How to send money from or to Nigeria

May 1, 2024Money transferKimboCare
2024-05-01T06:41:00.000Z2024-05-01T06:41:00.000ZHow to send money from or to Nigeria

Dunmi, a Nigerian student living in London, juggles her studies at university with part-time work at Tesco on weekends and evenings. Despite the demands of her academic and work life, Dunmi's thoughts often stray to her family back home in Nigeria. Her parents, siblings, and elderly relatives rely on her financial support for various needs.

For Dunmi, money transfers are not just transactions; they are lifelines connecting her to her loved ones and providing essential support across continents. Every penny she earns from her job is carefully budgeted and allocated to meet her family's needs; whether it's paying for medical bills, buying groceries, or contributing to rent.

Money transfers play a crucial role in supporting her family's livelihood. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide, not only to better understand the legal and tax aspects related to these transactions but also to choose the most suitable transfer method for your needs when sending or receiving money to Nigeria. We will discuss the fastest, least expensive, and most appropriate options depending on whether you want to support specific needs such as education or healthcare.


What are the different channels to send and receive money in Nigeria?

First and foremost, it is important to note that Nigeria is currently experiencing a severe monetary crisis, characterized by a significant devaluation of its currency, the naira.

Although fallback solutions have been proposed for households (which we will discuss later), this drop in value presents the population with an extremely high exchange rate when converting nairas to dollars.

The strength of the US dollar against the naira increases economic pressure on senders, making financial support to families back home more expensive.

This tense economic situation not only exposes the structural vulnerabilities of the Nigerian economy but also directly impacts the daily lives of its citizens, particularly in a context where remittances play a vital role in supporting households.

1 - Traditional Banks

Traditional banking services are among the reliable and secure options for sending and receiving money in Nigeria.

Advantages:

  • Security and trust: Banks are regulated by financial oversight agencies, offering a high level of security and protection for your funds.
  • Additional services: In addition to money transfers, banks offer a range of financial services, such as investment advice, loans, and credit facilities.
  • Direct international transfers: You can send money directly from your bank account to an account in Nigeria, simplifying the process without the need for intermediaries.

Disadvantages:

  • High costs: Transfer fees and exchange rates can be particularly high, especially in Nigeria where exchanging dollars for naira is difficult. Additional costs can accumulate, particularly with frequent transfers or large amounts.
  • Slower process: Processing international transfers can take several business days, which is not ideal for urgent needs such as healthcare.
  • Complexity and documentary requirements: Sending funds abroad through banks may require comprehensive documentation and administrative formalities, making the process sometimes cumbersome.
  • Need for a bank account: This requirement can be a major barrier, especially in Nigeria where a significant portion of the population does not have access to traditional banking services. This financial barrier limits access to money transfers for those who may need it most.

2 - Online Services and Apps

Online services such as Wise (formerly TransferWise), WorldRemit, PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App have revolutionized how we send and receive money across the globe.

They offer a convenient and often more economical alternative to traditional money transfer methods, suited to our digital era.

Further on in this article, you will find our ranking of the fastest and least expensive ways to send or receive money in Nigeria.

Advantages:

  • Speed and ease of use: These platforms enable fast, often instantaneous, money transfers with just a few clicks online or through a mobile app. Their intuitive user interface makes the process accessible to everyone.
  • Cost-effective: The fees charged by these services are generally lower than those of traditional banks, particularly for international transactions. They also offer competitive exchange rates, which can lead to significant savings.

