On the Road

Money Transfers

Everyone gets stuck now and then and has to beg family or friends to help them out. There are a few ways of sending money including American Express Money Gram, sending traveller checks through Thomas Cook, using the local banks to transfer cash or Western Union.

All are okay except for the local bank option which is often to surrender yourself to the mysteries of financial bureaucracy in a foreign country.

Western Union is the most practical and your money arrives in minutes. They charge you through the nose, however and a special seat in hell is reserved for the owners. They make billions out of poor immigrants sending money back home.

All someone has to do is log in to http://www.westernunion.com with a debit card and they can transfer you up to a couple of grand. Failing that, they can head down to the nearest Western Union outlet (often pawn shops, curiously enough) and fill in the forms there to send piles of cash.

Finally, don’t forget that money transfers are almost always subject to Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

The money will have been sent but there’s a local holiday and all the banks are closed. You go to collect your cash but there’s a power cut. The sender misspells your name and they won’t give it to you. You ring up to get the transfer number but the line is too bad to hear it properly.

There isn’t much to do about the above except light a candle for Lakshmi and pray for better luck tomorrow.