So here's what I learned after becoming stranded in Madrid with no access to cash for the first time in about 40 years of traveling (having always traveled with the same plan: a debit card, a credit card, and a not-large amount of home cash to exchange immediately - including 2 previous caminos without difficulty). I always took it for granted that if anything went wrong, things could be worked out with a phone call. There seem to be basically 3 networks that "issue" debit cards: STAR is more common in the U.S. than in Europe, and then there are Cirrus and Plus, which are all over and more used in Europe. Each of these networks put out recommendations to banks about security measures, and it's up to the bank to decide which of those measures are going to to be utilized. Then the bank's IT department sets things up accordingly. So, it really IS the bank who sets these up, and in this case, the local branch manager had no idea what was being done by IT that affected debit card users, and indeed didn't even seem to understand the process. Although it wasn't clear until much later, I eventually found out that all areas of Spain are now blocked for my card, which is on the STAR network. Another person that same day had a card that was on the STAR network also, and it worked fine at Barajas......it really seems to be the individual banking organization that chooses what to restrict. It would have done no good to have continued on Camino, because there would have been no opportunity for cash at all anywhere along the way, and I'm fortunate to have made the decision to come home once things didn't look like they could be worked out without a great deal of trouble for my husband and days of stress for both of us. Today, the bank's regional manager basically said that fraud is so bad that they have to keep up these stringent measures, and that they might not know from one day to the next what was being implemented (which sounded unlikely, and more like a way of absolving her organization of any responsibility for this). She WAS, however, able to tell me that my card would not be usable in Spain at all because the entire country is now essentially blocked. They seemed to take no responsibility for not warning about any of this, despite my always filing itineraries with them 3 weeks before any overseas travel. My bank once, long ago, said "have an alternative source of money", which I took to mean in case a machine wasn't working somewhere......not "don't rely on your bank card at all". When this happened at 4 different machines, they all gave the same message: that it was the "issuer" who was preventing the transaction. I called my bank (thankfully, they were 6 hours behind, and open). The manager basically said my card looked fine - balance fine, no alerts, nothing..... and there was nothing he could do about it. He gave no indication that he would get back to me. Four hours later, he called back and left a voicemail (which didn't go through because my phone plan advised cellular data be turned off when overseas except for brief needs ..... and voicemail evidently relies on cellular data in some way). It arrived when I returned and turned cellular data back on. The voicemail said that he had spoken with IT and that he'd "just found out that we have several areas of Spain blocked" (all of Spain has been blocked, according to the regional manager I spoke with today, and all related to serious fraud problems). Western Union is an option, and there's an office in Terminal 1 in Barajas. Once someone learns how it works and arranges for a person to go to a Western Union office with the needed amount of cash in hand to send to another Western Union office, (and has sent the transaction reference passcode to the receiver to identify them as the one for whom the money is intended), money can be wired immediately (provided that both offices are open at the same time). If the wire has to go through a bank account in any way (pretty much everything other than going with cash to Western Union seems to involve a bank wire in some way), it takes 2, sometimes 3 days.....so you're stuck wherever you are in the meantime. I had enough on my credit card balance to get a ticket home, thankfully, but this is no joke, and can take days to remedy if you get stuck like this. A camino can't be done all on credit, of course, and cash-on-hand will only go so far, even if you've risked carrying a good chunk of home currency. Even if you have some cash withdrawal ability from your credit card, it might not be enough to get you through an entire Camino without any hope of being able to access cash anywhere in Spain. Or New York. Or Philly according to this regional manager. And nobody uses traveler's checks anymore. I have a new debit card on the way that works on Plus and is allegedly fine to use overseas. I have a new credit card with a larger cash withdrawal possibility (they all charge a fortune for this). But my trust is a little low. So, just make sure you're using a bank who pays attention to where you're going on your itinerary and is responsible enough to bother to tell you if they've blocked a place you're going to. Sorry this is so long-winded, but my hope is that people will be aware of their options and have a good talk with their banks before going to Spain and relying on their debit cards in any way.