Disadvantages:

  • Need for an account on the same platform: To receive money through these services, the recipient often needs to have an account. This can be a barrier for those who are not accustomed to using such services or who lack access to technological means in Nigeria. Withdrawals might also be limited to the banks or services accessible to your loved ones.
  • Lack of customization for specific needs: These services are not specifically designed for needs such as healthcare access. They do not provide the assurance that every cent transferred will be used for medical purposes or to improve the well-being of loved ones.
  • Lack of transparency and tracking: Although these platforms offer some transparency regarding fees and the transfer process, they do not provide a detailed mechanism to track how funds are specifically used once received. This is crucial for donors who want to ensure that their financial support is directly allocated to specific needs, such as healthcare for their loved ones.
  • Geographical limitations: Often, these apps are designed to operate primarily in one country or specific region, which poses a problem for immigrants wishing to financially support their relatives in Nigeria.
  • Data security: While these apps take steps to protect users' financial information, concerns about the security of personal data remain.

3 - The eNaira and cryptocurrencies on the rise

As previously explained, Nigeria is going through a complex period marked by a notable shortage of cash.

This situation has its roots in 2022, when the authorities seized the opportunity during a currency redesign to reduce the amount of money in circulation.

The goal was twofold: to combat inflation and counterfeiting, while promoting their Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira.

However, the anticipated replacement of the 200 ₦, 500 ₦, and 1,000 ₦ notes led to a severe currency shortage, severely impacting the country's informal economy and leading to a surge in exchange rates, making cash more expensive than its face value

Households even had to cope with limitations on cash withdrawals at banks. This situation more or less forced those who could to turn to the eNaira, which saw its value increase by 63% this year.

The adoption of the digital currency has offered significant security benefits, reducing the risk for families of exposing their loved ones to dangers by carrying large sums of money from banks.

Nevertheless, for the majority of Nigerians, who do not have access to these new forms of digital payment, challenges remain, leaving a large part of the population facing ongoing obstacles in their daily lives.

3.1 - The solution of online credit purchasing

If you want to support your loved ones in Nigeria, especially in the health sector, health credits offer a solution that combines speed, security, and positive impact.

KimboCare was founded based on the experiences of two African immigrants who faced the challenges of supporting their family's health back in Africa while navigating their own lives in the United States and Europe, a story similar to Dunmi's that we mentioned in the introduction.

This story is not unique, but our response to this challenge is truly distinctive.

KimboCare was created to transform the way we care for our families from afar, whether in Nigeria or other developing countries.

Now, you can purchase digital health credits so your loved ones can access preventive and curative care services without needing a bank account or a digital currency platform.

This process is simple, straightforward, and can be executed from anywhere, at any time. These credits will be immediately usable by patients who will be welcomed in medical facilities consistently verified and controlled by KimboCare.

Rather than just sending money, often without assurance that it will be used for necessary healthcare or without being able to ensure the quality of care received, health credits provide a transparent and secure solution.

You thus receive real-time tracking of medical services purchased with the health credits, ensuring that every penny genuinely contributes to the health and well-being of the recipient.

The commitment lies in empowering vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, to access quality healthcare, thereby contributing to a longer and healthier life.

The entire utility of health credits lies in the protection of your data with advanced encryption protocols, offering you additional peace of mind as you contribute to the health of your loved ones.


The fastest ways to send money to/from in Nigeria

To send or receive money in Nigeria quickly, several options are available to you, each with its own specific features, advantages, and limitations. It is crucial to choose the method that best meets your needs while considering speed, costs, and particular requirements.

Health Credits

By purchasing health credits, you can ensure that your financial support is used directly for quality health services.

For urgent health needs, prefer services offering instant or same-day transfers. Some platforms like KimboCare directly inform the patient via an SMS or a call.

Not only does this allow for an efficient and fast transfer of funds, but it also ensures that your money contributes to a vital cause: the health of your loved ones.

Purchasing health credits frees you from the uncertainties and delays often associated with traditional money transfers.

When you buy health credits for a loved one in Nigeria, the recipient can access the necessary care without delay, thanks to a network of reliable and verified medical partners.

Moreover, you benefit from total transparency and real-time tracking of the medical services provided, which is not always the case with other money transfer methods.

Online Services and Mobile Apps

Online services and mobile apps are often the fastest for money transfers.

