Pakistani Banks Are Refusing to Accept Wire Transfers from Payment Gateways

If you want to accept international payments in Pakistan, your options are quite limited. We don’t have PayPal so we have to rely on other payment gateways like 2Checkout. They allow you to accept credit card payments, perform due diligence on the transactions, aggregate them and then wire them to your bank.

Now, local banks have decided to stop processing of all aggregated transactions. The decision, on which no official statement has been given and no clarification is forthcoming, affects multiple payment gateways including but not limited to, 2checkout, Skrill, Payoneer, and others. Payments have already been delayed this week and local banks are saying that all aggregated transactions will be sent back to the payment gateways later this week.

The issue was brought to light by Jawwad Ahmed Farid and confirmed independently by ProPakistani as well.

This is problematic because it affects everyone from freelancers to the thousands of online businesses like e-commerce stores across Pakistan. According to estimates by Mr. Farid, there are as many as 10,000 2Checkout customers across the country alone, never mind all of the ones that use other payment gateways and processors.

Not only that, there are tens of thousands of freelancers who use these services to earn a living.

Why Are Banks Refusing Aggregated Payments?

So why are banks refusing aggregated payments? One, the margin on these payments is quite low. And two, because of Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. In aggregated payments, you need to vet every single transaction and that quickly adds up to a lot of legwork.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that banks are unwilling to take responsibility for aggregated transactions if there is no visibility on the individual transactions themselves. Considering all this, from the point of view of banks, it’s a lot of work for little reward.

What if something slips through the cracks and they get hit with a compliance fine? UBL and HBL have already been hit with massive fines and banks think if they don’t accept the payments in the first place, there’s no chance of them falling afoul of regulations.

Authorities Need to Resolve the Matter on an Urgent Basis

All in all, an estimated $60 to $200 million legitimate dollars are set to be turned away from Pakistan in a time when the country is gripped in a balance of payments crisis. Can the country really afford it?

Banks are refusing to give any official statement but we’ve confirmed that the issue exists. And since the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) hasn’t issued any notification, it’s safe to assume the issue is from the banks’ end and not with the SBP.

The relevant authorities need to take immediate notice of the matter and ensure that if they can’t make life easier for online businesses and freelancers, the least they can do it not actively mess it up.

Note: This is a developing story and will be updated as we receive more information on the matter. 

Talal is a Director at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]


  • Dollar mafia in Pakistan hoards $ and with the help of their aides in financial institutions blocks in flow of $ by using above tactics

    This way they earn money when $ appreciate and Rs depreciates. All is being manipulated for years

    You can very easily send money from abroad to India, using numerous online services and very little fee is changed on remittances

    But sending money online to Pakistan is purposely made difficult by the $ mafia aides.
    Even there is hardly any online service from where overseas Pakistani can send money using their Debit Card.

    Govt can increase dollar inflow by eliminating $ Mafia in financial institutions and launching online remittance site.

    Currently available Mobile payment system is a joke. There is no online site where Pakistani Abroad can send money online using their Debit/Credit Cards

    Govt owned bank like National Bank should be asked to launch online remittance site for sending money to Pakistan. And this must be done ASAP.

  • From what i know, Payoneer does not support wire transfers in Pakistan. They only do local bank transfers in local currency in Pakistan. Also, I’ve just received a payment from them a couple days ago and everything was fine. I don’t know why are you trying to spread misinformation. Maybe to get people’s attention on the matter. Anyways, If this is something new and Payoneer is indeed affected by this can someone please confirm and let me know?

      • The max I’ve received in a single transaction was 2k. But in a months time I’ve done smaller, multiple transactions of over 10k USD through Payoneer and never faced a problem.

      • The max I’ve received in a single transaction was 2k. But in a months time I’ve done smaller, multiple transactions of over 10k USD through Payoneer and never faced a problem.

    • I transferred some amount from Payoneer yesterday and received it within a couple of hours. You’re right, money sent from Payoneer or Upwork aren’t wire transfers, as they will deposit local currency amount into your bank account. Wire transfers are when you receive dollars as dollars currency into your account. Payoneer does not support wire transfer but Upwork does.

