver the token. The sole aggregator who provides this service is Zipwhip who resells this service to CPaaS providers who sell to other enterprise customers or whoever is providing those services to the banks.

From a deliverability perspective, short code (like 83473 or whatever code you get from Chase) is better than toll free sms which is better than the regular 10 digit long code. None of these are 100%. The API providers have their own anti fraud stuff going on, so do the aggregators, so do the mobile operators.

Moral of the story, get your bank card and token device to make sure you can move your money anytime you want/need to;

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Thank you. We have PT mobile numbers that we use just for this reason, so we are able to receive/make phone calls and receive/send SMS messages to/from PT phone numbers when we are in the US, so that won’t be a problem (assuming the cell networks are working properly at that moment). It sounds like maybe Activo is one we will look into when we return to PT.

Thanks and happy holidays!

That is excellent news. Thank you.

Odd question, but it stems from an issue we had with another provider: Have you had any issues with Face recognition when there are two people that log in to the same (e.g. a joint) account with the app installed on their phones?

We ran into that issue with one telecommunications provider in the US. My husband and I have a joint account and so we both have the apps installed on our respective phones. We set up face recognition on his phone and it worked perfectly. Then I attempted to set it up on the app on my phone. It told me it wasn’t a recognized face on the account and then would not let me use face recognition on that app. For some reason it appeared to register his face on the actual provider account, instead of local to the app installed on our respective phones. It was the weirdest thing we have run into.

Just wondered if you or anyone have had that issue with a banking app.

Very interesting and educational info. Thanks for this! :grin: