Speedy cash for the stranded traveller

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The Independent Online
My 19-year-old daughter is travelling in Goa in southern India, and has had all her money stolen/lost it/run out. I need to get pounds 500 out to her urgently. What is the best way?

TELEX transfer is the quickest way of sending funds abroad. The fastest, most direct provider of this service to Goa is the US bank Western Union. It guarantees that funds reach its agents abroad within 15 minutes.

Western Union's money transfer costs a premium rate of pounds 37 to remit pounds 500. The sender has to pay either cash or by banker's draft. There are 500 WU offices throughout the UK and 43 in India. The bank offers a freephone number on 0800 833833, which will give the nearest branch.

Most transfers convert money automatically into the local currency, rupees. But independent travellers often find greater flexibility and better exchange deals in the main currencies, such as dollars or pounds.

American Express offer a US dollar travellers' cheque option with its MoneyGram, costing dollars 70 ( pounds 45). The transfer time is only 10 to 20 minutes, but because Amex has only 14 offices in India, travellers would have to go about 150 miles to Bombay for the nearest outlet. Purchase can be made either in cash, or by cheque supported by an American Express card.

Thomas Cook has a 48-hour transfer service costing pounds 25, which can provide sterling as well as dollars. It has an office in Goa.

The big clearing banks offer a cheaper service at pounds 17 or pounds 18, but advertised transfer times are between two and five working days. Money can be sent directly from the customer's account. There is a certain amount of trusting to fate, as the UK bank has little control over the speed at which the local bank works. As a Midland Bank spokesman said: 'It's in the lap of the gods.' As the UK banks work through a network of corresponding banks for this type of transaction, they also cannot predict deductions made when the payee draws the money.

When making a transfer through a bank, make sure the payee gives you the name of a few local banks, so that your bank can ensure it selects an advising bank with which it has a correspondence relationship. Also, impress on your bank the urgency - it may be able to get you priority for the payment.

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