Cash finds a hard road to Lyons

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THE SINGLE European market and the paraphernalia of modern electronic money transmission should make it easy to send money to someone who has had a purse stolen in a French city. Easy, perhaps, but not cheap.

My older daughter, studying for two months in Lyon in South- west France, has been relying on eurocheques for spending money. Travellers' cheques have to be paid in advance and so are wrong for a longish stay as an impecunious student.

She contacted her Lloyds Bank branch in London, but for security reasons it would not forward card and cheques until it had a signed request from her, rather than a telephone call.

As the post each way takes four days and it takes 10 days for the branch to order a book of eurocheques, that adds up to 18 days of borrowing money for meals from acquaintances.

So I checked the cost of sending emergency spending money to be picked up as cash at a bank or post office in Lyon.

Credit Lyonnais, the obvious bank, charges pounds 17.50 for delivery in sterling in about two days, but this becomes about five days if it is to be paid in francs. The bank offers a cheaper service for pounds 7.50 but it can take up to three weeks, by which time the card and eurocheques will have arrived.

Lloyds offered two services: express money transmission for 30p per pounds 100, minimum fee pounds 19, taking three days, and a cheap service with a minimum fee of pounds 13 that can take up to two weeks.

Finally, the Post Office offered payment overseas in cash at a local post office for pounds 25. But this would take between three and four weeks to arrive.

The answer? I found a Jiffy bag and a book, hid 500 francs inside the book and popped it in the first-class post for pounds 2.69.

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