How to accept Credit Card payments over the Internet in Nigeria

I received an email a few days ago, from one of the readers of this blog. I have reproduced the entire message below, and edited it a bit for the sake of clarity:


I have been looking for how to accept payment online in Nigeria, without necessarily going through Interswitch. I have been reading about Google Checkout accepting Nigerian cards. I would like to know if this means that they will accept Nigerian Mastercards and Visa cards? Do I need to have a Nigerian Naira or US Dollar or British Pounds account or would I have to have a foreign account? Can they pay with a Naira card for my services?

I would really appreciate any information I can get as I hear you are the leading authority in things like this.

thanks again

For a start, I would need to clarify that there are two versions of Google Checkout – one for merchants (sellers) and another for buyers.

What is Google Checkout?
Google Checkout is an online payment processing service provided by Google aimed at simplifying the process of paying for online purchases. Users store their credit or debit card and shipping information in their Google Account, so that they can purchase at participating stores at the click of a button. Google Checkout also offers fraud protection, as well a unified page for tracking purchases and their status.

Google Checkout for merchants:
this is exactly what you are enquiring about. Unfortunately, it is available only to e-commerce merchants in the United States and the United Kingdom. Unless you own a registered business in either countries, you cannot accept credit/debit card payments from residents of Nigeria or any other country, using Google Checkout.

Google Checkout for buyers:
this is available in most countries. All it does is allows registered users to make purchases securely over the internet from any online store that is signed-up to the Google Checkout for merchants service.

What is the way out?
Whilst several credible alternatives to Google Checkout exist online, very few of them would accept e-commerce merchants based in Nigeria. Alternatives include: PayPal, Moneybookers, NoChex, Alertpay etc.

If your core marketplace is Nigeria, your best bet is still Interswitch. Interswitch is an electronic transaction switching and payment processing company. All 25 banks in Nigeria are connected to their payment gateway. The closest rival to Interswitch in Nigeria is eTranzact.

If you are targeting the global marketplace, then 2Checkout comes highly recommended. They not only accept merchants based in Nigeria but offer flexible means by which you can get paid when your earnings cross their $100 threshold for international merchants. In addition to bank wire (SWIFT transfer), the offer a Mastercard to merchants that would enable you withdraw your earnings from any Mastercard-enabled ATM.

2Checkout enables you to accept payment from the leading cards globally including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. An added luxury is the ability to accept payment from PayPal users. 2Checkout charges a $49 fee for account opening.

2Checkout has some stringent policies and might ask for some documentation that would assist them in validating the legality of your business if they consider you “high-risk”. They also forbid some class of businesses like arms sales, financial services, adult services etc

An alternative to 2Checkout is Plimus. They offer similar services. I have not used Plimus before and would suggest you research before taking the giant leap.

Best wishes with your e-commerce endeavours.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. Hello, sorry for going a bit off-topic here.

    My case is different in that I need to buy a service from a vendor who uses paypal exclusively for accepting payment. Seeing that paypal is a bit risky for a nigerian, I have been desperately looking for a workaround. I saw a post on this blog that referred to paypal express. Could this be a buyer version of paypal? Might this be a service with which nigerians can pay for services without the attendant risks that have come to be associated with using paypal from nigeria?

    All I want to do is buy stuff, not sell.

    • Paypal is a different kettle of fish.
      Paypal Express Checkout only helps Paypal users to checkout faster (in a few clicks) on merchant websites that support it. It doesn’t mean its a different version that allows residents of Nigeria.

      Note that Paypal only restricts residents of Nigeria, and not necessarily Nigerians. These are two different groups of people.
      Thus, if you are a Nigerian and domiciled in any of the countries allowed by Paypal, you should be able to operate a Paypal account without any issues.

      About that merchant that accepts Paypal only, I suggest you look elsewhere (to a merchant that accepts Mastercard and Visa) for your needs.

      • So much for that. Thanks anyway. I don’t think I want to hold my breath on paypal making its service open to nigerian residents, so I’ll just have to take your advice and keep looking

  2. moneybookers is a perfect alternative…you can accept credit card payments. you don’t have to be in USA to do business online. i’m in Ghana and have moneybookers and use it for all my transactions. it’s worth trying.

  3. You also need to mention Cash Envoy ( It’s a great service that allows you to retrieve Interswitch payments without having to pay Interswitch’s hefty activation fee.
    Also look at Quickteller from Interswitch. It’ll allow people to pay for your goods at the ATM.
    Nice review overall.

  4. We use alertpay ( Our business is based in Nigeria and we accept many credit card types through them.

    To receive your money, you have several options as well – wire transfer or even direct transfer to your (say GTB) Visa card, etc, etc.

    One problem I have with them though (about which some clients have complained) is that they make new users register with them (Much like paypal does too though).

  5. How do I make money transfer from Ghana. I’m have to make an online registration but have to pay into a given account number either using money gram or western union. A western union agent in a bank in Ghana told me I can’t transfer with western union but can only receive. How do I go about it.

  6. Hello All,

    Are there any fully functional E-Commerce websites (Online stores) currently in operation and doing business (i.e. filling orders, receiving e-payments, and delivering) in Nigeria today? Any examples of such online stores in African would be helpful. Thanks!

