Because of recent regulation changes from the Central Bank of Nigeria, your recipient will no longer be able to receive your transfer in Nigerian naira. However, they’ll still be able to receive it in US dollars.
With this in mind, the best way to send money to Nigeria largely depends on how much you’re sending and your payment method. Fast delivery makes WorldRemit and Ria strong picks for speed, while Xoom offers similar speeds at typically higher prices. Look to WorldRemit and MoneyGram for cash transfers that beat Western Union’s fees. Overall you’ll want to compare digital money specialists for strong exchange rates, low fees and fast turnaround to get the best deal on your transfer.
Send money to Nigeria with WorldRemit
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
No, not at this time. Because of government restrictions on how funds can be received, money transfer services can only deliver US dollars to your recipient in Nigeria until further notice. Read the official document from the Central Bank of Nigeria for more details on the situation.
How to send money to Nigeria from the USA
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s Nigerian bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Nigeria. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to Nigeria?
Online money transfer providers usually offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Nigeria. Some offer transfers straight to Nigerian bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in US dollars in person. PayPal, banks and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Nigerian bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Restrictions in Nigeria make it difficult to send naira for cash pickup, so you’ll need to send US dollars. Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Nigeria — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, compare digital services like WorldRemit or XE when possible to MoneyGram to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options, especially when wiring money abroad. Your local bank will almost always be more expensive than other options, so shop around before wiring money.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Nigeria
Let’s say you need to send $1,000 US dollars to friends or family. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of Jan 7, 2021.
Digital money transfer service
1 USD = 0.992 USD
1 USD = 0.995 USD
Best value but slower
Faster but slightly more expensive
Both are very similar when it comes to total US dollars delivered, but the cash delivery option is faster – as long as the pickup location is open. Sending different amounts for pickup may lead to varying exchange rates and fees, so compare multiple options before sending.
How to get the most out of your money transfer
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Nigeria to meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The USD-NGN relationship fluctuates daily but typically only changes drastically once every few years. However, locking in an exchange rate now may save you money down the line.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of money you’re sending.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Nigeria.
Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favorable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to Nigeria, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Nigerian bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow it down to a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to Nigeria
When it’s more important to get your money to Nigeria quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Nigeria without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Nigeria’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Nigeria’s exchange rate often fluctuates when compared to the US dollar, so expect exchange rates today to be different from those you’ll see tomorrow. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
No. Venmo, Cash App, Zelle and similar services are all restricted mostly to the US. Cash App and Venmo do not work between Nigeria and the US. You’ll need to use a dedicated money transfer service, a bank transfer, a PayPal transfer or something similar to send money to Nigeria from the US. Use our comparison table to see what your transfer to Nigeria could cost.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Nigeria
To send money to Nigeria from the US, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents. The documents needed to pick up money in Nigeria may be different by company.
Documents to send money from the US
To send money from the US to Nigeria, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SSN.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, Nigerian bank account and routing number if sending to their bank.
Documents to receive money in Nigeria
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. A Nigerian Passport or other ID issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) may be required to pick up your transfer in cash.
Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Nigerian money transfer scams have been plaguing the money transfer world for many decades, and may be referred to as 419 scams, Nigerian Prince scams or overseas funds transfer scams. Typical signs of this scam include:
The money needs to be sent urgently.
The transaction requires confidentiality.
A US- or UK-based person acts as a go-between for a foreigner with large amounts of money.
Money is requested to cover a fee.
Scammer claims they are being persecuted for religious beliefs and want to give their money away.
Claims that your distant relative died, but you need to send money to cover fees in order to access their wealth.
If you suspect someone may be contacting you through one of these scams, contact the FBI if you are in the US to alert them of this fraud attempt.
Sending your hard-earned money to Nigeria shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare transfer companies that specialize in foreign exchanges for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country-specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder who’s been specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for four years — covering everything from ICO booms, crypto winters, memecoins and more. He’s mined and minted cryptocurrencies, and remembers the days when DOGE was just for fun. Zak’s focus is in breaking down technical concepts (like yellow papers) for the average folk to digest on their morning commute. Before diving into all things crypto, Zak contributed to Finder’s money transfers vertical.
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