Online Savings in Nigeria [2021]

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Here is a complete guide on all you need to know about online savings in Nigeria in 2021, we’ve curated every information you will find relevant in this article.

What is a savings account?

How do savings accounts work?

Important online savings terms you should know

Different types of savings accounts in Nigeria

Online Savings Accounts vs Traditional Savings Accounts: Which is Better?

Best savings accounts in Nigeria in 2021

Should you open an online savings account in 2021?

How to determine the best savings account for you

When should you use a savings account in Nigeria?

How to save at different points in your life

What you need to open an online savings account

How to make deposits to and withdrawals from an online savings account

How much should I have in my savings account?

Why Nigerians should have an Emergency fund

What are the other high-yield saving options for Nigerians?

What is a Savings Account?

The goal of a savings account is to safely keep money that isn’t needed immediately, and keep it for specific purposes while accruing a steady interest rate. It’s usually a cycle of keeping money safely with a bank or financial institution, and then maintaining convenient access to the funds when needed.

The several saving needs of Nigerians have compelled a lot of financial institutions to be more creative with their saving plans, catering to the needs of the people per time. Currently, there are different savings account types for kids, students, daily needs, emergencies, and both long and short-term needs.

How do Savings Accounts work?

For a saver, the savings accounts are quite easy to understand and navigate through. Depending on your choice of account, you will easily be able to make payments to and withdrawals from your savings account. Different interest rates are usually available to a typical savings account in Nigeria. Financial institutions can either increase or lower their interest rates at any time.

Savings accounts double as an important funds source for banks and other financial institutions. They invest savers’ money in different financial instruments ranging from low to high-risk investments and give out a percentage of the returns to savers as interest. 

Cowrywise invests in treasury bills, government bonds and high-quality commercial papers which are adjudged to be the most secure investment options globally. We compiled an article on how safe and secure your money is on Cowrywise.

Important Online Saving Terms You Should Know


This is a sum of money paid to a bank or financial institution, held in trust and usually accruable for interests. Deposits can be made into different savings accounts, investment accounts, etc. 


Withdrawals are sums of money taken out of your account, usually an addition of the money deposited into the account together with the interests it accrued over time. For some accounts, withdrawals can be made as often as possible while some only allow you to withdraw on a set date.

OTP (One-Time Password)

An OTP can also be called a one-time PIN or dynamic password. It’s an automatically generated string of code used to authorise a user for a single transaction. It can be numbers or a combination of letters and numbers.


Your card verification value (CVV) is usually a 3-digit code printed behind your Visa, Master or any other branded payment card. It acts as a security feature against fraud and unauthorised use. The purpose of the CVV is to ensure that only the card owner uses the card.


A Personal Identification Number (PIN) is not only used in banks. It is used for access to any digital account, information or asset. Simply put, it’s a security code used to verify a user’s identity. It’s always advisable to use a PIN code that’s not easy to guess for security reasons.


For Bank Verification Numbers, think of an ID card used to identify a particular person. A BVN is an 11-digit number used to identify account holders across all banks in Nigeria. This BVN gives a unique identity that isn’t limited to one bank and thus, allows users to be verified across all payment platforms.

Hardware Token

As the name implies, the hardware token is a physical device that always generates a random security code for every transaction made by an account holder. It is a high-level security check as it makes it impossible for someone else to initiate online transactions on your account. It’s usually given by banks and payment companies to their users.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Usually, an account can be accessed with your username or email address and a password or PIN. 2FA acts as a second layer of authentication to keep your account secure if your details have been compromised. With your two-factor authentication set-up, you have a unique code generated each time a specific action is being set up. These codes can be generated via text messages, email updates or third-party authentication apps.

Maturity Date

A maturity date is simply known as the due date for savings or investments. As pointed out, on this date, the account holder can withdraw both their total savings or investment and the accrued interest, without any form of penalty. 

Wire Transfer

Wire transfer is a transfer of funds via electronic means around the world. Here, an individual can send money or pay for a transaction at a bank or transfer agency within or outside a country.

Different Types Of Savings Accounts in Nigeria

There are different types of savings accounts in Nigeria and for different purposes. Here, we will focus on the major ones and how they are set up.

Individual Savings Account 

This is also known as the regular savings account. It is the most common type of account a lot of Nigerians use, it is quite basic and is used only for deposits and withdrawals. Opening an Individual Savings Account requires little to no extra requirement apart from personal details and identification documents. Some banks do not require a minimum balance to open an account while in many other cases, there are limits on the withdrawable amount, number of daily transactions and so on.

