Lagos - Post Report Question and Answers

Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes, credit cards are generally accepted though I would recommend always asking if the machine is working before making a purchase. The power and connectivity issues make using a card challenging at times. There are ATMs in the Consulate and banks. - Mar 2024

I don't use credit cards, just local debit card and cash. - Aug 2020

Some people have no problem using credit cards, others try to avoid it. We generally used only cash, except at very high end restaurants and hotels. The issue is that you end up having to carry around a lot of cash just to go to dinner, so another possibility is setting up a local bank account and using a local bank card for transactions. Depositing money into the local account can be done through the cashier at the Consulate. There is an ATM as the consulate as well, but most people obtain cash from the cashier. - Jul 2020

While officially we were told not to use credit cards at all, I eventually decided to designate one for Lagos-only use at restaurants and hotels frequented by expats, and never had any issue. Most businesses in Lagos don't have a machine that can process international cards, though, so if you don't want to carry around giant wads of Naira (and you don't, no one does), it would make sense to open a local bank account in order to get a debit card. We did not do this but I wish we had--it also would have made ordering food/services in general much easier. I would not use an ATM card unless you had literally no other option. This did happen to me once, though, and it was fine. - Jun 2019

Cash is king in Lagos, and with the largest bill being the functional equivalent of $2.50 you will become skilled at quickly counting from a large wad of cash. Use of credit cards is possible, but fraud is rampant and I would not recommend this even at a seemingly trustworthy businesses. - Aug 2018

Ha! No. In all seriousness, you can use your cards at a couple high-end places (most nice hotels, a few nice restaurants, Deli's Supermarket), but a) the exchange rate is much worse b) most places only accept Nigerian credit cards, not international credit cards c) even if they do accept international cards, the card readers are often broken. Get used to carrying around stacks of naira. - Mar 2018

Don't even think about it. The only safe place is the the GQ. - May 2016

It's Nigeria, the land of fraud and scams. Never ever ever use a credit or ATM card here. - Nov 2015

Don't even think about it. - Dec 2011

Don't. - Sep 2008

NO. Tell anyone you're coming here and the first thing they say is, oh yeah, my mom/sister/cousin/best friend, all got ripped off by some Nigerian scam. This is the home of the pyramid scheme. - May 2008

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