Find out the best and safest ways to use a credit card in Nigeria
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Using a credit card in Nigeria

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

The two major credit card networks in Nigeria are Visa and Mastercard, but credit cards are not widely accepted overall due to widespread financial fraud. The country has only just started to offer American Express after recently getting off the provider’s blacklist.

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

Our pick for use in Nigeria

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards® Visa Signature® Card

  • Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more. Just spend $2,000 in eligible net purchases on your card within the first four months of account opening.
  • 2x FlexPoints at gas stations, grocery stores or airlines – whichever you spend the most on each monthly billing cycle, and at most cell phone service providers.
  • 2x FlexPoints for your charitable donations
  • No foreign transaction fees*
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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
None
$0
17.99% to 26.99% 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
None
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
None
$0
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable)
Earn 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
$550
N/A
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
None
$250
See Rates & Fees
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. 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?

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 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.

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