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How to send money to Nigeria from USA including mobile money

Article written by Jens Ischebeck



Sending Money to Nigeria
Sending Money to Nigeria

Sending money to Nigeria from USA or from any other country is often a big help for your relatives and your friends living there.

But it can be hard as well because of the strict money transfer regulations because of the anti money laundering rules.

In this in-depth guide about money transfer to Nigeria I’ll show you how sending money to Nigeria actually works. 

The later-on presented money transfer providers help you to keep your money transfer fees under control, to realize secure transfers and to get your money fast to your recipient.

This money transfer to Nigeria guide will create additional value for you by defining the actual challenges and how to overcome them, how to send money to Nigeria in the best way.


Let’s start. 

Strict rules for a money transfer to Nigeria

On 4th August 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria unexpectedly issued a presser stating that it was changing its policy with regards to the money transfer to Nigeria.

What this move meant was that a large percentage of the services relied upon by many of its citizens would no longer be available.

The decision carried out by the regulator meant that all but 3 operating licenses were revoked. What’s more, the regulator also took it upon itself to warn the public, both at home and abroad to be wary of the unwholesome nature of the activities performed by International Money Transfer Operators.

According to the regulator, the reason it instituted the new policies was for “the greater economic good of Nigeria,” the statement from the Central Bank went on to read that it would “not condone any attempt aimed at undermining the country’s foreign exchange regime.”


The move, which was sudden and caught many people off-guard created immediate backlash. It’s a decision that affected a large amount of money.

By the end of 2019, annual remittances to Nigeria stood at $17.5 billion, according to information obtained from Central Bank of Nigeria.

Some of the companies that were affected at the time include WorldRemit which had been operating in Nigeria since the beginning of 2011.

It was, therefore, among the first companies to issue a statement rebuking the new policies. It termed the policies as “draconian” and went ahead to note that only three companies would now be left to operate.

All the companies not affected by the policy are those that had managed to establish physical operations in the country. The CEO and Founder of WorldRemit, Ismail Ahmed, noted that: “This move is arbitrary, inexplicable and hugely detrimental to the Nigerian diaspora, who rely on hundreds of money transfer companies and banks, providing them with choice, convenience, and competitive pricing.”

And this was where the rain started falling on Nigerians living abroad, and interested in sending money to Nigeria, back home!

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Send money to Nigeria: Common problems experienced

i. Money transfer restrictions

While wire transfers are generally a straight forward transaction, the same does not apply to Nigeria. Sending money in and out of the country requires the client to deal with numerous country-specific restrictions.

ii. Transfer duration

When sending money from abroad, it may take a few business days for it to arrive to the recipient. This makes it even harder for those looking for money transfer to Nigeria urgently to help sort out medical bills.

ii. The need to have a bank account

As pointed out earlier, the policies implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria had a huge impact in the money remittance sector. This included the need for recipients to have bank accounts with local banks. The unbanked population is, therefore, not able to benefit from these services.


iv. High fees

Expensive money transfer fees are occasioned when sending money via banks.

Receiving money in Nigeria

Freelancers working in Nigeria probably have it the hardest.

As a freelancer, it means that you get to work with clients from all corners of the world. As is the case with freelancing in all places, the employers will always want to pay you using the method most convenient for them.

Here, methods that come into mind will include PayPal, Payoneer and bank transfer. 

But anyone who has transacted with PayPal knows very well that they have very strict policies, not forgetting very high rates. Countries such as Nigeria also happen to be among the most-watched countries by the payment processors.

Payoneer on the other hand is well established. The flip side is that this service is designed for freelancers, so Payoneer is not the first choice if we talk about remittances.

So, what do you do when you have been toiling hard for the past few weeks or months working on a project, and have finally managed to complete it, but the employer cannot pay you?

And the reason that they are unable to pay you is not that they are not willing to do so, but because they do not have a way to send you the money you have worked so hard for?

Read on to learn how you can overcome this hurdle, if and whenever it does arise when working on a freelance project!

I would like to send money to Nigeria, but I don’t know which provider to use

Having emigrated to the United Kingdom, the United States, or even Canada from Nigeria, chances are that you left some people behind; people that you care about and you would like to transfer money abroad to every once in a while.


But while you are used to sending money at the click of a button to other locations, the same does not apply to Nigeria.

