International payment methods for Pakistan: SWIFT wire transfer

Sending money abroad and receiving payments from foreign companies or individuals is surprisingly difficult in Pakistan. There are many factors that come into play including the cost of the payment method, time it takes to transfer the amount and acceptability of the payment method to the foreign party. In this post I look at SWIFT wire transfer and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.

SWIFT Wire transfer

SWIFT is an encrypted messaging standard used to transmit wire transfer instructions by banks around the world. Using the SWIFT system you can transfer money to almost any country on the planet.

Receiving Wire transfers: I have previously blogged about receiving wire transfer payments in Pakistan. Receiving SWIFT wire transfer is easy as it only requires a bank account. Even a rupee account will suffice.

Sending wire transfers: Sending a wire transfer is a whole different story. You need a foreign currency account to be able to send a wire in your own name. Some foreign exchange companies can wire money on your behalf but then the money is sent in their name and that is often unacceptable to foreign companies.

Cost of Wire transfer: In terms of cost, wire transfer is quite expensive. There are sender’s bank fees, correspondent bank fees and recipient bank fees. Sending a wire transfer costs between $15 and $25 in Pakistan. Outside Pakistan that amount can be much higher. Around $50 in the US for instance.

In Pakistan banks generally don’t charge any fees for receiving wire transfers. However, they do make money off the currency conversion. US and European banks do charge customers to receive an International wire.

The hidden cost is often the correspondent bank fees. These banks help route the money to its destination and they can charge arbitrary fees without the sender or receiver knowing or consenting to it. In the past I have lost as much as $65 to correspondent banks.

As a result of all these bank fees it is impossible to say exactly how much the recipient will get in a SWIFT wire transfer transaction. IMO this is the biggest disadvantage of wire transfers.

Wire transfers are only recommended for transactions of at least $1,000. The bank fees involved make smaller transactions impractical.

Speed of wire transfer: SWIFT wire transfers take between 1-4 days to be credited to the recipient’s account. So wire transfers are a very fast payment method.

Security of wire transfers: Wire transfers are also a very safe payment method. Both the sender and receiver must have a bank account at a legitimate financial institution. The SWIFT messaging system uses cryptography to transmit wire instructions between banks. Wire transfers are also not reversible without the recipient’s explicit authorisation. So there is no risk of chargeback or payment reversal as in the case of credit cards.

70 thoughts on “International payment methods for Pakistan: SWIFT wire transfer

  1. i hv a question…i want to trade forex and i wanna transfer money…the broker accepts money only through webmoney,LR and bank wire transfer…plz help me can i transfer money through swift wire transfer to my broker account?plz guide me..

    • yeah, i have also a forex account abroad and they accept payment by paypal money bookers or wire transfer, for depositing funds , u must have a foreign currency account here in pakistan and then u can easily transfer money to your broker’s bank account by wire…

      • yar I want to ask ? is there any bank in Pakistan Faisalabad who deals with forex trading deposit and withdarwl payments system

      • i need help.i plan to use broker.

        please confirm ,

        1-can i send and receive money via wire transfer to a company account outside Pakistan?

        2- which bank would you recommend for opening a fcy account.

        3-Are you a forex trader? yes? which broker ?
        reply please.

        • Please see the links posted in response to previous comments above. Your questions are answered there.

          BTW I am not a forex broker. Whatever gave you that idea???

        • Please see the article posted above. Your questions are answered there.

          BTW I am not a forex broker. Whatever gave you that idea???

          • My question was for Mr.Zubairee… he is a forex trader i believe.
            another question for you is

            …”if the sender is a company then according to State Bank of Pakistan rules your earnings must be credited to a Pakistan rupee account”

            Now what will happen if a company sends a wire transfer (us $) to my fc account in pakistan ? can i receive the funds ? the amount is for my fc account not rupee account.

            will the bank convert the $ into Rs. then again into $ ? (i will loose money as the bank will buy the $ for something like 90.4 each and sell it back higher like 91.5)
            The problem with Forex brokers is that Funds must be withdrawn by the same method used to deposit money into your account. For example, if you deposit funds into your OANDA account via bank transfer, withdrawals will be sent via bank transfer back to the same account.(in my case my fc account..)

