Can I Receive Foreign Currency into My Local Savings Account in Nigeria? YES You Can

Alt: = "photo showing hand putting money into ATM"

Well, the answer is YES and NO.

Let’s start with the NO.

Basically you don’t use your local savings account to receive foreign  currencies (dollar,euro, pounds etc). Your Naira savings account is for local transactions. To receive money from abroad in to an account in the same currency the money was sent, you need to have a domiciliary account. The domiciliary account should also be denominated in the currency you want to receive. For instance, if you want to receive US dollar, you need US  dollar domiciliary account. You can’t receive US dollar into British Pounds domiciliary account. You can inquire from your bank if they allow that.

On the other hand, YES you can receive dollar, Pounds or Euro payments into your local bank savings account, although, it depends on your bank. Some banks, if not all, allow you to use your savings account to receive money from different countries. But then, such transfer must be through Wire transfer and the money will be converted into your local currency (Naira) before it enters your account.

Before deciding to use your local savings account to receive money from other countries, you need to find out from your business partners the methods of payments they adopt as some partners may have their methods of payments which they can’t change because of you. If Wire Transfer is one of their methods of payment or you have a choice to decide method you want to be paid, then you can use your local savings account. For instance, some Nigerian online publishers (bloggers) who are into Google AdSense network program, receive their Adsense payments into their local bank accounts in Nigeria through Wire transfer because it’s one of the methods Google uses for payments. If your partners or whoever that wants to send you money accepts the use  of international money transfer operators like Western Union, MoneyGram; you can use any of them to receive your money in foreign currency.  

To receive foreign currencies using your savings account, all you have to do is to send your account details  and your bank SWIFT BIC to the person. Once the money is transferred, no matter the currency, it will be converted into your local currency at the official bank exchange rates, according to interbank rates your bank uses. 

However, using your local bank account to receive dollar and other foreign currencies payments has some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Using Local Savings Bank Account to Receive Foreign Currency Payment

One major advantage is that it saves you the stress of opening domiciliary account. Domiciliary account usually require opening balance of $100 or its equivalent in Euro or Pounds. It also requires you to provide two referees, which is not easy to provide. There are some Nigerian banks you can now open free, zero balance domiciliary account — no referees required. 

Disadvantages of  Receiving Foreign Currency Payment in Your Local Savings Account

It does not allow you flexibility and control over your money. You can not save or withdraw your money in the currency it was sent to you.

It does not allow you profit from your money. Your bank will always exchange your money, let’s say dollar, with the official exchange rate. For instance, official exchange rate now is about 414 naira to 1 dollar. So for every 1 dollar you receive, your bank is likely to pay you 414 naira. Whereas exchange rate at the parallel market, otherwise know as Bureau de Change, is about 560 naira to 1 dollar. Which shows difference of 146 naira. This will amount to a huge sum when you receive up to 100 dollars and above. That’s why you need a domiciliary account. See Nigerian banks you can open free domiciliary account: zero balance, no referee.

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