Platforms like PayPal, Western Union, WorldRemit, and TransferWise (now Wise) enable nearly instantaneous transfers.

However, it is important to note that these speeds can vary depending on the amount sent and the necessary security verifications.

Some platforms limit the amount you can send over a given period without additional verification, while others may require detailed information about the recipient for compliance reasons.

International Banks

International bank transfers can also be fast, especially if both parties use the same bank or banks with cooperative agreements.

Nevertheless, interbank transfers can be subject to delays due to stricter verification processes and the need to go through clearing systems.

Amount limits and specific requirements vary significantly from one bank to another. This is particularly important in Nigeria, where most households face restrictions on their withdrawals."

The least expensive ways to send money to/from Nigeria

Sending or receiving money from a loved one involves adopting a strategic approach to minimize costs while ensuring the safety and efficiency of transactions.

Online services and mobile apps often offer more favorable rates than traditional banks, thanks to their reduced cost structures.

Although PayPal is well-known for online payments, Xoom, a service of PayPal, is optimized for international transfers, offering reasonable fees and competitive exchange rates.

Indeed, the exchange rate is a crucial factor in the total cost of an international money transfer. Nigeria presents a kaleidoscope of exchange rates, reflecting the complexity of its financial market, particularly with the current economic crisis the country is experiencing.

Between the official rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the black market rate, individuals wishing to send money to their loved ones need to navigate skillfully to meet their financial needs while complying with constantly evolving regulations.

This multiplicity of rates, although critical for maintaining the stability of the Naira, has raised questions about its impact on foreign investments.

It is important to note that a recent regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) now limits the ability for Nigerians living abroad to send dollars or other foreign currencies directly to bank accounts in Nigeria.

This measure can be seen as a significant advantage for solutions like KimboCare, which do not transfer money directly but allow people to support their loved ones through vouchers or health credits.

This decision, reflecting a significant shift in the foreign currency management policy, directs international financial flows towards more regulated frameworks.

In Nigeria, traditional methods such as bank transfers and in-person exchanges through networks of friends or family still largely dominate financial transactions.

According to Findex data, a large majority of Nigerian adults managed money transfers last year.

Among them, nearly half (46%) used a bank account for their transactions. Another third (36%) preferred hand-to-hand deliveries or exclusively cash transactions.

The use of mobile phones for these transfers, although on the rise, remains a minority with only 14% of users, contrasting with countries like Uganda where 82% of adults use this method.

Money transfer services (MTOs) are even less used, representing only 2% of the activity.

Before choosing a service, compare transaction fees, applied exchange rates, and look for reviews to ensure reliability and security.

Opting for platforms that offer a transparent exchange rate and the closest possible to the market rate without hidden fees can greatly reduce the costs of money transfers to Nigeria.

Are Zero-Fee transfers Possible?

Platforms like TransferWise (now Wise) and Remitly are known for their competitive costs and transparency.

Although the offer of fee-free money transfers may seem appealing, it can often be misleading, especially in countries like Nigeria, where the economy is highly unstable.

Money transfer companies need to generate revenue to operate, and if they do not charge explicit transfer fees, they may recoup these costs in other ways.

This can include applying less favorable exchange rates, which means your money loses value en route, or introducing ancillary fees once you engage in the transfer process.

Therefore, it is important to be vigilant about hidden fees, which can appear as additional service charges or indirect costs.

Reading the service terms carefully can save you from unpleasant surprises.

When the purpose of your money transfer is specifically to support the healthcare needs of your loved ones in Nigeria, purchasing health credit emerges as an innovative solution offering affordable costs.

This guarantees that your loved ones will receive the necessary best healthcare while avoiding unnecessary fees or exchange rate fluctuations.

You know exactly what care was provided, when, and at what cost, ensuring that your contribution has the desired impact.

Furthermore, no money transfer is required, thus minimizing the risk of hidden fees.


Transferring funds to Nigeria according to different needs

Sending money to Nigeria goes well beyond a simple transaction; it is a manifestation of support, love, and investment in the future of your loved ones.

