01 February 2021

In December 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a new set of regulations that affected the way money transfers could be paid out in Nigeria, meaning that they could no longer be paid out in Naira, only in US dollars. Consequently, anyone hoping to receive money via bank transfer from abroad would require a US dollar bank account in Nigeria.  

From the word ‘go’ WorldRemit was quick to respond to the changes. In fact, we were the first cross-border payments business to give customers the option of sending money to Nigeria in US dollars, for cash pickup or bank transfer. 

And now, we’re back helping you find out how to receive US dollars from abroad because we want to make things as simple as possible for you. 

Why open a US dollar bank account? 

Apart from enabling you to receive bank transfers from abroad, a US dollar bank account offers other advantages:

  • You can get a US dollar MasterCard or Visa card* to make purchases or use on trips overseas
  • You can transfer US dollars from one account to another within the same bank, using your mobile app or internet banking
  • With a Mastercard or internet banking; a US dollar bank account can be operated from anywhere in the world 
  • You can make purchases online and send money abroad - for example, pay for a loved one’s education overseas

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How to open a US dollar bank account in Nigeria

Most major banks in Nigeria offer US dollar accounts and have simple, user-friendly account policies. Each bank may have slightly different requirements for opening an account and will require varying minimum opening and operating balances. In general, you will be required to supply: 

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of your ID (driver’s license, International passport, National I.D Card, or any other acceptable ID by the bank)
  • A passport photograph
  • Completed reference forms
  • A utility bill issued within the last 3 months

For more specific details on how to open a US dollar account, please visit our correspondent banks’ websites:  FCMB, First Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, GT Bank, UBA and Union Bank.

How to withdraw money from US dollar accounts

So, once you’ve received money into your US dollar account from friends or family abroad; how do you withdraw it? Banks in Nigeria have different processes, however, they do follow a similar pattern, as they try to ensure proper documentation is in place.

Here are the general steps you’re most likely to follow: 

  1. Complete a cheque, counter-teller or a withdrawal form provided by the bank, indicating amount, name and signature
  2. The teller will verify your biometric (this happens for all cash withdrawals/banking transactions in Nigeria) using the Bank Verification Number (BVN) machine/portal
  3. Once your BVN details, along with other withdrawal requirements (e.g is your account active, the date on the cheque, names and verified signature) are confirmed, the teller will release the cash 
  4. Please note that charges apply for US dollar withdrawal on bank accounts and vary from bank to bank
  5. There are no interbank transfers on US dollar accounts, but interest is earned on savings
  6. You can transfer between two US dollar accounts within the same bank using your mobile app or internet banking platform depending on the bank

How to convert US dollars into Naira

To make the most of the money you receive from overseas, you’ll probably want to convert it from US dollars to Naira. That way you can pay bills, buy food and pay school fees. All you need to do is ask your bank to convert the money for you.

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How to receive a cash pickup transfer in Nigeria

Your family and friends can send you money via bank transfer and cash pickup for payout in US dollars.

Here’s how receiving money via cash pickup works:

  1. Ensure your sender uses your name as it appears on your ID and Bank Verification Number
  2. Both you and your sender will receive a WorldRemit reference number and PIN after your sender completes the transaction on the WorldRemit app or website
  3. To pick up your cash, go to any of our partner banks: Access, Fidelity, FCMB, FirstBank, GTBank, Polaris, UBA, Union Bank or Zenith Bank
  4. Complete the form provided by the bank
  5. The teller will process your transaction and hand over the cash to you
  6. You have an option to change the cash to Naira at any designated point of your choice
  7. You can also deposit funds into a US dollar account or open one with the funds at a bank of your choice
  8. You can also request a US dollar denominated card from the bank to use for online purchases among other things

WorldRemit’s ongoing support 

We were the first cross-border payments service to enable money transfers to Nigeria, for cash pickup and bank transfer in US dollars. Plus, we offer a great network coverage for both bank transfer and cash pickup.

International bank transfers to US dollar bank accounts are available through these partner banks: FCMB, First Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, GT Bank, UBA. And cash pickup is available from - Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, Polaris Bank, FCMB, First Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank. But watch this space - more banks will be coming on board soon.

And when you’ve been sent money from abroad, you can follow its progress every step of the way with our Transfer Tracker App. The app is free to download through the Google app store in a number of countries including Nigeria.

Download app

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* Depending on individual circumstances.