A few Pakistani ISPs temporarily blocked access to TransferWise (now known as Wise), a well-known banking service used by independent contractors to send money to Pakistani accounts.
As service was unavailable from many internet service providers at first, it seemed as though PTA would have to take action to circumvent the ban rather than simply attempting to block the service nationwide.
Both the TransferWise mobile app and website were not accessible from within Pakistan, indicating that it was probably a blocking pattern set off by the PTA, however we were unable to get an official confirmation from the PTA.
According to a MoITT representative, they are unaware of this and the State Bank of Pakistan handles remittances.
Not to mention that the TransferWise website and app worked perfectly using a VPN.
While the cause of the bug is presently unknown, it appears that the government may have been worried about a dollar flight because of the malfunction, which led to the ban. Ironically, the freelancers send money into Pakistan via TransferWise rather than the other way around.
Therefore, either there was a technical error or PTA changed its mind. In any case, the service is back to normal, so there doesn’t appear to be any need for concern.
In recent years, working with foreign clients and receiving money into a Pakistani bank has grown more and more challenging for Pakistani IT businesses or independent contractors.
Only a select few firms, including TransferWise, currently permit the immediate transfer of USD from outside to Pakistani banks.
It should be highlighted that it is quite challenging to transfer funds into Pakistan since payments made through IT firms and independent contractors are subject to several checks and frequently take several days to clear.
On the other hand, using hawala or hundi services allows for a smoother process and currency rates that are at least 7 to 10% better, which can tempt IT companies to utilise shady routes to send money to Pakistan.