Need to send money to Nigeria from the United States? Compare a range of transfer options to get the best possible deal
When you need to get money to a loved one overseas, the last thing you want to have to deal with is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. Sending money from the United States to Nigeria doesn’t have to be expensive. Compare your international money transfer options to find one that’s best for you.
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How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, NIgeria. This can be done in person or oftentimes online. You can use cash or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account are made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
We use our banks to take care of all our other financial needs, so surely we should use them when we need to send an international money transfer, right? Not necessarily. While major U.S. banks offer money transfer services, they usually present less competitive exchange rates coupled with high transfer fees.
You can often save money by using the services of a dedicated money transfer company. These providers specialize in handling overseas money transfers, offering attractive exchange rates and affordable transfer fees. This means that you save money, and your recipient ends of with more Nigerian nairas in their pocket.
Jonathan sends money to Nigeria
Jonathan wants to send $1,000 from the United States to Nigeria to help his wife cover some of the costs associated with raising their children. His bank doesn’t send funds to Nigeria, so he is comparing the services of two money transfer companies — one that offers transfers that take place within minutes.
|Transfer company A||Transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 193.575 NGN||1 USD = 193.787 NGN|
|Transfer fee||$6||$81 for money available in minutes, $12 for transfers to a bank account|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup, bank account deposit|
|Processing time||2 business days||1 hour for money in minutes, 4 days for bank account transfers|
|NGN received||193,575 NGN||193,787 NGN|
Jonathan’s comparison shows that even a small difference in exchange rates can make a noticeable difference in the amount you transfer when fees vary greatly depending on the transfer method you choose.
How to compare transfer companies when sending money to Nigeria
- Exchange rates. See how each provider’s exchange rate stacks up against the competition, but remember that better exchange rates might come with higher fees.
- Fees. Compare the fees charged for each transfer, including those for different payment methods or faster transfer times.
- Transfer methods, options and times. Can you schedule transfers online, in a branch or over the phone? Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, known as a forward contract? Does the institution offer limit orders, which allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met? How long will it take for your recipient to receive the funds? (Bank deposits usually take a few days, while cash pickups are typically quicker.)
- Pickup methods. Can the money be picked up in person, or will it be deposited into a bank account?
- Minimum amounts. Some money transfer companies impose minimum limits on each transaction, which can be restricting if you don’t want to send a large amount of cash.
- Customer service. Compare whether each company offers phone, email or live chat support as well as specific hours that support is available.
Options for sending money to Nigeria from America
- Bank transfers. Ask your bank about transferring money from your account to a Nigerian bank account.
- Money transfer services. Companies like WorldRemit allow you to quickly and easily send money transfers online.
- Transfer services with cash pickup locations. Consider companies like Western Union and MoneyGram when sending funds to Nigeria.
- Checks. Sending an international guaranteed check is another way to ensure that your money arrives to its intended recipient.
Emergency cash transfers in Nigeria
If you need to send an emergency cash transfer to Nigeria, be aware that you may have to pay to ensure that your money arrives as quickly as possible.
Some money transfer providers charge high fees and lower exchange rates when sending emergency transfers, so carefully check the rate and fees that apply to any transaction before transmitting your funds.
Cash pickup locations
Western Union and MoneyGram are the two largest international money transfer services in the world, each having thousands of agent locations across the globe. If you send money via one of these services for cash pickup, pass your transaction reference number on to your cash recipient. Make sure they take photo ID along when they pick up the funds.
Tips for picking up cash in Nigeria
When you pick up cash from an agent location in Nigeria (or anywhere else around the world), take a few simple precautions to ensure your safety:
- Take a friend along for extra security.
- Avoid areas where muggings and other crimes are common.
- Do not overtly display your money in front of strangers.
- Head straight to a bank to deposit the funds.
How to send money to Nigeria
Although the exact transfer process differs between providers, you will usually need to sign up for an account before you can send funds, supplying your name, address, contact information, proof of ID and your payment details. If you are not using cash for this transaction, you will need to provide your banking info in order to have funds drafted from your account.
Once you’ve scheduled a transfer, keep track of the receipt and reference number you are given — this will come in handy when you need to check on the progress of your transfer.
Sending money to Nigeria online is fast, easy and convenient. Just make sure to compare your transfer options before deciding on the right transfer provider for you.