Money deposited in savings accounts accrue a fixed interest over some time. For some financial technology businesses like Cowrywise, savings plans are usually locked for a while within which the owner can’t access the account. During this period, the capital generates interest payable on the maturity date.

Current Account

A current account is suitable for small businesses and individuals who are likely to transact frequently as it is meant for regular transactions. Due to this fluidity, there’s no interest on current accounts nor do they have any transaction limits.

Joint Savings Account 

Unlike the savings and current accounts handled by one person, joint savings accounts are owned by at least two persons for several reasons—joint control of funds, transparency, ease of accessibility, etc. In most cases, Joint accounts are owned by intending couples, married couples, associations, cooperative societies and other purposes.

The process of opening a joint bank account is almost the same as opening an individual account. The only major difference is that all parties that will have access to the account must present their KYC documents during the creation process. The mode of operating a joint savings account varies and it’s important to understand them and agree to them.

Fintech organisations like Cowrywise have eased the process and made owning a joint account safer and more accessible to everyone. There are options to save as a couple, which you can do together with your partner and also a general savings circle for a group of people. A good thing is that, at every point, no other person has control over your money at any point.

Emergency Funds

Emergency funds refer to money kept safely and stashed away for unforeseen circumstances. These circumstances could include a couple of unplanned events like a sudden loss of a job, a major repair on your house or your car, illness, a pandemic or a national crisis. Building a habit to save for emergency periods is very important.

You could create a savings account that you will dedicate only for this purpose or create an emergency savings account that has been built to encourage you to save for an emergency, having analysed your income and your expenses.

Domiciliary Account 

If you need to receive USD or other foreign money transfers in Nigeria, then creating a domiciliary account is your best bet. This is a special bank account used to receive and make payments in foreign currencies, including US dollars. Whether you’re an individual or a business, banks will allow you to open a domiciliary account, as long as you can provide the necessary documents—usually government-issued ID cards, BVN, proof of address, and so on.

It takes about 48 – 72 hours for a domiciliary account to become active in Nigeria. Once active, transactions can be made on it at any time and just like a current account, you do not have a transaction limit. Owning a domiciliary account is quite important, however, you do not need to have one to be able to invest in dollars in Nigeria.

Online Savings Accounts vs Traditional Savings Accounts: Which is Better?

Both online savings and traditional savings accounts have their benefits and disadvantages. To decide which one to go for appropriately, it is important to know the pros and cons of both of them, the services they render, the needs they cater for and all available options.

There are a lot of banks, both traditional and online and this decides on what to do tougher. Yet, it’s important to make this decision. The table below shows an overview of the pros and cons of both options.

Online Savings vs Traditional Banks

Online Savings AccountTraditional Banks
Opening an account can be speedy and very easy. All information provided is digital, you’ll have less paperwork and in a short while, your account will be activated and ready to use.Opening an account can take a while. You will have to visit any branch of the bank, bring along documents, deal with a couple of paperwork and it may take a while for your account to be active and ready for use
There are no physical locations, except for a few. You will have to perform all transactions via a website or an app on your mobile phone.There are different branches at different locations that you can visit. In these branches, you can meet with employees who can help you in person.
Since they are only online, they pay attention to a smooth user experience across their platforms, so the customer enjoys all benefits with minimal issues.There are apps and other online activities, however, they are usually not as robust as online banks. The apps serve as an extension of their physical service.
Online banks are known to have higher interest rates and little to no monthly fees billed to users.Traditional banks have lower interest rates. They might also charge some fees on withdrawals, maintenance, etc.
Here, you have access to only phone or online customer service. Some leverage the use of FAQ pages and chatbots to manage enquiries and complaints.The availability of in-person support is an edge for traditional banks. A customer can walk into the premises and get the support they need right on the spot.

Your choice on which to use between online and traditional banks should be dependent on your budget, your preferred services and your banking needs. You could own the two as well—there’s no rule against that. 

If you’d love to save with a set goal, transparency in transactions, charge-free savings and the best possible returns, then you may consider this top savings platform in Nigeria. 

Best Savings Account in Nigeria for 2021

Here are 5 current best high-interest (target) savings accounts for traditional banks in Nigeria as of 2021, compiled by To enjoy the best high-interest rates on savings in Nigeria, you should create a savings account with Cowrywise. 

