Sending money to Nigeria from the United States and Europe used to be an incredibly tedious task. There were a handful of ways, almost all of which required going to a bank or physical outlet to make cash payments.
Nowadays, however, things are a lot simpler. For example, you can easily send money to friends, family, and business partners in Nigeria without even having to leave the comfort of your home.
What's more, now you have more than just a handful of alternatives to choose from. We'll be looking at some of these options below, but before we proceed, it is worth pointing out that there is no singular best way to do this.
All of the methods below have their pros and cons, and the best one for you is usually dependent on what your particular needs and priorities are at the moment.
Here are some essential things to consider before you send money to Nigeria from abroad.
Thanks to the abundance of alternatives, many Nigerians have already developed preferences for certain methods of receiving their international payments. This is not just down to convenience only, but also timeliness, safety, and reliability.
For example, while sending money to Nigeria through banks is possible, many don't like receiving their payments this way. This is mainly because Nigeria operates a dual exchange rate system, and banks tend to go with the less favorable rate.
On the other hand, some don't mind taking the lower rate as long as they can receive their money smoothly into their bank accounts.
This is just one of the many reasons why it is advisable to know your recipient's preference before sending money to them in Nigeria.
While the recipient's preference is a significant factor when sending money to Nigeria, it is not the only criterion in play. Transfer details also play a huge role.
Some platforms, for instance, offer better rates for transfers involving higher volumes, while some are better suited for transfers that don't involve a lot of money.
The same goes for speed and urgency.
Some methods of sending money to Nigeria are infinitely more advisable when you send smaller amounts than they are for more considerable sums. And vice versa.
Knowing about your transfer details may also help you get the best deal in terms of the exchange rate.
Transfer fees for sending money to Nigeria from the United States and Europe vary from bank to bank and platform to platform. And while it is impossible to know exactly how much you'll be paying for transfers on some platforms, it is always a good idea to at least have an idea of what it's like.
This step becomes even more critical when you consider that some platforms charge hidden fees. For example, they disguise themselves as though they offer a reasonable flat fee on transfers, whereas most charges come in other forms, such as markups on exchange rates.
In short, having an idea of what the actual transfer fees are will always help you make the best decision.
Any transaction where you have to trust a third party to help you move money across borders is always a risk. Luckily, people take this risk every day with much success.
They can do this because there are platforms that have established a good reputation, particularly regarding security. However, the truth is that some platforms and banks are more dedicated to security than others.
It is also not uncommon for very secure platforms to want to charge more for their security. For this reason, you must consider how much protection you want in the first place and how much you're willing to pay for it.
To send money to Nigeria, you will need a government-issued identification document. For the sender, this alone should be enough.
Of course, the documents and information you may have to provide to send money to Nigeria vary based on the service provider and method of transfer you employ.
For the recipients, while you won't necessarily need their ID, it helps to know their full names exactly how it appears on their ID.
Depending on how they receive the money, they may also need to provide documentation on their ends. This may include a passport-size photo, a utility bill, and a government-issued ID.
Generally, there are four ways to send money to Nigeria: traditional bank transfers, cross-border money transfer services, e-wallets, and cryptocurrency.
It is indeed possible to send money to Nigeria using a traditional bank. It should be said, though, that this method has a few restrictions.
An estimated 39% of Nigerians remain unbanked. With so many people without bank accounts, sending money to Nigeria through this method is not always possible.
What's more, for a recipient in Nigeria to receive money from the United States or Europe, they must not only have a bank account but particularly a domiciliary account which is generally more complicated to open than a regular Naira account. So the percentage keeps getting lower.
Sending money to Nigeria through traditional bank transfers usually incurs significant fees. This is only acceptable in situations where there is little to no alternative.
International money transfers to Nigeria through traditional banks aren't typically the fastest. On average, they take 2 to 3 working days to complete.
And while some do get completed faster, it is also possible for them to take longer than that.
International money transfers to Nigeria through traditional banks are relatively safe but not the safest. Waiting for days for your money to be sent usually causes a little bit of anxiety and may not be the best, particularly when there are other options to consider.
Cross-border money transfer options are usually some of the best methods to consider when sending money from the USA or Europe to Nigeria. Among some of the services to consider in this regard are:
Western Union remains one of Nigeria's oldest and most trusted cross-border money transfer options. MoneyGram and World Remit also offer great value and convenience.
The cost of sending money to Nigeria through cross-border MTOs varies from service to service. On a general note, however, they are usually significantly cheaper than traditional bank transfers overseas.
Most of the cross-border money transfer options listed above offer different time frames for the successful completion of money transfers. Usually, factors such as KYC validation, transfer frequency, and transfer volume determine how long this is.
How the recipients choose to receive their money also matters. Western Union, for example, may take a few hours to a few days based on these criteria. The same goes for World Remit, which can complete cross-border transfers to Nigeria in as little as one hour or as long as five days.
All the cross-border money transfer options listed above are known for their safety. For example, Western Union has been around for decades and has built a solid reputation for security and reliability when sending money to Nigeria.
