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Using a credit card in Pakistan

Always carry cash for everyday travel.

Updated

Fact checked

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You’ll find merchants in large Pakistani cities accept credit cards, but people most everywhere else opt to take cash.

Visa and Mastercard are most likely to be accepted, although more high-end establishments might also accept American Express cards.

Compare travel cards for use in Pakistan

A credit card without foreign transaction fees can save you money on every transaction made abroad.

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Annual fee Purchase APR Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
None
$95
15.99% to 22.99% variable
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
American Express® Gold Card
None
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $350 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Petal® Visa® Credit Card
None
$0
12.99% to 29.49% variable
Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
None
$0
15.24% variable
An impressive cashback card that offers up to 4% back on everyday purchases like gas, travel and dining all for the cost of a Costco membership.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
None
$550
16.99% to 23.99% variable
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
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Compare up to 4 providers

I‌f you often travel to Pakistan, you could save money with the following cards:

Qatar Airways offers affordable flights between the US and Pakistan. You can earn and redeem airline miles on Qatar flights with an American Airlines credit card as both airlines are members of the Oneworld Alliance.

Alternatively, you can board a Turkish Airlines flight between the US and Pakistan and earn or redeem miles on these flights with a United Airlines cobranded credit card.

Potential credit card fees in Pakistan

You could potentially pay two kinds of fees using a credit card in Pakistan:

  • Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could incur a fee of up to 3% on every transaction made. That’s $30 for every $1,000 spent.
  • Currency conversion fees. If you pay a merchant with US dollars, you’ll incur a dynamic currency conversion. This comes with extra fees as the conversion rate is usually worse than what you’d find at your own bank.

Can I incur both fees?

Yes. To avoid this, get a credit card without foreign transaction fees or pay with local currency when you can.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Pakistan?

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in the large cities in Pakistan; American Express cards are accepted, but only in high-end hotels and restaurants. Merchants don’t accept Discover cards yet. But if you’re looking to make a cash withdrawal, Discover uses Citibank ATMs while Amex has no ATMs in the country as of February 2019.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
Mastercard
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
cross mark iconLow
cross mark iconNot accepted
Discover
cross mark iconNot accepted
cross mark iconLow

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Pakistan?

Pakistan remains a cash-based society, so it’s recommended to have enough rupees to cover your back at all times. This is especially necessary for smaller establishments, or in lesser-known towns across the country.

You’ll get the best exchange rate making cash withdrawals at ATMs. But using a credit card instead of a debit card means you’re taking a cash advance and pay an APR on that money.

Do taxis in Pakistan accept credit cards?

No. Even Uber, which operates in a few cities, accepts only cash.

Chip and PIN credit cards

Most merchants and ATMs use chip and PIN cards. All ATMs in the country require a four-digit PIN to make a cash withdrawal. If you don’t have one, call your bank before you leave and ask them to provide you with a PIN for your card.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Pakistan?

There have been reports of credit card fraud in Pakistan, mainly for card cloning. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your card safely. Be cautious and follow a few simple safety tips:

  • Select ATMs with care. ATMs attached to a bank are generally safer, and you can more easily retrieve your card should it get stuck in the machine.
  • Take two cards. If you lose your primary card or if it’s blocked, a backup card is a handy solution.
  • Keep your card in sight. This way you’ll avoid card cloning or card misuse.

How to prepare before traveling to Pakistan

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This can save you money on every transaction made abroad.
  2. Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted. Especially in large urban areas. Amex and Discover cards are not the best cards to have in Pakistan.
  3. Notify your bank before you travel. This will prevent your bank from blocking your card.
  4. Get your bank’s phone number. This is helpful to resolve credit-card-related issues.
  5. Get a backup card. This will make your life easier in case something happens to your primary card.
  6. Get some cash. You’ll need cash to fully enjoy Pakistan. If needed, make an ATM cash withdrawal.

Bottom line

In Pakistan, cash is king. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your credit card. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in the large cities, but not by every merchant.

Make a cash withdrawal using a debit card if you need cash. For all other purchases, use a travel credit card without foreign transaction fees. You could also try a prepaid SIM card in Pakistan.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.

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