There are different ways to send money from UK to Pakistan, but do you know which one will work best for you?
As per the 2011 UK census more than 1.7 million people of Pakistani descent live in the UK. This makes the Pakistani community in UK the largest in Europe, and it is also the second largest ethnic community in UK. A majority of the Pakistanis in UK live in England, and while Scotland has a sizeable community, some live in Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
In terms of trade UK is amongst the top exporters to Pakistan, and more than 100 British businesses operate out of Pakistan. Bilateral trade between the two countries has increased in the recent past, from £1.9 billion in 2009 to £2.2 billion in 2013.
It’s easier than ever to send money from the UK to Pakistan, however which method and which provider to choose depends on your specific requirements.
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Case study: Banks vs money transfer services
Aslam Khan had to shift base to the UK temporarily because of work, and during his stay here his family is to stay back in Pakistan. Aslam is his household’s sole earner, so he needs to send some money back home every month. Since he has a steady job, and rather basic requirements in the UK, he intends sending around GBP1,000 each month.
Aslam has the option of turning to his bank to go through with the funds transfer but he wants to compare his alternatives to find out if he can get a better deal. After comparing his options, this is what he finds.
|Money transfer service 1||Money transfer service 2|
|Exchange rate||GBP1 = PKR149.9230||GBP1 = PKR159.7144705|
|Amount received for £1,000||PKR148,573.74||PKR159,714.47|
|Transfer time||Three to five days||One to two business days|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank accountCash (a fee £4.90 applies)|
The second option ends up giving Aslam’s wife around PKR11,000 more each time he transfers GBP1,000, and she also stands to get the money sooner when compared to the first service provider. If he wants to send the money even faster he can choose the cash pickup option through the second service provider by paying a fee, and this would still be more lucrative than the first option.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Pakistan
Many banks let you send money to Pakistan, and you can also use the services of a money transfer company. When comparing your options, pay attention to the following:
- Fees and exchange rate. A service provider that offers fee-free money transfers to Pakistan may not be your best bet because it may offer a poor exchange rate. Conversely, a business that offers a great exchange rate could offset any probable benefit by charging exorbitant fees. A simple way to narrow down on the most cost-effective option is to find out how much money the recipient will receive.
- Sending money. Some money transfer companies have physical locations you can visit to send money, and you can also send money in person by visiting bank branches. With some money transfer companies, you can only send money online. Some let you transfer funds over the phone as well.
- Receiving money. The recipient can receive money directly into a bank account. Some money transfer companies also allow recipients to collect cash.
- Turnaround time. Most banks take around three to five days to send money to Pakistan, and in some cases the process might take longer. Some money transfer companies complete the process in one to two days. If the recipient is to collect cash, the transfer can take place almost immediately.
- Customer service. If you plan to send money to Pakistan every now and again, you may need to get in touch with your service provider at some point. Good service providers tend to offer support via chat and email as well as over the phone.
How to send money to Pakistan from the UK
The different methods you get to use when sending money to Pakistan can have to turning to banks and non banking establishments.
- Banks. Most banks in the UK will let you send money to a Pakistani bank account, but do expect to pay a fee to use a bank’s services. How long the transfer takes depends on the bank you choose. You can write a cheque that you can send to Pakistan via mail, and the recipient can deposit it is his or her local bank account. You can also send bank issued money orders via mail.
- Non banks. Some money transfer companies like MoneyGram and Western Union have physical outlets that recipients can visit to collect cash, and such companies allow bank account transfers as well. Some money transfer companies limit their services to online bank account transfers. A business like PayPal requires you and the recipient to register as users, and you can transfer funds within the website. To withdraw funds from the website, the recipient will have to link a bank account.
Emergency cash transfers in Pakistan
If you find yourself without your wallet or money when travelling within Pakistan, know that you have different ways to get some emergency money. If you lose your cards, don’t forget to report them as lost or stolen first. Then, consider the following options:
- Money transfer company. One easy way is to get someone in the UK to send money over to Pakistan using a money transfer company that allows cash pickup. Let the sender know of a convenient pickup location before the transfer.
- Credit card emergency cash advance. Existing American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit card users can think about getting some emergency money by getting in touch with local participating financial institutions. The money you get basically comes from your own account.
- Travel insurance. There are different types of travel insurance covers on offer. Certain kinds give policyholders the ability to get emergency cash to deal with different kinds of eventualities.
Cash pickup locations in Pakistan/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Pakistan
MoneyGram and Western Union have various outlets across Pakistan, and you can use their services to send money or collect cash. Collecting cash from a pickup location requires that you provide some kind of valid ID as well as a transaction number. Below, you’ll find some cash pickup locations in Pakistan.
- Paracha International Exchange
Park View Apartment Main Nipa Chowrangi Block 1b 10 A
Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Essa Premier Enterprises
Badri Building I I Chundigar Road 27
Open 10:00am to 06:30pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Royal International Exchange Company
Shop No 3 Lower Plaza Akbar Chowk
Open 09:00am to 08:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Limited
Plot 1 Gulshan Block Main Boulevard Ait
Open 08:00am to 06:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- A H Enterprise
A H Enterprise
Office 1 1st Floor Shahbaz Supercomplex
Goli Maar Chourangi Nazimabad 2
Open 10:00am to 06:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Abdullah Haroon Road Branch
Shop#8, Office No 106 & 107
Hashi Electronic Center, Karac
Open 08:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Meezan Bank Limited J-iii Joha
12 J III Opp Expo Centre
Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Friday, 09:00am to 03:00pm Saturday, closed on Sunday
- AA Exchange Company
Shop# 295-a, Ground Floor,
Rav Road, Taksaali Chowk
Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Pakistan
As per information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office individuals travelling to Pakistan should take suitable measures to protect themselves and their belongings. Pay particular attention to safety if you’re collecting cash from an outlet located in a crowded area like a market. Take care of your bank cards, passport, phone and laptop when travelling on public transport. Avoiding using public transport is ideal. You should also avoid using street taxis and stick to radio-controlled cab operators instead.
Regions like Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, rural Sindh and Balochistan tend to experience high degrees of lawlessness.Back to top
How to send money to Pakistan
You’ll have to provide some kind of information to send money to Pakistan, and this varies depending on the method you choose.
- Sending money to a bank account. In this case you’ll need the recipient’s name, the bank account number, the bank’s name and the bank’s SWIFT code.
- Collecting cash. If you want the recipient to collect cash, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired cash pickup location. As a first time user you may have to register with the business in question before you can initiate such a transfer.