Making use of e-wallets is another strong option to consider when it comes to sending money to Nigeria from the US. While PayPal doesn't support transfers to Nigeria, many other reputable alternatives exist.
These are some of the best services under this category. Of all four, Wise is possibly the most convenient. They let you directly send funds to Nigeria, either into the recipient's Wise wallet or straight to the recipient's bank account.
Wise is one of the best money transfer services for getting a great deal on transaction fees. They don't charge hidden fees and use mid-market exchange rates without markup.
Ecopayz and Neteller also offer relatively low transaction fees compared to most banks and MTOs.
Wise completes money transfers to Nigeria from the United States on the same day. However, officially, the platform specifies 2 - 3 days to accommodate peculiar situations wherein transfers may be delayed for secondary reasons.
Most of the e-wallet platforms listed above employ state-of-the-art security to safeguard their platforms against third-party compromise. However, it is still up to you to keep your passwords and login credentials safe to avoid any loss on your side.
Crypto payments are fast becoming the most popular option to send money to Nigeria from the United States. One of the primary reasons for this is convenience.
Creating a wallet for any cryptocurrency is relatively easy. And while some platforms require KYC validation, a few don't. Once a wallet has been created, it is just as easy to send money into it from anywhere in the world.
Some of the most popular crypto options to consider when sending money to Nigeria include:
While some cryptocurrencies are known for their significant fees, some are known to be relatively cheap.
In fact, it is possible to send money to Nigeria using cryptocurrency without paying anything at all in fees. To do this, the sender should ensure that the recipient's wallet is hosted on the same platform as theirs.
It is very common for cryptocurrency transfers to be completed instantaneously. However, higher volume transfers may take a few hours for the system to complete its network verifications.
The underlying infrastructure upon which Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies are built is known to be safe and secure. This, of course, is not to say that hacks and thefts can't occur.
To guard against this, ensure that you use a reputable wallet provider. Also, endeavor to keep your passwords and login credentials safe, and you'll be good to go.
Generally, money transfer services and platforms are the cheapest ways to send money to Nigeria. It is advisable, though, that you choose the platform that best suits your condition.
For instance, some money transfer services are better for large sum transfers than others, while some are perfect when you fund your transfers with credit and debit card payments.
Wise, specifically, offers some of the lowest fees and exchange rates out there for card-funded transfers.
Cross-border money transfer services such as World Remit, Azimo, and even Wise offer within-the-hour transfers for international payments to Nigeria from the United States and Europe.
Cryptocurrencies, too, can be delivered within the hour, even with large volumes.
Most of the money transfer platforms on the list above invest millions of dollars into building the safest infrastructure for their operations. As such, they are all quite safe.
No single method of sending money to Nigeria is the absolute best. All services have areas where they excel and areas where they're not necessarily the best options. For this reason, it is always advisable to compare services not just in a general sense but on a particular note regarding what exactly you're looking for.
For instance, the best platform when speed is the priority is not necessarily the best when looking for the best fees. Also, while some platforms are best for low-volume transfers, others may be better for sending a higher volume.
In short, to choose the right operator to send money to Nigeria, always focus on which is best for your needs at that particular moment.
E-wallets and international money transfer platforms are the best ways to send small amounts of money to Nigeria from the United States and Europe. Wise and World Remit, for example, allow users to send as low as $1 and £1.
Traditional banks are not advisable for small amounts, thanks to the sheer amount of fees charged. Cryptocurrencies are also not advisable for this reason, except in cases where both sender and recipient use the same crypto wallet provider and thus avoid charges entirely.
Technically, there is no limit to how much you can send to Nigeria. Some banks and services, however, tend to place arbitrary limits.
These limits can be the standard for all transactions (such as World Remit and Wise having a $5000 daily limit on transfers) or based on several factors, such as how frequently you carry out similar transfers.
How your recipients get their money in Nigeria is based on several factors, but the most important is the platform you choose to use in the first place.
Some platforms offer direct bank transfers only, while others, like Wise, offer wallet and bank transfer options. For example, Western Union allows users to collect their money from the many cash pickup locations available throughout the country and direct bank transfers.
Once the transfer is complete, recipients, in some instances, can also choose to change or select their preference regarding how they'd like to receive their money.
The official exchange rate set by the government is different from the parallel market rate. Therefore, when sending money to the country, choosing a provider that offers a rate closest to the parallel market rate is best.
While most Nigerians would prefer to receive the money directly in Naira, this will most likely not be possible. Thanks to the restrictions set by the Central Bank of Nigeria, USD sent to Nigeria will not be automatically converted by the bank.
So instead, they will also receive US dollars into their dollar accounts and not Naira into their account.
Sending money to Nigeria from the United States is not only possible, but it is also more convenient than ever. Traditional bank transfers, overseas money transfer services, e-wallets, and cryptocurrencies are some of the best methods to consider.
Communicating with the recipient will always help you understand which of these methods is best for you and them. Naturally, there may be tradeoffs in certain qualities, so the goal is not to find which method is objectively best but which one best suits your current needs and requirements.