Getting money to Nigeria

A brief guide by David Rowbory, August 2016, updated January 2017.

Open a Nigerian Bank account

I opened a Savings account with a bank in Jos, have an ATM card and internet banking including using a mobile app. Choose a bank near to your location.

  • (Which to choose? I have heard good experiences from friends using Diamond, GTBank, Zenith. First Bank has longer queues but may be best for outlying areas. I’ve heard discouraging things about Access & Unity banks and have noticed KeyStone has closed 2 of its branches in Kafanchan & Jos recently.)

Take your phone, passport, CERPAC/ID card, 2 passport photos & about ₦2000 to a bank and ask to open a Savings account. (Why Savings? Less ID is required and Savings accounts are cheaper to run than Current accounts.)

You’ll need to give an address, email and phone contact details, also next-of-kin details (Date of Birth, address in Nigeria). You get an ATM card and internet banking with a Savings account. You pay for the ATM card, hence the ₦2000 initial deposit. You may need to return to collect it a couple of weeks after opening the account. You’ll also need to come back when called up to register for BVN (Bank Verification Number). You attend the bank and they take your photo and record fingerprints. This can then be used to more easily verify identity and open accounts with other banks.

Transfer from UK (+other) banks

Use Azimo, WorldRemit, SmallWorld FS or Exchange4Free (TransferWise used to work, but doesn’t serve Nigeria any more). I have used all of them, shopping around for the best rates.

  • azimo.com/en/invite/redirect/token/DAVIDR (use my code and we’ll each get £10)

    • Usually no transfer fee. Only serves Europe.
  • worldremit.com using code DJR16 (first transfer is free and I get a bonus)

    • Usually a transfer fee. (£1-3 as of Oct 2016.) Sometimes better rates than Azimo. May serve US & Canada & wider world.
    • Fast transfers even at weekend in my experience.
  • SmallWorld FS
    • Advertises a fee, but as of Oct 2016 this is waived.
  • Exchange4Free.com (Login or Register)

    • Good rates and works for Canada & Kenya (+40 others) but not USA.
    • As of Oct 2016 giving a 10% bonus for repeat custom.
    • Slower transfers than Azimo and WorldRemit.
    • Use my referral code djr as you apply and I may possibly get some kind of bonus.

Create an account, possibly giving scans of your driving licence or passport as ID. Verification the first time you open an account may take a few hours.

Use your debit card to charge your UK bank (or do an internet banking transfer – but that’s slower).

US & Canadian transfers seem to require a credit card. You’re probably best preloading your credit card with a positive balance to avoid the interest charges that would otherwise result from a cash advance, which the payment to Exchange4Free/WorldRemit would incur.

Enter your Nigerian bank details as the destination.

You should get emails t