How can I send money to an individual in Nigeria?

Yeah, yeah, I know, that sounds like something you should be warning me about, but this is not a scammer - this is a personal friend; I’ve been helping him build his YouTube channel and he’s a wonderful example of a hard working, honest Nigerian.

Sometimes I need to send him money - when we work on a video together that I publish on my channel, I share some of my revenue with him, and there’s a GoFundMe which I am managing on his behalf (you can’t even sign up for GoFundMe if you live in Nigeria).

I used to send him the revenue shares, etc via Western Union or MoneyGram (yes, the same methods the scammers always wanted people to use), but a month or two ago, the Central Nigerian Bank stopped all incoming transfers being made so they arrive in the local currency (Naira) - so it’s now only possible to send US Dollars via MoneyGram and Western Union, but this is problematic, because such transfers cannot be withdrawn as cash, and so can only be paid into a US Dollar account, which is expensive to set up and maintain.

So I thought we had that sorted when we switched to using bitcoin - which was easy for me to purchase and transfer, and easy for him to pay into his local account, converting to Naira in the process.

Then last weekend, the Central Nigerian Bank basically banned cryptocurrency in Nigeria - of course, by the very nature of cryptocurrency, they can’t actually ban it, but what they have done is make it illegal for any finance institution to deal in crypto, so there’s no way to convert it into local currency.

I have tried direct bank to bank transfer once, and it worked, but it was very expensive (15 GBP in fees for a transfer of 30GBP) and it took 10 days to execute the transfer.

So now, I’m stuck. Does anyone know of an effective and totally above-board method to transfer money to Nigeria, in such way that a local recipient can make use of it as local currency?

PayPal ?

ETA: It’s not a given that this would work for your ‘partner:’

You need a website to be able to receive money through PayPal in Nigeria.


All transactions are currently denominated in United States Dollars (USD). Naira, the official currency of Nigeria, is currently not supported.

Sorry - yeah, we tried PayPal too - you can only sign up if you have a business of some sort

Have you heard of Google Play Card?

Seriously, would some form of eCard work?

The thing I need to also be careful of is exposing him to risk - if I send him gift cards and he has to try to resell them, that could necessitate contact with shady characters.

If you give him the card number, wouldn’t he be able to redeem the cards in Google Play Store? (assuming he can open an account)

Well, sure, but then what? He needs to buy beans and onions at the market.

Sorry, I thought there was some way to get the cash off the card if desired. ( I don’t use gift cards so I’m not really familiar with the mechanics.)

OK, it does look like you can withdraw a google play balance back to your bank

Can your friend open a bank account in the UK, EU, Switzerland, or wherever you can transfer money to for free? Then he could withdraw funds from an ATM cash machine using a debit card.

We’ve looked into that - it seems like it’s expensive in terms of maintenance charges on such an account

Oh, looks like Google Pay is no go.

Important: Only people in the US or UK can have a Google Pay balance.

This looks like the cause of the problem:

Nigeria Alert: CBN Curbs Naira Remittances From Money Transfer Providers

The Nigerian remittance market has been thrown into chaos after the CBN announced a new directive obligating that international money transfer operators (IMTOs) support transfers to Nigeria in US dollars only, effectively abandoning the naira as a remittance currency.

You could look into prepaid debit cards, if it’s possible to load funds onto a card from outside Nigeria, or even mail him a card.

They definitely used to make prepaid debit cards with an IBAN number printed on the back, that you could activate online on the issuing bank’s web site, transfer money to just like to a normal bank account, and use for online or in-person purchases, to withdraw cash while traveling, or anything else you might do with a debit card.

I have no suggestions. Just popping in because this thread reminds me of an article I read years ago in the International Herald Tribune. It was about the Europe rep of Nigeria’s central bank. He had the unenviable task of trying to drum up investment from European business leaders. He said some businessmen set up a meeting solely to see if he was for real but then would not give him any money anyway. He was quite philosophical about it.

Is is practical for both of you to wait until a larger amount is due, assuming the bank fees aren’t a percentage of the total.

Do you mean ‘cannot’ or ‘there is no bank nearby that does WU cash pickup’ ? Because I think that in Nigeria, the exchange controls may be restricting exchange to deposit banks, rather than to deposit accounts.

Also, does he have a phone? You may be able to arrange a deposit into his phone account – that counts as electronic transfer all the way, and some businesses offer it for some countries.

I mean they refuse to action the transfer. When the CBN first made the changes regarding transfers in Naira, we learned of it when I tried to transfer some money via WU - the local bank would not pay/convert the transfer into a Naira account and they would not pay out in cash, either converted to NGN or in USD - they said the only way to receive it was to have a separate account with USD as its currency, and that account turned out to have pretty horrific monthly fees - presumably tolerable for business, but punitive for a private individual

It looks like there is a transfer service called TransferGo that will pay the recipient via a credit transaction to their debit card. I’m going to try that (with some small trial amount first).

Sending things via post is also problematic - there is only about a 60% chance of posted items making it to their destination. I sent a parcel in November and it just never arrived, the tracking says ‘disposed at instruction of recipient’ - TNT says this indicates that the person I sent it to turned it away, but nobody ever contacted him about delivery - we suspect the parcel was just stolen in transit and this failure reason entered to close it off. Nobody would entertain any claims for compensation, because the records indicated that the receiving customer had chosen not to receive it.