  2. Ahmed, OandA offers a money transfer service and you can withdraw to any account of your choosing. If you took the time to ask *them* that they would have told you the same thing. I suggest you email them. They have a customer support desk you know?

    If you receive USD (or any FC) from a company into a USD/FC account your bank will refuse to accept the funds. The funds will be returned to the sender. Alternatively, if you also have a *rupee account* with the *same* bank your bank may offer to divert the wire to your rupee account. You will be asked to write a letter requesting this diversion of funds.

    • thats not the case atleast with FXCM, due to anti-money laundering policies they allow wire transactions withdrawals/deposits with one account only.
      Mr Ahmed`s question is legit, i have never traded forex from pakistan cuz the banking here is really not upto the mark

  3. title=”I want guidance”>
    Hi all,
    I am a contractor on and I want to transfer funds to my Allied bank current account via SWIFT wire transfer.
    The branch of the bank, in which I have opened my account has not a recognized SWIFT Code. May , I use the swift code of another Allied branch to transfer funds.
    Secondly , how long wire transfer would take?

    • You should confirm what I write here with allied bank management but, generally speaking, you can receive funds using the head office swift code and the bank will take care of routing the money to your account at your branch. Wire transfer usually takes just one business day but it may take up to 3-4 days.

  4. Dear Abdussamad! i need ur help&guidence, plz can u tell me how can i verify my SCB/HBL debit cards on moneybookers, whenever i tried they say “recent card deposits have failed as your bank did not authorize our debit requests” i’ve account in PKR and tried to deposit to MoneyBookers in USD. International bank transfer is lengthy nd not suitable for less than $1,000/-
    Plz help

  5. I really need some easy and cheap money transfer methods. But SWIFT does not seem to be so.

  6. I need to send more than 5 Million Pakistani Rupee to a United Kingdom Bank. How i can send this big amount ? Are there some restrictions of State Bank involved?

  7. I have a launched a new company in HONG KONG,
    NOW I intend to transfer some money from my personal Pak rupee account to my company’s account there but the banks refused to do so in the light of State Bank rules.
    I need your help to kindly state & please qoute the reference through which rule it is so.

    • And you wanted me to refer you to SBP rules:

      These accounts are free from all Foreign Exchange restrictions. In other words, account holders have full freedom to operate on their accounts to the extent of the balance available in the accounts either for local payments in Rupees or for remittance to any country and for any purpose or for withdrawals in the shape of foreign currency notes and travellers cheques.

  8. Dear sir, I have a question. I am a us national. 2 years ago I decided to shift to Pakistan. I brought about $400,000 to buy a house. Now I am moving back and I have sold my house. I have converted my money to $ and put it in a FC account. How do I transfer this amount back to my account in US. Your help is greatly appreciated. Does State Bank gets invoke in this case?

  9. Thank dear really worth reading. You know mod of transaction is really big issue for Pakistani small business industry.

    Government should take action on this issue.


    • Go to NBP , Standard Chartered or any Other Bank in Pakistan and ask them to open a foreign currency account (USD) in your name. You need your ID card, minimum 100 dollars with you.

  10. Hi! I read your article. But I am bit confused about sending wire transfer from pakistan.
    Do you by any chance that to wire around $3k from Pak to Us hiw much approximately would cost? And what conversion rates do the use?

  11. Brother,
    I am actually paying to a company outside Pakistan as an importer. so which method would be best for me to adopt. If incase there product are substandard, so can i return my moneyback in any bad suitation? kindly waiting for your responce, have a nice day ahead THank

  12. Sirrr….
    I have opened a live account in FXCM and now i want to transfer $100 as my initial deposit to my account for trading. i have a current account in Al-Habib bank, Kharian Branch. They disappointed me about wire transfer of funds.
    please give me a proper guideline

    • u cant send wire to fxcm from pakistan, for trading with fxcm just open a current account with standard chartered and use credit card for deposits/withdrawal.

  13. should i open a foreign currency account in Standard charterd and then transfer my funding.

