Raise up your hand If you live in Nigeria you can relate to how difficult it is to pay for anything in Nigeria with a credit or debit card. From POS machines not working, to no service, to no paper to print receipts, to a ridiculous $100 monthly limit on international spending, to banks blocking your cards from any online transaction…. phew, the list is endless!!!
Getting a dollar card and a domiciliary account seemed like the reasonable solution right until I walked into a Gtbank in Surulere Lagos and requested to get a dollar card and I was told that it will cost more than the amount of money I was actually trying to deposit! (I later found out that I was given wrong information.) say whaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtttt? (In Bobriskys voice). I only had $30 on hand (which was even gifted to me).. lol… don’t these people know that I am not rich (My mother will read this and say you are rich in Jesus Name)
I promptly took a Keke napep to shitta roundabout, exchanged the money to Naira with the mallams and went to buy Coldstone icecream because I cannot come and kill myself.
The frustration didn’t end there.. see ehn, circa 2014 I had never paid for software. I knew where to get everything FOR FREEE . Like how do you pay for something you can’t see (apart from miracles in TB Joshua’s church) nah nah nah.. I wasn’t hearing it. Then I got a Job in Tech and actually saw how software is changing peoples lives, the number of work people (I included) put into making them work and the dangers of Piracy (I once unsuccessfully helped a company of more than 200 staff fix an application on their server which crashed all because they had one pirated software). I digress.
It took some time to repent and 2015 I actually paid for apple music… I felt fulfilled… Mama, I made it. see me paying for things like a rich person.
Now you can imagine my annoyance when sometime in 2016, I was cut off from all my subscriptions because Nigeria entered a recession and all my Nigerian cards became useless outside Nigeria.
See this heart breaking message: Imagine seeing this every time!!
Jokes aside, this development had a negative impact on me. I lost access to all my subscription services; apple music, Office 365, Facebook ads, Skillshare and an online fashion school and I couldn’t get a dollar card. TBH, Nigerians are resilient people and we always find a way around things. so people found backdoor ways to get through the system… But not this sista.. why? I am super Lazy and super sceptical when I hear backdoor now. No time. I also do not like to play with access to my schmonayyyy….
My dear brothers and sisters in the lord… if I tell you I haven’t had music on my phone for one-year won’t you weep for me? Yep. start weeping cos it’s true. (this is mid-2017). Thank God for Spotify free on desktops. This is how I am able to do some work without music.
You can tell that I talk a lot right?
This fateful day, I am stalking people on Nigerian twitter (cos you know twitter is a real comedy show) I don’t tweet a lot but I’m watching all of you.. if you want to follow a retweeter of cute and funny things, do so here. Then I stumbled upon some people tweeting about bater.
I stalked them a little, looked for reviews, read their medium page and the likes before visiting their website here. My first impression of their website was …. hell nawww… I did not like their homepage at all… The white and blue colours were just kinda meh and reminded me of when we used to blue our white shirts in the boarding house.
I closed the site and forgot about them for a while until I needed to pay for something online (I don’t remember what now) and I googled barter cards only to find them on the second page of google. I don’t know if it’s still the same cos now that I use them, they pop up immediately I type barter on my browser.
Barter people, you need to fix this for first-time users. not everyone will be as patient as I am. but I guess with time their SEO will improve.
Then I signed up and we had another problem. I wasn’t getting any signup code to my mobile or email.. which meant I couldn’t log in. The codes came in hours later and I couldn’t use them so I had to sign up again the next day. I had started to roll my eyes but was determined to try to the end.
I finally logged in and here’s the interface when you signup below : Not too bad.
Finally, I created a card and loaded my wallet with 2000 Naira (I had to start small to minimize risk abeg) This process was quite seamless and simple.
I proceeded to use the card on skillshare.com, copied and pasted the card number and details and it worked immediately.
To say that I jumped for joy is an understatement!!! I finally got my skillshare account back after being locked out for more than 1 year, to top it up, I was given 2 months free!!! Thank You, Jesus. I have 2 free months and i can now learn how to do calligraphy in 10 minutes…. dancing
Let me backtrack for a minute and just say that barter is like your online Mallam born and bred abroad. You basically have a wallet on their site, put money inside the wallet from your account, then create a virtual dollar MasterCard on the same site, give your money to barter who then converts the money at their exchange rate to the currency of your choice and transfer that to the virtual dollar card which you can then use for whatever you need a dollar card for.
In similar excitement, I tried Barter for apple music and it didn’t work… sad smiley face My payment got declined. I don’t know why but I am too heartbroken to try today again. Maybe its cos my money wasn’t sufficient for both skillshare and iTunes or the address or something.. I really don’t know but it kinda deflated my balloon.
I’m going to try to use them again for apple music next week cos the fault might be mine and then ill give you updates but right now the score is 1:1 for barter and moi.. worked for skillshare but not apple music.
Things i think they can improve on
- The interface is hella boring. whats with that blue ugly font?
- The learning curve is not as seamless as you would like. it could get kinda confusing to do other stuff on the site. there should be mini instructions as you go. I guess this is also part of Interface. I tried to explore the other features, wasn’t finding it easy.
- I’m still giving them the side-eye for their exchange rate.
What I love:
- It works... Hallelujah. It does what it says it will do. it still has some bugs as I have pointed out but it works and for that I am happy.
Guys, Bater is Legit. No One is scamming you or taking your money. I got a lot of emails asking if Piggybank and Farm Crowdy are actually Legit businesses. and I can’t blame people for being suspicious. There are shady people out there. One way I know is that they are affiliated with flutter wave which is a legit fintech company and the founder is the Andela wonder boy Iyin… If anything goes wrong, small googling and we will find his house address. You take it from there. So I need to update this post or write another post on 2 things.
- how barter works on Asos, Netflix and Facebook ads
- why barter isn’t working with my apple music. cos I need ma doze of Wizkid..
Let’s see how that goes. Check Barter out here Have you tried Barter or a similar service before? Do you need a service like this? Are you willing to try? Share in the comment box below…..