    • I transferred some amount from Payoneer yesterday and received it within a couple of hours. You’re right, money sent from Payoneer or Upwork aren’t wire transfers, as they will deposit local currency amount into your bank account. Wire transfers are when you receive dollars as dollars currency into your account. Payoneer does not support wire transfer but Upwork does.

      • Can you please tell me the difference between Wire tranfer and Transfer in Local Currency? I am using skrill since last 9 years previously they used to send money in pounds but since over a year they are sending in PKR. Is that a Wire Transfer ?

        • No, if you are receiving in 5 minutes, thats local bank transfer. Skrill has parterened with a local bank to do Inter Bank Fund Transfers. Currency conversions are done at Skrill side and they simply send a automatic instruction to their partner bank to send X amount of PKR in a particular account. Thats similar to IBFT we usually do from our banks via ATM or Internet banking but in a automated way.

          Wire transfer is when you receive a foriegn currency in your local bank account through SWIFT. It usually takes time (2-5 days) and requires manual approval from the receiving bank side. Some banks also ask you to visit branch to sign a form every time you receive a payment by Wire. (called R Form or Remittance form).

      • Hello Asjad, Which bank are you using? I used to get in 2 hours in HBL but since last 2-3 months Payoneer shifted their operations to EarthPort and now it takes 1 week to get the funds.

  • I suspect AdSense payments by wire transfer will be affected as well. It’s been more than 48 hours since Adsense western union payments are released, but it is still showing pending for wire tranfers in Adsense panel. We will be able confirm once they are released and whether they will be credited in accounts or not.

    Regarding users posting that Payoneer transfers are local bank transfers. Yes you are right, because you had selected PKR as currency while adding your bank account. The users who had selected USD or had added their bank accounts several years ago when local bank transfer by PKR were not available has been affected as they count as wire transfers.

    All in all, kisay nay kahan tha main inko rulaon ga, takleef ponchay gi inhain :( :(

  • Is this about PKR transactions too? I had a dollars payment in my USD Account held with HBL. My payment was released to me after a hectic daily catchup with the bank for like 20 days. I would call the bank daily. The bank gave me the amount in my PKR ultimately by telling me that this is one time facillity being provided to you, else your payment would have been sent back to the origin. Bank told me that i can not receive dollars in my USD account but it would be fine if i receive the amount in my PKR from onwards.

      • I had thorough discussions with them rather at times full of dejection and rage. My foreign currency account was on my name meaning individual. But the payment was made from a corporate account and the bank classified it in commercial payment. The bank told me that this is now a policy violation. And now all the foreign currency transactions go through the central head offices of banks. They mark the cases to respective branches whose responsible staff then directly handles the case with respective departments of banks. So meaning that the payments go through the direct involvement of the head offices of banks. The bank told me You can not receive the the commercial payment in personal foreign currency account. Such payments which i was able to get them easily now they would be sent back to the origin account as this is against state bank policy. They told me that the only payment that can go through successfully is the one received as salary with proper declarations. That salary has to come on monthly basis and from the same account. Only that is allowed. State bank wants all other payments to be terminated in PKR. If you want to receive the dollars anyway, you have to open the corporate foreign currency account which banks are seldom willing to open.

  • SBP is the root of many fiscal problems. They willfully make legitimate financial transactions difficult for tax paying individuals and businesses. For them, them having control of everything is the crux of many problems arising from their short-sighted non-viable policies. They do not understand that the market will ALWAYS find a way despite their restrictions.

    In the course of implementation of such policies, they loose foreign currency coming to Pakistan, loose out on legitimate tax from conducting transactions legally (if such transactions were allowed by SBP) and force people to use loopholes and alternative financial systems (hawala/hundi/etc). They are highly incompetent buffoons.

  • Is there any 2checkout customer who faced this issue yet???

    I asked my bank (UBL) and they said it is all rumors, we follow SBP directives and they haven’t received any notification that to send bank wire transfer payments.

  • Best way to resolve this matter or even highlight this issue, file this issue on prime minister portal and tag the ministry/department concerned. And also follow up with the resolution. Every effectee should file complaint on portal for matter gets perority amongst the other issue.


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