    Please reply me as soooon as possible

    • Please read the article above again. Specifically the bit about:

      Wire transfers are only recommended for transactions of at least $1,000. The bank fees involved make smaller transactions impractical.

  14. Salam!

    I need advise on how to do telegraphic transfer from Pakistan to HongKong? The organization is asking to do telegraphic transfer with my name only. I do not have Forex account in Pakistan. Is there any solution? Regards.

    • Nope. You need a foreign currency account to send outward wire transfers in your name. Exchange companies can do it for you but then the transfer will be in their name.

  15. Hi Abdussamad,

    If i open a USD Foreign currency account in ABL and show them proof of my earnings in dollars on letter-head of the company operating in USA and get it transfer from that company to my bank account in Pakistan via Wire transfer, while i am living in Pakistan.
    is it possible? Bank told me that its OK to do that. is there any problem in doing so?

    • Hey if the bank says it’s OK then it must be OK. It would be great if you let us know how it worked out.

      • I have visited the bank, The bank only asked to provide proof of funds in USD and after some necessary processings and approvals from back-end, (might be SBP) FC account will be operational and then i can have incoming wire transfer in USD.
        I will visit the bank on Thursday now and then let you know. Tx

        • Let us know after you receive the funds. I’d love to be able to receive wires that are realized in USD.

  16. Hi
    We have an IT company having software reseller status for number of foriegn software. We sell software and get payment from companies in Pak rupees but we have to send payments to principle companies in dollars. what is the best way. If we have a dollar account in pakistan with company name how to add dollars in the account to send payment from this acount as wire/TT.

    • You can buy dollars from the open market. Just go to any exchange company and buy dollars in exchange for rupees. You can then deposit that money into your FC account and send a wire transfer to your upstream supplier.

      However, importers usually use Letters of Credit to remit funds abroad. You should look into that as well.

  17. Hi, I was wondering which bank you use to send wire transfers? Some banks (Meezan) refuse to send any wire transfers unless its from a company account.

    • Any bank that restricts you from sending wire transfer abroad from your foreign currency account is breaking SBP rules. See my comment above about it:


  18. I transferred money by swift 8 days before, but not credited yet. all the information correct regarding my benificery.
    kindly advice

  19. We want to trade on Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) in futures contracts.
    How to remit (transfer) the funds in JPY or USD to Japanese brokers for the purpose of margin deposit/settlement (either through cash settlement or through physical delivery) futures transactions, etc.

    • The process is the same for every country on the planet. So read the article above and if you have a question not answered there you can ask it in the comments.

  20. i have a qustion.. plz answer
    my amount transfered from london to pakistan throgh swift wire transfer.. company says they have transfered but not credited in my account yet?? how much time does it take to credit in my account

    • In my experience it is usually credited within one working day. But if you go through some of the comments above and on the article about receiving swift wires you will see that some people have had to wait for weeks. What you can do is ask the sender to give you a copy of the swift message so that you can show it to your bank. The sender might charge you for this because their bank charges them for this.

  21. Hi,
    I have a question regarding Telegraphic Transfers to a company account abroad.
    I have USD account and PKR account in Standard Chartered Bank, Pakistan. could you please guide me if I can send money abroad through telegraphic Transfer from my USD account which is on my name to any other third party company account?

    One of my friend told me that I cannot send funds abroad from my personal account to third party Company account, it has to be company account to company account or person’s account to person’s account. Is it correct?

    Kindly if possible then state the state Bank of Pakistan rules about it.

    Thanking you in anticipation.


    • One of my friend told me that I cannot send funds abroad from my personal account to third party Company account

      Yes it is difficult to do. You should contact your bank.

  22. I want to open account in SV investment (Forex) NZ via Harvest broker. Can any advise me the safest method of transfering money abroad?


    • Dear Riz, I would like to ask u about forex brokers. Is there no reliable broker in Pakistan. MTG says they are representative of Instaforex. I would like to open an islamic forex accout as it is free of interests and swaps and would appreciate if kindly contact me as i would like to know experience of yours or any one known personally by you regarding a reliable broker. I m not sure about the genuinity of MTG broker therefore I m asking this as it would allow me to deposit and withdraw directly in Pak rupee. My email is “tehseenmalick at ya ho o d o t c o m”. Please let me know about any payment and deposit method as well. I am considering skrills but there if an issue of debit cards not accepted there. Credit cards are not used by me due to shariah purpose. Please contact, I would call u as well if provide me ur no.

