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A Canadian guy at my hostel here in Bangkok lost his wallet last night so is without cash and cards. He flies back to Canada later today but needs some money to survive on and pay the hostel bill.

He called the Visa emergency number and I was surprised to hear that they cannot get him emergency money today. I have used this service in the past in more difficult places than Thailand but I guess things have changed.

There are Western Union offices or agents nearby and he has PayPal. But Googling for the two in combination I learn that Western union does not support PayPal at this time and, worse, there are some scams around involving the pair.

He also asked at the hostel if he could pay his bill using PayPal and transfer some extra money that they might be able to give him in cash - but apparently it's not possible.

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I went looking for a MoneyGram office or agent but couldn't find the one on Google Maps. In the meantime he met some friend in town who loaned him some money. But this is still a problem many others are likely to face with Khao San Road being both a notorious all-night spot for drinking and getting into trouble as well as being a major hub for travellers. –  hippietrail Aug 31 '13 at 8:28
    
If he lost his credit card, shouldn't he block his credit card having the effect his paypal account is blocked as well? –  andra Aug 31 '13 at 8:31
    
He did block his card (directly through VISA, not through his bank). I have a personal dislike for PayPal so don't know what effects a cancelled payment card has. –  hippietrail Aug 31 '13 at 8:33
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Related: Is Visa's Emergency Cash Disbursement reliable? –  MeNoTalk Aug 31 '13 at 10:52
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Does he have an American Express? They tend to have excellent emergency assistance in the event of lost cards, needing a cash advance until a new card is issued etc –  Gagravarr Aug 31 '13 at 10:53
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It is strange that the hostel doesn't want to be paid by paypal. It costs, but it is rather simple to send money to anybody with an email address. Since he is willing to pay the additional charge he mayb should point the hostel to this explanation on paypals website. and emphasize that this will be the only way he can pay. If they really stands on their position he could say that he will write an online evaluation on platforms like tripadvisor, booking.com or zoover indicating their unwillingness to assist in a crisis situation. That has worked for me quite well in the past. They will not be friendly in solving the issue, but who cares. If that really does not solve the issue, he could always send money through paypal to fellow travelers willing to help.

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I think it's something to do with the fact that it's a small hostel and the people running the hostel aren't the real "boss" and he only pops in from time to time and probably handles the money stuff and wants nothing to do with the day-to-day running of the place. I didn't find the managers unfriendly to help and got more the impression they are scared to second-guess the owner and probably can't access the hostel's PayPal without him. –  hippietrail Aug 31 '13 at 8:23
    
Not strange to me. Perfectly normal to me for a small place to only accept local currency, or local currency and the top 2-3 credit cards. It would be reasonable of them to have a sign to that effect, and reasonable of the guest to ask upfront if he can pay his bill another way. Your point about it being easy may be true, and (assuming it is) it would be nice of them to cooperate if they can - but as HT points out, maybe they can't, and maybe no one has explained it well. While the reviews you're suggesting would be factually accurate, it seems nasty to act as if it's the hostel's fault –  hunter2 Sep 2 '13 at 6:43
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