For the accounts below, your withdrawals are limited, owners are exempted from the usual ATM and SMS charges, interest rates are higher than the usual returns, there’s a minimum opening balance within the range of ₦5,000 – ₦100,000. 

1. Stanbic IBTC MYSA (Max Yield Savings Account)

You earn a bonus interest of 0.5% plus 10% of MPR per annum as long as your daily balance is more than N100,000. The interest of 10% of MPR  per annum, if your balance is less than N100,000 or you exceed a maximum of 1 withdrawal per month. You lose your interest at the 5th withdrawal within the same month. Interest is paid monthly less than 10% withholding tax.

2. Fidelity Bank HYSA Account (High Yields Savings Account)

Fidelity Bank’s current rates on their savings deposit accounts (target) in Nigeria in 2021 is 2.9%. See interest table below:

Minimum BalanceMaximum BalanceInterest Accrued

If you do not make withdrawals in 6 months, you’ll earn an extra 1% bonus interest. Interest is paid monthly

3. Access Bank HIDA Account

View the deposit volume and interest rates in the table below.

Deposit VolumeInterest rate
₦0 – ₦100,0000.50%
₦100,000 – ₦4,999,9991.50%
₦5,000,000 – ₦99,999,9992%
₦100,000,000 – ₦249,999,9992.50%
₦250 million and above2.15%

You can make 4 free withdrawals without any penalty.

4. FCMB  Premium Savings Account

FCMB’s Premium Savings Account offers up to a 1.15% deposit on its premium savings account once your deposit is N100,000 or above. 

5. UBA – UBA Target Account

View the deposit volume and interest rates in the table below.

Minimum BalanceMaximum BalanceInterest Accrued

Should you open an online savings account in 2021

A lot has happened this year, especially with the one-year-long pandemic. Currently, interest rates are low on online savings. However, should that stop you from opening a savings account in Nigeria?

One thing worthy of note is that interest rates are currently low across the country and the world. While interest rates are low on an online savings account, they are lower with traditional banks. There are plenty of reasons to use an online savings account.

The simplest answer is yes! During this stay-at-home period, it’s the wisest choice to pick an account with almost zero charges, online accessibility and with multiple flexible options.

The top online savings platform recommended for you is Cowrywise

How to determine the best savings account for you

As shown above, many bank accounts in Nigeria offer almost the same service. Deciding which is best for you can be quite challenging, yet very important. Thus, it’s highly recommended to ask questions that will help you know the best bank account for you.

What is the minimum deposit amount to open an account? 

There are hundreds of banks offering the same services at the moment. A way to sift through them is to know their minimum deposit amount when you want to open a savings account. The one with the lowest deposit amount should be your choice.

Is there a minimum balance requirement on this account?

For some accounts, you need to have a particular amount in your account, which you cannot go below. It’s either locked in or there’s a penalty on withdrawals below the minimum balance. Ask this question and choose an account that requires no minimum balance.

What is the annual service charge for this account?

The Central Bank of Nigerians have stipulations that regulate these service charges, however, the fees still differ across different savings accounts and banks in Nigeria. It’s almost impossible to have an account without any fee, it’s only wiser to choose one that has a lower service fee as long as it doesn’t mean the quality of service is reduced.

Is there a monthly withdrawal limit on this account?

Naturally, there should not be any limit on withdrawals for a regular savings account. So, stick to that. Withdrawals should be unlimited.

What is the interest rate on this account and how secure is it?

High interest rates are great to look forward to. Nonetheless, do not ignore the security of your savings account, when extremely high-interest rates are being advertised. The more secure your savings is, the better it is for you.

How responsive is their customer service?

No matter how smart you are, you will need the support of the bank you choose at one point or the other. Are they accessible? Do they respond quickly? Can I trust them to find solutions when I experience difficulties? These are very important questions to ask yourself. Don’t be a victim of banks without an active customer support system.

If you ask yourself these questions and diligently seek answers to them, then you’re on the right path to choosing the best savings account option for you.

When should you use a savings account in Nigeria?

  1. You can use a savings account to gather money for housing plans. Only when you’ve saved enough can you begin to ask which is better between renting or owning a home.
  2.  When it comes to unforeseen circumstances, one event that takes the lead is health. Saving with your health in mind is very important. Stay ahead of life with emergency plans.
  3. There are bad money habits you should avoid, they do a lot of damage. Saving consistently can help you conquer these habits and take charge of your money better.
  4. Saving for long term goals is highly credible. That way, you live life with a set plan for the future. It’s worth it.