  23. Hello! Im facing this delay in swift wire transfer. An amount is sent on ma Allied Bank Lahore account from Geneva via swift wire transfer . Its been a full week now and its still not credited to ma account . I called the bank but they cannot help me in this regard as the money hasnt come to their record now. What should I do?

    • Ask the sender to trace the wire and give you a copy of the swift message. The sender and their bank are the only ones that can help you now.

  24. I want to ask:

    I want to transfer a sum of 200USD to a forex broker account in Australia. Is the forex broker account considered as a company and by having a foreign currency individual account here in Pakistan will I be able to transfer that money to the broker or no?

    My question is in other words how can I transfer money to a forex broker abroad [Australia] in USD from Pakistan with a bank account in my name and which bank does it with the cheapest minimum initial deposit?

  25. You are offering a great deal of help here. And I really appreciate that.
    I want to ask about SBP’s circular (EPD Circular # 3, 27 Feb 2013) in which it says ” It is reiterated that personal foreign currency accounts of any nature should not be used for commercial and business purposes.”
    Which means you cannot transfer funds to any broker around the world. And currently I am trying to remit funds to FXCM but all banks are reluctant to do so.
    Can you please make me understand the situation.
    Thanks again!

  26. Dear Abdus Samad,

    Recently I have been changed my payment gateway. They sent my payment through swift wire since on 27 March, 2014 but the Bank says they did not receive credit in their Nastro Account. The Bank sent MT 103 against swift message to Issuing Bank (Wells Fargo USA). They replied with a full transaction detail including corresponding Bank. So now when I inquired with my Bank (Meezan Bank) they told me that they just send a cover message not a credit in our Nastro Account. Once the funds will receive so we can credit into your account….
    I am very confused… So now what should I do??? How my payment can be tracked?

  27. Can someone offer me some advice?
    I am looking to transfer a large sum of money (about 10 million PKR) from from Pakistan to the UK.

    The money is in my wife’s account in pakistan in her PKR account and we want to transfer it to my account in the UK; can someone offer advice on what is the best way to go about this?

    – I understand that to send money abroad from pakistan to UK you need a foreign currency account; that is fine, but how to I actually change the Pakistani Rupee into British Pounds? I have asked at Habib Bank and also MCB and Meezan Bank and they all offer currency accounts but none offer the facility to actually purchase Pounds from Rupees. Where is the best place to purchase foreign currency so that we can put it into the currency account, to then send it to the UK? I am based around Islamabad.

    – Also would there be a problem if the sender is my wife and the receiver is me in the UK? Or should I open a currency account in my own name in pakistan to then send it to my account in the UK?

    Many thanks for any advice!

    • Mr Kahn , the only way to change your PKR to British pound , is from a foreign exchange company. Go to their office tell them the situation and they will guide you properly. They also deal with cheques so you don’t worry about taking lot of cash with you.


  28. hello sir o need ur heLp kindly do reply me soon ihve to send canadian dollars to canada via wire international soo which bank here in pakistan you will be preffered

  29. I am about to start an online store. I want some suggestions, please share what are the best possible ways to receive money against my products (If the average amount of my products is 250$). Is SWIFT wire transfer is a good option? or should i go with some payment gateway service providers?
    Plus what payment gateway service provider is better in Pakistan?
    Waiting for your reply…

  30. hi all live in the uk and got an bank account in pakistan which has some thousand rupees i was wondaring if there is anyway i.could transfer that money into.another persons account in pakistan but from the uk?please any answers help me

  31. please muje help kare muje medianet ads seh payment hasil karni hey
    muje UBL Bank seh money hasil karni hey but muje (ABA NUMBER) ( routing transit number (RTN) is a nine digit bank code, used in the United States)

    MERE Swift code = UNILPKGUDDU



  32. I have a question. I wanna send 410$ to romania. They sent me account number with swift code. How i can send this amount to them in USD? Plz Reply

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