Nigeria accounts for over a third of international money transfers to Sub-Saharan Africa. In December, a new set of regulations were introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, directly impacting senders and recipients. Money transfers are now paid out in US dollars, and no longer in naira.
In response to the Directive, a number of international money transfer operators suspended their money transfers to Nigeria. WorldRemit was the first cross-border payments business to give customers the option of sending money to Nigeria in USD, for a cash pickup or bank transfer.
But that’s not where our commitment ends! We’re constantly looking for ways to support you and help you to stay connected. And so, we spoke to some of our Nigerian customers to find ways to support them even more.
Seun: “The safety of my recipients is my primary goal.”
Seun sends money to his parents and two sisters in Nigeria from the UK. With the current economic changes, he’s considering a cash pickup service as an alternative to bank transfers.
However, he wants to ensure that the payout arrangements are convenient for his family. “I’m hesitant to send large amounts of money for a cash pickup. People are getting desperate. As the new CBN directive said that the only possible way to receive money is a cash pickup in the bank, it changed everything for us without prior notice,” he said.
The current situation is particularly challenging for Seun’s parents. His primary focus is to ensure that they are safe. “I have saved some extra money to help my parents with Christmas expenses, but I don’t want to put them at risk of having to go to a bank and carry a large amount of money back home. They are quite elderly,” he shares.
Margaret: “Transparent process is more important than ever.”
Margaret regularly sends money from the UK to Nigeria for family support and to help fund local churches. Her recipients prefer to have funds deposited into their bank accounts. However, they are now getting familiar with cash pickups.
“If your recipient is elderly, difficulties with a transfer can get them frustrated. It’s important to be informed about the transaction status, such as when it’s available for collection or when the money was deposited into their account,” Margaret explains.
When the need for money comes up, it’s often a matter of urgency, which is one of the reasons why she chose WorldRemit as her money transfer partner. Ninety percent of bank transfers are completed on the same day, and ninety-five percent of cash pickup are ready for collection within three minutes.
Grace: “I prefer a bank transfer.”
Grace receives money for day-to-day expenses from her older siblings in Australia. She confirmed that during these challenging times, many Nigerians have had to look for extra jobs to help them get by.
According to Grace, the ideal situation would be to have access to both US dollars and naira. “For some things, you need to pay with dollars. But, if you go to the local market, the rate is much lower, so you get less for your money.”
Just like others, Grace prefers to receive money as a bank deposit. “Carrying cash has a lot of risks,” she explained.
Kathryn: “It’s difficult to exchange cash.”
Kathryn receives money from the UK, the US and Canada. She’s grateful for the help she gets as the situation in Nigeria has been challenging, particularly over the past year.
“A lot of Nigerian youth are unemployed; some haven’t even been able to graduate because of strikes in the education system. So, any financial help is a big boost. Lately, I’ve been receiving $400 per month in total, which is more than I’m able to earn here in Nigeria. It has changed my life,” she admitted.
Kathryn shares that it is challenging to exchange dollars to naira, as it’s not always easy to find a competitive or reasonable rate. “If you want to exchange an amount smaller than $1000, the exchange rate at local shops will be poor compared to the bank.”.
Leanne: “I must continue supporting my loved ones.”
Leanne, a Nigerian-born personal trainer, lives in the UK and sends money back home to her brother to support his business.
According to Leanne, Nigerians have been adversely impacted by naira scarcity. Luckily, her brother is keeping his businesses afloat thanks to the money transfers he receives from her, as well as the support he receives from other relatives and friends. “If you have a support system around you or abroad, it’s a lot easier. That’s why I need to be able to send money to him, especially now,” she added.
WorldRemit continues to support customers in Nigeria
WorldRemit is the first cross-border payments service to facilitate money transfers to Nigeria, for cash pickups and bank transfers in US dollars. International money transfers to US dollar bank accounts are already available through two of our partner banks: Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, FirstBank and GTBank, with more banks to be added quickly. We also recently launched a Transfer Tracker App which allows recipients of money transfers to track their funds. The app is free to download through the Google app store in a number of countries including Nigeria.
As we’re getting accustomed to the new policies, our goal is to continue providing smooth transfers to Nigeria by constantly creating opportunities for customers to support their family and friends.
We encourage all senders and recipients to get familiar with money transfer methods and to check our advice on sending money to Nigeria. Before you make your next transfer, please visit our FAQ page for more information.