Saturday, September 18, 2021

Money & Shopping in Nigeria

AfricaNigeriaMoney & Shopping in Nigeria

The naira (symbol:, ISO 4217 code: NGN) is Nigeria’s currency. In August 2012, the exchange rate was €1=NGN214. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000, and inflation is usually in the double digits.

It is recommended that you exchange all of your naira at the airport before leaving Nigeria. The rate is meaningless since the naira isn’t worth anything outside of Nigeria. Currency collectors may be interested in Naira bills/coins, but they will be little more than colorful mementos of your vacation. Even if you are a foreigner, banks will typically exchange foreign money for naira but not the other way around. If you have unused naira at the conclusion of your journey, you will need to utilize the Bureaux de Change in the International terminal, the new Domestic terminal, or street sellers to get foreign money. The tourist market of Eco Hotel on Victoria Island is a secure spot to change in Victoria Island (not the hotel reception which will give you rip-off rates). If the airport’s Bureaux de Change are unable to assist or are closed, the car park outside the International terminal is teeming with street sellers ready to exchange money in any major currencies. When dealing with these street vendors, keep the money you are buying fully visible until the deal is completed (i.e. don’t put it in your handbag and later discover it is incorrect and then try to bargain) and count carefully with them, as they tend to try and short-change you with a note or two, especially when you change foreign currency into naira (which is a thick bundle of small notes), but with necessitated. There are also street sellers at the major land crossings who may exchange naira for CFAs (XOF (Benin and Niger side) or XAF (Cameroon side) if necessary. When you are in the French nations, you may freely and simply change XOF and XAF to and from euros at a rate of 655.957 (occasionally with a little fee).

Changing big bills of US dollars or euros at professional money changers, such as the currency exchange market at Lagos Domestic Airport, will result in a higher rate. This is a fortified enclosure containing a significant number of money changers, mainly utilized by local nationalities.

If you have a VISA card, you can withdraw money from Standard Chartered Bank ATM Machines in Lagos (Aromire St, off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja & Ajose Adeogun St in Victoria Island Branch, Abuja and Port Harcourt (in Naira) and ATM Machines of other banks with “Visa” stickers on them, such as GT Bank, UBA, Zenith, and others. This will relieve you of a lot of worry when transporting big amounts of money, and it is secure.

Money may be withdrawn from ATM machines at Abuja and Lagos International Airports. There are many ATMs on Lagos International, some of which may not be operational at all times. On the 1st level of the Lagos Domestic Terminal, there is an ATM that is operational. Typically, this is a silent ATM that is also extremely private and safe.

MasterCard and Maestro cardholders may now withdraw money from ATMs at various Zenith Bank and GT Bank locations. Some ATMs of Ecobank, First Bank, and Intercontinental Bank accept MasterCard/Maestro cards. Look for the red ATM sign outside, or ask any branch’s on-site security officer. Look for Ecobank, which has a branch inside the Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s grounds. Visa, on the other hand, is a safer choice if you are visiting the French nations around Nigeria, since MasterCard/Maestro is almost worthless in these countries.

If you must use an ATM, be mindful of the dangers associated with card cloning. This is an issue with airport ATMs, which do not have a security officer on duty. Check your statements after using your card on a frequent basis and notify your bank of any unusual behavior.

Also, since Nigeria is actively pursuing a cash-free society, an increasing number of hotels, restaurants, and stores (at least the larger ones) accept major credit cards (VISA being the preferred one – but ask first, there is both “local VISA” and “international VISA” – and MasterCard). Diners Club and American Express are nearly completely ineffective in Nigeria. Take the normal precautions when paying with a credit card (watch how they swipe, don’t allow the card out of your sight, etc.).

It is recommended that you plan ahead of time where you will purchase your supplies. This may prevent you from being targeted by touts.


You’re expected to haggle for your products in marketplaces (a notable exception is bread: its price is fixed). In typically, the actual price is approximately half of the amount that was first requested. When the vendor believes you are a wealthy visitor who is unaware of the true cost, he or she may inflate the price. After settling on a price, do not walk away without purchasing; this is regarded very impolite.

Fixed pricing are usually charged by stores such as supermarkets and restaurants. Fresh produce and Western-style sit-down restaurants are extremely pricey, with dinners costing upwards of $75 per person.