Pakistan has the sixth-largest diaspora population in the world after India, Mexico, Russia, China, and Bangladesh. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development puts the number of overseas Pakistanis at 9 million.
The middle east and the United Kingdom host the largest population of Pakistanis at 4 and 1.5 million in that order. In 2017, Pakistan received $19,665 million in remittances, 70% of which came from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) corridor. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Kuwait are the top five source countries in remittances to Pakistan.
With government efforts through the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) and other programs bearing fruit, it helps to know the different ways you can send money to Pakistan, the information required when sending and receiving, the benefits of using money transfer services and the specific things to consider when sending to Pakistan. Read along for a detailed analysis of all this and more!
Sending money to Pakistan is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Pakistan but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
The Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan, and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis launched a joint initiative called the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI). This initiative aims to support cheaper and convenient remittance flow to Pakistan.
Much like in many other countries, the banking industry has been a dominant player in the movement of money into the country. However, this is slowly changing with money transfer operators penetrating the remittance channels into Pakistan. The following are some of the formal ways to send money to Pakistan.
The Pakistan banking sector has a total of 35 banks comprising public banks, private banks, and foreign banks. Sending money to Pakistan through bank wire transfers remains one of the safest and most reliable ways. That said, the cost of sending is still high with fees charged by the sender’s bank, correspondent bank(s), and recipient’s bank.
The fees charged by the correspondent banks makes it difficult for the sender to estimate the much the recipient will get. Also, bank wire transfers are impractical for sending small amounts because of the high fees.
For example, sending money from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan costs about $6.45 while sending from the United Kingdom costs $5.30.
There have been concerted efforts by local exchange companies to increase their tie-ups with international money transfer operators. These initiatives have opened floodgates to allow many mobile transfer service providers to join the various Pakistan remittance corridors.
Online money transfers help bridge the gap as far as transaction fees, transfer speed, and convenience are concerned. The type of money transfer service to use largely depends on the country you are sending from, the availability of a reliable agent network in Pakistan, partnerships the transfer service has with the Pakistan banking system and so forth.
Some of the most common online money transfer providers servicing Pakistan remittance corridors include MoneyGram, Western Union, Xpress Money, Telemoney, WorldRemit, Xoom, TransferWise, and Ria.
Most of these money transfer operators only require that you set up an account with them, fund it and transfer to your loved ones. Setting up is very simple, as all you may need is an email address and a few other personal details like phone number and password.
Once you set up the account, you can fund it in several ways including instore cash deposit, bank transfer, and credit or debit card. How to transfer the money largely depends on your preferences. You can send straight from the providers’ websites, use a mobile app, walk to physical stores and send from there, or begin the process online and complete it in a store of your choice.
Online money transfer providers give you several options when sending to Pakistan. The following are the most common:
This method is much slower and may take weeks before the recipient’s account is credited. If you are lucky enough to find a subsidiary of the bank that funds the cheque in Pakistan, you can cash it with no hassle.
Some of the foreign banks here include Barclays Bank PLC., Citibank N.A. – Pakistan Operations, Deutsche Bank AG, Dubai Islamic Bank (Pakistan) Limited, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited among others.
Sending money to Pakistan is much easier because of government and private sector support. On realising the importance of remittances in the economy, the government has been rolling out initiatives and incentives to encourage the Pakistani diaspora to send money home.
If you want to send money to your loved ones in Pakistan, you will need to have the following information.
However, some providers and source country regulations may require additional information to allow you to send money home.
Pakistan has been experiencing rapid progress in financial inclusion. Majority of its previously unbanked populations now have access to financial products and services. The adoption of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2015 changed the financial services landscape and allowed more people to participate in the financial system.
The are several ways one can receive money in Pakistan. Some of the reliable channels include:
Bank deposits – Pakistan banks have a reliable financial capital base, modern technologies, and extensive networks. Bank transfers into beneficiary accounts can take minutes or days depending on the method used to fund the transfer, day and time of the transaction, and the choice of provider.
Cash Collection -The recipient can pick the cash from an agent of the provider. The agent could be a standalone store or a financial institution. Where large amounts are involved, the recipient should choose a safer agent location or tag a friend along when picking up the cash.
Mobile Wallet Deposit – According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, there are over 148 million mobile subscribers in the country. This coverage includes people in rural areas with no access to formal banking services. The deposits are made directly to their mobile wallets.
Depending on the provider you choose, the beneficiary may be required to provide specific documents or information before picking the money. The following is a general list of what is typically required.
Receiving money in Pakistan is free. It is part of the initiative to encourage as many Pakistanis as possible to send money home. There is no identification document required for bank deposits and mobile wallet transfers.
Pakistanis abroad send home approximately $2 billion per month. Most of it ends up in household expenditures with some left for savings and investment. The following are some of the common reasons for Pakistanis to send money to their loved ones back at home.
A household consumption survey carried out in 2010 and 2011 established that Pakistan remittances are mainly for consumption. Food took the most of the allocation with the rest going to other day-to-day household expenditures.
In a study on The Impact of Remittances on Child Education in Pakistan, children from families that receive remittances are likely to enrol and complete school. Girls from households in rural Pakistan tend to benefit the most.
Pakistanis in the diaspora experience some of the best healthcare systems. Majority of them want to replicate this level of care back home so that their loved ones can also enjoy. Therefore, they send money to enable their families to access quality private health care. Households that couldn’t afford proper healthcare can also access improved healthcare services.
Depending on the nature and size of remittances, households may be instructed to purchase productive and household assets. For instance, the money sent may be used to buy land, houses, livestock and agricultural equipment.
Pakistanis in the diaspora still have economic ambitions back home. Some of them send money to help establish new businesses while others boost the cashflows of existing businesses. In particular, the trade and business objective has received increasing support from the government. Such ventures, lift economic standards and create direct and indirect employment.
Though living in the diaspora, Pakistanis still remain connected to events back home. They send money for weddings, religious festivals and other social events. For instance, in July 2019, many Pakistanis sent home money for the Eid al-Adha celebrations that took place on August 11-12, 2019.
Money transfer services are legal channels for sending money to Pakistan. The government has been encouraging Pakistanis abroad to use banks and money transfer operators when transferring money to their loved ones at home. The following are some of the reasons for and benefits of money transfer services.
It is important that you send money to your loved ones from time to time. This gesture keeps you connected with people at home and also ensures your family and relatives are comfortable. However, before sending consider the following issues:
Though the Pakistan economy is still in the doldrums, there is hope for robust growth and economic prosperity. Remittances play a major role in boosting the economy. However, if you are to send money home, you need to know the various ways of sending and receiving, the documents and information required, the benefits of using money transfer services and the key issues to consider back home.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Pakistan. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com