So you want to have a credit card in Pakistan? Here’s all you need to know

Credit cards are treated with suspicion in Pakistan. But what does the average citizen need to know about holding (or not holding) plastic money.

Ahsan knew he had messed up by overusing his credit card. He knew that he didn’t quite understand how the card worked, and that made it easy for him to keep swiping it whenever he needed without thinking much as to the consequences. He also knew that he had spent around Rs 1.5 lakh on the credit card and that eventually he would have to save the money up somehow and pay it back. 

Afterall, the bank that had issued the card had been calling and sending mail quite persistently. And while this knowledge was tucked somewhere in the back of his mind, what he did not expect was that one fine day his doorbell would ring and there would be a collection agent on the other side of the door handing him a Rs 5 lakh bill and a dead-eyed warning to pay up – or else. 

The first-ever universal credit cards were introduced in the United States in the 1950s. And while plastic money blossomed and evolved over the course of the twentieth century, the first credit card was not introduced in Pakistan until as late as 2005. Nearly two decades later, only 0.76% of Pakistanis hold credit cards compared to 70% of Americans that hold at least one credit card. 

A large part of that has been both an inability to and an unwillingness to understand what these cards are, how they work, what benefits they bring you, and what trouble they can get you in. And other than the very real danger of a credit card bill spiraling out of control, there is a lot else to know. Profit brings you the ins, outs, highs, and lows of holding (or not holding) a credit card in Pakistan. 

How they work 

The perception of this product varies in Pakistan. One section of society associates it with having a higher income, which means that these cards then become status symbols. Others see it as a trap laid by greedy banks to lure them into debt. The perceptions come from incidents that we hear around us, such as the anecdote we began with.

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Ahtasam Ahmad
Ahtasam Ahmad
The author works as a Sector Analyst at Profit and can be reached at [email protected]

8 COMMENTS

  1. “the first credit card was not introduced in Pakistan until as late as 2005.”
    if 2005 is not a typo,then you may want to recheck your info on the year CC were introduced.

  2. My bank not only refused to increase my credit limit instead they decreased it by 20% 😂😂 just because i always paid my bills on time 😋

    • Assume your bank is SCB – since they did the same with me. Not only is there an autodebit feature, I have an account in their bank and have always paid on time.

  3. The Garden Residence is a residential project for those who understand comfort and lifestyle. Located in the F-10 Markaz Islamabad, the project offers luxurious apartments on installments. The project has no match in the twin cities and best choice to buy apartment in Islamabad.

  4. 𝑰 𝒂𝒅𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒆 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒚𝒑𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒖𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒔. 𝑴𝒚 𝒃𝒐𝒚𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎 𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒃𝒚𝒃𝒊𝒕 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 $200,000 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 $400,000 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏 2 𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒌𝒔. 𝑨𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒎𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒊𝒎, 𝒊 𝒔𝒂𝒘 𝒊𝒕 𝒂𝒔 𝒂 𝒍𝒖𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒐𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒐 𝒊 𝒋𝒖𝒎𝒑𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒚 $150,000 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒏 $300,000 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒐𝒅 𝒂𝒔 𝒎𝒚 𝒓𝒐𝒊. 𝑰 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒈𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒔𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒂𝒚 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒘𝒂𝒍 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒇𝒖𝒍. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒎𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒎𝒚 2 𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒌𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒅𝒖𝒆, 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝒘𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒛𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒂 𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒎, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝒓𝒐𝒃𝒃𝒆𝒅 𝒖𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒕𝒐𝒕𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒇 $650,000. 𝑾𝒆 𝒐𝒑𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒂 𝒉𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒇𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒊𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒆𝒍 𝒎𝒖𝒓𝒑𝒉𝒚 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒕𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 72𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔, 𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒇𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚. 𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒐𝒏 𝒎𝒊𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒎𝒖𝒓𝒑𝒉𝒚@𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒎𝒂𝒏.𝒄𝒐𝒎.

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