Using a credit card in Nigeria

Make the most of your plastic in a country with limited credit card acceptance.

Last updated:

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Nigeria hasn’t moved with the times as fast as other African countries, so it’s worth getting clued up on how to get the best out of your plastic.

The two major credit card networks are Visa and Mastercard, but due to widespread financial fraud, cash is still king in Nigeria. The country has only just started to offer American Express after years on the provider’s black list, so you may find it hard to use your Amex.

While many of the big hotels and businesses may accept credit cards, you are more likely to come across vendors that only accept cash payments.

Our pick for use in Nigeria

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.25x miles on all purchases
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months when you open your account
  • Get 0% intro APR on purchases for your first 12 months, a variable APR of 14.49% – 24.49% applies thereafter
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
Read less
Read more

Compare cards for use in Nigeria

Credit cards without foreign transaction fees can save you a fee of up to 3% on every purchase made outside the US.

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Annual fee Purchase APR Filter values
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
None
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
17.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
None
$0
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49%, 20.49% or 24.49% variable)
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
None
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
17.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10,000 miles after your first anniversary. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
None
$0
17.24% to 26.24% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

If you often travel to Nigeria, you could save money with the following cards:

United Airlines and their partner Lufthansa offer flights between the US and Nigeria. With a United credit card, you could earn and redeem miles on these flights and save money on purchases abroad.

Consider a cobranded Delta credit card, too. Delta offers nonstop flights to Lagos with a shorter flight duration than competitor airlines. However, since this is an American Express card, consider using it only to save money on your flights, as it may not be accepted in Nigeria.

Potential credit card fees in Nigeria

Using a credit card in Nigeria could come with the following fees:

  • Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3% on every purchase made abroad. That’s a $150 fee for every $5,000 spent in Nigeria.
  • Currency conversion fees. If a vendor offers you the option to pay in US dollars, or if an ATM offers you to withdraw US dollars, you will get a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). DCC often comes with a poor conversion rate.

Can I incur both fees?

Yes. Avoid this by paying in local currency and using a credit card without foreign transaction fees.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Nigeria?

Wherever cards are an accepted payment method in Nigeria, it’s likely it’ll be Visa or Mastercard. American Express cards are accepted only in high-end restaurants and hotels. Discover cards aren’t accepted at all.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
exclamation point iconMedium
exclamation point iconMedium
Mastercard
exclamation point iconMedium
exclamation point iconMedium
American Express
cross mark iconLow
cross mark iconNot accepted
Discover
cross mark iconNot accepted
cross mark iconNot accepted

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Nigeria?

Credit card purchases in Nigeria are limited to hotels and restaurants at popular tourist destinations. You’ll need cash to make purchases everywhere else.

ATMs can give you a good exchange rate for local currency, but using a credit card will incur a cash advance fee and interest from the moment you make the withdrawal. You can avoid this with a debit card.

How to send cash to Nigeria

Do taxis in Nigeria accept credit cards?

No, but you can try calling Uber and paying with a credit card through the app.

Chip-and-PIN credit cards

Nigerians mostly use chip-and-PIN credit cards. If you want to avoid unpleasant situations and card declines, ask your bank to provide you with a four-digit PIN before traveling.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Nigeria?

Nigeria is known for credit card fraud, which is why it was blacklisted by Amex for so long. Follow these tips to improve your credit card safety:

  • Select ATMs with care. ATMs attached to banks are generally safer than ones on the street.
  • Take two cards. If your card is stolen or your payments are declined, having a second card could prove helpful.
  • Keep your card in sight. Avoid card misuse by watching your card every time you use it to pay.

How to prepare before traveling to Nigeria

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This can save you up to 3% on every purchase made abroad.
  2. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. American Express and Discover are more rarely accepted in Nigeria.
  3. Notify your bank before you travel. Financial fraud is common in Nigeria. Unless you notify your bank, it could lock your card after your first transaction.
  4. Get your bank’s phone number. This is the fastest way to resolve any card-related issues.
  5. Get a backup card. If your card gets blocked, you could be left without money. Having a backup card is one solution.
  6. Get some cash. Cash is king in Nigeria, so make sure you have enough.

Bottom line

Credit cards aren’t widely accepted in Nigeria, although this may change in the future. Until then, carry enough cash to get around.

Consider using a debit card for cash withdrawals to avoid cash advance fees and an APR. For everything else you buy, a travel credit card without foreign transaction fees is the way to go.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site