    What about in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and other Africa nations? Any active e-commerce, online store, and e-payment activities going on at the moment?

    Thanks Oluniyi D. Ajao for this web portal. Great job!

    Thanks Everyone!


  7. This is a good post, eye opening.
    I’m just venturing into the online stuff, and really looking for a way of catching up ASAP. Thanks and God bless for such wonderful comments on online payments.

  8. come on sirs…I stumbled on this blog/article by mistake. i’m surprised no one has mentioned the worldwide leader in payment VISA which is represented in Nigeria by ValuCArd Nigeria PLC. They have take over Interswitch as per volume of transactions done in Nigeria and number of cardholders and it is possible to accept International Cards i.e those not issued in Nigeria. However because of fraud implications it is not easy to achieve it

  9. I am looking for information on selling to Nigeria. The ecommerce business will be operated from the UK, but would like to sell to Nigeria.

    Apparently a lot of Nigerians only have “local” credit cards, whereas checkout services like Paypal only accept “international” credit cards.

    I found the information on the 2checkout website that Nigeria is supported as a country to receive payments:

    However not a word if 2CO can be used to *receive* payments from Nigerians to a foreign/UK based business.

    Which check out service (or credit card processor?) is recommended to savely *receive* payments from Nigeria?

    Many thanks for any hints!

  10. Hi All,

    I am still hoping that someone would shed some light to my question(s) below:

    Are there any fully functional E-Commerce websites (Online stores) currently in operation and doing business (i.e. filling orders, receiving e-payments, and delivering) in Nigeria today? Any examples of such online stores in African would be helpful. Thanks!

    What about in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and other Africa nations? Any active e-commerce, online store, and e-payment activities going on at the moment?

    Thanks Oluniyi D. Ajao for this web portal. Great job!

    Thanks Everyone!


  11. It’s great to really have indigenous companies that can process credit card payments – accept all kinds of credit cards (national and international). Some fraudulent Nigerians have made it very, very, very difficult for the rest of us to have fair business opportunities on the world stage. But,I think that some of these foreign companies are unnecessarily too stringent with the processes they have in place.

    Recently, I ordered for software through a company that processes her sales through plimus and my order was rejected after my credit card was charged ( a card that I have been using for about a year now). They failed to offer a cogent reason for the denial other than “security reasons”. This madness of discrimination must stop.

    My recent efforts to sell my book on Clickbank also met with a denial for the same madness. I have applied to Alertpay (now Payza) and I will like to see how it goes. However, when you see a payment processing company that is completely fair to Nigerians and for that matter Africans without the unnecessary paranoia, please let me know.

    By the way, why is it that on Paypal most of the African countries can send money out but they cannot receive, or withdraw? MADNESS!!!!

  12. I am a director a British based company that has almost finished setting up an on-line retail outlet selling clothing to Nigerian consumers. I am using the web site as a test for the viability of taking payment from the average Nigerian because I believe that Nigeria is a massively underrated country in terms of its buying potential and unfairly tarnished by a small amount of fraudsters.

    I have gone through the trouble of talking to PayPal and other services including British banks and interswitch, I decided to bypass Interswitch for the moment because it seemed to archaic going through their registration process. I have managed to take payments from Nigerian issued debit/credit cards and will hopefully making my service live within the next 4 weeks.

      • They were not very accommodation as my business is too small for them to tell me anything other than their standard line that they don’t operate in Nigeria. I have instead set up payments with Barclays, which was not as strenuous as I first feared it to be although they are charging 3.1% for each transaction.

  13. Hi Oluniyi,
    Am I not glad I stumbled upon this?
    I am working on opening an online store and targeting Nigeria but have been researching what payment gateway to use.I livein the US. So ,are you saying google checkout will work for me to accept pay,nets from Nigeria?

  14. And while you are at it, for those people who live in the US and will like to ship to Nigeria, I will like to know the cheapest way they plan to ship to their customers .
    Thanks in anticipation.

  15. Hi Felix,

    I actually stumbled on this site as i was searching for an alternative to a new online store i’m setting up. however, i have a Nigerian online store which is very operational and fully functional at
    I use voguepay and i have to commend the guys. you don’t need to be a geek to integrate their payment portal and their charges are really low. they seem to be very similar to 2checkout (altho i’m still researching the people). all the best on your search

  16. I am so glad to have stumbled into this post. I have been planning to open an online boutique for my brand, but after researching for months on accepting payment online from other countries from Nigeria, i was beginning to give up. Thank you so much for this information, and more grace to your elbow

  17. My top two payment gateways to use for building ecommerce site are Interswitch and GTPay. Recently I found that they both now offer plugins for some of the more popular shopping carts such as Joomla, Magento, Open cart, Prestashop, Os Commerce, WordPress ecommerce and WordPress Woo commerce. You have to ask them about it when you are opening the merchant accounts.

    If you have ever integrated a site in Nigeria before then you must know how stressful and long everything takes. With the plugins I found it was a lot faster and took btw 2-5 days.

  18. Thanks for this post, very informative. There is a couple more alternatives, which could be of use when accepting credit cards online – Propay, Paysera, Skrill.. I think there are options to choose from and it is possible to find a suitable solution in this situation.

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