Whether it's promoting access to education or ensuring family health, each Naira sent carries the potential for change and empowerment, enabling your loved ones to pursue their dreams and build a better future for themselves and their communities.

Education and Employment

Investing in education is a priority for many families.

Money transfers intended to cover tuition fees, books, equipment, and supplies can be made through banks or online transfer services that offer direct delivery options to educational institutions or specific bank accounts.

This direct approach minimizes intermediaries and ensures that funds reach their intended purpose.

Moreover, it is important to know that in Nigeria, many people are unemployed. This is the case for Chinedu, who, like many young Nigerians, has faced an oversaturated job market and repeated strikes in the educational system that have delayed his academic course preventing him from obtaining his university degree.

Without stable employment, he relies on money transfers sent by his older brother, Emeka, who works as a computer engineer in London.

Aware of the precarious situation of Chinedu and their family remaining in Nigeria, Emeka makes an effort to send money regularly.

Each month, he transfers about 400 dollars to his family.

This amount, while modest in his new country of residence, represents more than what Chinedu could hope to earn in Nigeria.

Thanks to these transfers, Chinedu can not only meet his daily needs, but they have also enabled him to participate in vocational training and to actively seek employment without the immediate pressure of poverty.

Healthcare

When it comes to taking care of those who are far away, the biggest concern is often the certainty that the help sent truly reaches its intended purpose, especially in terms of healthcare.

This concern is not unfounded, as finding a competent and reliable healthcare professional for loved ones in Nigeria can turn a simple task into a real challenge, especially in emergency situations.

The weeks of research to locate an adequate doctor, the stress of having to navigate a complex healthcare system from a distance without any guarantee of quality or efficiency, and the fear of incurring additional "unofficial" fees, are significant barriers to equitable access to healthcare.

The story of Dunmi comes to mind, as does that of Amina, a mother of three living in Lagos.

Although Lagos has a higher number of healthcare facilities compared to other regions, accessing quality care remains a challenge.

Disparities in care quality, inconsistencies in applied standards, and variability in healthcare providers’ expertise exacerbate this problem.

As a result, residents, such as Amina, often face great uncertainty when seeking medical care.

When Amina was confronted with a complex chronic illness, she often found herself helpless due to a lack of information.

Details about her condition were hard to obtain, and she sensed a reluctance among doctors to clearly communicate about the available treatment options, thus intensifying the feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty experienced by her brother, Uche.

Uche emigrated to Canada a few years ago and has long felt powerless about his sister’s illness back in Nigeria.

However, everything changed when a friend living in New York told him about KimboCare.

This platform allowed expatriates like him to directly send health credits for quality healthcare for their loved ones in their home country, while ensuring transparency and follow-up.

Intrigued and eager to support his sister more effectively, Uche quickly signed up and began using the service for Amina's care.

Thanks to KimboCare, Amina was able to undergo a series of necessary medical examinations to accurately assess her health condition.

Not only were the results clearly communicated, but a detailed treatment plan was established, transforming her care experience.

She finally felt heard and cared for, with monthly visits scheduled with her care team, ensuring regular and reassuring follow-up, an expense she could not have afforded otherwise.

This is where KimboCare makes a difference by enabling expatriates to pay directly for preventive and curative health services for their families in Nigeria.

It's not just a platform; it's peace of mind, knowing that your financial support directly translates into quality healthcare.

Instead of merely sending money, you can purchase health credits that will be used exclusively for medical care from reliable and verified local medical partners.

This method not only ensures that your funds are used as intended, but it also eliminates the stress and uncertainty associated with managing healthcare from afar.

Furthermore, KimboCare intervenes as needed to coordinate communications with the medical staff to ensure the best possible experience for your loved ones.

Thus, you can easily identify reliable medical facilities and most importantly, follow the care and receive feedback from your loved ones themselves.


