Remittance is the lifeline of the Pakistani economy. As countries start opening up and brace for a long road to recovery, remittances will play an important role, especially in developing countries such as Pakistan. Amongst the top remittance-receiving countries in the world, Pakistan has the highest value of remittance as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 9.9% in 2020.
The Pakistani diaspora remitted $24.2 billion in the first 10 months of the financial year 2020-2021 according to the State Bank of Pakistan. In April 2021 alone, the remittances rose to a record high of $2.8 billion, 56% up over the same month last year, beating the grim predictions by the World Bank.
Remittances have been counter-cyclical, which means it increases during economic downturns in the migrants' home countries. The increase has also been attributed to gifts for Ramadan, migrant workers returning home due to the pandemic, and more people adopting formal channels of remitting money.
The major portion of the remittances came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with each country sending in $6.4 billion and $5.1 billion respectively. Followed by the United Kingdom with $3.3 billion and then the United States with $2.2 billion.
The U.S. is also one of the largest senders of remittances to many developing nations including Pakistan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were more than 500,000 U.S. residents of Pakistani descent in 2019.
With immigrants actively sending money back to their country of origin, the U.S. has a booming remittance market. There are many money transfer service providers offering remittance services.
Choosing the best way to send money depends on your needs and the factors affecting the cost of money transfers.
Although banks can be a familiar and trusted choice, they tend to be the most expensive way to send money across international borders. The best option to remit from the U.S. to Pakistan is to send money online.
Remitly is a fully licensed digital remittance service provider. It is popular for its competitive exchange rates and low costs when compared to other similar services.
Through Remitly's website or app, you can send money from the U.S. to Pakistan from your bank account or debit/credit cards. There is no minimum limit on the transfer amount and hence can be convenient when sending smaller amounts to friends and family members in your home country.
Remitly also offers multiple ways to receive money in Pakistan. The money can be directly transferred to a bank account in Pakistan, or it can be collected from any of the thousands of cash pick-up locations spread across the nation. You can also send the money to a mobile wallet.
The charges for each delivery method vary, with cash delivery being the most expensive one.
Card-based transactions are faster than bank transfers. With Remitly's Express option, the money can be reached in a few minutes. Bank transfers may take 3-5 business days.
Remitly is partnered with major banks in Pakistan such as MCB, Bank Alfalah, HBL, Banklslami, Allied Bank, among others.
With Western Union, you can send cash to Pakistan in minutes from any one of more than 55,000 agent locations across the U.S. or send money online via WU.com or their mobile app.
You can pay for the transfer directly from your bank account or use a credit or debit card or with Apple Pay.
The money can be sent directly to major bank accounts in Pakistan or can be picked up from any one of over 9,600 agent locations throughout Pakistan.
Western Union is one of the fastest ways of sending money to Pakistan. However, Transfer fees vary and can be costly when sending to certain places in Pakistan.
Similar to Western Union, MoneyGram has you covered whenever you need to send money to your friends and family in Pakistan.
You can send money online, in-store, or through the MoneyGram App. And pay with a credit or debit card, or from your U.S. bank account when sending online. Or pay with cash at any MoneyGram location in the U.S.
There are more than 5,000 agent locations in Pakistan where the cash can be collected or get the money deposited into major bank accounts in Pakistan.
You can also check the MoneyGram cost estimator to get the best USD (United States Dollar) to PKR (Pakistani Rupee) exchange rate and cost of the transfer. Or sign up for our exchange rates alerts.
Xoom is a Paypal owned online money transfer service. There are two ways to send money to Pakistan from the U.S. via Xoom. Either send money to cash pickup locations in Pakistan or transfer the money to top Pakistani banks such as Bank Alfalah, UBL, MCB, Allied Bank.
Irrespective of the transfer amount and the payment method, Xoom charges a flat fee. You can pay for the transfer using your PayPal account balance, bank account, or a debit/credit card.
Cash transfers take place in minutes and bank deposits may arrive in minutes or within 24 hours if sent between Monday to Friday.
Start sending money easily by logging in with your PayPal credentials or create a Xoom account with your name and email address. You can send using the Xoom mobile app as well.
Also, Xoom's customer service supports multiple languages.
If you prefer to send money online, Wise is a great option. Wise offers you the mid-market exchange rate along with fees upfront and no hidden charges.
Wise is a London-based money transfer service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Your recipient in Pakistan will get the money directly in their bank account and you can pay for the transfer using your U.S. bank account, credit card, or debit card.
WorldRemit is an online money transfer company that lets you transfer money using a computer, smartphone, or through their mobile app.
For sending money from the U.S. to Pakistan, WorldRemit offers cash pick-up, bank deposits, Mobile Money transfer, and Airtime top-up. And you can pay for it using your U.S. bank account, debit card, or credit card.
Cash delivery is the fastest way while bank transfer may take 2-3 business days.
Xe Money Transfer
With the Xe money transfer service, you can send money online from the U.S. to over 130 countries including Pakistan.
Xe offers wire transfer to Pakistan on their website or mobile app and lets you pay through bank transfer or debit/credit card.
The transfer amount is unlimited with Xe. You can send up to $500,000 online (or equivalent currency).
Xe exchange rates are bank-beating and its service is cheaper than banks. Like its competitors, it charges a margin on the exchange rate. The speed of transfer through Xe is usually 24 hours depending on your method.
Ria Money Transfer
Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide, provides remittance services across the globe.
To send money to Pakistan from the U.S., you can set up an account with them through its website or download their mobile app or opt to send cash at a local store such as Walmart or 7-Eleven.
Ria offers multiple payment options such as bank transfer, cash, debit card, or credit card.
Bank transfers are usually slower than cash-based payments.
With Ria's price calculator, you can check the current exchange rate and the transfer fees.
Skrill Money Transfer
Skrill Money Transfer is an inexpensive way to send money overseas. There are no fees when you use Skrill to send money to a third-party mobile wallet or an international bank account.
Skrill offers the interbank exchange rates with no hidden mark-up.
You can fund your transfer using your bank account, debit card/credit card, Paysafe Cash.
For recipients in Pakistan, the money can be received in a bank account. Skrill does not charge recipients any fees for receiving the money.
OFX is another popular option for sending money from the U.S. to Pakistan in terms of affordability and convenience.
OFX offers money transfers to most banks in Pakistan such as MCB, Bank Alfalah, Habib Bank, Bank Islami Pakistan, among others.
To send money online, create a free online account and get a live quote for your money transfer. Provide your recipient's bank details and pay for the transfer using a bank or wire transfer.
The money will get delivered to your recipient's bank in 1 business day in Pakistani rupees. OFX adds a margin to the exchange rate when converting USD to PKR.
As we can see, USD to PKR is a competitive marketplace with multiple options. While there are various options at your disposal, choosing the right one will depend on your money transfer needs such as delivery method, the transfer amount, speed, payment method, etc.
You can compare the top money transfer service providers on CompareRemit and find the best way to send money online from the U.S. to Pakistan.