What You Need
To successfully transact with the import portals I‟ll be revealing in this guide,
you need to make these materials available first;
A means of making payment to the import portals – Not until recently,
I‟ve been using a debit ATM card issued by a Nigerian bank for all my
payments online; yes, a Nigerian bank known as United Bank of Africa
(UBA). The name of the card is UBA Africard.
Here‟s what it looks like:
The card can be obtained from any branch of UBA. As at the time of
producing this guide, you don‟t need to be an account holder with the
bank to apply for this card.
The card is of two types; the personalized and the non-personalized.
Simply go for the non-personalized so you get it instantly upon
All you need is a valid identity which should be any of international
passport, drivers‟ license or national ID card (In line with the new CBN
directive, I guess they should start accepting voters card now. Not
You also need a minimum of N500 (five hundred naira), though some
of my students have claimed that they got their own without paying a
This card has a 10 digit number at the back. This number serves as
your account number. To fund the card, simple pay into the account
number at the counter.
If you need further clarification on how to obtain this card, please
watch the first 2.20 minutes of this Addendum: I‟ve also confirmed that the ATM cards from GTB, Fidelity,
UBA and Zenith Banks are accepted on these import portals. I‟ve
personally used that of GTB, UBA and Fidelity and they worked
So, if you already have any, use it! No need going for the UBA
Africard. Except you enjoy having a lot of cards in your wallet
That settles the payment issue.
The next thing you‟ll need is…
A Valid Home Address – This is very important. Even though most
courier companies would prefer to call you up to come pick up your
item from their office, you need to make sure the address you use as
your shipping address is easily traceable.
In case the item is sent to you address, you might end up not
receiving your package if you supply an address like P.O. Box 4 Ikeja
If you think your address is not traceable or you‟re not too sure about
it, please use your office address or a friend‟s address that is ok.
Something like; No. 39 Pat Ogidi Street, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja Lagos
is cool. Make it as much as traceable and reachable as possible!
Also make sure, you find a way of including your mobile phone number
in the address. 99% of the time in my own case, they courier guys
called me up on phone to come pick my package.
Searching For Products & Verifying The Sellers
Remember, these portals are some sort of organized marketplaces, where
individual sellers come together to showcase their products to the world.
Picture it like a shopping mall/complex, where different sellers have their
That‟s why you could find a product sold at different prices by different
That goes to tell that, while others are selling their products at cheap rates,
a whole lot are only middle men, who go to shop A, get a product for say $5
and list it in their own shop for $7. Don‟t blame them anyway…
And if that‟s true, and you have access to all the shops in a portal, why look
at the middleman?
Now, about searching for products… and making sure you weed off the
Before you ever try to order from any of these websites, you‟ll want to make
sure you bear the following in mind;
– Compare prices and quality.
– Check if there‟s free shipping for the product. Even if there isn‟t,
don‟t worry I‟ll show you my sneaky, almost illegal way to either
knock it off entirely, or reduce it to the barest minimum.
– Verify the seller so as to ascertain their past experience with their
previous customers. Image illustration on this later.
– Send a „dummy‟ message to the seller. I use this strategy to test
the seller‟s customer service efficiency.
You may want to send messages like “Are your products fake?”,
“Are you sure you’re going to send them if I order?”
Funny messages right? But they work magically!
The reason for this message is to simply work into the sellers
psyche and test how fast they respond. The truth us, if someone takes time to respond to such attention grabbing messages when
money hasn‟t changed hands, that may invariably mean that the
same person may NEVER respond to some of your messages after
you order. Hard truth!
It may not always work, but it has worked for me in 85% cases.
Sellers that respond to such messages jovially, and try to explain
things to you, turn out to be customer friendly. Once a seller
responds, invite them to chat outside the import portal, like Skype
and Gtalk. Aliexpress chats are always unstable. I hardly use it.
– Always make every payment through the recommended import
website, usually credit/debit card, ATM, Western Union/Moneygram
etc with their escrow payment option. More on escrow later.
I‟ve had one or two instances where sellers requested that I pay
them directly, maybe to their PayPal account directly, or via
western union and promises to reduce the price of the product I
wish to order for me. I understand that the import portals get a
commission from every order made through their site, but paying
the seller through any other means apart from the escrow option in
the portal, puts you at risk. Avoid it!
If the transaction eventually turns sour, you might not be able to
get back your cash. You‟ll understand better later!