Currency exchange rates aren’t just important when you’re jetting off on a foreign trip and need to sort out a ready supply of local banknotes. Getting a great exchange rate is also crucial when you’re transferring money overseas – such as when you’re sending funds to loved ones back home in Pakistan. 

How can you make sure you don’t get stung with excessive fees and less-than-generous PKR rates? Here’s what you need to know before you next convert euros, pounds, dollars, riyals or any other currency into Pakistani rupees.

Currency exchange explained

Putting it very simply, the exchange rate tells you the value of a particular country’s currency compared to another. By looking at the exchange rate as it stands right now, you’ll know how much of one currency you can buy using the other. 

Let’s say you’re living in France and see that the euro to Pakistani rupee rate is: 1 EUR = 186 PKR

This tells you that you’ll get 186 Pakistani rupees for one euro. This number isn’t set in stone. Around the same time one year ago, that one euro would have been worth only 167.32 Pakistani rupees. There can be numerous complex reasons for shifting rates, including:

  • Inflation rates
  • Interest rates
  • Government debt
  • Political and economic stability
  • How much a country exports and imports
  • Demand for the currency by speculators

Factors like these can be pretty volatile. Sudden events like political scandals, as well as more gradual changes like an economic upswing, can have a marked effect on the exchange rate. The bottom line? Sending money to Pakistan may cost you more on some days than others.

In fact, these rates change so frequently that throughout the day that they might be different from one minute to the next.

Why is Pakistani rupee conversion so high?

There’s a number of reasons why you’d have to spend a lot of Pakistani rupees to buy a euro, a pound, or US dollar. For example, imports continue to exceed exports, which will suppress demand for Pakistani rupees on the international market. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy also continues to be felt. 

While such market forces will cause PKR rates to ebb and flow, the State Bank of Pakistan can intervene if the exchange rate moves too far in a particular direction. You can find out more about the ins and outs of this “managed float” system here.

Getting a healthy, cost-effective PKR conversion doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself in the complexities of financial markets, though. Instead of worrying about market forces you can’t control, or waiting patiently for the exchange rate to move in a beneficial way, you’re better off ensuring you’re not charged excessive transaction fees by your remittance service. 

Sending money to Pakistan: converting to rupees

When it comes to converting euros, pounds, riyals or any other currency to Pakistani rupees, there are two routes open to you: sending through your bank or through a dedicated money transfer service.

Bank: Using a bank to make a USD to PKR, GBP to PKR, EUR to PKR, or other currency exchange can be pretty tempting. After all, your money is right there in your bank account, so very little effort is required to go ahead with the transfer. The bank’s fee will usually be factored into the exchange rate.

Money transfer service: Using a specialist remittance, or money transfer, service can be a more affordable route to sending money to China. Digital companies such as Remitly don’t have bricks-and-mortar locations, meaning their running costs are lower. This means they can afford to pass these savings onto their customers in the form of lower transaction fees and a more cost-effective exchange rate. Although there are still fees involved. 

Using Remitly to send rupees to Pakistan

Remitly has partnered with numerous financial institutions in Pakistan, from Habib Bank to Bank Alfalah. This means your money will be in safe hands as Remitly ensures the rupees are deposited directly into your friend or family member’s bank account in Pakistan. 

To start using the service, you just have to set up a Remitly account through the website or app – you’ll usually just have to tell us basic information like your name, phone number and payment details. Once that’s all done, you can add your recipient’s bank information and send the money over. 

With Remitly, you also have the choice of sending to a cash pick-up location in Pakistan, which is perfect if your friend or loved one doesn’t have a bank account. A third method is to send to a mobile wallet account such as Easypaisa.

You can see exactly what the current exchange rates are for Remitly here for USD to PKR, here for GBP to PKR, here for EUR to PKR, and here for CAD to PKR.

send money with Remitly

Sending money from Pakistan: converting PKR to another currency

Looking to use a bank to exchange Pakistani rupees to another currency, such as Pakistani rupees to dollars, Pakistani rupees to pounds, or Pakistani rupees to riyals? You could either utilise a Foreign Currency Demand Draft or opt for an online transfer.

