Bypass Phone Menu Hell

Kip Tips

Bypass Phone Menu Hell

Here's how to reach a real person if your credit card is stolen or you need help with a financial emergency.

If your credit card is stolen or you need help with some other financial emergency, you need to reach an actual person, not wade through a maze of automated voice prompts. Saying “customer service” or punching 0 are worth a shot, but you don’t have to guess.

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For a surefire fix, try, a gateway to real people at 8,000 companies, including such hard-to-crack firms as Verizon, Bank of America and United Airlines. Type your chosen company into the search box to pull up a phone number, a tip sheet and the average wait time.

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Better yet, skip the wait entirely by having the company call you. Just enter your phone number for a call-back. Smart-phone users can use the free Get­Human app (available for iPhone and Android).

This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.