Two Factor Authentication (2FA), or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), is an extra layer of security for services. The idea is simple: in order to authenticate your identity, you’ll need to receive and confirm a code on your phone, email, or in an app. Generally speaking, it’s good practice. But we’ll sometimes ask you to turn it off temporarily so we can access your account.
Why do you need me to turn off MFA?
In order to negotiate your account, we need to contact your provider and negotiate as you. That’s why we need a copy of your bill and sometimes other authentication information like a PIN before we can negotiate. MFA is just another layer of security that they’ll ask us for if its enabled on your account. The problem is that unlike with a PIN, MFA has to happen in real time. So, if we’re on the phone with them, they send a code to you, instead of us, and then we don’t have access to it to authenticate. There’s generally a window of only a few minutes between when the provider sends the security code and when we have to tell it to them. Otherwise, it expires.
That’s why the easiest thing to do is to temporarily turn off MFA during the course of our negotiation. That way, they can use a permanent authentication method, like us providing your PIN, security question, or address instead.
How do I turn off MFA?
This will depend on your provider. For Comcast, for example, you can go to your account settings and simply changing the setting to off. Or, for Verizon, you open the My Verizon App, navigate to Settings, then to Security, then to 2FA, then turn off. However, other providers are more difficult and all systems change. The first place to start is to log in to your account or open the app and go to the account security settings. Generally, that’s where that setting is.
Often, providers will require a permanent passcode or security question as a separate piece of security in order to disable MFA. This is actually the perfect solution, since it allows us access to your account but replaces a layer of security. If you set up a PIN or passcode, please just type that in to the bill on the dashboard instead of just “Done” or let us know via email, message or livechat.
In some cases, you won’t be able to turn off MFA online, in which case you’ll have to contact your provider by livechat or phone in order to disable it. We know that’s super annoying and we apologize.
Will my account still be secure when MFA is off?
Yes, although slightly less secure. The idea between Multi-Factor Authentication is that your account is secured Multiple ways. So, to access the account you need the name, address, phone number, last billing amount, etc. and the MFA code. Generally, monthly billing accounts for things like tv, internet, or phone service are not terribly high value targets for scammers or hackers. It’s good to have security on them, but not as critical as something like a bank account. Still, we want you to be as secure as possible. So, we recommend turning MFA back on after we finish negotiating.
When can I turn MFA back on?
Generally, the actual negotiation process takes place between hours to days of us getting started. Once you get back to us about turning off MFA, we’ll generally start either immediately or at the start of the next business day. After that, you’ll get the email and account notification with the results of our negotiation. Once you’ve gotten that email, you can turn MFA back on. So, you shouldn’t have to have it off for more than a few days at the maximum.
What if I can’t turn off MFA or don’t want to?
Some providers, mostly cell phone ones, have mandatory MFA policies. Or, you just might not be comfortable turning it off. That’s completely understandable and we get it. We can try to work with you. There are basically two approaches: you can either time out the notification and provide us the code as it comes in or you can add us as a separate authorized user on the account.
To time out the notification, contact us over livechat or call us during business hours to be available during our negotiation. This is a tricky process since it requires you to be online chatting with us, us to contact the provider and send the code, you to receive it and send it to us, and us to send it to the provider all in a short window. The best way to pull this off is to chat us and request it during normal business hours, but you’ll need at least a half hour free to pull this off. Plus, it’s only good for one call, so we’ll have to do it again for future negotiations. Again, super annoying—we know. Since this isn’t a common process for us, you’ll have to bear with us to get it taken care of.
In order for us to negotiate as an authorized user, we’ll generally have to have top level admin access, since most secondary account access only allows the user to ask questions, not make account changes (like adding discounts.) This will generally work well, but requires a lot of heavy lifting on your part. Generally you can add authorized users either in your online account dashboard or by calling your provider. You can set the name to anything you want, but it will have to be an individual. You can use your negotiator’s name or Billie Fixits is sometimes our alter-ego. Just let us know the name you once you set it so that we can get back to work!