Many players, many options

Virtually, all banks in the country have their online banking platforms, so you can get started with any bank of your choice. However, experience has proven that some banks have better and more reliable systems than others. Banks like GTB, Zenith Bank, and Access Bank have been proven to have the most reliable online banking platforms in Nigeria.

As with banks, some online funds transfer services are better and more reliable than others. Examples of the reputable ones include Quickteller and Simplepay.

Great benefits for customers

The major benefit of online banking is convenience. You don't have to wait in long queues at the bank, since online banking transactions are done over the Internet. You don't have to plan your day around the bank's hours because online banking allows you to send money at any time of the day or week. And you don't have to wait for several minutes for your transaction to be completed; online banking transactions are instant.

Security measures are very high

However, online banking has one major downside - security risks. Because your account information will be stored online, you could fall victim to hackers who steal people's account information and ultimately their money. Though this is highly unlikely due to the tight security measures put in place by financial institutions, there are still chances of its occurrence. You could also be a victim of phishing scams. Phishing is when a criminal sends out emails to people with fake links, trying to get those people to submit their account information. Usually, such emails appear to be sent from the bank or payment transfer service you use.

How to set up your online account?

Getting started with online banking in Nigeria is quite easy. Just visit your bank, head straight for the customer service desk, and tell the staff that you would like to activate online banking for your account. However, if you want to use the online banking system of a bank you don't have an account with, you'll have to open an account first.

Once online banking has been activated for your account, you'll be given a "token", for which you would have paid a certain amount. The token a small device that generates the codes you need for authenticating online transactions. You will also be given pamphlets containing instructions on how to use the bank's online banking platform.

For web-based payment transaction services like Quickteller and Simplepay, all you need to do to start using their services is to visit their website and register. You can choose to save your ATM card details on your account, so you don't have to enter those details each time you complete transactions through the platform.

Bear in mind that using online banking attracts "convenience" fees that are charged on transactions - not all, though. Most banks don't charge any fees for intra-bank fund transfers, but they do charge for inter-bank fund transfers and online payments. Web-based funds transfer services, on the other hand, charge fees for every transaction completed on their platform.