How to save at different points in your life

Learn Save money as a student

How to Save in your 20s

Effectively Save as a Salary Earner

Ways to Save as an Entrepreneur

Save as a Couple

What you need to open an online savings account 

Opening an online savings account is less cumbersome than opening an account with a traditional bank, yet it is important to have some important information ready, as they’ll be needed to successfully create and activate your account.

Your Personal Information: 

This is a means of identifying who you are appropriately and providing important details about you. This includes:

Your Full Name

Date of Birth

A government-issued ID card.


Your recent picture

Your Contact Information

A means to contact you is also a very important requirement for both online and offline accounts. Here, you’ll need to provide:

Your phone number

Your email address

A proof of your address

Savings plans like Cowrywise do not need proof of your address, just your email address and phone number.

Your Next of Kin Information

Consider this a safe access to your account, in case you’re not able to do so yourself. This is either due to sickness, death or other emergencies. Your next-of-kin has the rights to the funds in your account during such situations. The details you’ll have to provide include:

Your next of kin’s name

Their phone number

Their email address

Your relationship with them.

How to make deposits to and withdrawals from an online savings account

Since there are no options to use cash or to deposit money to your account using the traditional method of taking money to the bank, all processes are digitalised, yet made so simple.

Transfers from Bank Accounts

You can easily transfer money from your traditional bank account into an online savings account. The process is quite simple. Online savings account in Nigeria provides account numbers and other details that can be used to receive payments from other banks. This eases the entire process of getting payment from other banks accounts through transfers.

These transfers don’t necessarily have to be from your bank account alone, friends can make these transfers to you as well.

Transfers from Fellow Online Savings Account Users

At Cowrywise, you can transfer from your account to another user; you can also receive payment the exact way. This is available through Stash, a digital wallet. You can make transfers at very reduced prices right from your Stash account and can receive money from other users as well. You can either withdraw this money to your bank accounts or use it for savings and investments to earn interests.

Direct ATM Top-Ups

Do you have a bank account? Do you have an ATM card? Then funding your savings account through direct ATM top-ups might be the best option for you. For you to access this, you’ll need to upload the details of your atm card—your card name, card number, expiry date and CVV. You’ll then get an authentication code via your phone number or email address for security purposes.

Once done, you will be able to initiate new deposits into your online account directly from your account through your ATM card. This also allows for automated deposits on some savings accounts.

USSD Services

USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) services are eligible to users whose phone numbers are registered with any of the mobile network operators (MTN, GLO, Airtel and 9Mobile) and correctly maintained with the Bank. It involves the use of a specific string of numbers to initiate a deposit or withdrawal from your account.

This service is used by both online and traditional banks and is useful when there’s no access to the internet, in some cases.

For withdrawals, it’s always great to consider the use of two-factor authentication to secure withdrawals from your account, if there’s ever any compromise on your account information.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

There’s no fixed amount you should have in your savings account, there are a couple of factors to be considered to help make the right decision. These factors include:

How stable is your primary source of income?

Have you calculated your fixed expense.

What’s your current standard of living

How much do you need to have to feel safe financially?

Considering these factors help you make determine the right amount you should keep or aim to reach as your savings. However, it is important to start small and keep growing to save more, that’s a major rule of money you should learn in 2021.

Why Nigerians should have an Emergency Fund

Ever wondered why you should have an emergency fund? You should listen to people talk about emergency funds, those who have experienced unforeseen circumstances and how excited they were to fall back on these funds—or their frustration looking for emergency money, if they had none. Planning is very important when it comes to financial matters.

An emergency fund makes it possible for you to still have access to funds even if you unexpectedly lose your job or major source of income. It can also be used to cover sudden medical emergencies, a natural disaster or pandemic, vehicle repairs and other important uses of emergency funds in Nigeria

It also allows you to live for a few months if you lose your job or if something unexpected comes up that costs a fair chunk of money to cover. Many banks and financial experts suggest that you should save at least three months’ worth of salary in your emergency fund.

You should use your fund during periods of unemployment, medical emergencies, paying for home repairs due to a natural disaster, emergency veterinarian bills, unforeseen vehicle repairs, etc.

In a few steps, start making plans for unforeseen situations by creating your emergency plan today.

What are the other high-yield saving options for Nigerians?

Investments are a worthy venture, they come with great benefits as well as their risks. You’ll find every piece of information you need about how to invest safely in Nigeria on Cowrywise.

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