Note - this is not a scam. I’ve spoken to my daughter directly.
My daughter is in Italy for the summer, and only has a debit card that is linked to her account in the USA. It’s been working OK for a month, but suddenly stopped. She can’t call the bank directly because their 800 phone number is inaccessible from Europe. And she can’t log into their mobile app, because it’s trying to text her US number for 2FA, but she’s using an Italian sim card so she can’t get texts on her USA number.
I’m trying to assist her with the bank, but if worst comes to worst and she can’t use the card, what’s the best/fastest way to send her money, that she can load onto a prepaid card there? Can I buy her a card from here?
Again - not a scam, I’ve spoken to her and the bank directly, her hometown bank doesn’t handle international travel well at all. Looking back she should just have gotten a prepaid debit card in the first place.
If she needs to talk to the bank, they typically have a regular number you can call if you can’t use the 1-800 number. Another option is to use 3-way calling, where she calls you and you call the bank. Most cell phone plans have 3-way calling option. But it sounds it may not matter if you’ve already talked to her local bank. There may be other phone numbers on the back card for the actual card processor. They may be the ones locking the card and you should talk to them.
There may be a way to get your credit card sent to her. I know that CC companies often advertise that they can rush a card to you if you lose it. If you contact your CC company, they may have a way to get her a new card. But this would be a way of getting her added to your CC rather than her getting her debit card working.
Is anyone from the US with her? If so, maybe you could send that person money and they could get it to her. Another way to send her money is with money transfer systems like Western Union.
Have her look for reloadable Visa/MC cards in her area. One I know of in the US is https://www.myvanillacard.com/. If she can find that or something similar, then you could probably load it with money and she could spend it there.
You may be able to setup a joint account for you and her with a major US bank that has branches in Italy. Or a European bank that has US branches. Then she could go to the local branch to get a debit card or withdraw money.
She may be able to setup Apple/Google pay on her phone using one of your CCs. This would allow her to use her phone for purchases.
If you use your own CC for this, be sure to contact them and let them know there will be European charges. They often will lock a US card if it’s used in Europe since they suspect it may be fraud. That may have been what happened with her card.
Has the daughter looked on the back of the debit card for a non toll-free number? I just checked my debit and credit cards, issued by Chase and Citibank, and all three had a non toll-free number (usually labeled international) on the back. The one on the Citibank card even says you can call them collect.
Believe it or not, this bank doesn’t have a non-toll free number to access their call center. You can call a branch directly through their regular number, but they don’t have access to the same card info the call center does, and can’t transfer you to the call center either.
I’m also on the account, it’s the one we set up when she got her first job, but because she’s over 18 now they have to speak to her directly.
We did set up a 3 way call where I called the call center & her, and she spoke to them about the issue. They’re going to change the security on her acct so she can login without having to receive a text. So hopefully all that will work out.
But on the chance it doesn’t, my original question remains - any advice for a way I could get money to her safely & easily? Ideally either she or I would buy a prepaid visa or mastercard and then I could load money onto it from here. I’m trying to stay away from a method where she has to pickup cash, I don’t want her to have to walk around with a lot of cash until she gets to a place to buy a prepaid card.
Western Union has an App and online transfers. I’ve never had the need to try it, but perhaps this is what you need? ETA: besides sending money to her bank account and for cash pickup, it references sending money to a “mobile wallet”. Is that the Apple/Google Pay mentioned upthread?
Rather than calling the bank, call the card processor, which is typically Visa/MC. That should be on the back of the card. These days, banks typically don’t handle the card transactions. They contract that out to Visa/MC. Do you happen to have a debit card from the same bank? If so, see if it’s a Visa/MC and what phone numbers they list.
I don’t know if this will still work, but I did it quite successfully in 1991, when ATMs were not ubiquitous there. Before leaving for Europe, I sent my CC company a cheque for $5000 and then asked for cash advances on the Visa card. There were small fees for this, but no interest since I always had a positive balance on the Visa account.
The mention upthread was about adding a parents credit card to the daughter’s mobile wallet in Apple/Google Pay, if she has it. The daughter would then basically be able to use the credit card (via her phone) wherever Apple/Google Pay is accepted. I’m guessing this is the easiest/safest solution to the OPs question, but I’m not an international travel expert.
But you can also use Apple/Google Pay to send a set amount of money directly to someone else’s phone, which is what the Western Union mobile wallet is about. It gets more complicated when it’s an international mobile wallet transfer, and I don’t think any of the 3 services allows sending money from the US to Italy, though I could be wrong.
Try your own credit card issuers. Most issuers are keen for established creditworthy customers to add family members to their account, because it is more business for no additional work or risk for them. If you ask for a new card to be issued to your daughter on your account, they may be willing to express deliver it to her in Italy. I’ve had a replacement physical Amex card delivered to my hotel in Bali in under 48 hours.
(This is assuming, of course, that you are willing to trust your daughter not to blow your entire credit limit…)
First, thank you all for your replies and advice. The situation has been resolved - I did a conference call between her and customer support, they were able to modify her 2FA so instead of sending a text, it asks security questions. So she can access the account from the app/website now. We also found that as part of a recent update, they reset all their debit cards to “Do not allow international use”, which is why it unexpectedly stopped working.
To answer some other questions - the 800 number is literally the only number on the card. I called a local branch, as well as the customer support number, and they both confirmed that’s the only way to reach customer support. And this is not the first time this has happened for their clients, but for some reason they haven’t set up an internationally accessible phone number. And we’ve got Verizon wireless, which charges $10/day to use their phones from outside the USA. Much, much cheaper for a 9 week trip to buy a sim card from Vodaphone for $50 or so, which is why she couldn’t get a text on her local phone.
Regardless, she’s all set now, she can access her account in case this happens again, and we have a backup plan in place.
That plan is called TravelPass and is one of the plans you can get on Verizon. Its a good plan if you plan to visit say only for a few days.
There are other plans too, depending on your US plan. I have shown my plan as XX since I get a discount through my work and I am not allowed to reveal the rates, but it is pretty standard. There are three shown on my account :
International Travel Plan
Ideal for trips of 10 days or more. Add as a one time or recurring charge. Use your phone in [210+ countries and destinations]
1000 sent texts
$10/line per day on days used
Add it once and you’re covered for all future trips in [210+ countries and destinations.]
Your domestic data allowance*
Pay As You Go
Pay for what you use
Use your phone in [200+ countries]. Data, talk & text rates vary per country & type.
So glad to hear it all worked out. That must be a relief. As an FYI for anyone in a similar situation of dealing with this sort of texting situation in Europe, one way to handle it is to first setup a phone with your regular cell service and setup iMessage or Google Messages on the phone. These messaging services allow you to read and respond to your phone text messages on your computer. Before you leave, transfer your phone service to an old phone and leave it on and plugged in. Then any texts that come into your phone in the US will be accessible on your computer wherever you are. And even if the messaging app doesn’t work, someone back in the US could read whatever texts came in and act as the middleman between the foreign phone and the bank.