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And the reality is that there are thousands of Nigerians like you looking for easy and inexpensive ways to remit Nairas back home to benefit friends, family, and even business associates.

In the search for a good money remittance company, you will note that banks on both sides of the divide do not offer the best rates.

This is more so when you are looking to convert major currencies into Nairas. It’s the reason why it’s important to compare all the available options before you settle on one.

Whether you are looking to make a single transfer, or intend to make frequent transfers, you will need to find a reliable partner.

Did you know that Nigerians abroad remit over twenty billion dollars each year to their friends and loved ones back home?

Given that there are close to fifteen million Nigerians abroad, that’s an equivalent of $1,300 per person.

The research we have conducted so far has led us to believe that many people looking to send money to Nigeria overspend on their transfers by up to 5 percent.

As such, if people were able to find a provider for sending money to Nigeria cheap way, this would mean that they would save as much as $1 billion each year.

Per person, this would translate to about $65.


While PayPal and your local bank will not offer you the best exchange rates, the only solution available to you is to consider popular options such as credit cards, wire transfers, or bank deposits.

But why not spend some time online trying to compare the other well-known options online?

Here’s the deal:

3 methods to send money to Nigeria

When all is said and done, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. While the Central Bank of Nigeria may have opted to institute stricter regulations, new ways have emerged that Nigerians living abroad can use to send money on mobile phones back home.

At the moment, any person looking to remit money back home can:

#1: send money to Nigeria as mobile money:

Send money via their smartphones app to send money to Nigeria using popular solutions such as AzimoXoom, or Wordremit.

With these apps the money transfer is instant, cheap and secure. Your recipient will get the money within minutes.

#2: send money to Nigeria with a P2P marketplace

Alternatively, they can also opt to use the peer-to-peer marketplaces such as TransferWise.


One thing to note about these marketplaces is that they are always promising better rates. It’s up to you to determine which rate works best for you based on the amount you want to send home.

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#3: send money to Nigeria using Bitcoin

Off topic, but also really interesting, is using bitcoins as sending medium and exchange the bitcoins to Naira by using a peer-to-peer marketplace such as Paxful.

While the aforementioned are viable solutions, they are just but an example of the solutions that you can rely on to send money to your family, friends, and business associates back in Nigeria.

But here’s the kicker:

Money transfer to Nigeria: Provider comparison

Now, that we know the different methods of sending money to Nigeria, let’s have a deeper look on the available providers.

Sending money to Nigeria with WorldRemit

WorldRemit offers the money transfer to Nigeria as cash pickup, as bank transfer, as mobile money and as airtime popup.

The bank transfer partner banks are: Fidelity, FCMB, FirstBank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank and Ecobank.

The mobile money partner wallets are Opay and PagaTech.

Maximum amount of a money transfer to Nigeria:  A maximum of NGN 7,000,000 per transfer and per day for bank transfers; Lower limits may apply depending on the country you make the transfer from and your payment method.

Calculation example: You send 100 USD, pay 4.99 USD of fee and your recipient gets 38,009 NGN with WorldRemit.


Sending money to Nigeria with Xoom

Xoom offers the money transfer to Nigeria as cash pickup and as bank transfer.

The bank transfer partner banks is Fidelity.

Calculation example: You send 100 USD, pay 4.99 USD of fee and your recipient gets 37,285 NGN with Xoom.

Sending money to Nigeria with Azimo

Azimo offers the money transfer to Nigeria as bank transfer and as airtime popup.

The bank transfer partner banks are: Zenith Bank, GTBank, UBA Bank, Fidelity, FirstBank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank and Ecobank.

Azimo does not offer its services in USA and Canada, but it is very good for money transfers from UK and Europe to Nigeria.
Calculation example: You send 100 GBP (78 USD), pay 1.99 GBP of fee and your recipient gets 41,942 NGN with Azimo.

Sending money to Nigeria with TransferWise

TransferWise offers the money transfer to Nigeria as bank transfer, because it’s a peer-to-peer marketplace.

Calculation example: You send 100 USD, pay 2.04 USD of fee and your recipient gets 37,420 NGN with TransferWise.

Send money to Nigeria: Best choice

After reviewing the different available providers for a money transfer to Nigeria the outcome is the following:

[Source: App for Money]

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