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How to open a USD bank account in Nigeria

18 Feb 2021 - Category: Blog /
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You might remember that on November30th 2020 the Central Bank of Nigeria made changes to the way you can send money to the country. As a quick recap, any money transfer to Nigeria will now be paid out in USD. This is the same whether your beneficiary receives their money as cash or as a digital transfer into their bank account.

Your friend, family member or loved one can then change those dollars into Naira, if they wish. They can do this using the same bank where their funds were received or with any other currency exchange provider. We know this shift to USD might sound confusing, so we have also created a FAQ about the situation in Nigeria. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. While you work hard to make sure your family at home are provided with everything they need, we work hard to make it possible for you to do so.

In this blog we will talk you through how to open a USD account in Nigeria.

We’ll be sure to answer:

Thankfully, it’s all good news and nothing for you or your family to worry about, so let’s have a look…

Can I open a USD bank account online in Nigeria?

Most importantly, it will reassure you to know that your friends and family in Nigeria can open a USD bank account and continue to receive money you send to them. Some banks require accounts to be opened in person, with an application and relevant documents (we cover this later) to be taken to your nearest branch.

If that’s not possible, there are plenty of other USD accounts which can be opened online. All you need to do is follow a simple process that we can run through with you now.

For example, you can open a Domiciliary Account (a type of current account that allows you to fund it with foreign currencies such as dollars) with Polaris Bank using their online application form. Another option is Union Bank’s Domiciliary Account, this is a foreign currency account which allows customers to save in USD (as well as Euros or GBP). This can be opened online by completing and emailing the relevant application form.

Which documents do I need to open a USD bank account in Nigeria?

Each bank will have its own requirements - listed below is a list of three documents that the majority of banks will require. This is a good starting point:

  1. Passport photo
  2. Proof of identification: Nigerian passport, driver’s licence, national ID or voters' card
  3. Proof of address: Recent utility bill, recent bank or credit card statement, tenancy agreement

Worth noting, the proof of address might also need to be certified. This means that it must be signed by a trustworthy professional to confirm that it belongs to the person opening the account.

Examples of the type of people who can certify documents include lawyers, solicitors and embassy workers. The banks will have a full list of who else can do this. Each bank’s website will have further details regarding the application process and documents required.

Your family can also contact their local branch if they need anything explaining, making it easy and quick for them to open their new USD account.

Which bank is the best in Nigeria?

You will know as well as us, there are lots of different banks in Nigeria - more than 20 in fact. But, let’s keep things simple and just focus on the ones where we have direct experience. These are the banks that we know provide customers with everything they need.

Polaris Bank - Established in September 2018, it now has over 350 branches across Nigeria. With its Mobile Banking app and secure and convenient online services, it could be a good option if your family want to use their phone or computer for their banking.

Union Bank - Established in 1917, Union Bank is a respected institution with 284 service centres and over 934 ATMs across Nigeria. Offering both a Domiciliary Savings account and Domiciliary Current account, if you send USD to Nigeria for savings then this will benefit your family.

Fidelity Bank - Began operations in 1988 and now has over 5m customers. Its online account portal allows new customers to open a savings or current account in just a few easy steps.

Ecobank - The “Pan African Bank”, Ecobank has over 1,300 branches in 36 countries. With a focus on customer service, including friendly advice and support in every branch, it’s a good option if your family is looking for the personal touch.

How can I transfer money to Nigeria today?

You can continue to send money to Nigeria today using the same methods as you are used to. Of course, the vast majority of you will send money home using either bank deposit or cash pick up. But, did you know you can also send money to be picked up at the most convenient location for your recipient - at the time the money is sent?

With Small World you can also still complete your transactions via your local agent or Small World branch, over the phone, online or by using our app. We’re here to make it as easy as possible as you get used to the new changes.

Send money to Nigeria

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