Nigeria has a developed banking sector and both local and international banks have a presence in the country. Nevertheless, most expats prefer to keep an offshore bank account in a country they are comfortable with, opening a local account primarily for day-to-day living
Money in Nigeria
Nigeria’s currency is the Nigerian Naira (NGN), which is divided into 100 kobo.
The naira is available in the following denominations:
- Notes: 1,000 NGN, 500 NGN, 200 NGN, 100 NGN, 50 NGN, 20 NGN, 10 NGN and 5 NGN
- Coins: 1 NGN, 2 NGN and 50 kobo
Banking in Nigeria
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the main bank in Nigeria and the institution that regulates banking in the country. Other banks in Nigeria include, amongst others, Ecobank Nigeria, Access Bank, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria.
Banking systems in Nigeria, such as Internet banking, do exist and offer standard services, but are often down, and during these times only one’s bank balance will be available. Not to mention, personal information is not guaranteed to be safe, and the perception is that the system itself is pretty unreliable and way behind the times.
Opening a bank account in Nigeria
Nigeria is largely a cash-based society, so cash will still be necessary for many purchases. More establishments are starting to accept debit/credit cards as standard forms of payment for goods and services, but be sure to be extra wary when paying with a card, as fraud is a major concern.
If using a credit card for any transactions, expats should carefully look at their bank statements to ensure there has not been any credit card fraud. Expats should notify their bank before moving to Nigeria and using their card, as many banks will automatically cancel a card after just one Nigerian transaction.
A domiciliary account is a local, foreign currency denominated account. This means it accepts and moves other currencies, not just the Naira. Many expats recommend GTB (Guaranty Trust Bank) as the best and safest option to receive salaries locally and move money out to the country of their choice.