Going down the latter route, you may have to deal with a more expensive and time-consuming process. There may be high added fees such as bank commissions, and you may be required to go into a bank branch to make the transfer, which makes it significantly less convenient than simply tapping at an app.

What about exchanging PKR outside of Pakistan?

If you’re looking to exchange Pakistani rupees for other international currencies, from US dollars to Saudi riyals, you have a number of options open to you. You could use:

  • Currency exchange desks (for example, on the high street or at airports)
  • The foreign currency service at your bank
  • ATM machines
  • Bank cards
  • Bank wire

Currency exchange desks and banks are convenient and familiar – many people still associate the airport currency exchange desk with overseas travel. That said, you aren’t likely to get the best possible rates when you use your bank or a currency exchange desk.

Using a bank wire is an option if you have bank accounts in both your own country and the country whose currency you’re after. It’s important to look at the transaction fees that might be attached.

A particularly swift and easy way to get your hands on the foreign currency is to simply use your debit or credit card to withdraw money from an ATM when you’ve arrived in that country. The fees for doing this will rack up very quickly, though, so it’s not the wisest way to get settled into a new country. If you’re staying for any real length of time, opening a local bank account is recommended.

For more details, read our guides to opening a bank account in the US, the UK, or Canada.

Finding the best Pakistani rupee exchange rate

No matter how you choose to make the transfer, getting an understanding of the best exchange rates is important. While you probably won’t have to do the calculations yourself, it can be helpful to work it out manually by subtracting commissions and taxes to get a clear view of how one particular transfer option compares with another. That’s because using an automatic currency converter online won’t reveal the hidden costs that are factored into the transfer.

Here’s the formula for working it out:

Send currency x Exchange Rate = Receive Amount

This is easy to understand when we use examples with real numbers. Below, is a hypothetical scenarios, which you can tweak and adapt with whatever quantities you’re intending to exchange.

pakistani rupee notes

How to find euro to Pakistani rupee rates

Let’s say you want to send 100 EUR. The calculation for this would be:

100 EUR  x 186 PKR = 18,599.75 PKR

You’d end up with 18,599.75PKR PKR from 100 EUR with an exchange rate of 1 EUR = 186 PKR. 

Once you’ve worked this out, you can then subtract costs like fees and taxes to see how much you’d actually get for your money. For example, if your bank or remittance company charges a €20 fee on the transfer, it would amount to 3,719.95 rupees. By subtracting this from the original total, you’ll see what your friend or family member will receive.

18,599.75 PKR – 3,719.95 PKR = 14,879.98 PKR

When using Remitly, the fee would be a maximum of 1.99 EUR, or 370.14 PKR. This means you would save thousands of rupees on each transaction.

How to find dollar to Pakistani rupee rates

If you’re planning to transfer 100 USD, the calculation is:

100 USD x 153.94 PKR = 15,394.34 PKR

You’d therefore get 15,394.34 PKR from 100 USD. Just subtract the transfer fees to get your ultimate remittance amount.

Getting the best deal

As we’ve seen, there are a few options open to you when you’re converting currencies to Pakistani rupees, or Pakistani rupees to other currencies. They’re not all the same in terms of value for money, however. When you’ve worked hard to support the people you care for, you’ll want them to receive the maximum amount of rupees with every transfer. This is why it’s worth picking a transfer service which offers low fees and a great exchange rate every time you’re sending money to Pakistan.

About Remitly 

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This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topics discussed herein. This publication is not a substitute for seeking advice from an applicable specialist or professional. The content in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Remitly or any of its affiliates and should not be relied upon as such. While we strive to keep our posts up to date and accurate, we cannot represent, warrant or otherwise guarantee that the content is accurate, complete or up to date.