Pakistan is the third-largest freelancer market in the world, behind Bangladesh at number two, and India in first place. Supplying 13 percent of the world’s freelance labor, Pakistan is home to many intrepid entrepreneurs. For U.S. companies paying Pakistani freelancers, there is much to learn about the market, banking regulations and payments preferences.
Transpay has a significant presence in Pakistan, and we turned to Faizan Ahmed, our Country Manager in Pakistan, for the latest updates.
Q. What do you see in Pakistan in terms of the way recipients (for example, freelancers working on a marketplace like Upwork, or sellers doing business on an e-commerce marketplace like Amazon) prefer to receive funds from U.S. companies?
Freelancers always prefer to work for a trustworthy marketplace who they can rely on to offer low transaction fees, maximum FX rates and the instant service of transferring funds into their bank accounts.
Q. Is there a clear preference among Pakistani freelancers and sellers for having funds sent directly to the recipient’s bank account?
Pakistan’s banking system has certain criteria which payments companies must follow. Due to those banking laws and money transaction regulations, Pakistani recipients must receive payments direct into their bank accounts, making Local Bank Transfers essential. These laws and regulations are the reason that Paypal, as one example, is not allowed as a payment option in Pakistan.
Q. Does Pakistan have a significant unbanked population?
Yes, Pakistan has a population of 100 million who do not have bank accounts, which represents 16 percent of those globally who are unbanked. When it comes to freelancers, however, the majority of freelancers have bank accounts due to the global nature of their work and the mandate to receive funds into a bank account.
Q. Do you see any growth opportunities when it comes to how Pakistanis prefer to get paid?
Mobile wallets will grow in popularity. The government is keen to promote branchless banking and giving incentives on getting remittances in mobile wallets through services such as bKash, the mobile money system and the popular mobile wallet, M-Wallet.
Q. Would you characterize the local currency as stable or volatile?
The local currency is volatile against the U.S. dollar, so getting paid in U.S. dollars is the preference of Pakistanis.
Q. What are the regulatory hurdles involved in sending funds to Pakistan?
There are no barriers for Transpay clients, because Transfast, owner and operator of Transpay, has its International Remittance License and adheres to policies and local regulations from the State Bank of Pakistan.
Q. Who are Transpay’s key payout partners? How extensive is our network in Pakistan?
Pakistan’s leading banks, including United Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, MCB Pakistan and Faysal Bank, are our key partners. Our network covers the entire area of the country. We cover 100 percent of bank accounts in Pakistan. Through Transpay, you can send funds to any bank account in Pakistan.
Q. What are the service levels do we offer?
We offer instant Local Bank Transfers to local bank accounts, with the most competitive rates. To support recipients, we offer 24/7 customer service available to handle any questions.