In today’s global economy, many people and businesses need to make transactions in foreign currencies. A domiciliary account is a special type of bank account that allows you to hold and use foreign currencies like US Dollars, British Pounds, or Euros directly, without converting them into local currency.

Having a domiciliary account is important for anyone who deals with international transactions. It makes it easier to receive payments from overseas, shop online in foreign currencies, or invest globally. Instead of dealing with currency conversions and potential exchange rate fluctuations, a domiciliary account lets you manage foreign currencies directly.

Choosing the right bank to open a domiciliary account can be a challenge due to the variety of options available. This article aims to guide readers through this process, helping them select a bank that best fits their needs and preferences. By providing clear information and advice, we aim to empower readers to make informed decisions about their international financial dealings.

What You’ll Learn

In this article, you will learn valuable knowledge and skills related to domiciliary accounts in Nigeria. Here’s what you can expect to learn:

  • Understanding the Different Types of Domiciliary Accounts
  • Detailed Information on the Top 10 Banks Offering Domiciliary Accounts in Nigeria
  • Requirements for Opening a Domiciliary Account
  • Factors to Consider Before Opening a Domiciliary Account
  • Understanding the Charges Associated with Domiciliary Accounts

Types Of Domiciliary Accounts

In Nigeria, there are three primary types of domiciliary accounts that individuals can open:

Personal Domiciliary Account

A personal domiciliary account is designed for individual use and is suitable for various purposes such as saving in foreign currencies or making international transactions. Individuals who earn income in foreign currencies or frequently engage in online purchases in foreign currencies often opt for personal domiciliary accounts. These accounts function similarly to regular savings or current accounts but hold balances in foreign currencies like US Dollars, British Pounds, or Euros instead of the local currency.

Business Domiciliary Account

As the name suggests, a business domiciliary account is specifically tailored for businesses and organizations that regularly conduct transactions in foreign currencies. This type of account allows businesses to manage their international financial activities more efficiently by holding funds in foreign currencies. To open a business domiciliary account, companies typically need to provide their Corporate Affairs Commission certificate (CAC) and other relevant documentation.

Forex Trading Account

A forex trading account is intended for individuals or entities involved in foreign exchange (forex) trading activities. These accounts are used by traders to buy and sell currencies in the global forex market. Forex trading accounts may offer additional features and tools tailored to the needs of forex traders, such as real-time market data, trading platforms, and access to leverage. Opening a forex trading account may require compliance with regulatory requirements and verification of trading experience.

Top 10 Banks to Open a Domiciliary Account

Here is a list of 10 banks in Nigeria to open the best domiciliary accounts:

Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)

One of the notable features of GTB domiciliary accounts is the availability of multiple currency options, including US dollars, British pounds, and euros. This diversity allows account holders to conduct international transactions seamlessly, without the hassle of currency conversion.

Opening a domiciliary account with GTB is a straightforward process, requiring standard documentation such as a valid means of identification, account opening balance, passport photographs, and reference forms from current account holders. GTB domiciliary savings accounts have a low entry barrier, allowing individuals to deposit as little as $5, making them accessible to a wide range of customers.

A key benefit of GTB domiciliary accounts is the ability to withdraw cash in foreign currency from any GTBank branch, providing account holders with easy access to their funds. Additionally, GTB allows account holders to link their domiciliary account to a GTB card, enabling them to make international transactions such as online purchases and withdrawals with ease. 

 First Bank

First Bank provides convenient options for individuals and businesses seeking to open domiciliary accounts. One of the key features of First Bank’s domiciliary accounts is the availability of multiple currency options, including US dollars, British pounds, euros, and CFA francs.

Opening a domiciliary account with First Bank entails meeting standard requirements, including providing a valid means of identification such as an international passport, voter’s card, driver’s license, or national identity card. Additionally, account holders are required to meet the minimum opening balance requirement, which varies depending on the currency chosen. For example, a minimum opening balance of $100, £100, or €50 is assigned to each respective currency, with a minimum of CFA10,000 for CFA francs. Other documentation may include passport photographs and proof of address.

Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank’s domiciliary accounts come with multiple features and benefits designed to meet the different needs of account holders. Account holders have the choice of opening accounts in various major currencies, including US dollars, British pounds, euros, and Swiss francs.

Opening a domiciliary account with Zenith Bank requires applicants to meet standard documentation requirements. These typically include providing a valid means of identification, such as an international passport, voter’s card, driver’s license, or national identity card.

United Bank For Africa (UBA)

One of the standout features of UBA’s domiciliary accounts is the range of currency options available. Account holders have the flexibility to open accounts in major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds, euros, and yen.

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UBA offers three main types of domiciliary accounts, each catering to different needs and preferences. The Freedom Dom Account is particularly attractive for its ease of opening, requiring minimal documentation such as a Bank Verification Number (BVN). It’s an ideal option for individuals seeking a hassle-free way to transact in foreign currencies. 

