The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a statement that the cash-carrying limitations on foreign currency for international travel have been cut in half to $5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currencies) each visit and $30,000 per year for individuals aged 18 and over.
Under-18s (minors) will be subject to a 50 per cent reduction in both ceilings, or $2,500 per visit and $15,000 per year.
The cap on withdrawing foreign currency in cash, however, will continue to be $1,000 per visit and $6,000 per year for visitors to Afghanistan.
Now, overseas debit and credit card transactions are also subject to the same annual cap ($30,000).
To curb speculation and the grey market, the SBP and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have independently decided to work together against illegal foreign exchange businesses.
The yearly trip cash limits, according to the central bank, won’t take effect until January 1, 2023, but the per-visit limits will be effective right away.
A $30,000 yearly restriction on overseas transactions was also imposed by the SBP after it discovered that debit and credit cards were being used for transactions that “are not linked with the profile of the individual or are meant for commercial purpose.”
SBP advised banks to “ensure that the use of debit and credit cards for international transactions was aligned with the profile of cardholders and for their personal needs only”.
“It is emphasised that the purpose of debit/credit cards is to facilitate individuals in making payments for transactions that are of personal nature. The limits on these cards as well as payments through them, both domestic and international, should therefore be aligned with the profile of the cardholder,” it said.
It continued by stating that it was the customer’s duty to make sure that their annual quota was never exceeded. However, banks are required to track these caps for every person on a combined basis.