Using a Naira visa card for online shopping

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Posted by on Sunday March 10, 2013 at 11:41:25:

A naira visa card allows you to make payments at any outlet where Visa is accepted and these include ATMs globally and POS terminals. It also includes online shopping at local and foreign websites where Visa is supported but you would be paying in naira.

One of the benefits if using a Visa naira card is that it allows you to spend your naira or naira equivalent when making payments or withdrawals. So, you no longer have to look for forex when making payments denominated in foreign currencies.

One of the drawbacks however with making payments with a naira visa card is the issue of exchange rates for foreign currency based transactions. You as a buyer don't have complete control of which exchange rate will be used when shopping since these rates are not fixed and is mostly at the bank's discretion.

I recently had an experience when making online payments for watches at Amazon.com, a US based website where products are billed in USD. The good thing was that I didn't have to fund my card with USD but just used the ATM VISA card linked to my naira savings account. The trouble however was when I received an sms alert of my card that was charged by Amazon for the online payment. It had been translated to naira but the exchange rate was unusually high and for a product that was worth $9.99 each, I was charged around N1770. That appears to be at almost N177 per USD. If I had used a USD visa card, I would have probably funded it at the rate of N160 per USD.

I'm not sure if the exchange rates used for naira visa cards is the same for all banks but it would be nice if they used a uniform and reasonable rates which is the official rate of the naira to other currencies.

If you must use a naira visa card, I suggest you use it for only making naira payments and probably as a back up in case you need to. It would be wise to also carry a USD or Euro visa card along when traveling abroad.




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