- Discover the cheaper ways to transfer USD to Pakistani Rupee
- Compare international money transfer specialists vs traditional banks
- Learn what to look for when choosing the best way to transfer money
Do you need to send money from the USA to Pakistan? Here is a brief guide that tells you what to expect.
In this guide
- Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Pakistan
- Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
- Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
- USD / PKR exchange rates
- What are the fees?
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
- Alternative ways to send money to Pakistan
- Business vs. personal considerations
Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Pakistan
In 2020, over $28 billion made its way to Pakistan via remittances. People send money to Pakistan for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Sending friends or family money back home.
- Purchasing real estate.
- Funding business expenses in Pakistan.
- Covering immigration or emigration fees.
- Paying for school tuition overseas.
- Paying for a marriage ceremony in Pakistan.
- Donating to charity.
Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
Sending money overseas from the US to Pakistan using the bank is not a great idea. It's the more expensive option with much longer transaction times.
Instead, use the Finty recommended money exchanges, or choose options like e-wallets or cryptocurrency for sending your transfer.
Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
Absolutely, provided you use one of the reputable services recommended by Finty. We put together a list of the best providers with the best rates to help you fund fast, efficient, and affordable transactions when sending money from the US to Pakistan.
USD / PKR exchange rates
When you're sending cash from the United States to Pakistan, the most significant expense in the process is the margin rate charged to you by the provider. Both banks and retail money exchanges like MoneyGram charge you a "margin" above the currency's spot rate.
For example, if the exchange rate for the currency is 1 USD = 10 PKR, then the bank or retail lender will charge you 1USD = 9.95 PKR (note: these are example estimates, not real figures). Therefore, the additional 5 cents you pay on each dollar is the bank's margin or "spread" on the deal.
Using e-wallets like PayPal and Stripe also charge you a spread, but it's typically less than what you pay with the bank or retail establishments.
What are the fees?
As mentioned, the margin rate for the transfer is one of the highest costs of sending money from the USA to Pakistan. However, there are other fees involved as well.
What is a typical fee?
If you're sending money with the bank using a SWIFT transfer, they'll charge up to 5% of the total transaction amount as a fee.
The average transaction cost is between $25 to $65 to send money from the US to Pakistan. Some banks may have minimum transaction fees.
The recipient also needs to pay a fee on the receiving end of the transaction, typically between $15 to $30. Therefore, unless you're sending a much more significant amount, using a bank wire isn't financially feasible.
Retail outlets like Western Union will charge you from $3.50 to $100 for the transaction fee, depending on the amount, and that's about on par with the banking system, albeit a little cheaper.
E-wallets, on the other hand, cost you around 2% to 4.5% on the transaction, depending on the service provider. The cheapest option is crypto, where you could end up paying less than 1%, depending on the coin you use to fund the transaction.
Can they be avoided?
Yes, you can certainly avoid paying high fees with retail money exchanges and banks by using other options outside of the financial system. E-wallet services like PayPal and Skrill offer you more affordable costs than banks and retail establishments.
Some cryptocurrencies like Ripple (XRP) and Dogecoin (DOGE) have very low transaction costs, with much faster transaction times than the traditional options.
Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
Limits and transaction costs for sending money from the US to Pakistan vary depending on the method you use and the service provider. Most wire transfers don't have any limit, as you're dealing directly with the inter-banking system.
However, some retail money exchanges have limits between $7,000 to $10,000 per transaction. These retailers may also have minimum limits, typically between $500 to $1,000, depending on the provider's terms of service.
Alternative ways to send money to Pakistan
The traditional financial system of using SWIFT international services is slow. It also requires the sender and recipient to jump through regulatory hoops to receive a successful transaction. It can be frustrating to need to comply with all these protocols, especially given that it's your own money.
Fortunately, there are ways to send money outside of the traditional financial system. These methods are more affordable and offer much faster transaction times. Look into your options for sending money to Pakistan using online transfer services, cryptocurrency, or e-wallets.
Business vs. personal considerations
If you're sending money from the US to Pakistan, you're going to need to comply with international money-laundering laws and KYC protocols. These rules and regulations apply to both the recipient and the sender.
Bank wires will let you send money directly to corporations, but it takes around three days to five days to reflect. Using retail partners like MoneyGram is usually faster. However, these retail establishments require a copy of your ID or passport. They’ll also need your cellphone number, and some require proof of residence.
The recipient will also need to show their ID and cell phone number when collecting from the bank or retail partner in Pakistan.
How can I fund my money transfer?
There are several ways to send money to Pakistan from the USA. You have options in terms of traditional wires, credit card, debit card,and cash through companies like Western Union, e-wallet services like PayPal, and payment cards.
How fast can my money transfer be sent to Pakistan?
If you're using a retail outlet like Western Union or MoneyGram, it may take anywhere from one to five business days for the transaction to clear, depending on the company and the transaction amount. E-wallet services are much faster, typically reflecting in a few hours. Crypto also offers same-day transaction times.
What are the money collection options?
If you're sending money to Pakistan using an international retail partner like MoneyGram, Wise, or Western Union, check for retail locations near you. You can collect from dedicated retail locations or partner stores like big-box retailers.
Are there any tax considerations?
If you're sending money to Pakistan frequently throughout the year, you'll have to keep an eye on your tax obligations. Gift tax gives you a tax break, but make sure you're within the annual allowance limits.