Sending funds to Brazil, is there a good way I have missed?
November 24, 2014 10:44 AM   Subscribe

My son is caught up in a medical crisis in Brazil and needs funds sent. What is the best bank to bank option or is there a way other than Moneygram services? Not to crowd this post with details but if anyone wants more details or to assist in our funding please MeFi mail me.
posted by Freedomboy to Travel & Transportation around Brazil (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you absolutely certain it's your son? Like, you've spoken to him on the phone? I say this because, without knowing any details, this unfortunately sounds like a really common scam.
posted by theodolite at 10:54 AM on November 24, 2014 [35 favorites]

I know you didn't want to crowd this post with details but including any relevant information would be good:

- Does he need money today or can it wait e.g. 3 days?
- Do the two of you share accounts at any bank? If so, what banks? The best bank to bank option is of course limited by, you know, the options.
- What ways does he have to withdraw cash at the other end? Could he use an ATM card if you can get money into his account?
- What is the nature of his debts? Could you call whatever hospital or whatever he owes money to and pay them directly with a credit card? (Verify the phone numbers you dial before you do this by googling hospital names or whatever)

Also, I feel like it needs to be said that this sounds like the outline of a very common scam. Please verify beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are speaking to your son (e.g. by asking him questions that only he would know the answer to, or trying to reach him through known numbers or friends). And avoid Moneygram/Western Union or e.g. overnighting a money order at all costs. Stick to traceable methods that only he could pick up.
posted by brainmouse at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If he is at a legitimate medical facility, they should be able to provide information so you can arrange payment and wire the payment directly to their bank from your bank. This will allow you to confirm their bona fides.

You might also be able to pay with a credit card. Again, confirm legitimacy first.

You may also want to contact the embassy/consulate nearest your son's location. They can provide additional information and maybe help with whatever situation your son has.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:04 AM on November 24, 2014

Correction: contact embassy/consulate first. Brazil's health care coverage is a little quirky for visitors and expats, but they should be able to facilitate any emergency treatment, and repatriation if necessary.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:06 AM on November 24, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the input and cautions re: scams.

No scam, his Mother is with him. He has a slow to cure pneumonia and the general degrade from 2 weeks bed rest. Also has a new trach for suctioning and they plan to do a drain. This is a nightmare with money, language/cultural issues and staff jumping his Mother with credit card readers every time they visit, which is at most 2X day for 15 minutes. We would like to know if there are other options as those responding have offered up. Embassy only provided a few lawyer referrals. Our family has connections with global law firms from past employment and they are providing assistance to see if his employer cutting of his insurance [suspect at least] there early before his notice was effective can be fought. He is in a private for profit hospital as the public ones are under staffed, crowded etc. As a hint of the culture the actual owner of the hospital is right there and is pressing for large payments which are tricky is get in place.

Last thing we need is a new infection, hence our desire to keep him in the same place.

Many thanks for all the advice past and future. I'll let his Mother know the hive is helping. One good new or untried idea will mean a lot. Hard to deal with the distances and not being there to grasp the entire situation.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:31 AM on November 24, 2014

Mod note: hey there, this really really needs to not become a direct fundraising thing or have links to fundraising sites. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2014

This may or may not be useful for you, and it was quite awhile ago, but when I was in Brazil, often the easiest way for my parents to send me money was too simply over-pay my credit card. It would end up with a positive balance on it, and I could go to the bank and withdraw the money as a cash advance on the card.

If he has a credit card on him, will the hospital accept the card for payment? Can you simply pre-pay the bill onto the card so it goes through? Your son may need to reach out to the card issuer to make sure they authorize the transaction.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:01 PM on November 24, 2014

Assuming you are 1000% sure this isn't a scam..

You might be able to do a wire transfer. Depends on the bank.
You might be able to give him money by paying his credit card bill, freeing him up to get cash from the ATM.
You might be able to do a xoom transfer. It's (a lot) cheaper than moneygram.
Can you just give the hospital your credit card number?
posted by zug at 3:06 PM on November 24, 2014

Mod note: In the interest of clarity and given the lack of further followup from the asker, I've made an exception to our normal policy on comment editing and restored his earlier followup without the fundraising stuff previously referred to. Asker, if that's an issue you can let us know at the contact form.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:24 PM on November 24, 2014

Your update is a little confusing as it doesn't touch on any of the issues people have asked about. It sounds like his mother is with him and has a credit card that they are willing to accept? As far as literally being able to pay the hospital goes, it sounds like he's covered, no? Or they can just get billed by the hospital even though that's not what the hospital wants? All the other issues are not really relevant to this question.

Also, though, if you're working with international law firms, they may be able to help you transfer money down to him. It's worth asking.
posted by brainmouse at 4:38 PM on November 24, 2014

Freedomboy, I am a professional Brazilian Portuguese translator and interpreter. If you would like, I could give the hospital a call on your behalf. I have dealt with medical and billing issues both personally and professionally in Brazil. Clearly I would be talking to someone in the hospital's administration more generally about their billing procedures, as they would be unwilling to discuss your son or any aspect of his care with me, but I would be more than willing to make that call. I know how distressing it can be to have a loved one hospitalized far away, and I would like to help.
posted by msali at 12:52 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

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