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Giving money remotely
Old 01-05-2008, 06:47 PM   #1
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Giving money remotely

I want to provide some money for food or whatever for a grieving friend of the family and her friend's family, and I want to do it quickly and with as little hassle on their end as possible. I want them to be able to use it to get food delivered or pick up something at a store. (Or just use it however they want.) I'd like to be able to manage it electronically (as opposed to mailing them a gift card or whatever).

What's a good way to do this? I'm thinking prepaid Visa debit card or traveler's checks or something if I can pay for it here and have them use it a few hundred miles away.

I'll start checking on the options I mentioned, but if I missed something let me know. Thanks.

EDIT: Ideally I'd like to get some sort of temporary MasterCard or Visa number that the friend of the family can use immediately after I email her the number (to call for pizza delivery or pick up supplies at a grocery store). I'm looking into Western Union right now but don't see how the money is delivered/received.

EDIT 2: It's entirely possible I'm making this way more complicated than necessary.
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim View Post
EDIT: Ideally I'd like to get some sort of temporary MasterCard or Visa number that the friend of the family can use immediately after I email her the number (to call for pizza delivery or pick up supplies at a grocery store). I'm looking into Western Union right now but don't see how the money is delivered/received.
Do you happen to have a Bank of America credit card (or another CC company that's owned by BofA, such as the old MBNA)? They have a facility called ShopSafe that's exactly what you want. You can generate a credit card number and give it a preset limit and/or a preset expiration date. It's tied to your CC but they don't have your CC number, they have a completely different number and can even give you a signature code if you want.

After typing all of this, I just realized that the easiest way is probably just to get a Mastercard or Visa gift card like this:

Prepaid MasterCard® | Prepaid Debit Credit Cards & MasterCard Gift Cards*| MasterCard®

I think AMEX does this too.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:29 PM   #3
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if they have an email address: you could send money via paypal easily.
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:58 PM   #4
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Would they trust you enough to give you their checking account number? If so, you could wire them the money from your bank. This would probably not be free but it would be cheaper than, and probably as fast as, Western Union.

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Old 01-07-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Interesting dilemna. As far as I know western union is the only place that can do it fast... all other approaches require mailing something. To pick up stuff from Western Union the person just goes into a WU store and shows ID, then they get cash.

Paypal might be cheaper but establishing a new account might take time and handholding.

I can think of two quasi-legal ways of handling the situation:

1. Simply give the relative your normal credit card number over the phone and have your relative just impersonate you to use it. I used to do this all the time many years ago, charging things to my mother's credit card that I didn't have in my possession. I'm not sure if this would work in today's world of identity theft.

2. mail cash via fedex.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:46 PM   #6
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My brother made friends with a needy woman in Africa (legit, we were there) and he gives her money by sending her an ATM card for a separate credit union account he set up just for this purpose. Much less costly than Western Union.
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