This morning I awoke to texts and calls telling me a friend was in trouble. Like many problems in life this one was complex, and required more than just money to solve – but money could make it easier. Being far away, and he being one of the approximately 10 million US households without a bank account, Western Union seemed the obvious choice to get him some cash; I pulled up my browser and got out my credit card. The systems put in place to prevent identity theft and fraud – from both Western Union itself and my credit card company – were giving me a headache. So I decided to just get the cash from an ATM and go to a Western Union; I remembered a Western Union sign on a check cashing place about 10 minutes walk from my home in Central Square in Cambridge, MA.