Going to Pakistan? Guide to credit cards in Pakistan | finder.com
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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

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards® Visa Signature® Card

  • Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more. Just spend $2,000 in eligible net purchases on your card within the first four months of account opening.
  • 2x FlexPoints at gas stations, grocery stores or airlines – whichever you spend the most on each monthly billing cycle, and at most cell phone service providers.
  • 2x FlexPoints for your charitable donations
  • No foreign transaction fees*
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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 intro annual fee for the first year ($49 thereafter)
16.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months. Rates & Fees
None
$0
0% for the first 12 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable)
Earn 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
$0
0% for the first 18 months (then 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% variable)
An 18 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
None
$149
15.99% to 25.99% variable
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
None
$195
17.24% variable
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.

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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