Send Money to Nigeria Securely

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

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Here’s all the information you need about sending money from UK to Nigeria.

Before Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960, a number of Nigerians came to the UK to study, with most of them returning after they completed studying. Nigeria witnessed civil and political unrest during the 1960s, and during this period many refugees, along with skilled workers, migrated to UK. In the 1980s, their numbers grew considerably because of the collapse of the petroleum boom.

As per the 2001 UK census more than 88,000 Nigerian-born people lived in UK. The 2011 census recorded more than 190,000 Nigerian-born residents in England and Wales, around 9,500 in Scotland and around 550 in Northern Ireland.

UK and Nigeria want to build stronger trade ties with each other, and while they achieved the target of £8 billion before the 2015 deadline, they’ve reset the new target at £15 billion.

Given the growing relations between UK and Nigeria, increase in the number of people sending money to Nigeria does not come as a surprise, and what helps is that they have different methods from which to choose.

Case study: Banks vs international money transfer service

Ayomide Chukwu came to the UK as a student, and once she completed her studies she managed to get a job in London. This allowed her to stay back in the UK. Now that she’s leading a comfortable life she wants to start sending money back home, so she can help ease the financial burden of her mother and grandparents.

While Ayomide has a bank account with a leading bank in the UK, she’s not sure if using the bank to send money to Nigeria is such a good idea. She decides to compare her options, and this is what she finds.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rateGBP1 = NGN305.52219GBP1 = NGN304.1616879
Transfer fee£2.99£2.90
Amount received for £1,000NGN304,609.00NGN303,279.62
Transfer timeOne daySame day
Transfer optionsBank accountCash pickup
Difference ofNGN1,329.38

Ayomide compared multiple money transfer services that offered bank account transfers and cash pickups, and from the best of the lot, she noticed that the first money transfer service in the table offered a better deal. Since her mother has a bank account that she can use, Ayomide decides to use the first service that gives her mother around NGN1,300 more per GBP1,000.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Nigeria?

There are a number of banks and money transfer companies that let your transfer money from UK to Nigeria. When comparing your options it is important that you pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Fees and exchange rates. Paying attention to one and not the other is a mistake you should avoid. This is because you might come by a service provider that does not charge any fees, but you may end up getting a poor exchange rate. On the other hand, a seemingly great exchange rate might not do much good if you have to pay steep fees. The total amount the recipient stands to receive should give you a clear indication of which option offers better value for money.
  • How can you send money? Many money transfer companies only have online operations, so if you wish to send money in person you’ll have limited options. Normally, you can send money through your bank account or a credit card account.
  • How can the recipient receive money? If the recipient has a bank account, you can transfer money into the bank account, either through a bank or a money transfer service. In the absence of a bank account, you’ll have to deal with a money transfer company that allows cash pickup in Nigeria.
  • How much time does it take? This depends on the method you choose as well as the business you’re dealing with. Transfers that result in cash pickups tend to take place almost immediately. Transfers to bank accounts can take anywhere in between one and six days, but in some cases they can take even longer.
  • Customer service. There may come a time when you need to get in touch with the service provider you’re dealing with, and in such a scenario being able to get in touch with a company representative over the phone or by chat certainly helps.
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How do I send money to Nigeria from the UK?

When it comes to sending money to Nigeria, you can deal with mainstream banks or with money transfer companies.

  • Banks. Most mainstream banks in the UK let their customers transfer money to Nigeria, for which they have to pay applicable fees. The time such a transfer takes to complete normally varies in between one and six days. You can send bank issued personal cheques to Nigeria, and you can also get money orders from your bank.
  • Money transfer companies. There are two basic types of money transfer companies. The first kind has physical outlets, which you can use to send money, and which recipients can turn to in order to collect cash. Examples include Western Union and MoneyGram. Then there are ones that operate online and let you transfer money to bank accounts. With a business like PayPal, you and the recipient need to have online provider accounts, and the recipient needs a bank account to withdraw funds from the online provider account.
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Emergency cash transfers in Nigeria

Getting stuck in Nigeria without your wallet or bags is anything but pleasant, but fortunately, you can think about getting emergency money in such a situation. Your options include the following:

  • Money transfer. A friend or relative back in the UK can send you money using a money transfer service. You can start by finding out a suitable cash pickup location, which can then help you pick a service provider.
  • Cash advance. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit card users can consider getting cash advances.They can get emergency money by visiting local participating financial institutions, and the money they get comes from their own credit card accounts.
  • Travel insurance. Getting travel insurance before you leave for Nigeria is a good idea. With the right kind of cover, you can get emergency money to deal with a variety of scenarios.
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Cash pickup locations in Nigeria/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Nigeria

Nigeria has a number of Western Union and MoneyGram locations, which simplifies getting cash from overseas. To collect cash from any such location, the recipient needs to present a valid reference number along with an acceptable form of photo ID. Give below are some cash pickup locations in Nigeria.

Western Union

Lagos

  • Abibu Oki
    29/32 Abibu Oki Street
    Off Broad Street
    Lagos, Lagos 23401
    +234-01-7616622
    Open 08:00am to 06:0pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Access Bank PLC
    419 Nnebisi Road
    Lagos, Lagos
    +234-01-2623014
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday

Kano

  • Access Bank PLC
    Katin Kwari Ibrahim Taiwo
    Kano, Kano
    +234-01-2710012
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Sunday
  • Afribank Nigeria PLC
    Kukadi Main Street
    Misau, Kano
    +234-01-2712300
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday

MoneyGram

Lagos

  • United Bank for Africa
    Joseph Street Igbosere 14
    Lagos
    +234-01-66710409
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • United Bank for Africa
    Muritala Muhammed Intl Airport Arrival Terminal
    Lagos
    +234-01-28105392
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday

Kano

  • United Bank for Africa
    Ta Abum Line Kanti Kwari Market 52
    Kano
    +234-01-637595
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Unity Bank PLC – #239
    No. 2 Durumin Iya Qtrs
    Beside PHCN
    Kano
    +234-9051390039
    Open 08:00am to 05:0pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
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Tips for picking up cash in Nigeria

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that Nigeria has high levels of violent street crime which includes armed robbery, mugging, carjacking and kidnapping. British nationals tend to become easy targets because of their perceived wealth.

When travelling, try limiting it to the daytime. Avoid carrying large sums of cash and refrain from wearing expensive jewellery and watches. If you experience an armed robbery, it is best that you give in to the attacker’s demands.

If you work in Nigeria pay attention to the safety guidelines issued by your employer. Parts of Maiduguri, Adamawa and Borno face frequent curfews, during which all businesses remain shut, and this can affect your ability to collect cash from money transfer pickup locations.

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How do I send money to Nigeria?

In sending money from UK to Nigeria you’ll have to provide some basic information, and the information you need to provide depends on the method to select.

  • Transferring to bank account. When transferring money to a Nigerian bank account, you’ll have to provide the bank’s name, the bank’s SWIFT or sort code, the recipient’s account number and the recipient’s name as displayed on the account.
  • Cash pickup. In case of a money transfer where the recipient needs to collect cash, you’ll have to start by creating an account with a money transfer company. To do this you’ll have to provide your name, mailing address, email address and phone number. For the transfer, you’ll have to part with the recipient’s name along with the desired pickup location.
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