How to find a suitable solution when you need to send money to Pakistan.
According to the 2011 census, over 150,000 people of Pakistani decent or ancestry live in Canada. This has created a massive market for sending money between the two nations. Not only do many Canadians need to send money to friends and family back home in Pakistan, but many people also do business with the nation.
When you want to send money overseas to Pakistan, it’s a good idea to be prepared and know what your options are for sending money from Canada. Using an international money transfer service can usually save you money, compared to using the banks.
Browse the table below to see options for transferring money to Pakistan. You can click on the column headings to sort through products and services based on their features and fees. Use the “amount received” column to ensure your recipient receives the most funds.
Compare your options for sending money to Pakistan below
There are plenty of reasons why you may want to send money to Pakistan:
- You have recently relocated and you want to send money back to your family to help with expenses
- You have an investment property in Pakistan and need to make mortgage payments
- You want to send cash as a gift, rather than sending an actual package to Pakistan
- You have business ties in Pakistan and must pay expenses
Banks vs specialist money transfer companies
Since the Pakistani Rupee (PKR) is an exotic currency, some Canadian banks may not be able to send it directly into the local currency. You will, however, find that some money transfer companies, including MoneyGram and Western Union can make the transfer for you in PKR.
Case Study: Javaid sends money to Pakistan
Javaid moved from her Pakistani home to Canada due to a work opportunity. Being unmarried, she feels a responsibility towards taking care of her ageing parents financially. In order to do this from overseas, she has been exploring her money transfer options in Canada. She intends to send $1,000 Canadian dollars back to Pakistan each month.
|Money transfer service number 1||Money transfer service number 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 84.54 PKR||$1 CAD = 84.39 PKR|
|Fees||$10||$0 (sending bank transfer)|
$40 (sending cash transfer)
|PKR received||83,967.64 PKR|
|Transfer time||This transfer will take less than one hour.||This is an immediate transfer that should take less than ten minutes if you send cash. If you send to a bank account, it will arrive the next day.|
|Options||You can send the money directly to a bank account in Pakistan. The fee is less when you choose this option. You can also arrange for cash pickup.||Direct bank to bank transfer or cash pick up.|
|Difference||+ 479.39 on exchange rate|
As you can see above, with the first company, Javaid will be able to give her family an additional 479 Rupees. Since this difference is less than $6, it is actually cheaper to send the money using the poorer exchange rate offered by transfer company 2, but only if she chooses to send the money directly to a bank account. If she needs to send the money for a cash pickup, it makes more sense to use transfer company 1. This is why it is important to compare different companies and determine which works best for your needs.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Pakistan?
With Javaid’s case study above, you can see how important it is to examine all aspects of transferring money from Canada to Pakistan before making a decision on which company to use. Consider these factors when looking at the available companies:
- Exchange rates. This is an important factor to consider and one to examine closely. Fees are often hidden by giving a more competitive exchange rate than other companies. Be sure to compare both fees and exchange rates to understand exactly how much money you will be paying for the transaction.
- Transfer options. Some transfer companies and banks make the transfer easy by allowing you to initiate it online and withdraw the funds directly from your bank account. Others may require you to send the money from one of their branch locations. Check first to make sure that you are not being charged more depending on the method you choose.
- Pick-up options. Consider the circumstances of the person you are transferring the money to. You may find that it is easier for them to pick up cash or they might prefer a transfer straight into their bank account.
- Transfer time. This will depend on the urgency in which your recipient needs the money. You can find companies that conduct the transfer in just minutes or some options that take between three to five business days.
- Transfer amounts. There are regulations that make it so that you may only transfer a certain amount of money each time, and even per day in most cases. The fees charged to you may change depending on the amount of money that you are transferring.
What can I use to send money to Pakistan from Canada?
Some Canadian banks will allow you to send money to Pakistan, however you will likely face a poor exchange rate and high transfer fees. Other companies that provide the service between the two nations include:
- MoneyGram. MoneyGram will allow you to send cash directly to your family or friends in Pakistan. This can be done online or you can find service providers close to you through their website. This means you can go into a MoneyGram branch, such as a grocery store, and send funds from there. Most Canada Post locations have MoneyGram branches in Canada.
- Banks. Some Canadian banks, such as RBC and TD, offer international money transfer services to Pakistan. Check with the bank to make sure that Pakistan is one of the countries that they send money to before opening an account with them. Citibank will also transfer money between the two countries to other Citibank accounts.
- Western Union. Western Union have recently improved their money transfer services to Pakistan by offering direct bank deposits for zero fees. The bank in Pakistan could charge for the withdrawal first, which is something you should ask before you make the transfer. You can also do a cash transfer and pick-up which will only take a few minutes to clear. The bank transfer will likely arrive the next day.
Emergency cash transfers in Pakistan
If you are a Canadian travelling in Pakistan and find yourself in sudden need of money, you have a couple of options available to you to receive emergency funds.
- Meezan Bank Limited J-iii JohaLahore, PunjabPhone: +92-042-35311862Open Monday through Friday 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. Saturday 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. Closed on Sunday.
- Adda ThikriwalaJhung RoadFaisalabad, PunjabPhone: +92-41-2555018Open Monday through Friday 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Saturday 9 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Sunday closed.
- Habib Metropolitan Bank PVT LTD – no. 2ZoneShop no. F1 Chora Khooh Usman Farooq Bazar 2183 ALahorePhone: +92-042-37632982Open Monday through Saturday 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. Sundays Closed
- KASB Bank – JhangP-20-5-A Canal Road Civil Lines Jhang,Phone: +92-0477651670Open Monday through Saturday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Closed on Sunday
You should note that these are pickup locations only. If you are transferring funds out of Pakistan, you will need to find an alternate location.
Tips for picking up cash in Pakistan
According to the Government of Canada, all Canadians should reconsider their need to travel to Pakistan. Some parts of the country have unpredictable security situations, including the threat of terrorist attacks, kidnappings and violence. The Government of Canada cannot guarantee consular services in the country.
If you cannot cancel your travel plans and have to use one of these facilities to retrieve cash, exercise a high level of caution. Take advantage of locations that are in well-trafficked areas and make sure that you are accompanied by a friend or trustworthy acquaintance who is familiar with the area and local customs.
How do I send money to Pakistan?
When using a transfer service to send money from Canada to Pakistan, you will need to have the exact name of your recipient and a valid photo ID. In order to pick-up the funds, tell your recipient to make sure that they have the following:
- Identification. This will need to be a valid photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s licence.
- Transfer number. There is a number given with the transfer that you will have to pass along to your recipient in order for them to pick-up the money.
- Transfer amount. Your recipient should know how much the transfer is for.
- Your name. Your recipient will also need to know your name for identification purposes.
Once you send the transfer and let the recipient know the transfer code, some companies will allow you to track the progress online so that you can see that it was picked up successfully.
If you have plans on sending money often from Canada to Pakistan, it may be practical to look into banks that will allow account to account transfers. Alongside banks, weigh the fees and rates offered by specialist money transfer companies to find the one that gives you the most value and convenience for both you and your recipient.