How to Open a Zelle Account in Nigeria (Working Method)

If you receive money regularly from the U.S, then you know that a Zelle account is one of the fastest ways to get paid.

You could receive money from Paypal and even Payoneer, but Zelle seems to be the fastest option.

With a Zelle account, you can receive payment just with a U.S phone number or an email address, and the money arrives instantly. Users can quickly send money to family and friends they trust in the U.S, no matter which bank they use.

However, opening a Zelle account from Nigeria can be quite a hassle because Zelle is only available in the U.S. It is sort of like a local Paypal for U.S users only.

In this post, we’ll look at a few tricks you can use to open a Zelle account in Nigeria, without spending a lot. And it should take less than 30 minutes!

Requirements For Opening a Zelle Account

To open and activate a Zelle account, here are the requirements for each user:

  • Basic contact information
  • Email address
  • U.S phone number
  • Visa or Mastercard Debit card linked to a U.S bank account.

Quite a steep requirement if you’re in Nigeria, especially in terms of getting the last two requirements.

Most platforms that offer U.S phone numbers are fake, and Zelle doesn’t accept debit cards linked with online deposit accounts.

Zelle also does not accept credit cards for opening an account on their platform.

Does Payoneer Card Work With Zelle?

Even though Payoneer offers U.S bank accounts as well as debit cards, Payoneer cannot be linked with a Zelle account.

Reason is, the U.S accounts generated by Payoneer are international deposit accounts, which are not accepted by Zelle.

Hence, the debit card linked to Payoneer accounts would not work when opening a Zelle account.

Opening a Zelle Account From Nigeria

To be clear, Zelle is not available in Nigeria, so you cannot open a Zelle account from Nigeria.

But if you really want to open and activate a Zelle account from Nigeria, there’s actually a way around it that works.

The biggest hurdle is in getting a reliable U.S phone number and an acceptable debit card linked to a U.S. bank account.

There’s a way to work around this.

Activating Zelle Account in Nigeria

Firstly, you can get a U.S phone number using services like Numero and the likes. They could be free or paid depending on how long you want to use the phone number and for what activities.

Then, you get a debit card from Wise (formerly transferwise). There’s a process to it though.

You should NOT use the regular Wise account because it won’t work. You should open a Wise Borderless U.S Account.

And that account should be opened using a U.S address (VERY IMPORTANT) because that is the address that Zelle would recognize you with.

If you use any other address apart from a U.S based address on your Wise Borderless US account, there would be an error when you link your Wise debit card with Zelle.

But that’s not all with Wise.

Activating Wise Account

To activate your Wise account that you’ll use for opening your Zelle account, don’t use Nigerian-based dollar cards. They won’t work.

Instead use any of the U.S Virtual cards listed here.

Fund your virtual dollar card with about $20 and use it to verify your Wise account, which will then allow you to generate your U.S account number.

The Wise Borderless U.S account will offer you a debit card which is powered by MasterCard.

Linking Wise to Zelle Account

Now, use your Wise account to verify and fund your Zelle account via the MasterCard debit card provided by Wise.

The Wise Borderless account doesn’t charge extra fees, so it’s quite easy to use.

Even though the MasterCard debit card from Wise seems like an international based debit card floated in several currencies, it is the only debit card of that sort that is accepted by Zelle without being strictly U.S-based only.

Zelle Account Activated

Once you link your Wise Borderless debit card with Zelle, the account becomes activated, as long as your U.S address on the Zelle account matches the one on Wise.

Now, you can start sending and receiving money on your new Zelle account.

Note that you don’t need to use your U.S phone number to receive money with Zelle. In case you lose your U.S phone number, you can still receive money using the email address on the Zelle account.

That’s it.


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