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Using a credit card in Pakistan

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Always carry cash for everyday travel.

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.

Our pick for use in Pakistan

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.25x miles on all purchases; 10x miles on purchases made through hotels.com/venture until January 2020
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months when you open your account
  • Get 0% intro APR on purchases for your first 12 months, a variable APR of 13.74% – 23.74% applies thereafter
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
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Promoted

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
None
$0
17.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
None
$0
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74%, 19.74% or 23.74% variable)
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
None
$495
16.74% variable
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
None
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
None
$195
17.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 75,000 miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months plus $100 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees

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?

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 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.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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