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Compare international money transfers to Nigeria
Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Nigeria with our money transfer partners.
Steps to send money to Nigeria
- Create a free account with a money transfer service and provide your name, contact information, proof of identity and bank account information if you are not sending cash.
- Provide contact information for your transfer recipient.
- Select a payment option and enter the full details of your transfer,.
- Keep track of the reference number or receipt you receive to monitor the progress of your transfer.
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to friends, family and businesses overseas. Generally, it involves you sending cash or money from your bank account to an intermediary transfer service or bank, which then exchanges and sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Nigeria.
Depending on the provider, you can initiate a money transfer in person, online or by phone. Your cash or bank account transfer is then either deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available as cash for pickup at a location in their country.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
Many major US banks offer the option to send funds to Nigeria. But they typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly lower than the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer providers use when trading among themselves.
A reputable money transfer specialist can often offer better exchange rates and charge lower fees, saving you money and putting more Nigerian naira into your recipient’s pocket.
Case Study: Jonathan sends $1,000 to Nigeria
Jonathan wants to send $1,000 from the US 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.
|Money Transfer Company A||Money Transfer Company B|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 193.575 NGN||1 USD = 193.787 NGN|
|Transfer fee||$6||$81 for money in minutes; $12 for bank account transfers|
|Transfer speed||2 business days||1 hour for money in minutes; 4 business days for bank account transfers|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup, bank account deposit|
|Total 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. Transfer fees vary greatly depending on the transfer method you choose.
How to compare transfer companies when sending money to Nigeria
By comparing a few elements of your transfer, you can ensure that you get the cheapest deal for your needs.
- Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
- Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
- Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
- Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
- “Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
- Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Foreign exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency.
Nigeria’s exchange rate is flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Currency exchange rate for Nigeria
Options for sending money to Nigeria from America
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks in Nigeria.
- Online money transfer services. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to Nigeria from the comfort of your home.
- Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across Nigeria.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
If you’d like to spend time in Nigeria while minimizing your need for cash, consider using a credit card while in Nigeria.
Emergency cash transfers in Nigeria
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Nigeria — for example, if a friend traveling through the country loses their wallet. But when you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option.
Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Cash pickup locations
Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria provide the three largest money transfer networks in the world, with thousands of agent locations around the globe. You’ll need to pass your transaction reference number on to your recipient to allow them to pick up your funds. They’ll also need to bring along a photo ID.
Tips for picking up cash in Nigeria
Whether picking up funds in Nigeria or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
- Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
- Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
- Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
- Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.