You probably need airtime on your phone – if not now, later. You Just Got Back from Overthere, and you know that in Africa, your greatest weapon can sometimes be a charged phone. This is why I wrote this guide for you.
In it, I will tell you all the different ways you can recharge your phone and purchase airtime so that you’re never too far away from a taxi, a faux spouse to bail you out of a potential arranged marriage or an aboki. I’ll tell you how you can load the airtime you bought off the street, what Nigerian sites you can buy airtime from online, as well as where you can buy airtime for your friends and family When You Get Back.
How to load paper airtime/recharge cards
- Airtel: *126*16-digit-PIN# and then Send/Ok. Dial *123# to check account balance.
- MTN: *555*12-digit-PIN# and then Send/Ok. Dial *556# to verify account balance.
- Etisalat: *222*15-digit-PIN# and then Send/Ok. Dial *232# to check account balance.
- Glo: *123*PIN# and then Send/Ok. Dial #124# to check account balance.
Buying airtime from within Nigeria
Quickteller is a popular online system you can use to buy airtime, pay bills, etc, using your Nigerian bank/ATM cards. To purchase airtime online with quickteller, follow these steps:
- Visit quickteller and register
- When portal opens, select “buy Airtime”
- Select the network provider you want to buy airtime from
- Input your phone number
- A confirmation page will come up, authorise the transaction
- Enter card details on the Interswitch portal and click on pay
You can also download the quickteller mobile app to do the process above.
Paga is an informal banking system which allows you send money to other Paga users, pay bills and purchase airtime, using a MasterCard, Visa or a Verve card.
- Visit the website
- At the left-hand corner, input the credit amount under the buy airtime/data menu,
- Click ‘go’
- Fill in the recipient names, phone number, and mobile network
- Check the ‘for myself’ box if the airtime is for you
- If buying for someone else, fill the sender details
- Click ‘continue’
- Input your card details after and pay
I have to add that easy2voice lives up to the ‘easy’ part of their name. The website is easy on the eyes making a user feel the process of buying airtime is super easy. In addition to paying with a MasterCard, Visa card or Verve card, you can also pay using Bitcoin, Etransact and Pocketmoni.
How to buy airtime with easy2voice
- Select network provider
- Enter phone number
- Enter email
- Select amount
After doing the above, a sign-up page will come up
- To continue process, sign up and proceed to payment
- Enter your payment details and confirm
Easy2voice also allows sending airtime worldwide. Apart from debit cards, they accept payments through bitcoin, perfect money.
This site helps you top up up to N50,000 on your phone, an you can pay in Naira or dollars.
- Visit quickairtime website
- Click on ‘sign up’ at top right of website
- Enter your name, email, password and phone number
- Visit your email to confirm sign up
- Visit homepage
- Select network operator, top up amount and phone number
- Click ‘save’
- Scroll down and enter email address, phone number
- Confirm email address in the pop-up window
- Proceed to and confirm payment
This site has a very clean interface and is quite simple to use. Payment is accepted in Mastercard, Visa card, Verve or your Topupgenie balance.
- Visit topupgenie
- Choose network provider, airtime amount and phone number
- Click on top up
- Select payment option (MasterCard, verve, VISA)
- At the interswitch portal, select payment option, enter card details and confirm
- For multiple recharge at the same time, you’ll have to sign up.
6. Network Providers
You can buy airtime online from network providers. As expected, you can only buy a certain airtime from each provider.
Etisalat’s top up service offers you an enticing 10% bonus airtime on all recharges above N200
- Visit the Etisalat’s Top Up page
- Click on ‘Buy Airtime’
- Select ‘top up your line’
- Choose the amount you want.
- Amount ranges from N50 and above.
- Enter phone number and proceed to checkout
With Visafone e-Top up, you can buy airtime using your Visa or MasterCard. It also supports payments through Quickteller and GlobalPay
7. E-top up via Bank USSD code
Nigerian banks are not left out of the e-top up ministry. With your Bank Verification number, you can load airtime from any phone with USSD code capabilities. The phone number must be the same as the one used in opening the account, and your bank deducts the airtime from your account balance.
Here are some short codes for buying airtime:
First Bank: *894*amount#
To send airtime recharge to family or friend, *737*Amount*Friends No#
Access bank: *901*Amount#
Stanbic IBTC: *909*Amount#
To send airtime to others, dial *770*Phone number*Amount#
KeyStone Bank: *322*082*Amount#
Skye Bank: *389*076*1*Amount#
Sterling Bank: *822*Amount#
Zenith Bank: *966*Amount# or *302*Amount# (MTN only)
Unity Bank: *322*215*Amount#
While using USSD codes sounds cool, I couldn’t help but consider the security implications. Anyone that gets someone’s phone can buy airtime. Always protect your phone and bank information.
Most banks mobile apps offer you the option to top up your phone without leaving the app. Very handy if other methods don’t seem to be working, as it is always a good idea to have as many options as possible.
Other mentions for buying airtime online in Nigeria are:
Buying airtime from outside Nigeria
Paying for airtime abroad comes with more options. Most service providers, however, accept debit/credit cards. Some sell vouchers while others accept skrill, Paysafe, PayPal. Services mentioned also cover the major network providers.
According to their website, Topupnigeria has vouchers available at UK payzone outlets. Users can sign up for a TopUpNigeria (TUN) account or buy vouchers. MTN, Airtel, Glo, Etisalat and Visafone are supported.
To purchase airtime through TUN;
- Register on topupnigeria.com
- Select Mobile TopUp under ‘Quick Service’ menu
- Choose the network provider
- Enter the phone number
- Enter the displayed code and continue
- Enter email address for confirmation
- Select method of payment
TUN voucher was the only the method of payment when I was writing this post. I believe this was because I was using the quick service feature.
Registered users can fund their TUN accounts with an Interswitch payment card or bank transfer.
- Visit the Nigeria page and select the network provider you want
- Input the phone number
- Pick the airtime amount
- Sign up to proceed to payment
Ezetop offers airtime top up from $5-$50. The $5 is converted to N1,431.
- Set country to Nigeria
- Input phone number you want to top-up and proceed to payment
- Sign up and input card details
Aryty also supports all network providers and has airtime in the $5-$50 range.
With Telephonenigeria, you can make international calls at cheap rates and send airtime to anywhere in the world. All you have to do is select the country, network provider and enter number. The lowest airtime amount is $5.51 (N1,500)
- Visit telephonenigeria
- Click on mobile recharge tab
- Select country, network provider and enter name
- Sign up
- Proceed to payment and enter card details
Like the others in the abroad category, there is the option of sending to many countries including Nigeria. Simply select the country, enter mobile number, choose the amount and pay.
From the information on their website, overseastopup supports skrill, PayPal, Paysafe and popular debit/credit cards.
What I found most striking about this site wasn’t its beautiful interface, but their offering of Paypal as a payment option. To use Recharge to send airtime to someone in Nigeria, follow these steps:
- On homepage, choose Nigeria in country menu
- Enter phone number and click ‘continue’
- Select network provider of choice
Orders range from $1- $40. A dollar is converted to N304.94. The same naira amount (304.94) converts to £0.89.
- Choose an order
- Select payment option and enter billing address.
- Provide card, payment details
Recharge.com has a service fee of $0.99 for every transaction. When I switched to the British pound, the charge was also £0.99.
Popular for money transfer, WorldRemit also has an airtime-sending feature. World remit showed me a £5.12 total payment when I keyed in airtime transfer of N1,500 Glo airtime. I believe this will fluctuate with the unpredictable exchange rate.
Do you know any other way to purchase airtime online? kindly share with me and I’ll add it to this post.