If you publish a blogger or website online and living in Nigeria like me and make money from Google Adsense, or any other affiliate program that will have to send you international Checks/Cheques in Dollar or Euro currency, I will like to share with you the entire process to cash your checks/cheques through a Nigerian bank; the procedures, the fees involved and the time requirements. I use Guarantee Trust Bank- GTB, so my explanation will be based on this Nigerian Bank. If you use any other Nigerian bank, be kind to tell us about their services on comment below.
First You Need a Domiciliary Account (Euro or Dollar)
Procedure to Open A Dom. Account
With GTBank you can open a domiciliary account with Zero deposit. I’m not sure about other banks. To open a Euro or Dollar account, follow the steps below:
* Go to any branch of the Nigerian Bank of Your choice (I use GTBank and will recommend it) with the following documents; two passport photographs, a utilility bill (Your PHCN bill will do) and your National Identity Card/ International Passport/ Drivers License (any one will be accepted)
* Request to open a domiciliary account from the customers representative. You can take it from there.
* You will need two references. This can be provided after the account have been opened.
What you Should Know About Your References
You will need to get two references for your account to be accessible. Your references are two people who own an active current account either in Naira, Dollar or any currency who will recommend you to the bank as someone they can trust to maintain a current account (your Dom. Account is a current account).
You will be given two reference form at the bank.
Banks will generally recommend that you seek reference from their customers to make the process faster. For example, if you are opening the account with GTBank, having your two references from GTBank accounts will make the verification process faster. But if you don’t have someone with current account in the same bank, you can use any other Nigerian Bank only that it will take a bit longer. Personally, my two references are from two different Nigerian bank and it did take months to verify (Update: I actually thought the references were cleared only to be told, when I went to withdraw, that I couldn’t. I had to hustle for a GTBank Reference). That’s just the problem with inter-banking in Nigeria. Note that Even after your account is credited, you cannot withdraw until your references are verified.
Another important thing to consider went looking for a reference is to find account holders whose account is constantly active. An account that is not constantly used will not be accepted. I opened my dom. account in October 2008 and submitted my two references about that time. But when I visited the bank early this year, having not used it, I was told my references are still ‘outstanding’ (as the lady at the customers’ desk puts it). I was later made to understand that the current accounts were not constantly maintained by the owners. The idea is for you to open the account and submit your references long before you need to cash your money to avoid unnecessary delays.
How Long Does It Take to Clear the International Check/Cheque?
With GTBank, it takes 15 working days or say three working weeks. For instance, I submitted a google check/cheque for clearance on November 25, 2010 and it was already credited to my account by morning on December 16, 2010. If you use a different bank, how long does it take to clear your checks/cheques?
How to Cash Your International Check/Cheques
The process of clearing an international check/cheque is between your local bank and the check issuers bank. All you have to do is walk to the nearest branch of your bank, regardless of where you opened the account (I opened my GTBank account at Bode Thomas branch, Lagos but submitted my recent check in Anambra). Submit your cheque to the appropriate person. You will be asked to fill a deposit teller with the account you want you money to be paid to. You will then be given a photocopy of your check and deposit slip. The rest is out of your hands for the next 3weeks.
Once your domiciliary account is open (Reference or no Reference) you can have your google/affiliate check credited to your account after clearance. But without verified references you can not withdraw/ cash your money. That’s about how important it is.
What are the Charges?
GTBank will charge you the sum of €10 or $10 for processing fee and VAT. That’s all you have to pay. When making withdrawals you will have to leave a minimum of €3 in your account. I’m not sure about the dollar amount but it should be within that range. The rest of your money you can walk with.
How have you been cashing your google, affiliate and other international checks in Nigeria? If you have any question or addition, feel free to add on comments below.