On the other hand, the Dom Advantage Account offers enhanced features and benefits, requiring additional documentation such as a valid means of identification and passport photograph. This account suits individuals looking for more comprehensive banking services. 

Lastly, the UBA Kiddies Domiciliary Account caters to parents who want to save in foreign currencies for their children’s future, requiring documentation from a parent and passport photographs of both the child and parent.

 Access Bank

Access Bank offers two main types of domiciliary accounts, each designed to cater to different needs and preferences. The domiciliary current account is suitable for businesses and individuals who require frequent transactions in foreign currencies, while the domiciliary savings account is ideal for those looking to save and invest in foreign currencies.

Account holders have the option to fund their accounts in pounds, dollars, euros, and yen, providing them with the flexibility to transact in their preferred currency. Opening a domiciliary account with Access Bank is a straightforward process, with applicants required to provide standard documentation depending on the type of account chosen.

 Fidelity Bank

Fidelity Bank is a well-regarded financial institution in Nigeria, known for its customer-centric services and innovative banking solutions. Fidelity Bank’s domiciliary accounts are available in major foreign currencies such as US dollars, British pounds, and euros. 

One of the standout features of Fidelity Bank’s domiciliary accounts is the relatively low minimum opening balance. For instance, customers can open an account with as little as $30, €30, or £20, making it accessible to a broad range of customers, including small businesses and individuals looking to save in foreign currencies.

 Polaris Bank

One of the standout features of Polaris Bank’s domiciliary accounts is the competitive exchange rates offered. This ensures that customers get favorable rates when converting their foreign currency to naira, maximizing the value of their funds. Additionally, Polaris Bank provides seamless access to funds through its extensive branch network, allowing customers to make deposits and withdrawals in foreign currencies at any branch.

Polaris Bank also offers robust online banking services for domiciliary account holders. Through the bank’s secure online platform, customers can manage their accounts from anywhere in the world. This includes checking account balances, initiating transfers, and monitoring transactions. 

Stanbic IBTC Bank

Stanbic IBTC Bank’s domiciliary accounts allow customers to hold and transact in multiple foreign currencies, including US dollars, British pounds, euros, and Australian dollars. Additionally, the bank provides the flexibility to deposit, withdraw, and transfer funds in foreign currencies, making it easier for customers to manage their international financial activities.

Union Bank

Union Bank offers three main types of domiciliary accounts: domiciliary savings, domiciliary current, and the UnionAce account. Each account type caters to different needs, providing flexibility and a range of options for customers.

The domiciliary savings account is ideal for individuals looking to save money in foreign currencies. It offers a secure way to hold funds in major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds, and euros. The domiciliary current account is more suited for businesses and individuals who need to conduct frequent transactions in foreign currencies. This account type facilitates seamless deposits, withdrawals, and transfers, making it perfect for international trade and business activities.

FCMB (First City Monument Bank)

FCMB offers two types of domiciliary accounts: domiciliary savings and domiciliary current accounts. Both account types allow customers to hold and transact in major foreign currencies, including US dollars, British pounds, and euros. 

One of the key features of FCMB’s domiciliary accounts is the absence of a minimum operating balance requirement, making it easier for customers to maintain their accounts without worrying about maintaining a specific balance. However, an initial opening balance is required, which is relatively low: $100 for US dollars, £60 for British pounds, and €70 for euros. This low entry threshold makes FCMB’s domiciliary accounts accessible to a wide range of customers, including small businesses and individuals who are just starting to deal with foreign currencies.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Does It Cost To Open A Domiciliary Account In Nigeria?

Opening a domiciliary account is generally free at most banks. However, if you wish to open a joint domiciliary account, you may need to complete a special joint account holder form, and both account holders are usually required to visit the bank in person to apply.

Can I Fund My Domiciliary Account With Naira?

Unlike a regular bank account that is restricted to sending and receiving only one currency, which is the Naira, a domiciliary account is a foreign currency-denominated account. It allows you to save, send, receive, and carry out transactions in foreign currencies like the United States Dollar (USD).

What’s The Difference Between A Domiciliary Account And  Dollar Account?

Opening a domiciliary account means establishing a dollar or foreign currency account with a local bank. If you receive dollars from a relative or as payment for services, they are deposited into your domiciliary account. However, if the transfer is facilitated by money transfer operators, you may receive the funds in naira, albeit with potential charges.

Conclusion

Throughout this article, we have explored the features, benefits, and opening requirements of domiciliary accounts offered by top banks in Nigeria. A domiciliary account allows you to hold and transact in foreign currencies, offering benefits such as facilitating international transactions, saving in stable foreign currencies, and receiving payments from overseas clients. By choosing the best bank for a domiciliary account, you can access competitive exchange rates, convenient online banking services, and excellent customer support.