Food

Ensuring that our loved ones have access to adequate and nutritious food is a fundamental concern, especially in regions where access to quality food can be limited by financial constraints.

Sending money to cover food needs not only supports the physical well-being of our families but also contributes to their happiness and daily security.

Nigerian cuisine, rich in flavors and traditions, is a vibrant reflection of the country's cultural diversity. Basic ingredients such as palm or peanut oil, spices, and herbs are used to create comforting dishes that are more than just nourishment for the body; they also feed the soul of the local communities.

Take, for example, Jollof rice, a staple of Nigerian cuisine. This iconic dish combines rice, tomatoes, peppers, and Scotch bonnet chilies in a rich and spicy broth, reflecting the fusion of cultures and flavors that characterize Nigeria.

Nearly every Nigerian, whether at home or abroad, knows how to prepare this symbolic dish, which reminds them of family ties and cultural roots.

Soups and stews, such as Ogbono soup, Egusi soup, and Afrang soup, also play a central role in daily nutrition. These dishes, often accompanied by various meats and vegetables, provide comfort to those far from home, reminding them of the flavors of their childhood.

These dishes are more than just food; they are a reminder of home for expatriates and a tangible way to keep traditions alive, even thousands of miles away.

For Nigerians living abroad, sending money home often goes beyond mere financial aid; it's a way to ensure that their families can access these traditional ingredients and dishes.

Every money transfer is thus a way to perpetuate traditions, support local communities, and maintain a vital link with their cultural heritage.

These acts of sending money support not only immediate needs but also reinforce social and cultural bonds, which are essential to the cohesion and well-being of families back home.

Our Safety Tips for making money transfers from/to Nigeria

In an ideal world, sending and receiving money across borders would be as simple and safe as making a phone call.

However, the reality of international money transfers can often be complex, with risks of fraud and scams targeting the most vulnerable.

Verify and Validate Your Fund Destination

Ensure that the money you send reaches the person you intend to help.

This might seem obvious, but in urgent situations, mistakes can occur.

Double-check the recipient's contact details and information before proceeding with any transfer.

We recommend opting for recognized and well-established money transfer services that offer complete transparency about the path your funds take throughout the process.

Do Not Trust Overly Tempting Offers

Scammers often use the promise of extremely favorable exchange rates or zero transaction fees to lure their victims.

If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Similarly, a common scam tactic is to create a sense of urgency, such as a fake health issue of a relative, to push you to send money quickly without verification.


Never Share Your Personal Information

Be vigilant with your personal and financial data. Fraudsters may attempt to obtain it via phone, email, or social networks.

A legitimate company will never ask you to provide sensitive information through these channels.

It is better to turn to a solution where data is protected with advanced encryption protocols and you have access control.


Ensure You Track Your Funds

It is very important to have a record of each money transfer as it can prove invaluable in case of any issues.

This information allows you to trace and contest any suspicious transactions.

After sending money, check with your recipient to confirm the receipt of funds.

This simple step can help you quickly detect any potential fraud.

The best help you can get for sending or receiving money from Nigeria is from an agency that ensures every penny is invested in specific needs (such as healthcare costs), with zero risk of misappropriation by unreliable intermediaries.


An Overview of Money Transfer Laws in Nigeria

Let's dive into the heart of Nigeria, a vibrant nation where money transfers provide significant support for many families and businesses.

This assistance mainly comes from the United States, but also from Canada and the United Kingdom.

This sector is governed by strict rules set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), designed to ensure that every Naira transferred helps to build a more transparent and secure future for all.

The CBN, as the guardian of the economy, revised its guidelines for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) in 2024, establishing a rigorous framework to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

To operate, these IMTOs must navigate through various approval procedures and meet compliance requirements, including maintaining substantial minimum capital and presenting tangible proof of their capacity to operate ethically and responsibly.

According to the World Bank, Nigeria experienced a real revolution in the realm of fund transfers just before 2005, seeing its figures jump from less than 5 billion to over 15 billion dollars in 2006.

