How to set up a bank account in Nigeria

16 Oct 2020 - Category: Blog /
Send money Nigeria

 Though Nigeria’s banking sector has grown over the past few years, the majority of the country’s adults are still underbanked, unbanked and financially excluded. Why is this important for money transfer? If you send money to Nigeria, a beneficiary with a bank account offers you as the sender, a greater number of ways to send.

According to this article by, based on data collected by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, 56% of Nigerian adults (which equates to just under 56m of the country’s 99.6 million adults) are unbanked in 2020.

Furthermore, as of 2018, about 36.8% of the adult population did not have access to any formal or informal financial services or products.

How can I help my beneficiary set up a bank account in Nigeria?

Even if you are now living overseas, but send money home to support your friends and family you can help them to open a bank account. This will give them better access to money in Nigeria and provide them with increased options for receiving money transfers.

Each Nigerian bank will have their own specific process and traditionally this would involve visiting a local branch, completing an application form and providing the bank with requested documentation.

Now though, due to technological advancements many accounts can also be opened online.

Looking at the different ways you can open an account with three of Small World’s main partners in Nigeria shows that each bank has their own way of doing things:

Polaris Bank:

Offering different types of savings and current accounts, these can be opened online through their self-service website.

Fidelity Bank:

With a number of different accounts, a form can be downloaded from their website and, once completed, submitted at the nearest branch. There is also the option to open an account online.

First Bank:

Offering a broad range of current accounts and savings accounts. The relevant form can be downloaded from their website and, once completed, can be submitted at the nearest branch.

For those who would prefer to open an account in person, it is worth checking what restrictions are currently in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We would recommend that anyone who wants to do this should contact their bank of choice in advance and ask to make an appointment.

What documents are needed to open a bank account in Nigeria?

Though this will differ from bank to bank, anyone wanting to open an account can typically expect to be asked for:

1) Passport photograph and signature

2) Bank Verification Number (BVN)

3) Valid means of identification (passport, driving licence, national ID)

4) Utility bill

5) Resident permit (for expatriates)

6) Two suitable references

What benefits are there to having a bank account? 

Your friends and family will get many benefits from opening a bank account, saving them a lot of time and helping to keep their money safe and secure. These include:

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Debit card
  • Cheque book
  • Money withdrawals from ATM machines
  • Regular/recurring outgoing payment
  • Salary/payments
  • Savings accounts

There may also be cost associates with opening an account, such as a monthly maintenance charges, this is something everyone should be aware of in advance and checked with the bank at the very start.

How does this help you send money to Nigeria?

  Another key benefit is that anyone with a bank account will be able to receive online money transfers and will no longer have to travel to their local branch or agent to collect money in person.

By using the Small World app, sending money online or through one of our branches or call centre, it will take only minutes for you to send money to Nigeria, directly into a bank account. With the advancement of smart technology and mobile money, plus the continuous need to be aware of social distancing, this type of digital transaction is of benefit to everyone and it all starts with a bank account.

The most popular ways to send money to Nigeria: 

  1. Cash pick-up
  2. Bank deposit
  3.   Anywhere pick up 

  Our main partners in Nigeria are Polaris Bank, Fidelity, First Bank, GT Bank, access, UBA.

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