5 Alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria

June 26, 2022
June 26, 2022 Zee

5 Alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria

If you do business in Nigeria, but with foreign clients, you may have considered using Zelle for payment. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Here are 5 alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria.

What is Zelle?

Just like PayPal, Venmo, and other popular mobile payment options, Zelle is another P2P payment solution that could help you send money faster, get paid back by friends or manage your small business invoices more efficiently—all with no fees.

The only issue is that, as Nigerians, and CBN seems to have a thing for small businesses, Zelle, Paypal, Venmo and the rest don’t work on these shores. Hence this article.

How Zelle Makes Money

Zelle is free for individuals but not for merchants and businesses. Vendors who use Zelle to accept payments for their goods or services pay a 1% processing fee per transaction. Suppose an e-commerce store sells you a pair of headphones for $200 and uses Zelle to process its payments. You pay $200, Zelle takes a $2.00 fee, and the store receives $198 for the sale.

As of this article, Zelle is only available in the US.

Here are the top 5 alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria.

Alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria

1. Payoneer

Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a huge fan of Payoneer. In fact, before you continue, if you haven’t already, click here to open a payoneer account and thank me later. Opening a payoneer account gives you instant access to doing business abroad, even if the sender doesn’t have a corresponding payoneer account.

What is Payoneer & how does it work?

Payoneer is a financial business platform that provides online money transfer and payment services. It does exactly what Paypal does but without the hassle of Paypal, and thus anyone can receive US Dollars with Payoneer.

Payoneer allocates a virtual US account number to their subscribers. These details will contain your checking number and routing number. Those would be the detail you need whenever you want to receive payments into a US bank account. You will also be shipped a credit card to use.

Here are the steps you need to apply for a Payoneer Mastercard/account in Nigeria.

  1. Click this link to set up your payoneer account.
  2. Fill in your full name, address and other details.
  3. Set password, Secret Question and Answer and select your ID type e.g driver’s license, National I.D card, etc.
  4. complete the form and wait for confirmation.

It’s fairly easy. Good luck.

Read our feature article on Payoneer here.

2. Through Digital Providers like World Remit, etc

Websites like World Remit, Remitly, etc are called digital providers, so if you opt not to open a payoneer account, you can decide to use any of the digital providers.

Advantages of using digital providers

  1. Quick, easy and painless
  2. Cost: They’re usually the cheapest way to send money to Nigeria, usually costing between 0.5% and 3% in total fees.
  3. Speed: Money usually arrives overseas in a matter of hours or, at most, around one to two days depending on the provider.

Choosing to opt for a digital provider as one of the alternatives to Zelle depends on factors such as 1) which country you’re sending to, 2) how much you’re sending, and 3) how your recipient will receive their funds.

3. Wire Transfer

Yes, wire transfer can be considered as one of the alternatives to Zelle, even though it has more expensive transfer fees. For example, your client can send drirectly from his Wells Fargo account to your Zenith.

When sending money to Nigeria with your bank, your funds will go over SWIFT, meaning third-party banks can potentially charge additional fees that can further reduce the amount that arrives in your beneficiary’s account.

Read on correspondence banks here.

4. Western Union

Western Union is a lot more common in the United States and it’s very fast. Like with MoneyGram, you have to show the government-issued ID or present your BVN at the bank along with your MTCN. The name used by your sender also must be the same as it’s written in any of these identity documents. You can go to the bank to receive your money from Western Union in 24 hours after your sender has paid.

Outside Payoneer, and before considering digital providers, I think one of the best alternatives to Zelle in Nigeria is western Union.

5. Transferwise

You can make transfers to Nigeria using Transferwise, BUT the denomination of the notes must be in dollars. Just like Payoneer, you’re also given an ACH local US bank account and wait a days when a transfer is made.


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