Currently, the flow of remittances to Nigeria exceeds 20 billion dollars, positioning the country among the top global destinations for money transfers.

This sum, equivalent to about 5% of Nigeria's gross domestic product (GDP), plays a crucial role as a major source of foreign currency and income for countless families across the country.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria's balance of payments data for 2022, this amount underscores a remarkable rebound in remittance flows since 2006.


Taxation Laws for Sending or Receiving Money in Nigeria

In 2022, Nigeria introduced a new dimension in the management of financial transactions with the Electronic Levy Regulation.

This measure imposes a tax on each electronic transaction exceeding a certain threshold, aimed at encouraging greater fiscal responsibility and optimizing state revenue.

Under the Regulation, a fixed levy of 50 Naira is applied to recipients for each electronic receipt or transfer of an amount of 10,000 Naira or more.

When these transactions are conducted in a currency other than the Naira, the levy is adjusted based on the exchange rate established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This is a step further towards modernizing the Nigerian financial system, ensuring that each transaction contributes to national growth.

Beyond taxes, International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) must renew their licenses annually and establish a physical presence in Nigeria, thus ensuring direct engagement with the market they serve.

This requirement highlights the importance placed by the CBN on proximity to consumers and the transparency of financial operations.

At KimboCare, we emphasize the importance of being well-informed about these aspects, as it not only helps ensure hassle-free money transfers but also supports our mission to provide equitable and affordable access to services, such as healthcare, for those in need in Nigeria.

FAQ

How can I send money from/to Nigeria in the safest way possible?

To ensure the safety of your money transfer to Nigeria, choose recognized services with robust security protocols. Always check user reviews and ensure that the service is regulated by competent financial authorities.

If you are sending money to cover healthcare expenses, opt for recognized services with strong security protocols. Our platform ensures that each financial partner adheres to high security standards, thus guaranteeing that your funds reach your loved ones safely.

Are money transfers to Nigeria taxed?

A CBN measure imposes a tax on each electronic transaction exceeding a certain threshold, aimed at encouraging greater fiscal responsibility and optimizing state revenue.

Under the Regulation, a fixed levy of 50 Naira is applied to recipients for each electronic receipt or transfer of an amount of 10,000 Naira or more.

How long does a money transfer to Nigeria take?

The transfer time can vary depending on the service used. Electronic transfers can be instant or take a few hours, while traditional methods like bank transfers may take several business days.

For urgent health needs, prioritize services that offer instant or same-day transfers. Some platforms like KimboCare directly inform the patient via SMS or a call.

What are the typical fees associated with sending money from/to Nigeria?

Fees vary widely depending on the chosen service, the amount sent, and the payment method. Some services charge a percentage of the transferred amount, while others apply fixed fees. Look for options that offer full transparency on fees to avoid surprises.

Are there any amount limits for sending money to/from Nigeria?

Yes, most money transfer services impose limits, which can vary depending on the chosen transfer method and service regulations. It is also important to note that your recipients might face bank withdrawal limits locally.

It is essential to check these limits before making a transfer, especially if you plan to send large sums for needs such as covering medical expenses.

How can I ensure I get the best exchange rate when sending money to/from Nigeria?

Compare exchange rates offered by different services before making your transfer. Some services allow you to lock in a favorable exchange rate in advance or offer more competitive exchange rates for larger amounts.

However, Nigeria is currently experiencing a severe economic crisis, leading to currency devaluation with very high exchange rates. Be wary of hidden fees that can affect the final amount received!

How can my recipients in Nigeria receive money?

Recipients in Nigeria can receive the money via direct deposits into their bank accounts, cash withdrawals at local service points, or even, for some services, by home delivery. Make sure to choose a receipt method that best suits your recipient in terms of convenience and security.

Regarding health credits, each credit purchased can then be offered to your loved ones for access to quality care in approved medical facilities.

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