Not too long ago, I was ecstatic after landing my first gig on Upwork. You know that feeling when you’ve been hitting at palm kernel for a while, and the outer shell finally cracks – that’s exactly how I felt. I completed the task and the client paid for the service without delay. I realised that I was faced with new palm kernels as I couldn’t transfer my earnings from Upwork to my Nigerian bank account. I decided to write this post to help anyone who might find himself/herself in a similar situation.
I checked the withdrawal options available and saw Skrill, Payoneer and Bank Transfer. Since the money involved wasn’t much, option three was off the menu. I already had a Skrill account so I worked with it. Afterwards, I exchanged it for Naira through an exchanger I found online. All I had to do was transfer the money to the person’s account and he transferred an agreed Naira equivalent to my account.
When you are working or trading online, there’s always the challenge of how to move money. For a Konga merchant who imports his items from China, he has to change his naira to dollar or yuan. An artist who sells his art to foreign buyers will need to a way to use his money in Nigeria. After receiving the money into an e-wallet, it needs to be transferred to a Nigerian naira-denominated bank account.
This is what we’ll be examining today.
There are a good number of currency wallets currently available. I’ll list a few of them below:
- PayPal: PayPal is an American company that makes it possible to receive/send money through email addresses. The Nigerian PayPal account is restricted from receiving funds. It can only pay for goods and services.
- Skrill: Formerly called Moneybookers, Skrill is a virtual wallet where you can store your funds. Opening an account is easy and is possible in a few minutes
- Payoneer: A plus with Payoneer is that you can apply for an ATM card in Nigeria. When you open a Payoneer account, they send you a Payoneer MasterCard, which you can use at any ATM and for online shopping.
Other currency wallets are:
- Perfect Money
- Ok Pay
I find that I like to manage my earnings myself and of all the options above, Payoneer is hands-down the best option for me. All my online earnings are sent to a Mastercard which I have in my hands and in the event of an emergency, I can walk to an ATM and use it. Furthermore, Payoneer exempts me from the $100 restriction placed by Nigerian banks, as I can spend as much as I can (as long as I earned it). The simple, straightforward process of signing up has been covered in another post.
If you would rather use a wallet and shop around for the best rates each time you want to transfer money, then read on. For today, I will be profiling nine services that help you do this.
Naira4dollar has been around for a while. According to the website, the service has existed since 2006. They currently have seven offices across Lagos and Ibadan. They exchange PayPal, Perfect Money, Web Money and Bitcoin.
eTradeXchange does exchanges for Perfect Money, Bitcoin, WebMoney, OK Pay, Payza, Skrill, Neteller and PayPal. eTradeXchange does not accept payments through ATM transfer and all forms of Mobile Money Payment. The minimum amount you can exchange is $10.
In addition to currency exchanges, Nigeria Gold Exchange offers selling of virtual credit/debit cards and Pay4me services. They have a physical office in Port Harcourt. Here is an information on how to sell your foreign currencies on their website. They offer exchanges for: Perfect Money, WebMoney, Payza, SolidTrust Pay, PayPal, and Skrill.
365exchange promises to process transactions within two hours or less. They offer Perfect Money, Bitcoin, and Payoneer exchanges.
TopUpGold has an office in Calabar. They offer Payoneer, PayPal, Skrill, Perfect Money, Bitcoin, and Neteller.
Ijamexchange has been in the currency exchange field for over eight years. They cover virtually all the e-wallets highlighted so far such as Perfect Money, WebMoney, Bitcoin, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Ok Pay, SolidTrust Pay, Payoneer and Payza. Their office is at Ikorodu, Lagos.
Naira2usd doesn’t display its rates directly on the website. To see the current rates, you’ll have to fill the simple form stating if you want to buy/sell currencies. Even with filling this form, they don’t display rates for PayPal, Skrill and Neteller. You’ll have to contact them on WhatsApp for those.
Naira2usd has an office in Onitsha, Anambra state.
Nairaland has a thread dedicated to currency exchanges of all kinds. It’s a bit rowdy like a conventional marketplace but you can get good deals. Competition between exchangers helps keep prices in check. The major issue here is scammers preying on the openness of the market.
The forum’s anonymity provides a good cover for scammers who are steadily on the prowl. Some concerned members came up with a list of scammers and their contact details. Also available is a free escrow service where certain reputable members act as escrow between two transacting parties. It’s advisable to do your diligence on any exchanger (e.g. searching their phone number in the Nairaland search bar, going through their old posts) and using escrow.
Doyen exchange offers exchanges for the following: Bitcoin, Neteller, OK Pay, PayPal, Payza, Perfect Money, WebMoney, Skrill and SolidTrust Pay,
Putting everything in one sheet
Here is a spreadsheet showing all the profiled exchangers and what e-currency platforms they support
|Exchanger/wallet||Minimum order||Bitcoin||Neteller||OK Pay||Payoneer||PayPal|
|Exchanger/wallet||Payza||Perfect Money||WebMoney||Skrill||SolidTrust Pay|
The dynamics of exchange rates makes it near-impossible to include them in the above spreadsheet. Always confirm the rates offered by the exchanger before transacting.