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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sending Money via Western Union from Pakistan

This is being written with a hope that an astray soul in search of the titled information will find this useful.

You may have seen Western Union sign-boards outside branches of various banks in Pakistan. In fact, it's not just banks, Pakistan Post also acts as a Western Union agent now. It's only when you have to send money abroad that you come to know that these particular agents (banks and the post offices) only provide one way service---you can receive money but you can't send from there.

So, how can I send money from Pakistan via Western Union?

So, a quick search on Western Union firstly hinted me that you can send money online if you have a Visa credit card! But this turned out to be true only for people sending money from some countries. Previously online credit card transactions were only allowed from the US, but now it's also possible from the UK, and perhaps a few other countries.

Thus, a quest for finding a Western Union office in Karachi from where you can send money abroad began.

Pakistan Currency Exchange in Karachi

There is one Pakistan Currency Exchange with a branch in Nursery, PECHS. The guy whom I interacted with at Nursery was surprisingly well mannered. I have used the service to send money to the UAE, and I would like to hear your views about this and other agents you might have used to send money via Western Union from Pakistan.

Having said that, let's talk about the more interesting part---the process to send money...

In order to set "standard" charges for money transfer, Pakistan Currency Exchange maintains everything in base currency. So, if you want to send UAE Dirhams abroad and you are carrying the exact amount in the destination currency, they will first "buy" it from you and then "sell" it to you again. Of course, this means that within a flash of a second you'll lose money :) It's better to take Pakistan Rupees with you and buy the destination currency right.

As an identity proof, it's better you take a photocopy of your CNIC with you---they can do it for you but I always prefer to have a copy done myself beforehand.

On a side note, do you know which countries are sending in the highest amount of remittances into Pakistan?