A friend of mine is stuck in Spain without a debit card, and I'm trying to send her some cash by whatever means available from here in the US. None of the bank branches near her are American, they're all European banks, mostly CaixaBank, Deutsche Bank, and Banc d'España.
She's a dual American/German citizen, and she has both passports with her. She also has a Wells Fargo account, and could even set up a European bank account if needed as a German citizen.
I have accounts with a few American banks (TD Bank, Wells Fargo, etc.), along with cash.
Is there any way she can walk into a bank in Spain with her passports, with me standing in a bank in the US, and for me to transfer money to her in cash?
I second the comment by B.Liu. Make really sure this is not a scam.
I once used Western Union to send money to a relative abroad. They are still in business and so are several other providers. (Andrew mentioned Moneygram in his comment. I'm not suggesting a specific provider based on my limited transactions. Check their websites and FAQs.)
PS -- US embassies will provide emergency loans to Americans abroad for repatriation, so if this is a sob story and you have the slightest doubt, refer your friend there. Same for the German embassy.
In addition to what has already been said (and I second the Western Union or Moneygram option if you are 100% sure it's not a scam), if your friend's cards were stolen or lost, she could also ask for assistance from her travel insurance (of course, provided she has travel insurance - sometimes some debit/credit cards have this for the holder, under certain conditions - and it covers these kinds of situations).
Depending on the coverage they even go so far as to get their local offices to give you cash.
The best way would be to send Bitcoin, which arrives in minutes.
Your friend can get cash from a Bitcoin ATM 24/7, without dealing with a person and normally without any identification.
Have your friend go to a BTC ATM and complete the process to withdraw cash, have them send you a picture of the QR code, you send the BTC directly to the ATM using the QR code, and your friend will have the cash in minutes.
Depending on the amount of money being sent, and the time period in which it is needed, if you both already have a money sharing/payment application setup such as Venmo, PayPal, Google Wallet, etc; you can send her money, have her transfer it to her bank, and then walk into the bank and withdraw it.
If you both have Wells Fargo, it might be easiest to work with them, though again, this will likely take several (business) days. However, you can transfer money to your friend's Wells Fargo account, and then she can add a local (German) bank account and transfer the money there. https://www.wellsfargo.com/online-banking/transfers/
The other option may be a mobile check deposit to a local (German) bank and again, after several days of it clearing will be available for withdrawal.
Overall, if the timeline doesn't matter as much, and she just needs it within the next week or so, then there are a few ways of doing it for free. However, if expediency/ease is of importance here, then a wire is likely your best bet, though you'll definitely pay for the convenience, and there are some other great answers to this end.
If she has a few days to set things up, using a prepaid debit card is possibly the most cost-effective way. It's easy to pick up a card in most places in Europe, and a lot of cards can be directly topped up from another credit or debit card. The only problem is that in order to accept top-ups from another card, she may need to prove identity and address, which may be difficult for a non EU citizen, and the process of approval may take a day or two. It may however also be possible to use a bank transfer to top up the card (to a certain limit) without proof of identity; this is something you'd need to check with individual card issuers.
The fees for this service are usually much lower than those for traditional money transfer services.