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In case I lose my credit card and I'm abroad how can I receive money electronically?

I've heard there are some "transfer companies", and that provide you a temporary bank account for the transfer.

Could you give me some information about it ? More in particular, I'm interested in South America.

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Can you clarify what is it that you want to do? Because for what you describe Western Union and Moneygram will work just fine. –  Karlson Mar 21 '13 at 12:36
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What credit card do you have? Some credit card companies offer emergency replacements and emergency cash advances if you loose your card overseas. Worth checking if yours is one of the helpful ones! –  Gagravarr Mar 21 '13 at 15:04
    
@Gagravarr good one, thanks I will check. Although it might be too late to get a replacement card, I'm leaving in 5 days –  Patrick Mar 21 '13 at 15:05
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Companies like Western Union (they're the biggest and because of the Nigerian scams the most notorious) exist that allow people to wire cash to other countries.
No actual cash is ever transferred of course, it's these days all electronic :)
A person in country A deposits an amount of money with the company, say $150, and lists a recipient in another country. After taking a percentage (or a fixed fee) the recipient can then go to the company's office the money has been "transferred" to and pick it up.

If there's a massive imbalance between offices, no doubt electronic transfers take care of shoring up the actual bank balances of the various national subsidiaries of these global entities.
Used to be post offices around the world would cooperate to do much the same, they still may.

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Promoting a comment to an answer...

It's worth checking with your credit card provider, to see what they offer. Some providers can arrange for a replacement card to be sent out to you / picked up from somewhere suitable, and may also be able to arrange an emergency cash advance.

American Express are one such company, and seem pretty good humoured about it:

Was it the friendly stranger in Amsterdam? The roller-coaster in Rochester? Who knows. Maybe you’ll find it behind your desk five years from now.

Doesn’t matter what happened. You’ll get a new Card as quickly as we can manage it. Almost always within 48 hours.

And for another card of theirs:

We will issue a replacement Card usually within 24hours. If you are travelling abroad and wish to have a Card sent to you, we can arrange for a replacement Card to be waiting for you at the nearest American Express Travel Service Location or to be delivered to you in person*.

There's this FlyerTalk thread on experiences of using the service, which includes people saying they've had emergency 60 day cards created for them by Amex Travel offices in under 2 hours, and others who've had their replacement card hand delivered to their hotel! (Exact details will depend on what sort of Amex you have and from what country, so give them a call to check what your card has)

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I've called (ABN AMRO), and I've been told there is this additional replacement card indeed for 10 euros annual fees. But I've found out my debit card is also working abroad (with a change of the card profile for South America). So I can use the debit card as replacement for the credit card. –  Patrick Mar 21 '13 at 18:03
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