How to get a credit card in Nigeria

With 16-digit card numbers, expiration dates, magnetic strips, and EMV chips, credit and debit cards are nearly similar, but they are really not the same and shouldn’t be considered as such.

What is a credit card?

The most popular method of obtaining a line of credit is through the use of a credit card. Credit cards, which are often issued by a bank or financial services organization, allow account holders to make purchases on credit without having to pay cash at the time of purchase.

Instead, the costs are accumulated as a debt that must be paid off on a monthly billing cycle, giving the buyer more time to save up the funds.

Credit cards allow you to borrow funds from banks on the condition that you repay them by the deadline on your bill or face interest penalties.

Other modes of payment, such as debit cards or cash, need you to have the cash available for payment at the time of the transaction, whereas the ability to purchase now and pay for it later outperforms them.

What are credit cards used for?

Credit cards provide you with a credit line that you can use for purchases, debt transfers, or cash advances, with the requirement that you repay the loan amount over time.

If using a credit card, you must make at least the minimum payment on the debt each month by the due date.

Interest is payable if the full balance for purchases is not cleared off. For balance transfers or cash advances, interest will be charged from the date of the transaction.

PROs and CONs of credit cards


  • You can buy something right now and pay for it later.

  • Most credit cards include incentives such as rewards and welcome bonuses.

  • Payments made with credit cards are readily accepted.

  • Credit cards, on the whole, provide significantly better fraud protection than debit cards.

  • Some credit cards may also be an offer for supplementary warranties or protection on purchases in addition to those offered by the shop or brand.


  • Some retailers may impose restrictions on the types of credit card networks that they accept.

  • To obtain incentives or privileges, there might be a temptation for you to overspend.

  • At gas stations, credit cards can be swiped, stolen, exploited online, or exposed in data breaches.

  • You may accrue interest charges and slip into trouble if you do not pay your account completely by the deadline.

  • With credit cards, you're more prone to squander your money than with cash or debit cards.

Does Nigeria offer credit cards?

Currently in Nigeria, some financial institutions offer credit cards, although credit cards are not quite as popular in Nigeria as it is in other parts of the world.

What is more common in Nigeria is the use of a Debit Card for transactions by those who hold such cards.

Financial institutions also understand that to play in the global market, they have to go with the trend which is widely accepted even if it is not quite popular in Nigeria.

In the foreseeable future, it might get more acceptance and gain much popularity.

List of companies that offers a credit card in Nigeria

Although credit cards are not popular in Nigeria, some companies make provision for it for those who feel the need to get one, some of such companies are;

  • Ecobank

  • First Bank

  • Sterling Bank

  • Guaranty Trust Bank

  • First City Monument Bank

  • Stanbic IBTC

  • United Bank for Africa (UBA)

  • Zenith Bank

  • Union Bank

What are the rates charged on credit cards in Nigeria?

For most of the banks, the rate charged is 2.5%, with a few examples below from two major banks in Nigeria.

First Bank Naira credit card

Issuance fee – N1,000

Annual maintenance fee – N600   i.e. N50/Month

Insurance Fee – N1,500

Purchase fee (POS, Internet) – Free

Web fee – Free

ATM withdrawal fee – 3%

Card Replacement Fee – N1,000

Interest Fee – 2.5%

For Access Bank

The cardholder agrees to pay late payment charges and/or other charges for any unpaid amount due at a rate of 2.5% flat monthly (for Naira denominated Cards) and 29% p.a. (for USD denominated Cards).

How to build a credit line in Nigeria

To get access to loans in Nigeria, one must be in a good position to do so, as it is in some other countries.

There are a few steps to take to build a credit line in Nigeria, and they include;

  • Be aware of the five key elements. Know the rating scales for each of the five essential components that go into establishing your credit score. Payment history (35%) is an important factor, followed by amounts owing (30%), duration of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and the type of credit used (10%).

  • Early payment of Bills. One of the most important factors in determining your credit score is payment history. As a result, one of the most crucial stages in improving and maintaining your credit score is to make your payments on time.

  • Manage debt properly. Your debt level rises as a result of outstanding loans and credit lines. Having too much debt can lower your credit score by a few points. The less debt you have, the easier it will be to keep your credit score high.

  • Track your credit. It's important to keep an eye on your credit report. As a result, you'll be able to take the required actions to improve it as needed. To determine your creditworthiness, you can acquire your credit history from any credit agency in the country.

How do businesses get credit to run their business? 

Getting credit in Nigeria may not be the easiest thing, seeing that the business owner may likely not be in a qualified position to access such a loan.

On the other hand, there are various options which are;

Banks and Financial Institutions

Banks and financial institutions help firms at all phases of development. Banks will lend to a startup if the business concept, estimated returns from the firm, ability to repay the loan through business or any other means, managerial skills and competence, and other security information given, satisfy them.

Despite the fact that most bank loans have a high-interest rate, it is critical that you do your homework by analyzing the numerous business loan choices available for businesses from Nigeria's major banks.

Government Loan Schemes

Government business loans can assist businesses with day-to-day operational costs, business expansion costs, and infrastructural development. Several Nigerian banks and financial institutions are collaborating with the government to give business loans through government-sponsored funding initiatives.

The government-sponsored funds are usually in the form of a grant or a loan with a low or no interest rate. Most times, this makes it extremely difficult because you'll be up against several other business owners.

Loan Service Providers

With the rise of FinTechs, loans are now readily accessible for businesses, but some of these loans are short-term, and as such, may not give businesses the adequate funding that they require.

A credit card vs. debit card

Credit cards borrow funds from the card provider for purchases or cash withdrawals up to a set limit. While Debit cards allow you to spend money by withdrawing funds from your bank account.

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