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I've got a bit of a situation at hand.

As a result of a last-minute cancellation my daughter (14yo) has a chance to go on an organised trip to Poland (from Latvia where we live). They leave very early tomorrow morning.

The trip is legit with known people and several of her friends are going too. Most expenses are paid by me through proper channels, but she will need to have enough money with her to pay for 5 days of lunches and dinners (breakfast is included). I'd estimate that to be less than 100€.

Unfortunately I haven't yet made a bank card for her and I'd prefer not to give her a wad of cash to carry around if it can be avoided. Plus, of course, if there's an emergency, it's nice to know I can wire her more money if needed.

I rushed over to my bank, but alas - even with a rush fee a card would be only ready tomorrow during business hours. Too late...

So I'm looking for alternatives. She has an (Android) smartphone with NFC, so there is still some hope. Contactless payments should be possible at least in principle, as well as money withdrawal at compatible ATMs.

My first idea was to use Revolut, which is a service that some of colleagues have used in the past, but the more I read about it, the more it seems like they don't have what I need. Do they? If not, is there anything else I can manage to set up tonight?

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    Revolut would likely have what you want with minor debit cards, but that will require you be an existing Revolut customer. Lydia is also an option if it is available outside of France Sep 26, 2023 at 12:48
  • This may elicit responses on money.stackexchange.com -- not sure if it would be better to be moved there or if it would be appropriate to cross-post in this case (usually not recommended).
    – jcaron
    Sep 26, 2023 at 14:11
  • For "regular" Revolut accounts, revolut.com/cards says "Spend right away with Apple or Google Pay -- Connect your card to tap and pay with your phone. No need to wait for your physical card to arrive". Not sure if that applies to Revolut <18 as well.
    – jcaron
    Sep 26, 2023 at 14:21
  • @jcaron - Yeah, but then the merchant needs to accept Apple/Google Pay. It won't work at any old Visa/Mastercard terminal or in ATMs.
    – Vilx-
    Sep 26, 2023 at 15:05
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    Actually my account got verified so it was only a few hours. Of course YMMV.
    – jcaron
    Sep 26, 2023 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

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Some random thoughts:

  • Do you have a credit card or debit card that she can borrow for the trip? Our kids have used our cards plenty when younger (with permission) without any problems.
  • I'm also assuming that there will be a responsible adult travelling with her. You could perhaps make arrangements for them to front money if needed. 14-year is a bit young to handle a full travel budget.
  • Pay as much of the known expenses up front online (transportation, accommodation, admissions, fees) and minimize her cash requirements as much as feasible.

A word of caution

I may overstepping my bounds here (apologies, if I do) but I'd be rather safe than sorry: I'm not sure what the background of the trip is but it feels a little off. Requiring a large wad of cash would be a bit of warning sign for me. As would be extremely short notice: "the trip starts tomorrow".

Our kids have certainly done trips without us at that age but they were either family/friends trips or sports/school/club/orchestra trips. In the first case the family member or parents of the friends would handle logistics and major expenses. In the second there is typically a detailed plan, budget & fees to be paid upfront, lots of forms and waivers to be signed, rules & terms to agree to etc. In either case there is always an "adult in charge" and the main cash they needed was pocket/spending money.

Please make sure that the trip is legit and that your daughter will be safe and well protected.

UPDATE AFTER QUESTION WAS EDITED WITH MORE DETAIL

  1. A 14-year old should be able to carry 100 Euro by herself. An even if she messes it up, it's not a huge loss and she has to deal the consequences (no more spending money). Good learning opportunity no matter how it plays out.
  2. Any type of emergency should be handled by the "adult in charge". Make sure you have contact info and bank info as well. Latvia supports IBAN so it's simple to shuffle money instantaneously to someone else
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    Oh, yes, the trip is legit. That was the first thing I checked. :) It's with a known choir and teacher, and several of her friends are also going. She herself also sings in a different choir which is friendly to the one going on the trip. It's just that someone on that choir couldn't go because of an illness. The largest expenses are paid by me through proper channels, but she will need to pay for her own lunch/dinner (and obviously any souvenirs). So by "a wad of cash" I mean like "100€ for 5 days" which should be more than enough and then some.
    – Vilx-
    Sep 26, 2023 at 12:32
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    Upvoting only for the edit. The adult in charge should be able to handle emergencies. If you don't trust the adult in charge to handle emergencies then you shouldn't let her go (really of course you should trust the adult and you should let her go). Sep 26, 2023 at 18:35
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    @Vilx- This is already implied in the answer, but for emphasis - I don't think you need to worry too much about being able to wire her money for a 5-day trip. For an actual emergency (e.g., money to buy dinner was stolen) the adults on the trip can and should front the money. Running out of pocket money to buy souvenirs (or beer :) ) is not an emergency and a good learning opportunity.
    – xLeitix
    Sep 27, 2023 at 6:30
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    Re "it's simple to shuffle money instantaneously to someone else". Standard SEPA transfers take 1 business day. Instant payments are an additional feature with limited support at this time (no idea how prevalent this is in Latvia, in whatever country Revolut's account will be for this account, and for transfers between those two).
    – jcaron
    Sep 27, 2023 at 8:22
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    @jcaron: every IBAN transfer I have done in Europe so far (Netherlands, Germany, Belgium) has only taken seconds. But yes, that may depend on the country
    – Hilmar
    Sep 27, 2023 at 14:50
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Look for a MasterCard/Visa gift card in stores.

Availability varies by country, but fixed-value prepaid gift cards can be readily available in stores. They are very common in the US in drugstores and big-box retailers, and I know they exist in the UK, Japan, Ireland, Australia, etc.

This would give you a physical card instantly, which would likely have better acceptance than contactless phone-only solutions.

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  • Interesting, I hadn't considered this. It does however lack one of the main things I wanted - namely the ability for me to quickly send more money to the kid. But it is safer than carrying cash. Also I couldn't find any good offers in my area with a quick google search, but I might just need to look harder. The one offer I did find had some awkward limitations like no ATM withdrawals and no use in foreign gas stations or hotels (wtf?)
    – Vilx-
    Sep 27, 2023 at 23:30
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    There used to be a lot of "traveller cash" cards which were a bit more flexible than the gift cards, but for whatever reason they became a lot less common. Don't know if the same applies to gift cards, but those indeed usually can't be recharged. In some places, you can also open an account and get a card right away (e.g. Nickel in France, which you can get at any tobacco shop). But beware, gift cards, traveller cards and accounts like Nickel may have a LOT of fees.
    – jcaron
    Sep 28, 2023 at 0:38
  • @Vilx- Hotels and prepay gas stations place a large authorization hold on the card, which may take a few days to drop off and prevent use of the funds in the mean time. I also think that automated gas pumps are high fraud because they are unattended and criminals install skimmers or try cloned cars without being observed.
    – user71659
    Sep 28, 2023 at 0:47
  • @Vilx- there's no need to consider this. As the cards are not locked by a pin or similar they are exactly like carrying the same amount of cash umho
    – Hobbamok
    Sep 28, 2023 at 10:27
  • @Hobbamok No. If the card does not require a PIN, unauthorized charges are refunded if the owner makes a statement to that effect. (This is how all cards are handled in the US; unlike Europe, the assumption that correct PIN=authorized transaction is not allowed by US law.) Further, if the card is registered and simply lost, a replacement card will be issued, see Zero Liability Protection in the MasterCard link in the answer.
    – user71659
    Sep 28, 2023 at 15:31

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