Another slightly annoying thing that is required for a US credit card is a US phone number. The reason the US phone number is required is that in the event you don’t get instantly approved for your card, the credit card issuer will need to get a hold of you and using a Canadian area code complicates matters.
Luckily the process (while lengthy), is pretty straight forward with a little tech know-how.
Getting A US Number
This is a two parter so stay with me. Ultimately what we want to end up with is a Google Voice number.
Google Voice is a service that allows someone to call your Google Voice number and have that call forwarded to your home, cell or work number. This is great because rather than have all your contacts update your phone number every time it changes, all they have to do is call your Google Voice number and the call will be forwarded to your new number (assuming you update it in the app).
Unfortunately, this service is only available to people in the US but like everything we’ve been talking about, there’s a way around it.
Getting a Temporary US Number
As part of the account verification process to get a Google Voice number, you need to have the following two things:
- US based IP address
- US phone number that can receive a call/text
We’ll cover off the IP address thing next but let’s tackle the US phone number.
What we need to do is go into Google Play or the AppStore and download a program called Telos. Telos is a free app that will give you a US phone number which we will use to secure our Google Voice number.
You may ask “why not just use Telos?”. The reason is simple. Google Voice is free and Telos requires credits once you run out of your initial free credits.
Setting Up Telos
Once you sign up for a Telos account, the process to get your US phone number is pretty self-explanatory in the app. I would recommend you use the same city that your mail redirector is based. For me, that’s in Minden, NV.
Just choose any of the phone numbers listed above and you’ll be set. Just be sure to write down that new number.
Telos gives you 15 credits and you can earn additional credits by watching videos, playing games and checking in on a daily basis. If you are only using Telos to verify your Google Voice number via text, it only costs you 0.5 credits so there’s no need to earn additional credits. I don’t know how many credits a voice call is but I imagine it’s very minimal as well.
Getting a US VPN
For those that don’t know, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network and in layman’s terms, it makes it look like your web traffic is coming from somewhere other than where you actually are. This is useful if you want to remain anonymous on the internet or need to sign up for a Google Voice account. Remember, Google uses your IP address to determine where you are located and if you’re in Canada, you won’t be able to sign up for an account.
That’s why you need a VPN.
One easy to use service is TunnelBear. Check out this one minute tutorial on how to use it:
In the video, the user chooses France as the location. Just choose the US and you’re good to go.
Sign Up for Google Voice
Once you have TunnelBear installed, turn it on and “tunnel” to the US. Now what you want to do is create a new GMail account but be sure to put in US information when it asks you for things like your address. This will create your new US based Google account. Next head over to voice.google.com and sign up for a new account.
The video here will walk you through the steps:
The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that at 1:55 of the video, it shows the user entering a home phone number that gets verified. Just enter the phone number you created with Telos.
Once you verify the phone number, you can continue setting up your Google Voice number and once that’s done, you’re all set with a new permanent US phone number!
Make note of this number because it’s the number you’re going to quote for all your future credit card applications.
While Google Voice will not ring your phones in Canada, in the event that someone does call, they will leave a voicemail and you will get an email with an attachment of that voicemail. Simply return the call using your Canadian phone number. I’ve never been questioned as to why my number appears in Canada but if I was, I would simply say that I’m in Canada for work … which I am 🙂
Let’s put all the pieces together and get you that first US credit card!
Also published on Medium.